1. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    Question about what female character would feel . . .

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by E. C. Scrubb, Aug 9, 2013.

    The scene is a hospital where a female character is being examined a few weeks after an major emergency operation. The area operated on is on the upper part of the leg in the inner thigh. In my fic, this character is very tactile and as such, responds to touch. She's on the examining table and the doctor is assessing the healing, but this is in situation where there's no gloves or anything like that, so it's skin on skin.

    I want to know if her actions are in the ballpark for how a young woman who was deeply in love with someone would react to the given situation.

    Basically, the physical touch of the doctor's hand that close to her vagina caused the normal tingles that a person would feel in a different situation. She gets a little sick to her stomach because of the uncomfortable situation, closes her eyes, and tries to divorce herself from everything going on, reminding herself that he's a just a doctor doing what needs to be done, and that everything is routine. (And it is, the doctor isn't doing anything wrong).

    I'm trying to walk the line here with a character that I've written to be highly responsive and tactile, but also faithful.

    So, offensive? Viable? Outright stupid because in no way, no shape, no form would a woman ever feel like this with a doctor? Let me know since this one is definitely far, far out of my range of personal experience.
     
  2. redreversed
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    redreversed Active Member

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    Is she inlove with the doctor or someone else?
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Having had a gazillion pap smears, I don't recall any that elicited anything the least bit sexual. But if your character had an attraction to the doctor, I could envision a reaction. Nausea, however, would not be part of the emotional reaction if it were me. Keep in mind I don't claim to speak for 'usual', only for what I might personally experience.
     
  4. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    ^ Pretty much what Ginger said.

    Might depend on the person though, but usally being examined by a doctor isn't sexy, just uncomfortable if one is in pain.

    If your character is wearing pants, and I read about her blushing or freaking out or thinking she's a cheating slut when the doc is examing her thigh, I'd definitely raise my eyebrows and go 'wtf', then I'd shrug, 'well, people are different' and move on.
     
  5. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    Ah, thank you.

    Let me clarify one thing, however.

    Nothing like a pap smear or that is being done. Basically, he's using his fingers and hands to gently probe around the inner thigh. Since it's been a few weeks since the surgery, most of the "pain" part of the sensitivity is gone. I keep thinking about someone drawing their fingers across the inner thigh, and the reaction it would normally cause for someone who was very tactile, even if there was no sexual attraction.

    And the doctor isn't necessarily attractive, not anymore than anyone else. He's just a normal, average type guy. He's also the doctor that performed the surgery and saved her life, so there's a little bit of familiarity as he's been looking after her (and she has a thankful/respectful/he's a good guy feeling towards him). But as I said, there's nothing between them otherwise
     
  6. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Then this probably isn't a gender issue, just a character issue. I can see an individual react in that situation the way you suggest and I can see them not to pay much attention to that, depends wholly on the person.
     
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  7. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think the reaction seems somewhat exaggerated. For a character aged 12-16 I could see it as probable, but for an older character I wouldn't find it believable.
     
  8. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    ^This. The idea that male authors spend so much time looking for a correct "female" reaction to something (as though some monolithic gender response exists) is bizarre, but there are multiple threads on it here and elsewhere.
     
  9. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    The inner thigh is a sensitive, sexual area. However, it would be extremely uncommon for a person to become sexually aroused by a doctor checking an injury there. Your question could also be answered as a man -- if he had an injury in that area, would he get an erection if a doctor examined his thigh? I'm sure there are some people who would become aroused -- there are 8 billion of us and there are always a bunch of weird people. Many have written bizarre sex fantasies based on doctor situations.

    However, if you're writing about a "normal" person, who doesn't have this sort of sexual fetish, I would say it would be very uncommon. Most people are focused on what is going on with the injury and don't really enjoy being examined by a doctor, so they're not usually going to go sexual.
     
  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that it's quite unlikely, and I agree with evaluating the odds of a man reacting that way in a similar situation, let's say with a female doctor (to get the reversal in both directions) who's about the age of his mother. I'm guessing that the normal reaction would be to feel embarrassed and vaguely creeped-out, not stimulated in any way.
     
  11. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Women don't get aroused as easily as men, who can respond to touch even if they don't want to. It would be pretty much impossible for a woman to get excited in the scenario you offered, unless she is having major hots for the doctor. Inner thighs however can be ticklish for some people.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I hate to sound sexist but I think women and men might very well react differently. Not in all cases, and certainly it is still an individual thing. But I found the male POV in my writer's critique group very useful a few times because they had some insights about men that I didn't.



    Most people, male and female, turn off any sexual arousal sensations during medical exams. If this patient doesn't have any attraction to the doctor that might affect the normal response, I don't see any arousal. You keep referring to the character as especially sensitive. If you mean like a nympho-type especially sensitive, the reader might see such a reaction as credible. But what are you trying to do with the scene?

    Is the character ashamed of her reaction? If she has no particular attraction to the doctor, I can't see the scene being sensuous to read, so I'm curious what you are trying to accomplish with it.
     
  13. rhduke
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    rhduke Contributing Member Reviewer

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    It seems, just from that reaction, that she might have experienced something in the past that would make her act that way. So as others have mentioned it would probably depend more on the character and not about gender. If the reader understands why she's so uncomfortable other than because it's a touchy-feely moment, it won't come off as offensive.
     
  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sounds like a bad porn film "story".
     
  15. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    I don't think there's much more that can be added to the main idea here so I'll address something else that caught my eye instead.

