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At Your Cervix

First seen on FRESHYARN.COM

Tuesday night. 9:20 p.m. I was hoping to catch a friend’s 10:00 show in Hollywood, but it’s not looking good. I’m in East LA, I’m naked, and the guy hunkered down between my thighs can not find my cervix.

This is my fifth and last student of the evening. Korean by birth, he has limited English so “vagina” sounds suspiciously like “vanilla” as in “Now I touch your vanilla,” but it’s late so I let it slide. At present, Number 5’s index and middle finger are jammed up into my ‘vanilla,’ his knuckles pressing hard against my labia.

“Maybe this it?” he stammers, fingers still fishing.

“I won’t be able to feel it. Do you sense something that feels like a slippery rubber ball?”

“Yes. No. I don’t know.” He blushes. He’s sweating. He’s 22 years old and I just may be the first naked woman he’s ever seen.

I firmly bend his wrist at a 45 degree angle and guide his fingers downward so he can locate my cervix “Got it?”

“Yes, yes.” He looks like he’s going to vomit.

"Good. Let’s move on.” I reach over his arm, his fingers still inserted in my vagina, and I grab the instrument resting in a tub of water on the metal side table. I hand him the shiny, duck billed device. It rattles in his trembling hand.

“Take the speculum,” I say. “And follow my directions. Exactly.”

I am a Pelvic Model.

More precisely, I am a Non-MD, Gynecological Instructor. Sort of a “professional vagina,” I use my own body to teach health care professionals how to perform gentle and effective “well woman” breast and pelvic exams.

It’s not your typical job. Not something you tend to see advertised in the Classifieds. Not a profession well represented on Career Day. Type “pelvic model” into any search engine and you won’t get a lot of hits. (Actually, you will, but they are of the “Secretary Whores” variety.)

Despite what people first think, the Naked Job, as I call it, is not sexual. It’s not voyeuristic, it’s not freakish, and it’s definitely not glamorous. (Admittedly, only one person ever thought it might be glamorous - and she doesn’t get out much.)

What the Naked Job is falls somewhere between “Rewarding/Giving Back” and “Well, I Guess Somebody’s Gotta Do It.”

An adult, sexually active woman should have a gynecological exam once a year. The exam consists of laying spread eagle on a padded table, partially covered in a flimsy gown, while various body parts are poked and prodded. Cells are then swabbed from the cervix with tools resembling a mascara brush and a giant Q-tip. These cells will be examined under a microscope for evidence of cancerous conditions and sexually transmitted diseases.

Obviously, the medical personnel that performs this exam has to learn how to do it somewhere. Neophyte medical students practice on a rigid, unwieldy plastic mannequins or, at more affluent Universities, a $20,000 “Pelvic Exam Simulator” (an electronic “female pelvic cavity” complete with interior electronic “sensors” and handy dandy abnormalities like fibroids or ovarian cysts.)

After that, students progress to examining a cadaver. Yep, a real live, or in this case, real dead body. Knowing this may give those who plan to donate their bodies “To Science” pause. Sure, your spleen could be the very one used to develop a revolutionary life-saving drug, but you may just as likely end up butt-naked on a slab, your intimate orifices repeatedly violated by 25 clueless newbies.

From the student’s standpoint, doing a pelvic exam on a dead person has its advantages. The corpse is, after all, pretty relaxed and you don’t have to worry about hurting it. The downside is that the body hasn’t been “prepared” yet and, in probing the rectum, the chance the bowels may release a copious amount of feces is pretty high. Sort of like removing one’s finger from a dike, it gives new meaning to the term “shit storm.”

In the medical student’s second year, they are allowed to perform genital/rectal exams on an anesthetized patient without the patient’s knowledge or consent. This was a common practice in California until 2003, so if you’ve ever woken up from an appendectomy with a sore anus, now you know why.

At some point in the mid-1970s, Universities began using live patients. At first, these patients were mostly hookers, drug addicts, and anyone else hard up for cash. The “model” would sit passively while a Doctor led the students through the exam. Surprisingly, hookers and drug addicts don’t make the best patients as they tend to have STDs, hallucinations, and a generally hostile attitude.

In the 1980s, various health advocacy groups cropped up around the States and began to protest against the staggering amount of poorly trained doctors being foisted upon the unsuspecting public. As a result, the Universities and training hospitals saw the need for live-patient interaction and feedback. This is where I come in.

A “Gynecological Instructor” sounds odd, yes, but face it, the only other way young doctors learn how to perform pelvic exams on a live person is to learn on their patients - i.e. you. So, besides being an exceedingly well paid gig ( it’d have to be), it’s actually rewarding in that I’m helping make pelvic exams kinder and gentler the world over and my students are always so appreciative... how many times are you hugged at your job?

