In this article, we will cover common myths and facts regarding LGBTQIA+ intimacy, sexuality, and orientation related things. This information was compiled from numerous major organizations and studies that they have conducted over the past decade. These myths and facts may help non-LGBTQIA+ people better understand the LGBTQIA+ community.
Myth: Lesbian, gay and bisexual people can be identified by certain mannerisms or physical characteristics.
- LGBTQIA+ people come in many different colors, shapes, sizes, and from many cultures- just as those who are heterosexual do. While some LGBTQIA+ people may have what they call, “gay-dar,” and can tell when another of their community group is around, there is no real direct way to judge another on their sexual orientation.
Myth: Sexual experience had in the teenage years or young adulthood are indicative of sexual orientation as an adult.
- This could not be farther from the truth. Many people have heterosexual and homosexual experiences in their lives and continue on to partner or have a relationship with the opposite. Many heterosexual individuals have homosexual experiences in their lives and remain heterosexual.
Myth: Sexual orientation can be controlled, and it is known what causes it.
- There are many individuals in the LGBTQIA+ spectrum that knew from a young age (many report around age 6 or 7) that they were attracted to members of their own sex. Others learn or accept this later in their lives- in the 30s, 40s or 50s. Research tells us that sexual orientation is determined between birth and three years old, but there is no direct connection as to the reasons why particular orientations occur.
Myth: Those in the LGBTQIA+ community flaunt their sexuality when they talk about their partner, their life, hold hands, or kiss each other in public.
- These are the same activities that heterosexual couples and people participate in with no judgment every day. Due to the homophobic reactive nature of our world, many LGBTQIA+ couples are forced to hide their love and sexuality in public places to avoid being ridiculed or having acts of violence done to them. This is definitely not flaunting anything.
Myth: People who are LGBTQIA+ work and live only in specific types of situations or places.
- LGBTQIA+ individuals come from all over the country and all around the globe. They are different colors, religions, creeds, ages, and all live different lifestyles. Just like heterosexual people do.
Myth: People choose to be homosexual.
- Most report that they did not get to decide the feelings they were already having. These individuals were aware of having same-sex feelings at an early age or else these feelings evolved and solidified in their adolescent or adult years. The choice seems to be whether to live a full and well-balanced life with a same-sex partner, or to suppress their feelings.
Myth: LGBTQIA+ people are much more promiscuous than heterosexual people.
- This is a stereotype propagated by the fact that those individuals who are promiscuous are the most visible. As more and more gays and lesbians “come out”, the promiscuous stereotype diminishes. LGBTQIA+ people are just as capable of stable, monogamous, committed relationships as anyone else. Queer couples often disappear from the urban LGBTQIA+ communities to live and raise their families in the suburbs or the country where they may be less visible.
- Another issue around this myth is that being LGBTQIA+ is only about sex. LGBTQIA+ people live full lives, which includes shopping for groceries, doing the laundry, raising children, planting a garden and going to work every day. Being LGBTQIA+ is about who you love emotionally, intellectually, and sexually and how you identify yourself.
Fact: Occasionally oppression based on sexual orientation escalates into acts of physical or mental violence.
- Surveys conducted within the LGBTQIA+ community show that 52-87% have been verbally harassed, 21-27% have been hit with flying objects and debris, 13-38% have been chased, stalked, or followed, and 9-24% have been physically assaulted- sometimes more than once (case.edu).
Fact: Most lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals are comfortable with their own biological sex; they do not regard themselves as members of the opposite sex.
- Being gay, lesbian, or bisexual is not the same as transgendered.
Fact: The majority of child molesters are heterosexual men- NOT gay, lesbian, bisexual or people within the LGBTQIA+ community.
- Studies conducted show that over 90% of child molesters are heterosexual men. Period.
Fact: Homosexuality is not a type of mental illness and cannot be “cured” by or with psychotherapy.
- While homosexuality was once thought to be a mental illness, the American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations no longer consider it to be. Many attempts to psychiatrically or psychologically “cure” an LGBTQIA+ individual have failed miserably throughout the decades and years. Many who completed these “camps” and “therapies” were still the same sexual orientation they were when they entered and continue living the same way. These (often forced) “treatments” may cause a temporary change in lifestyle (most often to the patient can escape the “therapy” itself) and also caused severe emotional trauma.
Fact: There is no definable gay “lifestyle.”
- In the same way that there is no way to define a “standard” heterosexual lifestyle. Many people think that a “normal” adult lifestyle is heterosexual, married with children. But less than 7% of all families in the United States consist of a mother, father, and two children that live together (USA Census, 2018). The more accurate generalization might be: LGBTQIA+ individuals are different from one another in the same way that heterosexual people are different from each other.
Fact: Losing your virginity can be done in more ways than one.
- Standardly losing your virginity does not need to happen between penetrative sexual acts between a penis and a vagina. At any moment when you are sexually active with another, you have lost parts of your “virginity,” if we are talking in a sense of sexual purity.
Fact: You can still get STIs if you are not having penetrative sex.
- Any sort of physical touching which may come in contact with bodily fluids of any kind can transfer or get you an STI. This means fingers, genitals, body parts, sexual toys, and devices- anything should be covered and protected if you are aiming to have fully safe sex.
Fact: You do not need to be sexually active, or have sex, to know that you are queer.
- LGBTQIA+ people know who they are just as heterosexual people do before they have sex. Those who are bisexual and only had sex with one gender are still bisexual. Labels are labels, and only good for pantries and food.
Fact: There is much more “prep” required prior to having anal intercourse than porn or TV movies would allow you to believe.
- Never just jump right into anal sex like they do in porn. Fact is, you are most likely not a porn start, and your body is not primed and ready for such action. Anal sex is an art, that when learned and practiced, can be a beautifully pleasure-filled thing. Until then, recognize your novice status, and read up on the act, make a plan with your partner, and practice before your scene start looking like porn. Please.
Fact: There are more intersex individuals in this world than natural red heads.
- Intersex individuals are those who were born with genitalia that does not fit in to one or the other biological sexes. Per Planned Parenthood’s recent study, of every one hundred babies born, there is an average of two babies that are intersex.
Fact: There is a difference between gender, sex assigned at birth, and sexuality.
- Gender refers to how someone identifies, and assigned sex and birth is the gender they were born into. Sexuality refers to what types of people someone is attracted to.
Fact: Pregnancy can still occur even if your partner is taking gender-affirming hormones.
- In cases where trans or non-binary people go through HRT, these are not a form of birth control. Menses may stop for them, but the chance of pregnancy still exists. Non-hormonal birth control should be considered by the couple if no pregnancy is desired.
We would like to continue this list of myths and facts, updating it when we can. If you have a myth or fact you would like to see added to this list, please email our support team at: firstname.lastname@example.org
National LGBT Cancer Network
US Census Bureau