One Radfem’s Experience with Gynecology

This is just an experience babble, because I feel like I have to get it out.  Not much political in here, so if you dun like personal stuff feel free to skip this.  Or if you do, feel free to share your experiences with gynos.   I literally have hundreds of drafts to publish, so expect a real(ish) post sometime this week.

I knew things were going to be bad from the get-go.  I was prepared to be lectured on how I just needed to try a different pill, and find the one that’s “right for me.”  Still, I hoped that maybe, at least, she had women who were going off the pill (probably to try and conceive) and came in because their periods were way off or their body started freaking out.

Just the nurse asking the basic questions confirmed that my pessimism was well-earned.

“Are you sexually active?”

“Yes, but I don’t have intercourse.”

She looked at me like I had grown a second head. “…Do you have oral sex?”

“Well, I don’t go down on him.”

“So, ‘no,’ you aren’t then.”

“…”

Can you say, erasure of my lived orgasms experience?  Cunnilingus, of course, does not count as sex, unlike blowjobs.  So, apparently, I’m abstinent.  This isn’t news to me, since men like Hugo and Glen had been telling me I am.  It should make me more upset than it does, to know that the love making I have doesn’t count for anything at all, just because a dick doesn’t get shoved somewhere.  The implications for lesbians are obvious.   I swear, if I’m ever forced to go to a gyno again, I’m going to ask if having anal sex makes me as sexually active…when it’s with a strap-on and my male partner receiving.

I explained why I came in to the nurse: My last period before I came to the doctor that had taken around 50 days to come, and the one before that just 30 days- what scared me was it seemed to be getting worse, not better.  At the time of the appointment, I hadn’t had a period in over 80 days, and I knew stressing about it would only make it worse, so I decided get a doctor’s opinion.   I said I suspected it was due to me coming off the pill,  since the first few weeks off it threw my body into chaos.   She responded noncommittally, telling me the doctor would be in soon.  The urine test came back negative for pregnancy,  which wasn’t a huge surprise since I hadn’t had intercourse.

I repeated my suspicions to the doctor.  Unsurprisingly, she promptly dismissed them.  I should have no problems going off the pill, it wouldn’t throw my body off at all and my periods should be back to normal immediately.  To try and convince her that coming off the pill had a huge impact on my body, I told her about the month long depression after the withdrawal period and about my breast-yup, just one-lactating and becoming sore and inflamed.  (I now think this was a plugged duct, since after I “expressed” some of whatever the hell was coming out, it started to heal and feel better.)

She proceeded to explain to me, as if I had never had a period, that some women suffer from “premenstrual syndrome,” aka PMS, which could cause those things.   (Who the hell goes through a PMS-induced funk for four weeks?)

And of course, the pill had probably been covering up my extreme PMS, and the best thing to do would be for me to go back on the pill to avoid it again.  I tried to explain that I had never lactated or had sore breasts even before I went on the pill, or before my latest period.   Of course, that was ignored, and she suggested instead that maybe I had PMDD, which, of course, would be treated by the pill.

She then went on to tell me I should go back on it, to regulate my periods.  I told her that I didn’t want to “regulate” my periods, I wasn’t going to take hormones and raise my risk of stroke for such a small reason, and reemphasized that I did not want to be on the pill.

As a doctor, she should know and explain to the patient there is a difference between a period and the withdrawal bleeding experienced when stopping hormonal contraceptives.

When I told her about going off the pill, she asked why I would do such a thing.  I said my partner and I weren’t going to have intercourse anymore, so there wasn’t much of a point.  I had health reasons, too: , having migraine headaches makes one four times more likely to suffer a stroke, and I have those probably once or twice a month.  The pill also increases the risk of stroke significantly, and I don’t want to up my risks of stroke for no reason.

Her response?

You’re more likely to have a stroke due to pregnancy than from being on the pill.

…dfjsdlfj.  Hey, doc, you remember where I told you I’m not having intercourse?  And even if I was, you heard of condoms?  Aren’t doctors supposed to look out for our health, and weigh the risks and benefits of the drugs they prescribe?  Oh sorry, I forgot this was women’s health, which means the goal is to make it as non-consequential as possible for a man to stick his dick in you, or deal with the consequences of him doing that.

