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10 Common Ideas About Sex -- That May Be Totally Wrong

Do women lose interest in sex as they age? How safe is it to have sex post-heart attack?

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Even if you’re pretty savvy about the sex you’re having, the areas of the sexual theme park you’ve never traveled in might be pretty murky to you. It’s easy to find heteronormative sex advice everywhere -- you could pick up plenty just watching reruns of "Sex and the City." But the basic facts of being transgender aren’t something you’re likely to casually pick up a lot of information on. Even the meaning of "transgender" is sometimes confused.

Your sex is the physical sex you’re born with; your gender is which sex you identify with internally that you express externally through behavior, clothing, etc., says the  American Psychological Association: think  Chaz Bono. And, the APA says, “Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay, bisexual or asexual, just as nontransgender people can be.”  

10. True or false: Sex makes you happy.

Trick question! It can, but it depends on one very specific variable. Tim Wadsworth, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, found that people who report being happier also report higher sexual frequency. But he also found that happiness was contingent on how much sex they perceive their peers are having and whether they are having more or less.

The 2013 study analyzed data from the  General Social Survey. Wadsworth’s survey group of 15,386 people was queried from 1993 to 2006 and asked if they were “very happy, pretty happy or not too happy.” After controlling for numerous factors, the researchers found that people who had sex at least three times a month were 33% happier than those who hadn’t had sex in 12 months and the happiness level rises with frequency: “Those reporting having sex two to three times a week are 55 percent more likely to report a higher level of happiness.”

Not that surprising. But if you want to turn someone from Tigger to Eeyore let them know they’re not getting as much action as the next person. People infer knowledge of the private matter of sex from social interaction, peer groups, media, surveys and other ways. “As a result of this knowledge, if members of a peer group are having sex two to three times a month but believe their peers are on a once-weekly schedule, their probability of reporting a higher level of happiness falls by about 14 percent, Wadsworth found.”

This is the easiest thing I’ve been asked to believe in a long time. We can pretend to be sophisticated, but we’re all children when it comes to thinking someone else got a bigger slice of cake than we did. 

Or in this case, just a better piece. 

Liz Langley is a freelance writer in Orlando, Fla.

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