How much do some men know about our bodies? Not the physical appearance, but the inner workings of them all? How we reproduce and what our bodies go through monthly or the many health and reproductive issues that we are susceptible to simply because we are women.
I’ll tell you. Not much.
Notice that I said some men. There are those who actually are intrigued by how our bodies work and have taken it upon themselves to learn as much as possible. They have the patience to ask the “icky” questions, explore us or massage our backs or legs when we’re aching or cramping because they know it all affects them in the long run. I’m not talking about those guys. Let’s address two other types, instead.
The “That’s Not My Problem” Guy
This guy doesn’t really care to know about women’s bodies at all because it has nothing to do with him. At best, he knows he can’t have sex during her menstrual cycle, and it’s that time when he needs to stay away. During a conversation with a male friend some years ago, I mentioned the “p” word –period, and he frowned and said he didn’t want to talk about “girl stuff.” Say what, now?
He doesn’t understand, therefore he can’t sympathize when a woman says she has headache out of the blue. Yes, she’s a bit hypersensitive and could either become offended or saddened randomly. Or maybe she has to take a hiatus from sex because her gynecologist has ordered her to take antibiotics for some type of vaginal infection. This guy is annoying.
The “I Know Women” Guy
This man is a self-proclaimed expert on women and our bodies. He’s never experienced premenstrual syndrome, nor given birth to another human being. He doesn’t know that are no go-to moves or sexual acts that will ensure that a woman has an orgasm, and if she can’t, that there’s nothing wrong with her because sex is often more of a mental experience than a physical one overall.
Nevertheless, he’s the first one to speak so matter-of-factly about women-related issues.
He’s got a women’s toolkit in his back pocket compiled from stories and hearsay from dumb friends, older brothers and uncles who are just as ignorant as he is. This guy is annoying. too.
Even certified “experts” have slip- ups. Imagine my disappointment when I switched from a male gynecologist (whom I loved, by the way) to a woman. In a discussion about where to make the incision to remove uterine fibroids for the second time, she’d asked why the first incision was vertical when a horizontal one would have done the job better and been out of sight (perfect for two-piece bikinis and these little crop tops that are all the rage now).
“Was your previous doctor a man?” she asked. I gave her a blank stare, and she exhaled an exasperated sigh and shook her head. “They just don’t get it sometimes.” She gave me a sympathetic smile and exited the room.
Men's lack of interest or dismissal of women’s bodies is insulting and ironic, considering while they are misinformed and uneducated about our bodies, they’re on a constant conquest to indulge in them. I’ve got two words for both groups of men. Grow up. A woman’s body is not only for men’s pleasure. It’s not a Ford truck that keeps going and going without maintenance. It brings forth life into the world and requires TLC as often as it’s needed.
There must be factors that contribute to men’s ignorance other than outright disinterest though. Could it be that so many women are ignorant about their own bodies, or have some sort of shame about how their reproductive system works such that they don’t care to discuss it with a partner? Or do women underestimate men’s ability to understand and/or empathize so it they keep it to themselves? If either factor is the case, we both have some serious work to do.
In the meantime, men, educate yourselves. Better yet, go straight to the source, your partner, instead of making age-old assumptions about women. Hopefully, she feels comfortable enough to express herself. The expectation isn’t become experts overnight, but to be as knowledgeable as you can be. Those conversations could be informative and therapeutic for you both. It’s not the end of the world, it’s called being an adult.