question for women: modesty and doctors

I’m not sure if this is in the right place… but I wanted to ask other women here. I have to get a breast examination and I found out I should go see a gynecologist. Do you think it matters if the doctor is male or female? I don’t feel comfortable showing that part of me to a man who is not my husband, but I don’t know if this applies in this case because it’s for a medical reason. What do you think? Is this a moral issue? If I can only find a male doctor, would it be wrong to go to him? I don’t know what to think so I thought I’d ask! Thank you in advance.

You can see a male doctor or a female doctor. I’ve always preferred female doctors because they don’t intimidate me, and the first two male gyns I met were both turkeys. Whatever makes you comfortable and willing to get those exams and tests is the right choice for you. If you feel more comfortable with a man, go for it. If you prefer a woman, also fine. The mammogram will probably be done by a woman. In the 20 some years I’ve been getting them, I’ve yet to meet a male tech. It’s not fun, but it’s not nearly as bad as some people make it out to be. I’d rather do either of those than have a glaucoma test with someone touching my eye.

Personal Opinion:

Find the BEST Doctor you can find. Which may be a man or a woman in your area. Having the best outways embarassment in my book.

I always went to a female doctor. And then I started having problems, and I just started polling all the women I knew, and they ALL went to the same Guy. However, he has 3 female nurse practioners, one of which was a mid wife. I went to them for regular exams. But when I needed his skills for surg. and dealing with a twin PG, I just switched to him. He also happened to be very kind and NOT freaky. If you get a bad vibe from a doc. move on. There’s a reason.

Finally, if the best is a man, you can always request that a female stand in during your appt.

BTW, you should get a breast exam at EVERY pap smear.

I think its all about what makes you most comfortable. My mom took me to a male doctor the first time I went. He was completely unprofessional and I ended up feeling violated by the way he treated me. I have never gone back to a male gynecologist since. In my opinion, women are just more empathetic. They know what you are going through and are much more likely to be gentle and kind. Just ask around town who is good and see what comes up, then make your choice.

This is not a moral issue in the least.

You’re allowed to have a personal preference if you’re uncomfortable with something, but regardless - this is about taking care of the gift of your body by entrusting your health to the best doctors that you can find.

HTH! :slight_smile:

Actually I think all male OB/GYNs do this, (at least I thought they did it in order to reduce their liability).

Anyways, I agree with some of the other posters, go to the best doctor available whether male or female. I found the male doctor at my practice to be better at pap smears (more gentle) the the woman NP/midwife. I actually found the female ob to be the best, but I hardly ever get to see her.

(Something I have noticed which is purely anecdotal, is that the women medical personnel tended to look down on my choices to not use birth control and saying that NFP didn’t work while breastfeeding etc. but that the male doctor asked once and that was it. :shrug: Like I said that is purely my experience and other might of had the opposite experiences).

My GYN/OB is an excellent doctor and a man.

Prior to getting pregnant the only OB/GYN’s I saw were actual the PA’s and were women. Upon finding out I was pregnant I realized that the OB/GYN’s were mostly male. I decided, even though I was really nervous at first, that I’d rather have a great Doctor (regardless of gender) than an okay female doctor. So I currently have a male OB/GYN. The first exam was pretty nerve-wracking but it was all due to fear of the unknown. The doctor was really awesome in being kind and nice, making sure his female assistant was in the room, and checking me out no more than necessary. I really felt like I’d made a much bigger deal out of the situation than it really was.

I agree with everyone else that you should choose which ever will take the best care of you and which ever you are most comfortable with.

That being said though, do Catholic ladies have any obligation to consider the fact that going to a male doctor may cause the Dr to have lust/impure thoughts?

I know I’ll hear the obvious answers of “They do it all day and its not sexual” but that is not always the case and as a male I am guessing it is very often not the case.

I don’t want to accuse Dr’s of anything here but in my experience with myself and every guy I have talked to about things like this, it does not matter the situation or frequency…If there is an attractive lady with no clothes on, it will be virtually impossible to not have lust. Look at how often many men look at pornography as proof of this.

I’ve had both men and women doctors. Go with the best. They’re here to save your life and they’re using the Gifts God gave them to help you.