    Now I'll be the first to admit I don't know how things work in a hospital. My greatest experience with this is watching House. So I hesitantly ask... Would the doctor be examining a patient without gloves? Even if the injury is healing nicely? I mean, they're there for patient and doctor safety, right? I suspect GingerCoffee (or about anyone else for that matter...) would know more on the subject.

    Sorry for potentially sidetracking this thread... I just can't leave (perceived) off details alone...
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Unfortunately, the answer is yes, though the practice is changing. You have to consider some physicians worry that patients see putting on gloves to touch them as rejection. In addition, it totally depends on the task.

    No medical provider should be touching anything other than dry intact skin without gloves, and you won't find many still doing this. Most patients would complain if you did.

    But dry intact skin is another matter. And touching near a sutured or healing wound without gloves on is not considered an absolute violation of infection control standards. It's probably not the best practice, but there is some leeway depending on good hand washing before and after and not touching anything resembling an open wound.
     
  17. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    You, my fair Ginger, are the bomb. Thank you. :) My concern seems totally invalid and I'm tickled.

    That is just so weird that some people would consider that as rejection... I am continually amazed by the idiosyncrasies of my species.
     
  18. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    She'll ask if a female doctor could do it. Or if he could put on gloves. Or if there was a way he could examine it without touching her.
     
  19. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    Thanks everyone,

    From your posts concerning reactions, the character herself, etc., I think I have a pretty good line on how to handle it. Just answer a couple questions/comments however:

    The importance of the scene is how she acts and interacts with men concerning sexuality. It is also being used to establish in another way her faithfulness to her boyfriend (in another scene, his is to her as well). I'm doing it like this because she's going to be in some hairy situations with another man that's not her boyfriend, and I want to erase any sexual tension, as the commitment the boyfriend/girlfriend have for each other is one of the main drivers to keep them going through the conflicts. Pretty much everything else is called into question, but this element is very stable. I was hoping that this would be a way to show, rather than tell that point to my readers.

    Gloves: I don't want to go into a long explanation as to why, but it's a situation where gloves simply are not able to be used. However, that was a very good question and something that I had to work through before I got to this point. Thanks for reiterating that it is more than a refrigerator door question.
     
  20. heal41hp
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    heal41hp Contributing Member

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    I may be... a number of psychologically-impaired states... so excuse me if I'm off here. It doesn't seem to me like the scene you've provided can really fulfill either of these goals without things going beyond routine in the doctor's office. I'm going to agree with the general consensus that this isn't a sexual situation and thus there can be no test of her sexual behavior or her faithfulness in relationships. The closest thing I can imagine is that she's uncomfortable with a non-boyfriend male being where the doctor is and she just asks for a female doctor but that would have occurred earlier than this scene it sounds like.

    Maybe her regular doctor is sick and someone new is in his place? Maybe an intern is working on her? I don't know. I'm just not sure this particular environment works for what you want (though I'm rue to raise a white flag on the issue). Maybe I just have too skewed of a perception of doctors and hospitals/clinics and thus don't fully understand the potential. Or perhaps I've mistaken something in your request (entirely possible! perhaps even probable).
     
  21. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Whatever you're writing, EC, the scene you are describing is intriguing. :)
     
  22. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    LOL. I'm send you a PM
     
  23. DH Hanni
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    Without knowing more about the story up until this point, it's kind of hard to see if this is a viable situation or not. You mention she is particularly sensitive to touch. In that case, I could see it being a possibility that a light, gentle touch around an area that is healing may produce a little tingle. Since you've made it clear it's not a pap smear, I can see that this could be possible. People react differently and sometimes the oddest things at the oddest times can produce a sexual response. How many people have sex dreams about someone they would never in a million years want to interact with sexually? Granted that's a dream vs. reality but I sort of equate the two in this case. And if part of this character is coming to terms with her sexuality and faithfulness, sounds like an interesting test. Even though it truly isn't anything sexual in this particular case.
     
  24. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't know about that [MENTION=53143]GingerCoffee[/MENTION]. I worked in lots of areas, vascular surgery, stroke, respiratory, palliative care, paeds, obs & gynae, geriatrics, A&E, general practice and psychiatry, in three different western countries, and I have never ever seen anyone, or done so myself, examining anyone in the groin area/ upper thigh without gloves, and most certainly never go anywhere near a wound, without gloves. One might examine a scar, but again, if it's in 'moist area' such as armpits or the groin, it is considered unacceptable to go poking around without the gloves. The only situation I can think of it being acceptable is emergency, when there is absolutely no time or access to hygienic equipment. 'House' is packed full of inaccuracies, as are all medical shows, partly because they don't have competent advisors and partly because certain things just don't work well on the screen.

    Blood taking, however, is very common without gloves, unless the patient is high risk for (or known to have) blood-borne diseases at which point we double-glove anyway.

    Obviously, in fiction, one can write whatever they want, but if OP is striving for any kind realism, then it would be really unrealistic.
     
  25. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I have no doubt different health care providers have different experiences in different settings.

    Here's a recent forum discussion of ungloved testicular exams.

    Contact with intact skin is different from exposure to mucous membranes or non-intact skin. Unless a patient is under contact precautions, a health care worker does not need gloves to touch intact skin.

    Guide to Infection Prevention in Emergency Medical Services is no different in this respect from non-emergency services. Gloves are always needed for non-intact skin. I always advise health care workers that you have time to put the gloves on, no one has exsanguinated because an ED worker took the time to put gloves on. But intact skin, meaning touching near a recent wound, not touching the wound site directly, is different from touching the site directly.

    My personal preference is to use gloves for most exams, but there are many circumstances involving palpating intact skin that health care providers don't put gloves on. It may not be the best practice, but it is indeed a common occurrence.
     

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