Tag Archives: vagina

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.

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Women = Holes

After FCMs post on neovaginas, I feel more horrified than ever at what men think of women. Even more so after doing some research of my own, in an attempt to find a least one medical diagram that shows the vagina as closed. (I couldn’t find one.) But the more I think about it, the more it all fits together.  There are so many things that reflect the belief of vaginas as holes, and I’m slowly putting the pieces together from everything.

Tampons

I always thought I was a freak, because I couldn’t get a tampon in or even a finger. I imagined that normal vaginas (not mine) were essentially gaping holes in women’s crotches. That women just walked around with them open, 24/7.  Well, I looked up some advice given to women who have trouble using tampons-and the girls were just told to keep trying, squat, or that they just aren’t used to it yet.

Now, I think the difference might not be my vagina, but my determination to use a tampon-which is nil.  My theory is that the reason most women use tampons, instead of pads, is because menstrual blood is considered yucky (this way you don’t have to see it till you pull the tampon out), because you can still wear thongs, and it hides a bodily function.  It’s possible my vagina is just more anti-penetration than other women’s (or it’s genetic, my mom can’t use them either), but considering I’ve never had difficulty with nigel fingering me when I’m aroused, if I wanted to, I kinda doubt this is the case.  Tampons desensitize and train women for dealing with the discomfort and pain that comes with pleasing of men and being feminine.

Fingering, Men’s Ideas about Women’s Sexuality & Porn

Speaking of penetration-how many women really masturbate using dick-like objects?  I’ve always just touched my clit, and nothing more.  But of course, dudes fantasize about women fucking themselves with their fingers or whatever objects are around.  My ex-boyfriend always used to say, “It’s okay to enjoy sex, clits are the only organ humans have that are purely for sexual pleasure.”  But did he ever touch it, for anything other than “foreplay”?  Fuck no he didn’t.  Touching my clit was just leading up to the “main act”-since we weren’t having intercourse, this was fingering me.   And when I say fingering me, I don’t mean he touched my clit too during it or used his whole hand against my vulva.  Nope, just the ol’ in-and-out of fucking.  Needless to say I never had an orgasm with him (although that would be news to him).

His terrible bedroom skills aside, this situation still seemed so weird to me.  He clearly knows that the clitoris exists, and he touched it, so he clearly knew where it was and that it feels good for me to be touched there.  And yet, he never touched it except in the foreplay before fingering me.  Why?  Because women have holes that need to be stretched and filled by dicks. The vagina is the central part of our sexuality, as men see it. (And because we’re taught the male perspective, women see it this way too.)  I’ve never even heard of a man touching a woman’s bits without fingering her.  If a man doesn’t have intercourse with a girl, or she doesn’t want to go that far and the dude is a Nice Guy™, it’s blowjobs and fingering.  I mean, even gay men get that just being fucked is boring-that’s why they have reach arounds.

Can you tell which are medical models and which are sex toys?*

But of course, men’s asses are closed.  Gay men who bottom are not asked to have their asses pryed open annually to ensure their health.  Men are also not paid $450 in exchange for medical students getting to use their asses to practice prostate exams on.**  I couldn’t even find a model dummy that helped students learn how to perform prostate exams or STD tests for men.  (Someone should alert the MRAs of this reverse sexism.)

Women’s asses, on the other hand, are now just as open as  our vaginas.  In porn, men will repeatedly pull out of vaginas and asses, and the camera will focus on the “gaping” of it.  How it remains open because of being fucked repeatedly.  The man will enter again, fuck, and then pull out.  Or just keep entering and exiting.  And just leave their dick outside of the “hole.”  I’ve seen quite a bit of both gay and straight porn, and I rarely saw this in the gay stuff, and if it was there, it was in the more BDSM kinda shit.  For facials, women often leave their mouths open as well.  Our vaginas aren’t the only holes we have any more—now we have three.

Another common thing in porn is inserting various objects into a woman-not just dildos, but coke bottles, pool cues, and entire fists.   For my FTM ex, before he got a strap on dick, the goal of sex was basically to see how many fingers he could fit inside of my vagina or my ass.  Now, I’m horrified that my body could adapt to that-because even just two fingers feel uncomfortable, and anything back there is a hell no.  I don’t understand how I possibly survived his fist being in there.

Our Personalities & Socialization

The entire construction of woman, as men have created it, is based on vaginas being holes, and women being only vaginas.  This is sorta like what Dworkin addressed in “The Root Cause,” but if I think the idea of male as the positive and female as the negative needs to be connected to how men see sex.  Women are gaps, spaces, and some sort of abyss.  Our entire personalities and lives are constructed around this.  Without PIV, or without a man, women often feel empty and pointless.  And we’re told our lives are pointless without men, thanks to fairytales, porn, and the comments of others about lesbians, and celibate or single women.  Our vaginas and lives must be filled by man.  Or at least other people, and never ourselves.

I wish I could say more about this, but I’m having a lot of trouble finding the words to express what I mean by this.  Hopefully I’ve gotten it across even though I’m lacking on detail and clarity.

Rape

Everytime I think of how men see vaginas, and by extention women, I get an image in my head I just can’t get rid of.  A woman, just sleeping. And a dude thinking that her vagina is gaping. So he does what all dudes do to any hole, gay or straight-he sticks his dick in it. And it’s not rape to him or anyone else, because she has a hole.  And vaginas are always open and ready for sex.  Women are always open.  We’re always “consenting” because our sex organs are always open for fucking.  Men have to get hard.  But women don’t necessarily have to get wet for intercourse to happen.  Men invented lubrication for this purpose.

I’m sure my experience is a common one.  A man is attempting to fuck, or finger, a woman.  When it doesn’t go in easily, what do men do?  They keep pushing, or they tell the woman to just relax.  Or, if they have a condition such as vaginismus, the woman receives “treatment,” where she dilates her vagina using dildos until it can accommodate a penis.  Or the most recent method-botox.  If you’re born without a vagina, or with one too short for a dick, doctors can make one.  (More fucked up: In the FAQ, pretty much every question is asked about creating one with surgery, except can I orgasm with this vagina?)  Or if you’re having a kid, you can have a c-section for “vaginal preservation,” so your hole isn’t too big for him to fuck anymore.

Well lookie here, that cervix thing was pretty easy to find, wasn't it? Fyi, this is a medical model. That students use to learn how to give gyno exams. Yikes.

*I made it black and white to emphasize that they have the same fucking structure.  The only real difference is the porn tan and color detail given to the sex toy one.  Color is available here.

**Credit for the inspiration for this sentence goes to the quote in the article about modeling for medical students, from sex educator/female-empowerer: “I  provide a vagina and breasts to medical students learning to do their first pelvic and breast exams.”  She doesn’t provide feedback so doctors can know when something hurts a patient or how to make them comfortable—she just provides a vagina and breasts.

Also I hate the Vagina Monologues, seriously.  Because really, the idea that vaginas are the essence of women is so very cliché.