I just thought I'd mention first that I joined this community a long time ago and it's been tremendously helpful–I've learned a lot, and I've never felt uncomfortable with myself when reading others' posts. But this is the first post I'm making myself. I checked the memories archive first, but they didn't quite answer my question.
So I'm 21 (just yesterday!) and I've been sexually active since I was 17. Through a silly sequence of events, I ended up not actually going to my doctor since he first prescribed me birth control pills when I first became sexually active. (I've been on the pill since then, however.)
So I went in to get my prescription renewed today after 3 years, and he told me that I would need to come in agin soon for my first Pap smear. And this is where my concerns come in…
I have a long-term boyfriend with whom I'm very comfortable intimately. I also go for regular Brazilian waxes. But somehow, the thought of this medical professional–who's known me since I was 9 and still calls me "kiddo"–seeing me naked makes me very uncomfortable.
I'm not worried about any positive test results; I know my boyfriend's sexual history and I'm not concerned about STIs or HPV. I know I'm in good general health down there, and I maintain good hygiene habits for my ladyparts. I'm just nervous about being all naked and vulnerable and caught in stirrups in front of my doctor. And he told me that it would indeed be him doing the examination. He didn't mention, and I didn't think to ask, if there would be a female assistant present.
So I guess all I'm asking–since I've already read up on the procedures involved in the Pap smear and the bi-manual examination and all–is…any tips for me on how to feel less nervous about the whole situation? Anything from personal experiences that might help me? Anything I should say? And one thing that really caught my attention in the VP archives: why do I need to take *all* my clothes off? Isn't that excessive?
I'm honestly DREADING this. I know it's irrational, but I guess I'm just a much more "private" person than I ever thought…I just feel silly.
Thanks in advance for any advice you may have!
EDIT: Thanks to everyone for the helpful tips and for sharing their personal experiences. I'm going to call my doctor's office when I'm ready and ask all my questions about their specific policies (regarding female nurses, dressing, breast exams, etc), and if I'm not happy with what I hear, I will take your advice and ask to be referred to a ladyparts specialist.
VP does not let me down! <3