XOXOAD is excited to welcome author and scientist Dr. Emily Nagoski, who’s written an amazing book called COME AS YOU ARE: The Surprising New Science That Will Transform Your Sex Life (and check out that saucy cover!), all about the misconceptions and strange truths about female desire. Read on to have just a few commonly-held “truths” totally mythbusted!

Come as You Are

In my 20 years a sex educator and researcher, I’ve been surprised over and over again at how often the things we all “know” about women’s sexuality… turn out to be completely wrong. Think sex toys, erotica, and furry handcuffs are the best way to revive waning sexual desire? Nope – turns out, for most women it’s more effective to take a bath, change the sheets, and lock the door. Think your partner’s genital response tells you they’re totally into you? Mmmmnope, that’s not what that means. Orgasm? I don’t even know where to start with all the things we get wrong about orgasm! Here are five things science has revealed that will probably surprise you… and could even change your life.

  • The sexual response mechanism in your brain has both an accelerator — which responds to sexy things — and a brake — which responds to potential threats, like STIs, unwanted pregnancy, social reputation, sexual shame, and body self-criticism. The process of becoming aroused is the process of both turning on all the ons and turning off all the offs.
  • Every set of genitals is made of the same parts, just organized in different ways! If you look closely at a guy’s scrotum, you’ll see a seam running up the center. That’s where his scrotum would have divided into labia if he had developed into a girl instead.
  • Stress, anxiety, depression — these things decrease sexual interest in 80 to 90 percent of people. But in the other 10 to 20 percent of people, stress can actually increase sexual interest.
  • All orgasms are created equal. Whether you have them from clitoral stimulation, vaginal stimulation, toe sucking, breast licking, or even just thinking, an orgasm is an orgasm is an orgasm! What matters is not how it happened, but that you wanted it and liked it.
  • When your genitals respond to something, all that means is that there’s something “sexually relevant” happening, like a naked person, a sexual thought or touch, etc. It doesn’t mean you necessarily enjoy or desire it. Something can be sexually relevant and gross and your genitals will still respond. Your brain is the sex organ that knows about pleasure and desire. All your genitals know is “relevant.”

Thanks, Dr. Nagoski! If you’d like to read more about this fascinating subject, you can buy COME AS YOU ARE directly below this post, or visit Dr. N’s blog, The Dirty Normal.

(A version of this post originally appeared on PopSugar.com here.)

Liked this list? Then check out our other roundups, like this one: 50 Shades Not Dirty Enough For You? Try These Films