A Follow-Up: The Male Experience

I’ve had lots of conversation in several fora about my post from yesterday. In general I think I have two follow-up thoughts.

First: doctors should ask questions about our health, even if those questions are uncomfortable. It may be too much to ask a doctor to remember her patients from year to year, so fine, maybe she needs to ask the same question every year. But the question should be phrased carefully, and the answer should be treated respectfully. For example, if I had been asked “WHAT are your plans for reproduction and do you need any information from me?” I would have had a completely different reaction. That question implies that I’ve thought about the issue, at the very least.

Secondly: DOCTORS should ask questions about our health. ALL DOCTORS. I realized that one of the things that is truly annoying me about this is that every year I go home and whine to my husband about this conversation and he looks at me blankly. Or worse, he looks at me with the “She’s on a feminist rant again DON’T MOVE YOUR EYES” look he gets sometimes. Because this is just not an issue he thinks about. It’s like how he didn’t care if I changed my name or not. It just wasn’t an issue in his life.

When I visit a doctor, any kind of doctor I can think of, I fill out a form. Usually that form includes questions about my medical history and current life status, like whether I’m married, partnered, or single, and whether I drink or do drugs. Occasionally the form will ask something like “Are there any other issues you’d like to discuss with your doctor today?” That stuff is all normal and great. It gives the doctor some preliminary information to direct our conversation. And as far as I’m aware, male persons get asked those questions too. Right?


After his blank look, I asked my husband if he has ever been asked whether we’re trying to conceive. He said that he had not, but that it wouldn’t really be appropriate.

What the hell does that mean, people?

My husband is married. He checks the “married” box on his forms. His genitalia would presumably be involved in our conceiving children, if we were trying to do that. Why has no doctor ever asked him, “I see you are married; are you and your wife trying to conceive, and do you have any concerns about that process?”

This is the problem with the “they’re doing their job” argument. Yes they are. Except doctors who are examining ladybits think “their job” includes asking the ladies attached to the ladybits questions about their reproductive choices (not to mention questioning their responses!), and doctors who are examining manbits do not think this.

There’s something there that really needs rethinking.

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3 Responses to A Follow-Up: The Male Experience

  1. kristin says:

    One would think that they’d be ask allll of that especially if getting a prescription for Viagra or something similar.
    Keep posting, A!

  2. Meg Wallace says:

    YES. THIS.

    Presumably your husband is also aging alongside of you, and fertility falls and risk of birth defects rises with age, no matter your sex. Along with all the adoption considerations.

    I’ve never had to have this conversation, presumably because I’m NOT married. Or because my gyno health care providers wouldn’t ask that kind of question.

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