The Mysterious Peanut Headed Latternfly and the Case of the Not-So-Missing Blue Balls
March 9, 2012 2:08 PM   Subscribe

Interesting myths related to sex-acts?

Following up from the answer to this question which, linked to an article (the text of which is also on Wikipedia), which contained the following info on the machacha (fulfora laternaria):

In several countries, such as Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, there exists the myth that if somebody is bitten by the machaca, he or she must have sex within 24 hours to prevent an otherwise incurable death. The insect is actually harmless to people.

So, despite the skeezy ways I can imagine this being used, I found this pretty fascinating, and was interested in other similarly themed myths, but doing a Google search just leads to lots of self-help "sex myths" sites and Q&As. The only other ones that comes to mind is that having sex with a virgin will cure you of HIV/AIDS or ignorance surrounding birth control (Coke as a contraceptive, can't get pregnant the first time...) and I guess I'm not really interested in that type (ignorance of the acts) as I am myths more like the one that inspired my interest.

So are there any other "If X happens and you do/don't have sex, you'll Y (where Y is death OR something bad or good -- but not something that specifically has to do with real STDs or pregnancy.) I guess I'm looking for old wive's tales/legends/myths that may have been accepted by a group rather than just plain old-fashioned stupidity (realizing that the difference can sometimes be a fine line and I'm probably walking a similarly fine line between 'interested in culture' and 'being offensive' while trying to explain.)

(I hope this was clear enough. I know it's both vague and specific. But if I knew how to phrase it, I could probably find a list myself using the right search terms.)
posted by MCMikeNamara to Society & Culture (25 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

If you masturbate too much you'll go blind.

/typed with braille keyboard
posted by Falwless at 2:12 PM on March 9, 2012 [12 favorites]

I realize that's not really what you're after, as no one really believes this.
posted by Falwless at 2:12 PM on March 9, 2012

Best answer: According to the YA novel Go and Come Back, which is based on real customs in native South America, a baby has more than one father. A woman must have sex with a few men in order to produce a baby. But not too many, because the father must observe the proper customs (not eat certain foods, etc.) while the woman is pregnant, and if there are too many fathers, the likelihood increases of one of them forgetting a custom, which could harm the baby.
posted by Melismata at 2:16 PM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

"Widow cleansing."
posted by cairdeas at 2:20 PM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am not remembering enough details to Google it, but I read --- in the NYTimes, I believe --- about a custom in parts of Africa that required women whose husbands had died to have sex with a certain person in order to keep their dead husband from coming back. There was one man in the village whose job it was to have sex with every recently widowed woman.

The article was written in the context of the HIV epidemic. I'm sorry that I can't come up with a specific reference. Maybe someone else will remember and be able to find it.
posted by alms at 2:34 PM on March 9, 2012

Best answer: There are an effectively infinite number of examples of this in cultural anthropology; sex and reproduction are after all things that almost everyone is concerned with, and are one of the most fertile of all grounds for myth.

One of the more incongruous examples to Westerners: the Sambia of Papua New Guinea believe that semen is generated from men drinking tree sap, and that its quantities are so limited that in order to protect the society's supply of virility, it must be carefully conserved through ritualized sex acts between men and boys.
posted by strangely stunted trees at 2:35 PM on March 9, 2012

The idea that penis size is somehow related to foot size. I have large feet. The myth is, in a word, wrong.
posted by dbiedny at 2:37 PM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

I heard this one in high school... a man's dick size is the same as the length of his hand from his middle finger to his wrist.
posted by luckynerd at 2:46 PM on March 9, 2012

luckynerd, I have big mitts to go with those feet. Wrong again.
posted by dbiedny at 2:48 PM on March 9, 2012 [4 favorites]

The idea that penis size is somehow related to foot size. I have large feet. The myth is, in a word, wrong.

I also have large feet, and I resent the aspersions you are casting. This so-called "myth" is actually scientific fact, as can be proven by the large socks I have stuffed into my underwear.

More seriously, I have many times heard people say a variation on the idea that it is only receptive sex that makes you gay -- as in, sucking dick is gay, but getting a blow job isn't; taking up the ass is gay, but fucking someone isn't. It's a unidirectional cootie theory, and it makes no sense, but it is a super common belief.
posted by Forktine at 3:02 PM on March 9, 2012 [6 favorites]

Best answer: When hung, men involuntarily ejaculate and where their semen hits the ground growMandrake plants. This myth is one of many surrounding the mandrake plant, which also screams upon being uprooted; in Harry Potter, Professor Sprout wore earmuffs while tending them to block the sound and concocted a potion from them to return the petrified to life.
posted by carmicha at 3:03 PM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

The cure for blue balls -- attempt to squat-lift something so heavy you can't possibly lift it (e.g. squat down, grab a car bumper and try to pick up the car). The myth is that it flexes/strectches certain muscles and connective tissues to alleviate the pain.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:16 PM on March 9, 2012

I would think that penis size would be correlated with foot size for the same reason that, say, hand size is correlated with foot size. Big men have big hands, big feet, and big penises.

