The ‘G’ word can put fear into any woman’s heart. You envision scary metal instruments of torture and coldness, and all of the things that movies tell you about.

When I was younger I was a really strong swimmer. I used to spend all day and as much of the night as my parents would allow, swimming and practising my strokes. One day, when I was about eleven, I took of my costume and I noticed that inside my vagina was a small white lump. It looked like a blister, or a pimple. I touched it and it wasn’t sore, but I got scared. What was this lump? What was it doing in my vagina? Was it supposed to be there? Did everyone have this lump and I was just late in getting mine? Why did nobody tell me? So after much looking at this thing and wondering about what it was (remember that this was before the days of googling every lump and bump on your body) I went to ask my mum. Mum had a look, and said she wasn’t sure, we better go to a doctor.

Her gynae was a man and I was terrified. The door of his room was white, and the curtains were that light turquoise that I have now come to associate with hospitals and medicine. I had to take off my panties when I sat down and I wasn’t really sure where to put them. Should I leave them on the floor? Should I hold onto them? I didn’t really want to give them to my mum, as that would be weird. So I just held them in my hand, lay back and thought of swimming. He asked me to open my legs.

He had a look.I waited wondering if I would ever recover from this fear. This was the most my vagina had been looked at on the inside in it’s life. My vagina had never been touched by anyone except for me, and I felt like that was probably for the best and hadn’t really planned on changing that at such short notice. He turned to my mum, and said ‘it’s just a little cyst, nothing serious. It should go away by itself’.

BY ITSELF I screamed in my head. I have come all the way here and shown you my very own vagina for you to tell me that it would have gone away BY ITSELF. I have opened my legs for a stranger and I needn’t have because it would go away by itself!

I blushed crazily and was very happy to unravel my undies and pull them on faster than I have ever done since then. We left, and my mum tried to placate me by saying every woman had to go, and that I shouldn’t be embarrassed. I remember looking out of the window determinedly not looking at her.

But when I got home I realised that it wasn’t that scary. After that day though, I’d never again choose a male gynae. If I want a man to look at my vagina, it’s going to be when I want him to – not for medicinal purposes. So I went back to swimming, and thought that this was an entirely suitable activity until that time came.

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