Which TikTok Sex Claims Are Legit? We Asked a Sexpert.
Can keeping your socks on during intercourse make it better?
If you’ve spent any amount of time on TikTok, you’ve likely come across one or two clips offering tips and tricks for better sex — or far more depending on how horny your algorithm is.
While some of these hacks come from certified sex therapists, others, like the secret to hitting the elusive G-spot, can come from a random person or account that doesn’t provide much context, explanation or pertinent educational information. It doesn’t mean the hack isn’t legit, it can just be difficult on TikTok to determine what’s fact and what’s being made up to get engagement.
It’s why we consulted Casey Tanner, an AASECT-certified sex therapist and sexpert for LELO, the leading designer of premium sex toys, and asked her to verify or debunk some of these viral sex claims.
The TikTok claim: Putting a pillow underneath your partner’s hips during missionary or in a face-down position can help make penetration more pleasurable for those with vulvas.
The verdict: This widespread TikTok tip is, in fact, true. According to Tanner, this technique is all about impacting the tilt of the pelvis. Whatever’s doing the penetrating — whether it’s a penis, toy or finger — is angling towards the clitoris and the internal part of the clitoris. “We know that the clitoris for people with vulvas is what’s responsible for orgasm, so if during penetrative sex you can find a way for whatever is penetrating to be stimulating that clitoris then, yes, it does tend to feel better for people with vulvas.” So fellas, have a sex pillow on hand.
The TikTok claim: Focusing on your breath during sex can quell anxiety and, therefore, improve the sex you’re having.
The sexpert verdict: Sort of true! If you tend to get in your head around performance anxiety or body image, focusing on your breath “in a mindful way,” Tanner says, can aid in blood flow and increase pleasure.
“If you are able to breathe in such a way that you’re increasing the length of your exhales, decreasing the length of your inhales, not hyper-ventilating, then yes, it can help you turn your focus towards internal sensations and pleasure.”
However, focusing on your breath could have the opposite effect. “Some people may be hyper-focused on their breath or they’re hyper-focused on their bodily sensations and it actually makes them more anxious,” she says. “So this is also gonna vary from person to person, but if you’re able to bring mindfulness to your breathing, if it helps you move away from performance anxiety and towards internal sensations that are pleasurable, then yes, there’s a lot of evidence that mindful breathing can increase the likelihood of orgasm.”
The TikTok claim: Removing all tech devices from your bedroom can improve your sex life.
The sexpert verdict: Research has shown if we’re mindlessly scrolling on our phones or always turning on the TV instead of turning towards and chatting with one another then the likelihood of sex, particularly in long-term relationships, gets lower. However, Tanner explains she rarely tells her clients to keep their electronics out of the bedroom. “I don’t necessarily think that’s realistic for a lot of couples,” she says. Instead, she encourages people to put their phones on Do Not Disturb or leave them in the other room for an hour once a week.
“You’re gonna get in bed, you’re gonna turn towards each other, you’re just gonna catch up about your day and be open to the idea that intimacy might happen. So I’m not so all or nothing about it. And research shows that even 20 minutes of this can be impactful, you don’t have to take your TV out of your bedroom to get some of the benefits of this one.”
The TikTok claim: Lightly touching your partner’s testicles will increase their pleasure.
The sexpert verdict: “Every testicle is different, but this can be true,” says Tanner. ”I think sometimes we wrongly think that the harder we touch something, the more intense and pleasurable the sensation is gonna be, whereas sometimes a light touch, especially on that highly sensitive nerve tissue can be just as erotic. When you’re focusing on the outside of that sensitive nerve tissue, you’re getting at those nerve endings rather than when you squeeze or touch harder, you’re getting at deeper tissue, and that’s not always as pleasurable.”
The TikTok claim: Socks in bed have been said to make it easier to reach orgasm.
The sexpert verdict: Funnily enough research has shown this is true, but it’s about correlation, not causation Tanner explains. “It’s not that when you put on your socks that in itself is gonna make it more likely that you orgasm, but the variable that is important here is coldness. We lose a lot of heat from our feet, so when people wear socks and they’re not focusing on being cold, their body is a little bit warmer and it actually can provide a bit of a comfort and safety sensation, which has been shown to increase orgasm,” she says.
The TikTok claim: People with penises actually can’t feel pleasurable sensations past the tip of their penises.
The sexpert verdict: This is, unsurprisingly, not true.
“Every penis is different, but if the shaft of your penis is entirely numb, this is something to talk to a urologist about, that’s not normal,” says Tanner. “Now, some people might prefer stimulation be on the head of the penis and not the shaft of their penis. I feel like this TikTok was just created by somebody who wants somebody to focus more on the tip of their penis, and tht’s fine, but there are ways to ask besides creating pseudoscience. So yeah, not true.”
The TikTok claim: Seven minutes of doggy style is equivalent to 1.2 hours at the gym.
The sexpert verdict: This one is also, unfortunately, false.
“Whether you’re talking about caloric expenditure or your heart health or endorphins, [this claim] is just not true. But that’s not to say that there aren’t tons of benefits from good sex,” she adds. “You can burn calories through sex, and it does increase your endorphins and certainly your relational health. So it’s not to disparage the great things that can come out of doggy style, but, no, this is not true at all.”
The TikTok claim: You can stop your gag reflex by putting your hand in your mouth like this.
The sexpert verdict: Nope! “Your gag reflex is just an individual difference and a biological difference. Now, certainly, if you’re having oral sex a lot, you can certainly get your gag reflex more used to it and have less of a reaction over time, but no, this method is not accurate,” says Tanner.
The TikTok claim: The best position to hit the G-Spot is doggy style.
The sexpert verdict: Similar to the pillow technique above, when whatever is penetrating is heading up against the internal part of the clitoris (colloquially called the G-spot) it does tend to feel better for the person with a vulva, Tanner explains. However, while doggy style does prop the pelvis up, it’s not the only position that will stimulate the G-spot. “If somebody’s laying on their stomach with their hips angled upwards, that can be just as impactful.
The TikTok claim: Women can have orgasms from doing ab workouts, also known as “coregasms.”
The sexpert verdict: Not every ab workout can cause an orgasm, otherwise, you’d be orgasming all the time. However, ab workouts that engage the pelvic floor, which is ultimately responsible for creating an orgasm, then one might occur, explains Tanner. “If you’re doing an ab workout that’s stimulating the pelvic floor for long enough and you tend to be somebody with a higher level of sensitivity, then yeah, an orgasm can happen.”
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