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Why Does Your Gynaecologist Ask — Are You Married?

Every wonder why gynaecologists ask women, "Are you married?" Instead of the more correct question, "Are you sexually active?" In this article, we have an answer!

In India, there is often a stigma attached to sexualities and pre marital sex, especially for women. We women are constantly scrutinized and are victims of moral policing.

Some people may think that this behaviour is due to illiteracy and lack of proper training and education. But the problem lies deeper than we think. Especially when these stigmas start to dictate our health care.

Image source: An excerpt from B.D. Chaurasia Human anatomy, Eighth Edition, Volume II, page 458

The above image, is a paragraph from Human Anatomy Book for the first year MBBS students, written by B.D. Chaurasia. The book is also known as the ‘Bible of Anatomy’, if you are pursuing the medical field in India, you have read this book.

The hymen problem

The book states that remains of hymen (a social construct of primitive times believed to be a proof of virginity for females) are found in married women after rupture. [The rapture is believed to be caused the first time a woman engages in penovaginal intercourse. A myth, refuted time and again.]

Now the problematic thing is, rather than mentioning sexual intercourse, or the medical term penovaginal intercourse, the book prefers to mention marriage.

By now, I guess all the females reading this article know why their gynaecologist asks them, “Are you married?” Instead of the more correct question, “Are you sexually active?”

This article is not about the uneducated mass, or unaware population’s biases towards women, but who do we blame for the taboos that have sneaked into the pages of medical books?

Even most renowned medical books are promoting this bias and symbolizing that marriage is the only way a woman can be having sex. And what about men and their sex lives?

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There is a difference between being married and being sexually active. This general assumption about women’s sexual life has resulted in many uncomfortable gynaecologist sessions.

Taboos have shaped our education for far too long

At least, it is the duty of education to be providing accurate information and language. Yes, information needs to be provided in a way that it does not promote any wrong ideas, yet taboos have shaped education for far too long.

The goal of education is to be inclusive for all, without any sort of discrimination or shaming. And to do this, medical books need to revise and update their language and make it more inclusive.

Image Source: Human Anatomy Book, ixdesginlab, cheekudigital via Getty Images, free on Canva Pro

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About the Author

Sagar Dalwani

1st Year MBBS student read more...

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