Adam Ruins Sex

Dec 06 2015

In this episode, Adam explained that circumcision was popularized by a bunch of 19th-century prudes in an effort to curb masturbation, that no one should worry about whether or not they have herpes and why the term "pop your cherry" is a whole bunch of nonsense.


"America is one of the few countries that practices routine, nonreligious circumcision."

 Weiss et al. Male circumcision: global trends and determinants of prevalence, safety and acceptability. WHO, 2007. Web.

"Though religious circumcision has been practiced in the middle-east for millennia, it wasn’t popular in the US until the puritanical 19th century, when, among other things, sex- phobic doctors promoted it as a way to stop your kids from committing their favorite sin [masturbation]."

Gollaher, David. Circumcision: A History of the World’s Most Controversial Surgery. Basic Books, 2000.

"One prominent advocate of dingledocking [circumcision] was… John Harvey Kellogg, the inventor of Corn Flakes."

Kellogg, John Harvey. Plain Facts for Old and Young. New York: Arno, 1974. Print.

"Victorian prudes like Kellogg just straight up hated sex, and thought that by pruning your peter, they could prevent your base, lustful instincts. And you don't even want to know what he thought you should do to women."

Kellogg, John Harvey. Plain Facts for Old and Young. New York: Arno, 1974. Print.

"Circumcision helps prevent a few rare infections."

Singh-Grewal, D., J. Macdessi, and J. Craig. "Circumcision for the Prevention of Urinary Tract Infection in Boys: A Systematic Review of Randomised Trials and Observational Studies." Archives of Disease in Childhood 90 (2004): 853-58. Web.

"The foreskin plays an important role in sex. It’s filled with nerve endings."

United States. National Institute of Health. Male Circumcision Decreases Penile Sensitivity as Measured in a Large Cohort. By Guy Bronselaer, Justine Schober, Heino Meyer-Bahlburg, Guy T'Sjoen, Robert Vlietinck, and Piet Hoebeke. 5th ed. Vol. 111. N.p.: BJU International, 2013. Web.

"It [the foreskin] protects the glans so it doesn’t become desensitized, and it’s a natural lubricant."

Fleiss, PM, FM Hodges, and RS Van Howe. “Immunological functions of the human prepuce.” Sexually Transmitted Infections. March 1998.

"Now, recent studies suggest that circumcision can reduce the transmission of HIV by up to 60%."

Male circumcision for HIV prevention”. World Health Organization. 2015. Web.

"Condoms reduce HIV transmission by 80%."

Weller SC, Davis-Beaty K. “Condom effectiveness in reducing heterosexual HIV transmission.” Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2007, Issue 4.

"Four out of five... carriers don’t know they have herpes… [it] causes an eruption of red sores around your genitals. And herpes is incurable."

United States. CDC. Genital Herpes - CDC Fact Sheet (Detailed). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 Sept. 2015. Web.

"One in six Americans carry [the] herpes [virus]."

United States. CDC. Genital Herpes - CDC Fact Sheet (Basic). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Oct. 2015. Web.

"The reason 4 out of 5 carriers don’t know they have it is that they don’t even notice. A lot of herpes carriers never have any symptoms at all."

"Herpes Simplex Virus." World Health Organization. World Health Organization, Jan. 2015. Web. 01 Oct. 2015.

"Including oral herpes, 90% of the global population has some strain of the virus."

Anna Wald and Lawrence Corey. Human Herpesviruses: Biology, Therapy, and Immunoprophylaxis. 2007.

"Check out this real Time Magazine cover from 1982."

Leo, John. "The New Scarlet Letter." Time. Time Inc., 02 Aug. 1982. Web.

"One poll found that people consider herpes more shameful than any other STD except HIV."

Hitti, Miranda. "Genital Herpes: Stigma Still Strong." CBS News. CBS. New York, New York, n.d. CBS News. Web.

"The hymen is actually a thin, stretchy bit around the vagina. In most women, our hymens have an opening that’s big enough for tampons, fingers, and yes, getting busy."

Feeney, Nolan. "Living Myths About Virginity." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 7 Feb. 2014. Web.

"One study found that 52% of sexually active teenage women had intact hymens."

United States. National Institute of Health. Differences in Hymenal Morphology between Adolescent Girls with and without a History of Consensual Sexual Intercourse. By JA Adams, KS Batosh, and N. Kellogg. Archives of Adolescent and Pediatric Medicine, Mar. 2004. Web.

"Even the New York Times gets it wrong, '...the hymen, the vaginal membrane that normally breaks in the first act of intercourse...'"

Sciolino, Elaine, and Souad Mekhennet. "In Europe, Debate Over Islam and Virginity." The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 10 June 2008. Web.

"People are so obsessed with virginity that in some parts of the world, women are forced to prove to government officials that their hymens are intact. If they don't, they can be denied jobs..."

"Indonesia: Military Imposing 'Virginity Tests'" Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch, 13 May 2015. Web.

"… barred from making rape accusations…"

Shafy, Samiha. 'Horribly Humiliating': Egyptian Woman Tells of 'Virginity Tests'. Spiegel Online International. Spiegel-Verlag. 10 June, 2011. Web.

"... or even thrown in jail."

"AFGHANISTAN: Virginity-related Penalties." IRINnews. IRIN, 26 Apr. 2011. Web. 

For More On This Topic

Circumcision: A History of the World’s Most Controversial Surgery: from science historian David Gollaher, this medical page-turner reveals the ‘strange history of medicine's oldest enigma and most persistent ritual.’

Savage Lovecast: from sex expert Dan Savage, this podcast episode features an interview with Dr. Anna Kaminski of Planned Parenthood who explains that herpes is essentially not that big a deal. 

You Can't POP Your Cherry!: in this YouTube video by Laci Green, she breaks down the myths surrounded the hymen and how these misunderstandings lead to painful sexual experiences for women. 

Watch Adam explain why you probably have herpes, while guest star Emily Axford reveals the truth about hymens and sex.