How to prepare for an intimate exam

When I see women for acupuncture treatment, nearly every single one apologies for some part of their body. It might be their feet, their toes, their hairy legs or something else completely random that they worry about.

So it doesn’t really surprise me that a third of women aren’t getting their smear test done regularly because they are embarrassed about their bodies. It’s shocking, but it doesn’t surprise me.

Honestly, hand on heart, I don’t mind if you’re legs are hairy, you haven’t painted your toe nails and you’ve been hiking all weekend. I’m here to help you relax and heal. And that should be the same for all medical professionals with whom you put your health in their hands.

If you are having an internal exam, a smear test or any kind of medical test or treatment, you do not need to:

  • Shave or wax your legs
  • Trim or shave any part of your pubic hair
  • Worry about if your feet smell
  • Worry about if your vagina smells
  • Have perfectly pedicured feet

In fact you don’t need to do any of these things EVER if you don’t want to.

These are all choices and they should be made purely for you, regardless of your partner, your doctor, your therapist, your friends, your mother, society or what anyone else things.

Frankly it’s none of their bloody business

As much as I’d love a magic cure to get rid of this unrealistic expectation, that probably isn’t going to happen overnight. (I still get embarrassed taking my son swimming with hairy legs)

So let’s start with some baby steps:

Get your smear done/ any other appointments you’ve been putting off.

Your doctor/nurse/therapist has seen thousands of different bodies, all shapes and sizes. Yours is perfect exactly as it is. Don’t put your health at risk.

Stop apologising for the choices you make for your body. 

You have nothing to apologise for. It’s your body and as such you get to do exactly what you want with it.

Start to think about why you are making those choices.

Begin to question all the habits that you currently have around making your body acceptable. Do you do them for you, your partner, random people in the street? Does it make you feel good? What if you didn’t do it? How would it feel?

(Secret — Not shaving my armpits makes me feel very powerful and sexy! shhhh don’t tell the patriarchy!)

Play with it and see what feels good for you.

Written By Nicola

Nicola is a fat-positive fertility coach and author of “Fat and Fertile”. She helps fat folks navigate getting pregnant in a weight-obsessed world and advocates for change in how fat people are treated whilst accessing help with their fertility. Nicola uses her unique fat positive framework to support people in finding their own version of health without diets, advocate for their bodies, relearn how to trust their body and believe in their ability to get pregnant.

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