Was asked if I was bisexual?!?!?

  1. Yesterday I had an appointment at a sliding scale clinic. I had my yearly pelvic exam/Pap smear. The doctor asked me questions before she got started, one of them being if I was bisexual.

    I was so shocked that I couldn't gather my wits enough to ask her why she would ask me that. She saw my surprise and said that it was a question she normally asks. She didn't ask if I was a lesbian or the "have you had sex with a man that had sex with another man" question. She didn't ask if I was married. She only wanted to know if I was bisexual.

    I was not offended, but surprised. I can't think why that would be necessary, and I have never been asked that question during such an exam. I have talked to the few nurses I know, and they are stumped too.

    Is it normal to ask a patient if they are bisexual before performing a pelvic exam/Pap smear?
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  2. 54 Comments

  3. by   rn.d86
    A physician once told me that he asks his patients, "do you have sex with boys, girls, or both?" He said that for younger clients it is vital information so that he can help assess for risk factors and provide education on safe sex practices.
  4. by   Kooky Korky
    Off the top of my head, I can't really think of a reason that knowing with whom a pt has sex would reveal risk factors. Isn't it enough to know whether one is or is not sexually active?
    But, it's 2011.
  5. by   AddisonLawrence03
    Yeah, I once had a NP ask me if I slept with both men and women before giving me a pap smear. It shocked me too; I thought maybe she was stereotyping and thought I 'looked' as if I swung both ways...
  6. by   roeth
    I have never been asked such a question by any of my doctors. When I go in for one of those, my doctor only asks me about men (Which technically assumes I'm heterosexual. But what if I wasn't?) Interesting. I'm not sure if it's normal or not as I have never encountered the question. Maybe it's normal for other places? Hm.
  7. by   mazy
    I've seen a lot of that recently, I think it's just part of an effort to provide more comprehensive care. Lately, part of the assessment I've been getting is questions about ever being forced to have sex, or how safe I feel. Could be that it's new for me just become I switched all my drs recently. But it was interesting to have those questions come up.

    I think it's a good idea, although I got completely turned around the first time and checked the box that says I only have sex with women. The dr. got kind of turned around too, in her assessment, so I guess it does make a difference.
  8. by   caregiver1977
    Quote from AddisonLawrence03
    Yeah, I once had a NP ask me if I slept with both men and women before giving me a pap smear. It shocked me too; I thought maybe she was stereotyping and thought I 'looked' as if I swung both ways...
    That was one thing I was thinking. I am a black female with an afro who lives in the south. I have had people assume all sorts of things just because of that
  9. by   klone
    I think the way it was phrased was entirely inappropriate, but I imagine the care provider was trying to determine if you have sex with men or women in order to personalize the patient education.
  10. by   ruthphyn
    my doctor asked me and the next time i had to see a different doctor she asked me the same question. i think is part of the questions they ask about your sexual life..
  11. by   Conqueror+
    I have been asked that as well. I look "very hetero" if it matters. I don't see the difference between asking are you bisexual and asking do you have sex with boys, girls, or both. Isn't it the same thing?
  12. by   cieloarge
    I had to fill out a standard form that asked me if:

    Was bisexual
    Was with men that liked men
    Used toys
    Type of sex (oral, anal, normal haha)
    How many partners
    etc...

    This was almost 10 years ago.
  13. by   klone
    Quote from Conqueror+
    I have been asked that as well. I look "very hetero" if it matters. I don't see the difference between asking are you bisexual and asking do you have sex with boys, girls, or both. Isn't it the same thing?
    No, it's not the same thing. Being bisexual (or gay, for that matter) does not indicate who you are sexually active with. Physicians need to be as specific as possible, and asking your sexual orientation is not the same thing as asking if/with whom you are having sex.
  14. by   klone
    BTW, what does "I look very hetero" mean?

    Ah, RN/WRiter, you beat me to it. Mea culpa, it was an inappropriate thing to say.
    Last edit by klone on Dec 1, '11 : Reason: Removed graphic comment.

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