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F*ck Around and Find Out with Anna Lee: Sex Myths Busted

Does size REALLY matter? Anna Lee is here to let you know!

Words by Anna Lee

F*ck Around and Find Out with Anna Lee: This is the modern sex advice column you didn’t know you needed, focused on finding confidence in your own pleasure through knowledge and research! Think a fresh reimagining from the days of those pink, star-studded magazine sex advice columns like “10 Ways to Please Your Man” that we all grew up with. In my journey from growing up in a strict, immigrant Korean household, scared of my own body, to my current reality as co-founder of a smart vibrator company and certified sex educator, I realized how much we need to destigmatize the cultural taboo around sexual pleasure. So, hold my hand (if you want to, of course) and together, let’s fuck around and find out every nook and cranny of this sexy world. 🙂 

Have a question you’d like me to answer? Keep ‘em coming by submitting it anonymously here!

We’re officially out of Scorpio season, which means I’m ready to come out of hiding again and get back to giving sexy advice. (Just kidding, all my Scorpio friends. Everyone knows Scorpios are the amazing sex zodiac. Please don’t hunt me down.) This week is all about debunking those sex myths that have found their way into public “knowledge,” but none of us have a clue where we even heard them in the first place. We’ve all turned to a friend and been like, “Is that actually true?” And your friend just shrugs. But today, I’m here to be that other poindexter friend who pushes up their glasses and goes, “Well actually…” (I don’t even wear glasses.)

My boyfriend said pineapples will make his semen taste good? Is this actually true? -HW

I won’t lie. I’ve definitely bought one of those $12 bowls of pre-cut pineapples at the airport and gobbled it down with my partner in the chance that we’d be amazed later that night. I knew damn well that a bowl of pineapples wasn’t going to fix the fact we’ve been eating and drinking like shit all month.

It’s the overall diet and lifestyle that will have the greatest impact and not so much that one bowl of pineapple chunks you ate two hours ago.

I think where this myth comes from is the fact that semen contains citric acid, fructose, free amino acids, enzymes, phosphorylcholine, prostaglandin, potassium, and zinc and is made of fluids from the seminal vesicles, prostate gland, testes, epididymis, and the bulbourethral glands. So that slightly sweet taste comes from the fact that there is a good amount of fructose. So maybe fructose led to people pointing to pineapples? Maybe the pineapple industry marketing team got creative? I don’t know. What I do know is that it is generally accepted in the science world that eating certain foods, like naturally sugary and acidic fruits, and staying hydrated will affect the pH levels of ALL your different fluids: sweat, saliva, genital fluids, etc. It’s also worth noting that tobacco and alcohol can make bodily secretions bitter! So really, it’s the overall diet and lifestyle that will have the greatest impact and not so much that one bowl of pineapple chunks you ate two hours ago.

With this all said, I never knock a placebo effect. If eating that pineapple makes you feel more confident to sit on your partner’s face (with their permission, of course), hell, eat two.

Do vibrators make your clit less sensitive? I’m worried this will make me not able to cum with a partner. -anonymous

I’ve been waiting for someone to ask me this. Let’s tackle the somewhat controversial question of, “Do vibrators cause a loss of sensitivity in the clitoris?” This question is very commonly asked due to the fear that chronic vibrator use might make it difficult to orgasm during partnered sex from numbness or desensitization. It’s a bit of a tricky topic since we’ve heard varying answers from people and even health professionals and it’s hard to say somebody’s personal experience isn’t valid. But I gathered as many research papers as possible to give you my opinion of what I think the answer is.

There is no need to worry whether your vibrator will damage your sex life through some permanent, physiological change or nerve damage.

And the research consensus is basically…NO! A direct survey found that numbness and irritation rarely result, and when it does, it typically doesn’t last more than one day. In fact, sex therapy often uses vibrators as a part of treatment to improve orgasms. Studies going back to the 1970s have not found that vibrators create dependence or inhibit orgasms during partnered sex. So there is no need to worry whether your vibrator will damage your sex life through some permanent, physiological change or nerve damage. All evidence shows that even with some of the strongest vibrators out there that it’s highly unlikely. Now, that doesn’t mean using a very strong vibrator right before sex won’t do anythingit definitely can be numbing in the short term, but I think it’s worth putting to bed the fear that a vibrator will replace a person. :)

Does penis size actually matter? Me personally, I’m average sized (googled it lol) but I still feel insecure in this day and age where I see a lot of people talking about bigger dicks. -J

The ultimate age-old question. In fact, even from a quick Google search I can count around 12 different articles that came out in the past month. My quick boiled down answer is that nothing really MATTERS, but people can have preferences. According to research done in 2014 where they measured 15,000 people with penises, they found that the average erect penis length was 5.17 inches and a girth (circumference) of 4.6 inches, but even this study mentions that there were limitations in doing erect measurements in a clinical setting so take it with a grain of salt.

Everyone has different preferences! Factors like culture, physical anatomy, past experiences, and porn can all affect a person’s answer.

Now, going deeper into if I think it really matters…When we started building our first vibrator for Lioness, we surveyed hundreds of people on what size we should make the insertable portion of the vibrator. We did everything from having them give us a number to having them mold their ideal shape out of clay. From that exercise, we landed at making the final design of our vibrator at 4 inches length for the insertable portion with a 1.25 inch diameter (3.9 inch girth). And unsurprisingly, what did we hear as feedback on the size? Everything. It’s too big. It’s too small. It’s too wide. It’s too narrow. It’s perfect. And this is because everyone has different preferences! Factors like culture, physical anatomy, past experiences, and porn can all affect a person’s answer.

There’s another reason why I don’t think size really matters, because of this specific technique that a majority of the women researched said makes penetration the most enjoyable: shallowing. There was a really interesting research study from 2021 led by Hensel looking at what techniques, if any, would make vaginal penetration more pleasurable. The research concluded that 84% of the women reported that “shallowing,” a penetrative touch with something like a finger, toy, penis tip, tongue, or lips at JUST barely inside the entrance of the vagina, made penetration the most enjoyable! And baby, you don’t need much for that! And even without the penis, remember that your fingers, tongues, and toys are always there for you.

Really had fun with this week’s questions and digging through all the myths. Please keep them coming! Have a question you’d like me to answer for the next article? Submit them anonymously here!

Published on December 6, 2022

Words by Anna Lee

Anna Lee is the co-founder and Head of Engineering of Lioness, the women-led sexual wellness company that built the world’s first and only smart vibrator. Anna was previously a mechanical engineer at Amazon, launching the Amazon Dash Button’s original concept and the Kindle Voyage Page Press Technology. She is a Forbes 30 Under 30 alum and has been covered in numerous publications like Fast CompanyGlamour, and Popular Science, as well as Paper Magazine’s Asian Women Creators You Need to Know and Buzzfeed’s 14 Sex Tech Founders Who Are Changing The Way The World Thinks About Sex. Anna is also a prominent sex education creator on TikTok with nearly 400,000 followers. She is a big advocate of expanding understanding and research in sexual health, and destigmatizing female sexuality.

Photography by Henry Wu

Henry is a fashion photographer who interweaves storytelling with vibrant aesthetics, and spans luxury fashion to product photography. His photography has been published in Vogue Italia, Elle Singapore, People magazine, L’Officiel, and Men’s Health Australia/PortugalHenry is also the founder, editor in chief of Timid magazine. Timid is a platform to uplift unheard Asian Pacific Islanders stories from around the world. It seeks to reclaim “timid” and challenge racial norms by providing channels for sharing and learning from diverse experiences, empowering and celebrating our collective identity.