Have you ever been shamed by a doctor around your sexuality? ??♀️??♀️??♀️
A decade ago, I was experiencing a lot of pain during penetrative sex. My vagina wasn’t lubricating like it used to and I figured something was wrong. I wasn’t very educated about my body or sexual responses at the time and I trusted my doctor to help me.
My gynecologist immediately said I must not be turned on by or attracted to my partner. They must suck in bed. I was too young to have sex at all. Instead of helping my concerns, she made assumptions and accusations about my sex life, my partner, my desire, and shamed me simply for having sex. She gave me a bottle of KY lube and told me to find a new partner. New lube and same partner, I found myself in more pain week after week. It was unbearable. During and after sex, my vagina felt like it was on fire. I tried anything to reduce the pain. Numbing creams, yeast infection meds, laying in the bath for hours to try to find relief.
Eventually, I could barely touch my vagina at all, let alone have sex. I was so embarrassed to go back to my doctor that I stopped having sex for months, but the pain became unbearable even with just toys and external stimulation, so eventually, I went back. This time she told me that if I was in so much pain, I should just stop putting things in my vagina.
I was never given any solution other than to stop touching myself entirely. So, I started looking into solutions myself. It turns out, my allergy medication dried my vaginal mucous membranes and the severe pain was essentially caused by the harmful, toxic chemicals in KY lube. I now know that KY is one of the most low-quality, body-toxic lubes out there. That’s right, the lube given to me by my gyno, who is supposed to be an expert, is one of the worst for your body and was causing so much more pain.
I switched to a new gyno but still didn’t get the compassionate care I deserved. After a new partner, I had some symptoms and got a full STI panel done. I had a yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis, and a common (yet rarely talked about) STI: ureaplasma. When I went in to be re-tested, I had missed a period, so also asked for a pregnancy test. The doctors loudly talked about my STI status across the hall and waiting room, in front of staff patients alike, announcing that I was the girl with “multiple infections” including “one they rarely see”. Ashamed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt as if I was a walking disease and a living mistake.
After much trial and error, I’m grateful to now have doctors who don’t say shaming comments when I come in for frequent STI testing, have symptoms, went on HIV preventative, or say I have multiple partners. When I had an STI, they treated my symptoms without treating me like I was dirty. They respect my sexuality without shameful moral agendas.
I feel more comfortable, but there’s always a risk that someone may have a rude remark or impose moral interpretations of what’s going on with my genitals, onto what that must mean about me as a person. This is why I’m so supportive of the #WeNeedAButton campaign by Dating.Com Group to help find inclusive providers who are compassionate, empathetic, and provide quality care for the LGBTQ+ community & beyond. We deserve queer-competent, sex-positive doctors who are supportive of our sexuality while providing shame-free education and care.
Support me in advocating for better healthcare experiences by sharing your #UnfairCare stories, supporting #WeNeedAButton by Dating.Com Group and learning more at @datingpositives_waxoh. Thank you @zacharyzane_ for sharing your experience & encouraging me to share mine!