Are all men that go into gynecology secretly perverted? Should gynecology be left only to women? Do male gynecologists get turned on when they do gynecological exams? Do men have an “on and off” switches for their sexual arousal?
Previously I wrote a post reviewing an essay by Pastor Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Temple, Arizona. The full post can be found at http://www.faithfulwordbaptist.org/lust.html.
In part of this post, Pastor Anderson states this about male gynecologists:
“And, you know, here is an area that is not popular. It has never stopped me before. It is not going to stop me now. But here is another area that is not popular. But, you know what? Women who go to a male doctor and just disrobe in front of a male doctor. Why? Because they don’t believe that nakedness is a sin. Because he is not lusting, supposedly.
Because we all know what is going on inside his mind. He takes a polygraph detector test right before and after every visit.
“I had…my mind is as clean and pure as the driven snow.”
Yeah, right. Good night. He is a man. He is a red blooded man like anybody else. Do you know what every male gynecologist ought to do? He ought to take a scalpel and a lancet and cut out his own eye and throw it in the trash. That is what the Bible says. He ought to just remove his own eye. I am not kidding. He has got all the tools to do it. He ought to do it.”
The Facts about male gynecologists
Before I tackle the issue the morality of a man(Christian or otherwise) being a gynecologist let’s look at the facts about male gynecologists.
Even with half of all gynecologists now being women, most women don’t care if their gynecologist is male or female
“There has been a significant gender shift in OB-GYN over the past two decades. In 1990, 22.4 percent of all OB-GYNs were women. In 2010, nearly 49 percent were women,” Jeanne Conry, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said in an email. She pointed to figures showing bigger changes to come: “In 1990, 49 percent of all first-year OB-GYN residents were women. In 2012, 83 percent were women.”
But that still leaves plenty of men pursuing gynecology as a profession…
70 percent of women said they had no preference when asked if they preferred a male or female gynecologist. Of the nearly 30 percent who did, the majority preferred a female gynecologist…”
Male Gynecologists admit they are sometimes sexually aroused by their patients
“Of all the specialties in med school, I was sure gynecology was the one I wouldn’t want. As a straight male, I didn’t want to ruin my love of the vagina. Years into it now, I’m never more professional than I am with a patient. The vagina is so desensitized to me, I hardly notice anything about it. But if a woman is attractive, I do have to fight that part of my brain. I’d be lying if I said otherwise. I’ve had patients legitimately hit on me — one immediately after her abortion, and another right after a pelvic exam.”
Some Male Gynecologists have sexually abused their patients
“Of 10,000 physicians surveyed, 1,891 responded and the result was that fully 9% admitted to some sexual contact with one or more patients. (Sample included 344 gynecologists.)”
ARGUMENT #1 Sexual Misconduct by Doctors
One of the most common attacks against the idea of male gynecologists is the possibility of sexual abuse. In the survey I cited above, 9% of physicians admitted to sexual conduct with patients. But we have to be careful to separate out what would be “unethical” sexual conduct, verses “criminal sexual misconduct” by a doctor. The reality is that the vast majority of sexual conduct between physicians and patients is actually consensual, even if it does violate medical ethical rules.
But from a Christian perspective, it would be wrong for man to engage in sexual conduct with any woman outside of marriage, so from our perspective we would say that 9% of physicians admitted to sexually immoral behavior with their patients(regardless of whether it was consensual or not).
While it is a sad fact of the sinfulness of man, that 9% of physicians engage in unethical and sexually immoral conduct with their patients – this means that 91% percent of physicians do NOT!
So basically we have people attacking the concept of male doctors treating female patients because of the possibility that less than one out ten of those doctors may engage in unethical or immoral behavior with their patients (and even a much smaller percent would engage in abusive behavior).
I can sympathize with women who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of their male physician. I realize that even if less than 5% of male physicians engage in sexually abusive behavior with their patients, that makes little difference to these women – they would never see a male gynecologist ever again.
But we cannot “throw out the baby, with the bathwater”. I believe if we look at this from an objective standpoint, the sexual misconduct argument against male gynecologists does not warrant the elimination of male gynecologists.
ARGUMENT #2 Female Gynecologists
The truth is by every measure, there are more and more female gynecologists every day. Now half of the OB-GYNs in the United States are women. Even higher numbers of female OB-GYNs will be coming through medical schools over the next decade.