A word about lust and doctors. Some Muslims don’t allow women in various parts of the world access to doctors. Ridiculous! The women don’t even have a choice. False modesty is imposed on them at the risk of their lives and their health. And, if they are lucky to have female doctors, they might let them administer to them but the doctors are fully garbed and in veils. Great working conditions.

In our own history, there were times when doctors had to stay out of the room and ask another woman to examine the patient and discribe the patient’s condition because of false modesty. There were women who actually died of breast cancer rather than expose themselves to a male physician. Of course they died.

Yes, some men in the profession have abused patients. But the majority are dedicated people who have spent years studying and a massive amount of money to become doctors and they are not about to blow it.

Okay you’re looking at it as aside for a medical reason. It IS a medical reason, and therefore it should stay as one. If you don’t want to see a male, then see a female! Its quite simple. However the male is only doing his job. He is not there to lust after you, he is there to help your health. Think of it that way, because thats the way it should be. I understand your fear, and if its too much, see a female, although for all you know, she could be a lesbian. They are not there to lust after you, they are there to do their job which has to do with the health of people. Also too, boobs were not made to be sexual. They were made to feed babies. Man is the one that made them to be sexual. I don’t believe god intended them for mans joy, but rather for the baby to be fed. Basically, boobs shouldn’t be looked at in a sexual manner in the first place, but they are.

From what I understand, some male doctors do feel sexual feelings about some women patients, but that is usually when the woman is young, very attractive and/or sexual. The vast majority of women patients won’t seduce a doctor, but a few people will try.

However that is also an issue with female doctors and male patients; there are a few but not many male patients who will try to make an encounter sexual. And similar problems can happen in a same-sex doctor-patient relationship, even if both parties are straight - sometimes people can be briefly attracted to someone of the same sex, even if normally they would not be.

This is something doctors are taught to watch out for in their training and I think the majority of the time when there are sexual feelings, by either the doctor or the patient, they are brief and don’t lead to anything. I would think they never get mentioned but I don’t know.

I think this can affect people in psychology/psychiatry. There a vulnerable patient who may or may not have any sexual interest in a doctor is spending a lot of time with him or her and saying a lot of personal things. I think sexual issues there affect a minority of doctors but it does happen.

In my experience, there is usually a vibe that a patient will get when a doctor just doesn’t seem “right,” and it can be tempting to be the good patient and stay but finding another doctor might be good.

I don’t think Catholic or other women have responsibility for doctors’ thoughts b/c 1) doctors are trained to mask their thoughts so that their judgments and feelings don’t get in the way of patient care. When they show emotion it is supposed to be restrained, or the patient ends up comforting the doctor. Therefore it can be really hard to tell what a doctor is thinking or feeling and 2) b/c medical school addresses this issue along with other ethical issues, it’s the doctor’s responsibility. The only time a woman or male patient has any responsibility is if they dress and act in a blatantly sexual way and try to seduce a doctor, in my opinion.

All of this is just my 0.02. I have never had a sexual relationship with a doctor or had feelings, but I’ve talked to some doctors who addressed the issue and this more or less reflects what they said, although it’s my interpretation and other people might think or feel differently.

I just want to make sure of some things here. Women in for exams don’t just sit there with no clothes on, they are always wearing those hideous hospital gowns, and the everything else is covered up while the doctor (male or female) looks at the particular part they are examining.

And yes doctors do this every day, not to mention they are looking for medical problems. (How turned on are people by their spouse when they are looking for something wrong on their body, I know I am not :shrug:). And people go see the obgyns, when things are wrong, it would be a truly disturbed individual who was sexually attracted to female genitalia when it is infected with an std, uti, or other infection.

Anyways going to a male doctor is not the same thing as going to the beach or out on the street. The doctors who go into this profession know what they are getting into and choose to see what they see. So no, women do not have any moral responsibility for the male’s thoughts if there even are any. We must also hope and pray that the rigors of medical school and lawsuits would keep any person with less than pure motives out of this particular field.

NO, not true. But in my case they did offer. I was just immediately at ease with my Doc. All the women in the office clearly respected him. And they were the type of women that would make it clear if he was a nutter.

