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  1. Christine
    Christine April 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm | | Reply

    As much as I’m not a fan of purity culture, I think this problem is actually a lot wider spread. I went to see a doctor before I got married, as a friend had had similar problems (hers was noticed and corrected by a doctor, because she went for a pre-wedding exam). The doctor was very dismissive of me bothering to come in – she implied that since I didn’t need to be tested for STI’s that there was no point in seeing a doctor, and then explained that now that I was going to be sexually active I was going to need to get my pap tests done. I felt very condescended to. (Thinking back, I think that the reason we had as few problems as we did might have been related to the fact that I deliberately made myself use my menstrual cup, despite/because of the fact that it hurt when I tried to insert it.)

    1. Ruth
      Ruth April 8, 2013 at 5:57 pm | | Reply

      Christine, you make some excellent points about problems within the medical establishment. There is certainly room for widespread improvement and education on the subject as a whole. I have another friend whose doctor reacted simply by slicing hers without warning or anesthetic and it was a traumatizing experience for her as well.

      In my case, I see a strong connection, since I did have two full examinations (and one rushed one) before marriage, during which my problem was noted but not in a way which let me know I had any options. Additionally, the reaction and trauma it caused were strongly tied to expectations and emotions which we had internalized, both from the purity culture and from the general culture in which we live. That is to say, it may not only be because by it, but it is certainly caused by it in some cases, and perhaps intensified.

  2. Shane Thomas
    Shane Thomas April 9, 2013 at 2:48 am | | Reply

    This was a wonderful piece. As a guy, it’s definitely helped to shed off some of the ignorance I have regarding sexual politics. And as tough as it may have been to read, I can’t even imagine how tough it must have been to write – or experience.

    Thank you for this.

  3. Debi
    Debi April 14, 2013 at 4:48 am | | Reply

    Ruth I just read your story & it saddens me for 2 reasons. #1 would because of the pain, frustration & anger you’ve had to deal with. It was a long journey to get to a place where you can even write about what happened. #2. One day you’ll realize that despite all the pain & anger, frustration & all the rest…You need to let it go. That’s the thing about the past. No matter what we do, we can never change what happened, only our interpretation. The story we use to describe our past experience. By this I mean if you get up every morning & continue to rehash everything that happened, you’ll never be free of it. Eventually all this sadness becomes so overwhelming we slip right into depression. Pills for the disorders & all their accompanying side effects. Please realize I am not being judgmental, I just hate to see a young girl making the same mistakes that I did. Hating myself, saying Yes to everyone thinking that if I please others they’ll accept me even if I’m a freak. Cause guess what, we ALL think there is something wrong with us, or we’re weird, strange, crazy & if anybody realizes this they’ll reject me. Esp late teens when our hormones have our emotions running crazy. We get the insecurities, decide we’re not good enough, or skinny enough, pretty enough, rich enough. I’d bet 90% of people at one time believe in the,”I’m not ____enuf” syndrome. Realize & know this, You are enough, just the way U are. Same thing with 90% of the things we worry about. Afterwards we realize that about 90% of the time, the things we worried about never happened. What a waste of time!! I have been in your shoes & 10 times as many horrible events. I won’t go into them because all it will do is bring me back down to the same sadness, grief, shame etc. I refuse to live like that ever again. I will explain to U how I got passed all of it. You must realize that everything in our life starts out as a single thought in our heads. All of our successes & all of our nightmare situations, relationships, everything. From that 1 thought we begin to focus on that subject , whatever it is. Thoughts become things. By this I mean, if You focused all your thoughts on becoming a successful ‘anything’ like say a surgeon. If you spent all your waking moments focusing on that one goal, made your life closed off to anything but pursuing the education, the training etc, eventually You would become just that, a successful surgeon. It works exactly the same in the negative. When we focus all of our thoughts, behavior & actions on the negatives, drowning ourselves in the sorrows (like I did) you would remain stuck in that hell hole. A simple statement made by Henry Ford, the famous automaker went something like this ” Whether you think you can… or think you can’t… your right” As in, whatever we believe about ourselves it will become our truth, our reality. Some call it a self for filling prophecy.
    All this comes down to what U believe about your life. If U continue to beat yourself up about the past, you can not move forward. I hope this doesn’t sound mean, it is not my intention. I only wish someone had bothered trying to explain to me, the fact that we create our own reality, years ago, I wouldn’t have wasted about 30 yrs. Now it’s up to U to decide what U want. Do U want to wake up everyday & focus your mind on things that can never be changed or concentrate all your thoughts, dreams & goals on a wonderful future? Because that is all it takes to make a profound change in your life. We can choose the power of re-inventing our lives at any time we want. It starts with your waking thoughts. Give it a try. For 1 week every morning when U first wake up think about something you love to do. Focus on it, imagine what it will take for you to enjoy doing that activity every day. How it’s going to feel to own it…Or it can be about making a positive change in your life. Keep a little notebook by the bed. So when U first wake up, ask yourself… “OK here’s my goal, what concrete small steps can I start today, to accomplish this?
    Who can I call up who’s familiar with this area who can guide or mentor me towards accomplishing this? Where can I find info on the Internet that will help me make positive changes in my life?” During the day keep this little notebook in your pocketbook for those inspirational brain storms that you’ll soon be coming up with. Every day thousands of people decide to change their life for the better. I think that once you find yourself not focusing on the past you will be amazed as to how beautiful your life can become. Now I know You may not believe this, eventually all those bad experiences will soften & shrink down to the distant past where they belong. You’ll be too busy with your new life to waste a moment with the WHAT IF’S . Lastly one other piece of the success puzzle. It’s called EFT. or simply, tapping. It is free to learn & can help you with just about any problem you will ever encounter. Blessed Be my friend, the best is yet to come…Peace

  4. kat
    kat October 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm | | Reply

    Well, damn. I was reading the archive of this site because well, you rarely see disability sections on a feminist site and I came across this and.

    I’m 24 and have been having exams since I was 16 due to poly cystic ovaries and they have to use the child size one on me too. I found this out, for the first time about a month ago because I switch gynocologists. See the one I was seeing didn’t HAVE the child size one so that yearly exam has been met with dread and postponing every time because it’s done with tears and bleeding every time. And every time I am told everything is normal. I can get a regular tampon in but not a super one without pain.

    So now I am wondering if this is a similar situation as yours. I really doubt the doctors would have told me if it is because they hide things from me constantly. I honestly haven’t even tried to have sex because it’s been pretty obvious it will be a horrible painful traumatizing experience if I try so why bother? But this defiantly makes me wonder if this was an actual fixable thing that could be addressed that they are ignoring.

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