So why shouldn’t women, Christian or otherwise switch over to female OB-GYNs? The truth is there is a doctor shortage in this county, whether it is in the OB-GYN practice, or even just general family practice. If women started going exclusively to female physicians those doctors would be overrun and the waiting lists would be astronomical.
So yes let’s as Christians push more women to enter the medical field and become OB-GYNs so women won’t have to see male gynecologists. This would solve the problem right?
But aren’t we forgetting a very important issue from a Christian perspective?
Being a physician of any kind, whether that is an OB-GYN or some other kind of doctor, is a very demanding job. It takes almost a decade of schooling and residency with long hours and a lot of commitment for anyone to accomplish this feat.
For most female physicians, they are not even able to start a family until they are well past their prime child bearing years and even when they have children their children spend a great deal of their time being cared for and raised by people other than their mother(their father, their nanny, or other child care professionals).
Now if you are an Egalitarian or Christian feminist and therefore reject the Biblical doctrines of Gender Roles, then this is not a problem. But for those of us who believe God created men and woman for distinct and different purposes, then these commands of God’s Word would seem to discourage us from pushing more women to be doctors:
“…teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”
“I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”
I Timothy 5:14(KJV)
“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.”
While the Bible does not forbid a woman from working outside the home, it does make clear that a woman’s primary place is in the service of her husband in their home caring for their children and household.
A woman cannot be in two places at once, either she will give the majority of her time and energy in service to her husband, her children and her home as God had designed her to do, or she will give the majority of her time and energy to others outside her home as she pursues her career outside the home.
So on the female gynecologist argument, I have shown that for two reasons this argument does not hold up when put under closer examination. There are not enough female physicians to service all the women that need medical care. Also from the perspective of Biblical Gender roles, we must cannot, if we accept God’s Word on the nature and design of woman, encourage more women to be OB-GYNs.
I completely realize that my argument against more female doctors could play right into the “doctor shortage” problem. If we have less women doctors, then we would have less doctors and create a larger problem. I agree that it would under the current system.
But there is an easy way to solve this problem. We need to do a better job of establishing different levels of medical caregivers. We need to encourage the training of more male physician assistants and male nurse practitioners, men who do not have to have all the training of a full a doctor. This would greatly alleviate the pressure on doctors and allow them to handle the cases that truly need a fully trained doctor.
ARGUMENT #3 Sexual Arousal
Finally we will address Pastor Dave Anderson’s argument from the point of lust.
Let me first say where I agree with Pastor Dave – men don’t have an “On and off” switch for sexual arousal. Many male gynecologists will privately admit they are sometimes turned on by their patients, if they find them attractive. But let’s also be honest with the fact that for every patient that is attractive to a male doctor, there will be several that are not attractive.
As I have pointed out in my previous post addressing Pastor’s Dave’s “Lust of the Eyes” essay – Sexual arousal is NOT lust. Please review that post examining the scriptures on this very crucial point. If we error by believing and teaching the false doctrine that mere sexual arousal is lust, then Pastor Dave would be right that no man should ever be a gynecologist from a Christian perspective. But if we follow Pastor Dave’s perspective, men ought to look at the ground everywhere they go, for fear of seeing a beautiful woman and becoming sexually aroused (and therefore lusting).
It is not sinful for a woman to disrobe for her physician, as Pastor Dave asserts. As long as she is not setting out to purposefully make him lust after her (as some female patients do with their doctors), then she has committed no sin by disrobing in his presence for a medical examination. Contrary to Pastor Anderson’s assertion – Nakedness is not always sinful, see my post “Why Nudity is NOT always shameful?”.
In the same way, it is not wrong for a male gynecologist to have his female patient disrobe for an examination. It is not sin for him to examine her in a medical and professional way. It is also not sin for him to be turned on by her beauty if she is attractive to him.
What is sinful, is if he either thinks of ways to get her to have sex with him outside of marriage (lustful thoughts), or he actually engages in sexual behavior with her. That is the truth of Scripture.
91% of gynecologists never engage in inappropriate sexual behavior with their patients. There are not enough female gynecologists to serve the needs of all the women out there. Christians should not be encouraging more woman to leave the duties of their home to be physicians. There is no sin in a woman disrobing for her male doctor, or being medically examined by him. A male gynecologist is not sinning if he is aroused by an attractive female patient in the course of his duties. The sin comes in what he does with that arousal. Based on these facts, it is not wrong for a Christian woman to see a male gynecologist, and it is not wrong for a man to be a gynecologist.