When the “regulate your [unruly] periods/PMS/avoid pregnacy” approach didn’t work, she shifted gears.

It was “dangerous” for me to have irregular periods, because it could mean I have an estrogen deficiency, which would mean I could suffer from osteoporosis sooner in life.  And guess what I might do, to ensure that I wouldn’t suffer from osteoporosis early in life?   I should be on the pill to ensure I would develop “healthily.”  (No, she didn’t say anything about testing my hormones before recommending I get on the pill).

Eventually, she gave up on converting me to pillitute, and said I could change now for the exam.  I told her I didn’t want a pap smear.  She told me they were needed just to check for STDs.  Well, I wasn’t “sexually active” so that wasn’t a problem-the issue seemed settled to me.

So, after our one-on-one, I changed into the paper thing, took off my pants, got on the table, and laid down.  The doctor and nurse came in. I’m not sure why the nurse was there, she didn’t do anything the whole time.  Now I think she was there to hold me down in case I fought back.

She springs it on me we’re going to do the pap smear.  I said I don’t want to (again).  Couldn’t we not do it.  She said we had to, to see if anything was “wrong.”  She didn’t explain what she might find that way, or what STD might cause a missed period.  Just that I “had to” have one.

I don’t think I said anything, so she started examining my vulva.   At least she warned me before she inserted the speculum, I guess.  I started crying at this point.

She told me if I relaxed it wouldn’t hurt.  Relax, relax, relax.  It’s going to hurt if you’re tense.  She just kept saying to relax.

I cried and screamed the whole time.  I honestly wish I had flashbacked, or dissociated, but I didn’t.

The  finger exam was next.  I had done that before with no problem, because my last gynecologist had been really kind.  I told her I would be okay with that, as long as she just used one finger.

Less than a minute in, she told me she was inserting a second.  It wasn’t a question.

After being allowed to dress myself, she tells me I have to go get blood drawn to test my TSH, LH, estrogen and prolactin levels, which makes perfect sense to me the.  I go the checkout and get the prescreiption for getting the testing done.

Apparently she thinks I’m too dumb to know what the word “hirsutism” means or just too dumb to google it, becuase she put that as a symptom on the sheet, next to amenhorea.   It actually is a legit condition, and a sign of problems-I’m not denying that.

What pisses me off is that she didn’t bring it up to me during the exam-if you think there’s something wrong with me or a symptom that something is off, I have the right to know.  It’s my goddamn body.  But I guess she thought I might get uppity.

I feel like I was raped all over again, but now it’s almost worse.  Because of who I am now, I can’t just write it off as what sex is normally like.  I enjoyed sex so much, and now I can’t.  I feel like everything people say about radical feminists is true: I’m a prude, that I just need to be “taught” how to have sex, I’m sexually dysfunctional and just plain fucked up.

*Do lesbians even really go to gynos?  STDs, cervical cancer, pregnancy, and birth control are pretty much straight-women exclusive.  I suggest they just rename gynos to “birth control dealers” and be done with it.

Poor, poor, johns

I swear. Most of the “sex worker” activists I have met constantly talk about how we shouldn’t “demonize” the johns, because they’re usually married/partnered*, etc, and they are simply seeking understanding for a sexual act that their steady partner cannot or will not provide.  Men aren’t just looking to “bust a nut,” they’re seeking the love and understanding every human wants.  Or that some people are just “incapable” of relationships with the opposite sex.  And they’re normal men just like your coworkers and friends. So they need an outlet.

If I don’t have, or can’t have a relationship, I don’t feel like I should have the right to exchange money for sex. I don’t. Especially since there would be no way for me to know if they had “chosen” sex work, or had only chosen it from a range of other shitty options (minimum wage jobs, etc, etc). Essentially, no one has the right to buy sex or sexual acts-we know that a great amount of abuse exists in this industry, and anyone who risks the chance of raping someone so that they can “get some” is sick.  No one has the right to sex, period.

However pitiful some women are, however lonely they feel, I don’t see them thinking they have a right to sex.  Women want love and understanding just as everyone does, but we never get it.  Yet somehow, we don’t use prostitutes.  Women, FOR SOME REASON, generally don’t purchase sex; women represent sex, thus they are usually sellers.   Why are the roles in prostitution so gendered?   Who has the resources and the money?  Men.  Who has the prestige?  Men.  Who has the power?  Men.  Who represents sex?  Women.   Most men believe they are entitled to sex, and as a result they make up most rapists and most johns.  Women are not raised to think of themselves as “entitled” to sex- sex is something women give and men take.

