Are You Comfortable With Having A Male Gynecologist?
Are you open to procuring the services of a male obstetrician-gynecologist?
I didn’t realize how against the idea I really was until I found a recent clip from an episode of The Real. In it, Tamar Braxton admitted that she had a phobia of being examined by one. According to her, there was an uncomfortable pressure she felt about it all.
“Oh my God. That’s why I have the same doctor I’ve had since I was like 18 years old, Dr. Jackie. Because, I’m telling you. I used to feel like I was getting ready to go on a date when I go to a guy OB/GYN. It was a lot of pressure!”
However, co-host Tamera Mowry-Housley said she didn’t see male OB/GYNs in the same light.
“Wait, an OB/GYN, a gynecologist, is the same kind of doctor who delivers babies. I don’t just see this as a person who’s obsessed with va-jay jays.”
And while I don’t look at male OB/GYNs as pervs just trying to get an eyeful of what women are working with, when asked in the past if I had a preference as I prepared for checkups, I’ve always gone with women. And I personally know very few women who have used a male OB/GYN. The ones I asked before writing this post said they just feel like a woman, especially a woman of color, would have more experience and understanding when it comes to sexual reproductive questions and issues they could be facing.
However, according to a study from 2005 published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, most women are trying to be open-minded about it all. After leaving questionnaires in 13 obstetrics and gynecologist waiting rooms in Connecticut, researchers found that the gender of a physician didn’t influence the quality of care a woman felt that she would receive:
“The majority of women surveyed did not select their obstetrician-gynecologists based solely on physician gender. Although a small percentage of survey respondents did indicate a gender preference, it rarely influenced physician selection and was only a minor consideration when compared with other desirable physician attributes.”
So with such conversations happening, it makes you wonder: What pushes a man to become an OB/GYN? And how do they deal with the skepticism?
When asked in a Reddit thread about it, male gynecologists said they find great joy in bringing children into the world. And some said their work has garnered them a greater respect for women in general. But they’re also honest about the struggles that come with being a male gynecologist, including the fact that because they don’t have the same “equipment,” they can’t really relate to the pain their patients may or may not feel. And then there’s the struggle of trying to examine patients who ask for a chaperone in the room during exams. As one male physician put it, “While it’s always important to make sure your patient feels safe and comfortable, the need to bring someone else in is labor intensive and constantly reminds you that you are not intrinsically trusted, despite your dedication to your patients.”
Progress has been made in the sense that more and more women are claiming to be open to having a male OB/GYN, but some of those who use them find themselves asking for a chaperone, just in case. And with orgs like Medical Patient Modesty scaring women into only enlisting the services of female OB/GYNs because “Countless male doctors have sexually abused female patients,” it’s no wonder some are saying they’re open-minded while still preferring women as their physicians.
So with that being said, are you open to using a male gynecologist? Why or why not? And if you have, how has it been different from your experiences with an OB/GYN of the same sex?