Unfortunately penis-size data is notoriously hard to collect, so I can't check this.
posted by madcaptenor at 3:20 PM on March 9, 2012

Best answer: According to Jewish folklore, Lilith was the first wife of Adam. She was banished from the Garden of Eden when she refused to make herself subservient to Adam (specifically, she refused to get into the missionary position with him during sex). When she was cast out, she was made into a demon.

The Sambian people of New Guineas practice a ritual in which young boys, upon reaching puberty, fellate older men of the tribe and swallow the semen in order to gain strength. The ritual is practiced daily, on demand, for an indeterminate amount of time. One account in the anthropological literature reported a duration of 8 years.
posted by BadgerDoctor at 3:35 PM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

There's the one in Sub-Saharan Africa that a person infected with HIV/AIDS has to have sex with a virgin in order to "cure" themselves. Obviously this has had tragic results in that many children and adolescents have been raped and infected as a result.
posted by Devils Slide at 3:42 PM on March 9, 2012

The myth that there is no such thing as a bisexual person, or conversely, that everyone is bisexual, and there is no such thing as straight or gay.
posted by xingcat at 5:31 PM on March 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

A variation of the point that Melismata makes came from, I believe, Horseshit magazine, which used to be the font of all knowledge:

If a young woman has sex with several men on a regular basis, she cannot get pregnant.
posted by megatherium at 8:17 PM on March 9, 2012

Snopes' Risque section has some good ones (and ones totally different from what you're asking, too, but still a good way to kill... some hours.)
posted by papayaninja at 10:13 PM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Good lord, you don't need to go pecking through the cultural practices of non Western people to find a stack of these. Some of the jaw droppers I've had told to me as Holy Writ:

-All old gay men are completely incontinent due to the buttsex and pack their rectums with tampons;
-If you don't clean out your vaginal canal with a proper douche, you will get Toxic Shock and die;
-If a pregnant woman has sex, the baby can get poked with the penis and may be harmed;
-Women who have hours and hours of anal sex are still technically virgins, because no penis has gone into vag, conversely lesbians who have never had sex with a man are all still virgins really;
-A good vibrator can completely replace your boyfriend;
-Oh, and wash a vibrator? Can't I just use warm water?
-Spit is a good lube for basically anything.

And then there are the other, more pernicious ones - everyone is bisexual, all women are bisexual and just need "encouraging", but bisexuals are raging nyphos who spread disease, you're only gay if you take it, you need a penis in a vag for it to be "real sex", you can women find watching lesbian sex as arousing as their heterosexual partners, you can't get pregnant your first time, you can only get an STI from penis in vag. PENIS IN VAG IS THE ONLY REAL SEX, EVERYTHING ELSE IS A WASTE OF TIME.

I'm getting a bit bitter.

Anyway, talk to a teenager, you can probably find a nice new crop that I don't have access to any more.
posted by Jilder at 10:31 PM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh! And if a lady has unprotected sex with two men, the sperms will have a fight to see who gets to impregnate her.

I rather liked that one, actually, I had a lovely image of sperm in teeeny weeeny little gladiatorial garb duking it out.
posted by Jilder at 10:33 PM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:27 AM on March 10, 2012

The myth that you can't get pregnant if you have sex standing up.
posted by w0mbat at 8:49 AM on March 10, 2012

Your machaca example made me think of one I haven't heard since high school and I'm sure many other women heard it too --

If a man [boy in high school, really] cannot get release while making out, his balls will actually turn blue and swell up. If this happens, he needs to immediately have sex or a blow job -- or, at the very least a handjob that's not his own -- or his balls may actually erupt and cause permanent damages to his future fertility.

I heard this one from a couple different sources when I was younger so I'm suuuure it's true.

Also, you can't get pregnant when you're on your period . . . or you can only get pregnant on your period, whichever situation this particular myth calls for.
posted by mibo at 11:58 AM on March 10, 2012

What about "vagina dentana"? Latin for toothed vagina. If you've seen the horror comedy movie, "Teeth", you may be familiar with this. Basically, in many cultures around the globe (Chaco and Guiana tribes, for example) myths were spread that female genitalia contained teeth - ready to snap off a man's penis upon penetration. There have also been Inuit myths of women having dog heads in their vaginas, or meat-eating fish. Whether these stories were told to deter rape, or to address (as Sigmund Freud put it) an inherent fear of castration in men (when the penis enters the vagina, it disappears), it depends. I'm not sure as to how many people actually believe this in modern times and/or avoid having sex because of this. Reveals something about the 'mystery' we have attached to a woman's reproductive organs, and inevitably, a misplaced fear.
posted by raintree at 12:38 PM on March 10, 2012

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