Wanting love and understanding does not make johns understandable or sympathetic, unless you’re the type who “understands” MRAs.  Yeah, they’re human, but so are rapists.   Wanting love and understanding means get a goddamn therapist, or failing that, talk to people.  Hell, you could even just talk to the prostitute, and not fuck her.  It does not mean you should fuck women.  The fact that people say johns are just seeking understanding and love is disgusting.  If they were, they wouldn’t have the sex, they wouldn’t need it, they wouldn’t demand it, and they wouldn’t be violent, they wouldn’t ask for unprotected sex.

These men aren’t seeking understanding: they are seeking the image of it.  A woman, nurturing like a mother, but also a whore, who will nurture the man through whatever sick fetish he’s developed.  A yes-woman, who will agree that his wife is a bitch, frigid, stupid, whatever.  Consequently, the image for a “sex worker” is that of a college-educated middle class white woman (preferably aryan) who drops every career opportunity and hobby to fuck men for money.  Her image is no different from that of “good mom,” who leaves her potential career behind “by choice,” because she wuves her kids so much and wishes them to have the best.

But, here are a few large differences:  children have a need for someone to care for them, men, on the other hand, and specifically johns, have jobs and the full development necessary to take care of themselves.  No one needs to take care of grown men. However much they seem or act as helpless as babies, they aren’t.  It’s an act.

This whole outlet thing is the same bullshit that says men’s sex drives are natural and unstoppable;  therefore they have a right to an outlet.  God forbid we raise men to NOT feel entitled to sex, so that they will not rape or purchase “sex.”

No one has ever died from lack of sex.   Ever.

So can it about men’s sexual and emotional “needs.”  Women’s right to not be raped and used sexually is more important than some douchebag’s orgasm.

*So are most child molesters, rapists and serial killers.  I doubt this is a coincidence.

Rape Fantasies & Why We Have Them

Much to the delight of men, women have rape fantasies.     In evo psych arguments it comes up as evidence that rape is natural and women are naturally submissive.  When it comes up in more liberal and feminist circles, it’s in defense of BDSM, pornography, or “roleplaying.”  The explanations of why women have these fantasies are male-centric, and usually just amount to some kind of justification for men’s messed up sexuality.  I haven’t seen women’s rape fantasies taken on from a radical feminist perspective, so I’m going to do that.

To start, we have to look at how rape (and sex, for that matter) is framed in our culture.   Some examples: “He couldn’t control himself”, “he couldn’t help himself”, “he was just so horny”, “she provoked him wearing that skirt/top/sweater.”  There’s always disbelievers when an attractive woman says she has been raped, but people will disbelieve an unattractive woman even more.  In the popular narrative, rape is about sex and desire, and an act of passion.  It happens when a man wants to fuck a woman and she doesn’t want to let him.

The measure of force a man is willing to take in pursing a woman is said to be a direct measure of how much he loves and desires her.  Following this worldview to its logical endpoint, rape becomes the ultimate expression of desire and attraction.

Is it any wonder, then, that so many women have rape fantasies?  Who doesn’t want to be incredibly desirable?

This is only amplified by the effect of the media, which tells us that we’re ugly and undesirable, especially when compared to that girl.  Most women feel hideous, and are expected (and do) to appreciate any attention from men, with more appreciation being required the less conventionally attractive we are.  I suspect that the less conventionally attractive a woman is, or the uglier she feels, the more likely she is to have rape fantasies.  With nearly all of us having some insecurity about our bodies and our desirability, its no wonder lots of us fantasize about being raped-which in our culture, means being desired by men.

I have to credit Twilight with me putting the pieces together.  (I know, what the hell?)  It’s always seemed there are more fans of Jacob than Edward, for whatever reason.  My lover wondered frequently why Jacob’s fans say that he “loves Bella more,” when he clearly is manipulative creep with a rapist mentality, and thought liking someone so obviously dangerous was stupid.   I got quite pissed, because he essentially was calling women “stupid” for feeling insecure and wanting to be wanted, which is completely understandable.

