Tuesday, January 19th, 2016

The Birds and the Bees

Olivia Lacny

The first time I learned about sex, I was at a slumber party in 3rd grade. I remember the dim lighting and my disbelief as an older, wiser 4th grade girl whispered the miracle of life into the circle of pillows and pigtails. I refused to acknowledge her tall tale about how children are made. No way. That same year, I became more distraught by the disturbing information that Santa was not real. Those were difficult and dark times for the young and naïve Olivia.

I wish I could report that I matured by the time I hit the 7th grade, but I’m ashamed to say that I snickered in the back of the room with my classmates while our “Family Life Education” teacher flashed the basic female/male anatomy on the projector. I almost vomited at the mention of menstruation. Those educational videotapes from the 90s didn’t help me feel any less scared about growing up. Then, during my sophomore year of high school, I, quieted my giggles but buried my head in my arms instead of to watching the real-life birthing video being shown.

Standing on the sticky floors of a fraternity living room, surrounded by thirty men and demonstrating the proper way to put on a condom… I wish I could tell you exactly how I got here, but I have the Peer Health Education program to thank. Because of this program, I have had the wonderful opportunity to educate various groups on campus on some of the most important and relevant health-related topics like sexual health, nutrition, alcohol/drug use, and mental health. Somewhere in between preparing young women for their first gynecological visit and increasing information about safe sex, I developed a passion for intimate health.

You want to do …what? Look at…that…all day? These are the common responses when I tell people my dream. The reasons I want to be a gynecologist are buried deep in my past, but stem from the desire to combat the same feelings of awkwardness and discomfort I faced when first learning the intricacies of the human body. Female health shouldn’t be a matter that a woman is terrified to discuss with her physician; it should be a matter of empowerment. I believe that a gynecologist is present with his or her patient in one of her most vulnerable states, and I want to do everything I can so that my future patients walk away feeling healthy and strong, not exposed and helpless. Gynecology requires an understanding of emotional boundaries and respect for the physical boundaries that parallel them. I strive to one day be a physician that can be as comforting as possible in a visit that is deemed most uncomfortable. My hope is that one day (and in the wise words of Salt-N-Pepa), we can all “talk about sex, baby.” Together, we make the taboo and awkwardness surrounding intimate health a thing of our past middle school selves.

About Olivia Lacny

Olivia Olivia is in her third year at the University of Virginia. She is majoring in Psychology and is very involved in activities on campus. Not only is she an active member of Kappa Delta sorority, but also is involved in the Peer Health Education program, a selective and competitive club at UVA that educates other organizations and student groups on campus about college-related issues such as nutrition, drugs/ alcohol, sexual health, and mental health. She, along with a few fellow students, launched a chapter at UVA for the National Alliance on Mental Illness of which she is President.

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