Pelvic Exams and the Death Drive

Bodies give, and bodies destroy

Rachel Vorona Cote
Gay Mag
Published in
6 min readSep 17, 2019

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Illustration by Louisa Bertman

HHousing a pair of ovaries begets all manner of peculiar circumstances, but one of the most distinct endemic oddities is the sensation of someone touching them. I was nearly eighteen before I experienced it. Until then, my reproductive equipment chiefly manifested as textual, rather than felt — jumbled words and diagrams, a sapless explanatory narrative of something that, despite its physical detachment, seemed vaguely lewd. Then, in high school, when my periods became excruciating, I was intermittently alerted to their residence. Each month, the howl of menstrual cramps gestured to the tumble at the bottom of me. But more often than not, the tubes and chasms and clumps rarely piped up or protested. I still think of my womb and its relevant paraphernalia like a basin out of reach, pell-mell contents cloistered to a space where I cannot dip my hand.

Each month, the howl of menstrual cramps gestured to the tumble at the bottom of me. But more often than not, the tubes and chasms and clumps rarely piped up or protested.

Enduring a gynecologist’s pelvic exam fostered a new tactile encounter — a baffling one, seemingly achieved through the transitive property. In preparation for…

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