On a personal note, I used to have them myself, and even though I only let myself think of healthier things now, I can’t deny that sometimes they seem more appealing than my partner always asking what I’d like.  The thing is, even though I hated being touched without asking or after I said no, it still made me feel desired.  I think I would feel more desired if control were taken from me, even knowing what it means.  A part of me simply doesn’t care if I’m objectified, because I want to be wanted.

Stating the Obvious: I don’t blame women who have rape fantasies at all, even if they  seek to “roleplay” them with their partner or feed them privately with romance novels.  I do, however, blame anyone who goes along with “roleplaying” as a rapist.

By Any Other Name: Mail-Order Brides and Sex Trafficking

I’m sorry for disappearing again.  The influx of trolls wasn’t that bad-only one comment really hurt, because it said I deserved it in a certain way.   I always felt that the only thing that would pull me away again would be being hurt again, and guess what?  That happened in a way.

My period hadn’t come for 80-something days, so I went the gynecologist to try to figure out if this was normal for someone coming off of the pill and maybe check my hormone levels.  I made it clear from the start I didn’t want a pap smear, and she didn’t say I had to have one, until I was already on the exam table.  I still said I didn’t want to but she said I had to, and I guess I froze up from there.  I haven’t felt that violated in years.  It feels stupid because it’s just an exam and they all say it doesn’t/shouldn’t hurt, but it did.  I felt, and still feel, like I was raped again. 

I’m not sure how to label it or anything-that word feels too extreme, maybe.  Just feels like it shouldn’t have happened, because I thought I wasn’t as “weak” as I was before, when I didn’t fight back.  But I still froze up, and didn’t fight really. 

I avoided radical feminist stuff for months-I didn’t read a single book or article.  I didn’t even talk about radfem issues, unless it was blatantly shoved in my face.  I can’t really explain why, I guess, but I think it maybe just felt pointless in a way, since I thought I was stronger for it and, look what happened?  I still let myself get hurt.  I knew the medical establishment was shit, yet I still let it win.  It’s not really the same, but I imagine it might be how Dworkin felt after she was raped the last time.  Knowing so much about the issues makes it worse for me.

Anyways, I figured I’d share the one thing I did write during this space: my term paper for Global Feminism.  It isn’t as radical or angry as I felt about the issue, because college (and liberal feminism) discourages that sort of thinking, but the approach I think couldn’t come from anywhere but radical feminism.  I started with the idea that marriage is basically prostitution, and you can see where it goes from there.    Warning: It’s loooong.  And by the way, I got an A.

        The “mail-order bride” industry, as it is known, has grown significantly since the advent of the internet and represents many of the forces of globalization.  Estimates on the number of marriages orchestrated by mail-order bride agencies vary and many suffer from methodological problems, but generally report around a few thousand marriages a year in the United States.   Concerns have frequently been raised about the exploitation involved in mail-order marriages, resulting in media and scholarly attention to the issue.  Reading the literature, it becomes apparent that there are connections between the mail-order bride industry and human trafficking.  Some of these connections are concrete, such as the use of mail-order bride services for recruiting victims, while other connections lie in the forces behind the trades and the people involved with it.

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HELL YES

We’re going to the world series, for the first time EVER! I’m not usually a baseball fan, but I am SO pumped for this. Especially since we kicked Yankee butt. (Sorry Yankees fans-I’ve had a grudge against them since I was little-long story.)

Powerpoints Suck

Seriously:

But for Frommer, precisely because it simplifies and reduces everything to bullet points, it easily hides the emptiness of propositions behind buzzwords and provides visual distractions and quick changes that don’t give the audience a chance to critically examines the ideas or proposals presented to them.

Pretty much sums up everything I hate about them.  But of course teachers almost always use them now. It drives me insane.  I swear they suck the energy out of the room and kill discussion entirely.  I wish I could read the book, but I don’t know any french.

I dunno why exactly I’m putting this here.  I just thought it was a really interesting analysis.

Women shouldn’t have boundaries, Agency is Sacred (unless you’re a prude), and other things I learned from men

Reading the Hugo’s post and the comments on the Enemies of Eros (or whatever the pretentious title was)  made me realize just how sick the men we’re dealing with are.