Here is a typical workshop: In front of 12 to 20 students, another instructor and I will perform a Demonstration. One of us will act as Doctor, one as Patient. I have been in both roles and therefore I know who among my colleagues has a tipped uterus, an inverted nipple, a hemorrhoid. I can tell you who is waxed, who is pierced, and who is not a real blonde.

After the demonstration, we split up into small groups and I will teach, and therefore undergo, anywhere from four to six exams a night. Once, I did ten exams in one sitting, but that’s rare, thankfully, because I was walking like John Wayne when it was over.

How it works is that I raise the back of the exam table, so that I am sitting up, and I balance a mirror on my knee so I can see where the action is. With my feet in the foot rests (never stirrups – we’re not riding horses), I raise my gown and then show the student how to manipulate my labia, examine my Bartholins glands (if the clitoris is 12 O’clock and the anus is six O’clock, these glands are at five and seven. Just FYI, you never know when this stuff may come up). I teach proper insertion of the speculum, how to find palpate my uterus, locate my ovaries, etc. I also comment on the student’s “bedside” manner, offering suggestions like “Instead of saying ‘I’m gonna stick it in’, why not say ‘insert the speculum’ instead?”

It is weird, at first, to be naked from the waist down and have a total stranger’s finger up your cooch, but you get used to it. Mostly because the students are more nervous than you are. Fainting is not uncommon. The first night I worked solo, after an extensive training process, my heart started pounding as I began to lift my gown and a voice roared in my head “OH MY GOD! YOU ARE NAKED! THEY ARE TOUCHING YOU!” but by the third student, it was no big deal and I was chatting easily about plastic vs. metal speculums while a student searched through my pubic hair for parasites.

My colleagues are a varied bunch; I work with a chiropractor, a masseuse, a few teachers, actors, and, for many years, Adele.

Adele was originally from Brooklyn, 70 years old, with a large body; heavy, pendulous breasts, and a long cape of white hair. She dressed like Mama Cass, wore shocking red lipstick, and had a wandering eye due to the cancer that destroyed her optic nerve and ultimately ended her life. Adele worked the Naked Job because “I’ve had too many horrible exams in my time, I’ve gotta train these babes to do it right!”

Adele’s eyesight was poor and she couldn’t drive so her ex-husband, with whom she still lived, chauffeured her to our gigs. He was 90% deaf - he and Adele were quite literally each other’s eyes and ears. Unlike the other instructors, who usually closed the doors to their individual exam rooms, Adele kept her door wide open and, if I left before she did, she’d call out, waving her mirror whilst a student was toiling between her meaty thighs, “Good bye, Anne! Drive safe! Tell your man I said hello!” Ok, Adele, ok.

When she wasn’t doing the Gyno gig, Adele worked as a sexual surrogate. Meaning, Adele helped people with sexual dysfunction by showing them how to have sex… with her. Now, were I having trouble getting it up, I don’t think an overweight, 70 year old woman with varicose veins and a wall eye would help matters, but apparently she worked a lot. Clients came to her by way of a therapist and Adele was equal opportunity – “Well, I’ve got a new client tomorrow, a woman, and I’m not a lesbian so it’s gonna be interesting!” Some clients only needed a few sessions but Adele worked with others for years. Once, she had to discontinue treatment with a guy who became “too attached” and started leaving roses all over her front porch, but mostly, her clients “maintained the professional relationship.” I asked if any ex-clients ever dropped by for a ‘brush-up’ but she said no, that it would be “inappropriate.”

You may think that after palpating one’s uterus, it would be awkward to go out for a beer, but we Professional Vaginas, along with our male counterpart, Professional Prostates if you will (men who turn their head and cough many, many times an evening), socialize quite often. When we get together, we’ll forget to censor our conversation and the “civilians” amongst soon flee the room as the talk turns to vaginal douching or anal polyps.

Every job has its nuisances and the Naked Job is no different. I hate students who are over-confident and drive the speculum into my vulva like Mac truck; students who palpate my breasts like Silly Putty; students who glove up, then immediately touch the dirtiest object in the room, and are insulted when I ask them to re-glove; students with really large hands (no fault of their own, but uncomfortable), students who are incapable of controlling their thumb so it keeps bumping my clitoris, students who rest their elbow on my knee like I’m a book case, and students who handle my genitalia like Legos, trying to twist and lock things into place.

Back in the exam room, it’s 9:55 PM. I’m not going to make my friend’s show but at least Number 5 and I are in the home stretch.

“The bi-manual exam is the last step,” I explain. “First, tell your patient what you are going to do.”

“Ok. Bi manual mean I will put in my hand and-”

“Not your hand. You’ll insert two fingers.”

“Yes, I put in my hand -”

"No, don’t say hand. You’ll scare the patient. It’s not your hand - just your fingers.”

I waggle my fingers in the air. “See?”

He nods. “Yes. I now to put my hand in and touch your vanilla, ok?”

“Sure, whatever. Touch my vanilla.”

Close enough.

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