Is It Safe to Assume that Your GYN Can Give You Good Sex Advice?
Cathy: Is it safe to assume that your GYN can give you good sex advice? I’m Cathy Vartuli from https://theintimacydojo.com/ and I am here with Erika Keepen from the https://www.theopenphotoproject.com/ thanks for being here Erika.
Erika: Hey, my pleasure. Thank you.
Cathy: Yeah and so we were talking offline a little bit about whether you could turn to your GYN or your Obstetrician for advice about sex, like how to have good sex or what is safe type sex around? And we both have opinions so do you want to agree to start?
Erika: Yeah, absolutely. Hooh! So much yeah I mean so I wore this necklace because for this conversation so this is the whole tutorial structure it’s in fine artist in glass so of course it’s not exactly like I’ talking to it but I was wearing this necklace recently when I went to a doctor and she was a GYN and she didn’t recognize what it was and it just you know and I actually she’s really, she’s really great and I’ve seen her before and you know maybe it’s not exactly anatomically correct to the necklace but.
Cathy: It’s, I know that it was immediately so..
Erika: [Inaudible 00:01:12] Okay but you know it makes me think that like the training that a lot of doctors get it’s not necessarily culture centred and it’s very specific, it’s very focused if you’re a GYN you know how to do Pap smears, you know the reproductive system looks like and you’re not necessarily learning about pleasure I guess and so you know it’s it’s an example of something that comes up I think. There are a lot of people in different ways and in terms of sounds like, like I’m stumbling a little bit just like pines in their wines? Okay. So, in terms of pleasure based things, I have never really felt comfortable talking to a GYN and I think there’s just still a lot of sex shame and negativity and even in the medical profession where we’re supposed to feel safe talking to our doctors about this kind stuff the doctors are just people too who grew up in this culture too and don’t necessarily have all open minded exposure to a lot of different things. For example now your own pleasure purchased our own safety and STI screening at someone who is non-monogamous myself I go for a CI screenings more regularly than I did when I was monogamous and I had to explain to my doctor you know when I when I said that I wanted to get an STI screening and she’s like, you’re married, why?
Erika: And you know when I told her oh well, we’re in an open relationship we both go to other partners and she’s like, Oh, okay. And then it was fine.
Erika: I [Inaudible 00:02:49] negative reactions from that and it’s just I don’t know I think the proper response to I would like to the STI screening is “Okay is there anything you’re particularly concerned about?”
Cathy: Yes, and it’s great because you could’ve been married for ten years and realized that neither you never been tested like you would if you were strictly monogamous and no no suspicion of cheating it could be just I just wanted for my own piece of mind I want to be tested. We never talked about this and.
Erika: Yes. And aside from the fact that 50% or more of marriages have some sort of infidelity at a certain point so it could have been a trauma thing that I just had recently been cheated on or other people might have suspicions or want to get tested I mean there’s so many reasons.
Cathy: Or maybe someone was assault sexually assaulted, there’s a lot of reasons that that you could want one.
Erika: There’s so many reasons. I think it’s really important for medical professionals to be at least aware of that.
Cathy: It’s so hard to ask in general like it’s hard to bring it up and if they’re like why dismissive a lot of people would say oh never mind and not ever bring it up. Yeah.
Erika: Absolutely, yeah I mean if it works you’re going to feel shamed in the tinniest bit something that you’re already a little bit concerned about it’s already sensitive.
Erika: That’s.. It needs to be a safe space and I think hopefully medical professionals are able to get access to get training about stuff like this then all of the relationship styles and other you know sexual practices whether it’s non monogamy or kink and the things that can goes with that.
Cathy: Yeah. And I think a lot of people aren’t aware I know when I was in Dallas I know a really nice OBGYN she was highly rated, she’d only been on their school like four or five years so she’s recently educated and I brought up things like I was still dealing with vaginismus, a lot of pain and she was like oh we can do these series of of it was actually the person she referred me to wanted to do electric shock therapy to my vagina and they were talking about the surgery for the pelvic floor and it wasn’t that it was all it was all an emotional thing but no one was helping me understand why that my vagina was spasming all the time like she didn’t know. And when I talked about clitoral legs and squirting she’s like, oh those don’t exist like.