For context, I provided on that thread a pretty detailed summary of my sex life.  I wanted to demonstrate that it is possible to have heterosexual sex that doesn’t end or even center around intercourse, mostly for the benefit of straight women who feel like they just have to accept it as “part of” sex, even though for most “foreplay” is the most enjoyable part.  Secondly, I wanted to see how they’d respond to the lived experience of someone (me) who belongs to a group demonized as anti-sex and anti-male.  Would they ignore it, call me a liar, or realize that radical feminism has never been against sex and that its portrayal as such is a simply a lie used to dismiss it?  As most could guess, the latter never happened.

The men on that Hugo thread completely ignored my hobbies and anecdotes about my sex life.  My sexuality clearly was still unhealthy, because I’m experiencing “anxiety” about intercourse and don’t want to have it.  Men never take the female sexuality seriously, unless it’s pleasing to them (see their rationalizations on burlesque/”sex work”).  To men, female sexuality requires fucking, because we’re voids just waiting to be filled.  If you don’t want to be fucked, you must be a lesbian or a prude.

But, I think that the complaint is not just that we’re against intercourse, judging by their comments and portrayal of me.  It’s that we’re setting a boundary-a sexual boundary, at that- that cannot be crossed.  We’re saying no, and for that they call us mentally ill.   Men have pathologized “frigid” women over the years, as well as demonized those who have sex on their own terms, via masturbation or lesbianism.

No doesn’t mean no, of course-it means we’re immature, we have “anxiety” about intercourse that we shouldn’t have.  And instead of dealing with it, by taking hormone-altering substances for the rest of our lives, we’re simply saying no.  This is unacceptable.

One person (who also called me an idiot yet was not banned-nice “no attacking people” policy, liverlips) suggested that I and other women who are against intercourse are in need of sex ed, where we would learn how to “negotiate” with our partner and have “healthy sex.”  Firstly, it’s mansplaining to the nth degree to suggest that a woman needs sex ed when she clearly knows what she wants and uses the terminology related to sex better than most.  (Most importantly, that heterosexual sex != intercourse.)   It also suggests that refusing intercourse is simply a product of ignorance-that is, if you knew how to “have sex,” you’d want intercourse.   When in fact, the information taught in heteronormative sex ed- about contraceptives, STD risk, and damage control (aka the morning after pill and abortions) are precisely the reasons some radical feminists want to forego intercourse.

We’re supposed to have “negotiation” in our sex lives, as if our bodies were some kind of thing we can trade and agree to use.  I doubt it’s a coincidence the first things that come to mind when I think of “negotiation” are car sales and hostage negotiation.  Women are not allowed to enter sex with a clear boundary, as I was doing-to do so means you’re messed up or immature.

From this, negotiation seems to not mean, “talk about what you like and don’t like, and then do the only the former.”  The only other thing it could mean, as far as I can gather, is being willing to change your mind-that is, be willing to let him “test” your boundaries,* or eventually give your “consent.”  This is hardly surprising when you consider how far men will stretch the concept of “consent”: there have been studies (too lazy to find them now) that show even convicted rapists think the “sex” they had with their victim was consensual.

While these “feminists” will argue till they’re blue in the face that you can chose to be fucked using your “agency,” you can’t chose to not be fucked using your agency.    If you chose to not be fucked, you’re brainwashed by radical feminist philosophy or conservatism.

This dynamic is especially interesting considering that they argue the culture and upbringing in a world drenched in misogyny and rape has no influence on their choices, or the choices of most people.  Obviously, this would suggest that radical feminists somehow have far more influence than the dominant culture and media, since we are allegedly able to influence choices while society does not.  Which is a laughable idea, since even the majority of feminists shun us.

Lastly, I’d like to say that, as lame and nerdy as it might sound, fanfiction is a major part of my sexuality.  And I have a feeling the reason it’s ignored, stigmatized and mocked is because the primary authors and readers are women.

Really, what’s more sexually messed up: requiring female risk for sex, or foregoing activities that require female risk?

*This is a common thing in bondage, often outright called “pushing one’s boundaries,” more often/specifically pain tolerance, and is often considered an essential part of “good” BDSM.  And this is a very large part of D/s relationships, from my understanding, especially when “training” (ew) is involved.

PS: Sorry this first post after a long break kinda sucks.