July 10, 2010

How to look at the human body

This is my last week of my preceptorship in gynecology before I embark on a huge road trip that will have very little to do with medicine and lots to do with adventuring.

One of the thoughts that has been on my mind a lot during these few weeks is the sexualizing and un-sexualizing of the human body that takes place in every doctors mind all the time - and more often if you're a gynecologist or a urologist or probably a gastroenterologist too.

There's apparently a friends episode where Rachel is dating a gynecologist and they are sitting on the couch in her apartment, starting to make out, and he stops and says, "I can't, I just can't today". And she's like, "oh no. what's wrong?" and he says, "you're a waitress, right? (she nods) well, do you ever have days where you're like, if I see ONE more cup of coffee..."

kind of kills the vibe, right?

Learning medicine makes me appreciate the human body so much more than I did before - but I'm not sure . While we were in the gross anatomy part of our first year, for example, we spent 2-10 hours in the lab, with 20 human bodies in various stages of dissection. during that time, any time I went to even so much as hold someone's hand, I would think about all the layers of fascia, all the muscles and tendons, all the nerves and blood vessels running through it. don't get me wrong, some times this is super sexy, but I spent so much of the day thinking about all of those things in a NOT sexual way to switch my mind over to saying, "this is okay to think is sexy" was more of a conscious switch than I wish it had been.

I don't want this to make you uncomfortable at your next gynecologists office - if anything, it's easier for me to UN-sexualize and MEDICALIZE the human body. It's more personally disturbing to me that I feel like it's progressively more effort to not think about the classifications of different STDs when about to kiss someone (which is not even how STDs are passed, anyways, for the most part).

This is probably an inevitable effect of having a deeper understanding of how anything works - like learning about art history, your appreciation of Rodin's statues deepens in some ways, but it's hard to just look at them and say, oh I like that one. You're too trained to look for cracks or symmetry or whatever.

I'm not sure how physicians approach this, as sex lives are not really talked about in the office - even at the gynecologists. I'm going to ask my fellow med students if they feel any of this and if so, what they think/do about it.


"cause when I arrive, I will bring the fire
make you come alive, I can take you higher"

-kevin rudolf (from "let it rock")

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