Cathy: And I am like no, they do and she couldn’t help me with it whereas yeah my doctor here in California is really been wonderful and is very educated but I suspect she took that on herself not that she got it from the medical professional.
Erika: Yeah, probably.
Erika: I’ve heard some horror stories; I mean it’s really shame you know for couple like this. There’s a case where somebody who had uhm, maybe I shouldn’t even talk because I don’t know the exact term but basically the doctors prescribed her something for her vagina but didn’t tell her that it was not compatible with certain types of condoms so it will break down the condom material so she’s using a medicine but the doctor didn’t think to check in about if she’s sexually active and how it would affect her own safety if it takes away from the safe effect and maybe because doctors aren’t trained to think about it [Inaudible 00:05:49] maybe because they’re embarrassed to talk about it but it’s definitely something that needs to be addressed in a lot of medical professionals with that.
Cathy: Yeah. Well you were talking about like if someone is in kink if they’re pregnant, can what is okay to do like talking a lot of doctors don’t understand kink at all and it was until recently considered very deviant and you know which is sad people should be able to enjoy their bodies as they like but if you’re pregnant, how do you talk to your doctor or do you show up at your doctor with bruises or do you stay in for a while?
Erika: Yeah, yeah. Medical professionals hopefully know how to determine if the bruise that you have is from a consensual happy spanking session or is it because you’re being abused at home and you don’t feel safe. And the same thing if you have a health condition if you’re taking certain medication is that possible that a certain kink activity or sex activity could be not compatible with it. A lot of people would be afraid to ask a doctor about that and a lot of doctors might have it it might be because they would have a negative or shock reaction at the question. You know.
Cathy: Yeah, absolutely.
Erika: So, uhmm
Cathy: I think it’s really important for us to have pay attention to that I mean I’m really grateful for doctors that my GYN has helped me with a lot of things and they have studied a long time they understand some things really well but for sex advice especially closure based sex advice I would encourage people to to figure out if their doctors a good source or not because individuals vary a lot.
Erika: In a lot of forms that I’m on whether its Facebook or other non-monogamy forms that’s a question that comes up every few month for sure it’s either someone post does anybody know of any non-monogamy or sex positive sex [Inaudible 00:07:25] in America or transition of OBGYN that are you know aware of all these things like the recommendations. So if you are in a position who is aware and not just mental about this stuff you’re going to get a loyal following for sure but it’s not so hard to find them in word-of-mouth in poly communities or sex positive communities it’s really the way that I encourage learning about these docters.
Cathy: Yeah and if there’s any doctors or therapists watching this now, I encourage you in your ad put that your poly friendly or kink friendly because we are looking for people out there that we can go to that are aware of how the different different issues we might run into and how bodies actually respond so.
Erika: Yeah absolutely adding into that which we didn’t even talk about, is another thing is gender awareness and gender issues whether they’re going to be able to talk to somebody who’s non-binary or transgender about the things that they need to be able to talk about. It’s not assuming the type of sex that we have based on your body parts you know based on you have higher risk through to that based on the body you have, it’s different sexual activities presented with different types of risks.
Cathy: They do and even just assuming like gender is a really big issue but even if you’re older or you’re bigger, I’ve had doctors say you’re having sex? And I’m like yeah. Just because I’m a bigger person doesn’t mean I don’t have sex and there was there was that shame of having someone be shocked that I was having sex it was it was painful. So if we can find people that are very open and and educated that’s great please please let the community know if you find some.
Erika: Yes and if you’re in a position out there and this would be news to you, please get educators. Please
Cathy: Yeah. Watch our YouTube channels, there’s a lot of different resources out there. Thanks very much Erika, I’m glad we got to talk about this.
Erika: Thank you Cathy.