Why that’s why I always wear a turtle neck… Jeez… SERIOUSLY! NO, there is NO obligation to consider the fact that a male doctor who is SUPPOSED to be looking. If he’s lusting, he’s got some serious problems. Not that abusive people couldn’t make it into this environment. And Any woman that clues into that should RUN LIKE THE WIND to another doc. Not because of his sin, but for her own protection.

Ever witnessed an exam? It’s NOT a playboy movie in the making. So… I ask you as a male. Who are you going to when you turn 40 and get the oh so desired rectal exam. A woman who might lust? Or a man who might lust?

You’d think that if a man was looking and touching boobs all day for breast exams, he’d get used to it. Meaning it would be nothing new.

What??? Who wears those hideous gowns? Surely you sport your prettiest nighty!:eek:

Or, do you just lie their in your best “come hither” pose…


I believe it is the law that a doctor cannot examine a female patient unless a nurse is in the room with them. Might be same with men patients too. Don’t know.

There is no way to tell if you are the woman who will turn out to present a temptation to your doctor. You’re not obligated to refrain from seeing a doctor because you don’t have 100% assurance that you won’t incite lust in a particular doctor. It’s impossible to expect that kind of certainty before making a decision to see a doctor.

Instead, you safely assume the realistic expectation that the doctors must have made a commitment to resisting the entertaining of any temptations to thoughts or actions, by virtue of entering their profession. If patients are going to be seen at all, the doctor must assume complete custody over his faculties, or choose another profession. In assuming and maintaining custody over his senses, the patients are waived of any obligation.

Besides, I would wager that cases of temptation in doctors offices are pretty rare, despite the hypersexual climate we live in today. It would be a great injustice to people if they had to abstain from medical attention because there is a remote chance of their tempting somebody else.

As someone in medical training myself; from my experience, male OB-GYNS always have a female “chaperone” in the room (usually a nurse or nurse’s aide, but sometimes even a secretary) during a pelvic exam. I think most of this is due to reasons of legal liability. However, perhaps some male OB-GYNS find that having a third party in the room helps diffuse any sexual attraction that could be present. From what I understand, while it’s never happened to me, yes some doctors (male and female) will have fleeting sexual thoughts or attractions. I remember a male colleague once started dictating the “general impression” part of the exam as “a young female, pleasantly attractive…” then quickly corrected it to “pleasant and interactive”, which is actually pretty common medical lingo to explain that the patient isn’t psychotic or comatose. However, I’ve never heard about this guy ever acting in an unprofessional manner (and believe me, people in the field talk about the few doctors who do.) Also, some patients will indeed hit on their doctors. Most patients who do so, though, are older men who have dementia causing them to lose their inhibitions, not nubile young ladies.

However, the way a naked woman is presented in porn is quite different than how doctors examine a woman. Patients don’t just lie there stark naked. Usually, every part of the body is covered except for the part being examined. So, if the doctor is doing a breast exam, though he (or she) will first look at both breasts to see if there is any glaring difference between them, for the palpation (touching) part of the exam, only one breast is exposed at a time. Also, doctors are very good at compartmentalizing and focusing on the task at hand, often to the extent that patients complain that they aren’t being treated as a “whole person”. Well, the risk of impure thoughts toward patients is one reason why doctors are trained to act professionally and detach from the patient.

All that being said, if someone feels uncomfortable with either all opposite-sex doctors or even a specific doctor of the opposite sex (or even the same sex, as there certainly are gay doctors), then I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, as long as it doesn’t affect your medical care. If, for example, you started having vaginal bleeding and you went to the closest ER, and all the doctors working there that day were male, then I’d hope you would allow yourself to be examined. Also, even if a doctor is not an OB-GYN, most will accomodate a request for a chaperone.

ETA: I totally agree with what Karen10 wrote while I was posting!

I agree with above posters that one should chose a physician based on skill and expertise, not whether male or female.

I have gone to GYNs now for over thirty years and have yet to have a male GYN have a female in the room - and have never felt uncomfortable. One can always ask for someone to come in to the exam room, Maybe some states have laws that dictate this.

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