Touching the private parts: How gender and sexuality norms affect medical students' first pelvic examination
2016 (English)In: Culture, Health and Sexuality, ISSN 1369-1058, E-ISSN 1464-5351Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Gynaecologists are in a position to challenge norms about gender and sexuality in relation to female genitals. Through their work they have the opportunity to educate patients, which is why teaching medical students to perform examinations in a gender sensitive way is significant. Medical students performing their first pelvic examination often experience the examination as uncomfortable because it is a body part that is connected to sex and to something private. This paper uses medical students’ interpretations of performing their first pelvic examination as a means to discuss how cultural norms for gender, sexuality and female genitals affect these examinations. Issues raised include how cultural connotations of female genitals affect the pelvic examination, how female and male students relate differently to examining female genitals and the interpretations they make in relation to themselves. Findings show that the female genitals are perceived as a special body part connected to sexuality and intimacy. Students’ gender also affects the interpretations they make during pelvic examinations. Norms of gender, sexuality and female genitals need to be challenged in the teaching and performance of pelvic examination in order to demystify this experience.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
medical students, pelvic examinations, female genitals, gender, sexuality, intimacy
Gender Studies Other Medical Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-296307OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-296307DiVA: diva2:937290