5 things to say to make smear tests more comfortable


We know you’d prefer to get all of your healthcare advice from the expert team here at Glamourless – we know what’s best for you, after all, and Sheila did once play a nurse in a student production of Streetcar – but sometimes, the NHS comes out with something useful all by itself, and we’ve got to pass it on. It really is worth going to your smear tests, ladies; it might be the only action you get all year, for one thing. And the other thing is that it’s good to know what your cervix is up to.

But we’ve all put it off, haven’t we? And why? Well, it’s because we find it difficult to be pant-free in front of a stranger. It’d probably be easier to be fully naked, but it’s the waist-down situation that’s the real killer. It’s awkward as anything. But awkward ain’t a reason to let your cervix get up to mischief, unmonitored. So the Glamourless guys and gals have come together to bring you five excellent ways to diffuse any inspection-room tension – and actually make your next smear test into a fantastic and rewarding social interaction.

1. ‘How often do you root around your own cervix?’

This one’s for the female nurses, ideally. What’s great about this question is that a) it takes the attention away from you, b) it allows the nurse to talk about her area of expertise, which might lead to you getting a brand new gal pal, and c) the casual language will put her immediately at ease. And you might learn a little something.

2. ‘The last time someone did that I got pregnant!’

It might not be true, but it’ll sure make them laugh.

3. ‘Oooh, that feels really nice. Can you do it again?’

Nurses and doctors who carry out smear tests spend their days dealing with a load of complaining women writhing around, grumbling about scraping sensations and shooting them dirty looks. Make your health care professional’s day by pretending you’ve derived a lot of pleasure from the experience ­– and that you’d love it if they’d repeat it. They’ll probably say no, which is good news for you, because it’s fucking horrible.

4. ‘Would you mind taking your pants off too?’

Think about it: the awkwardness is coming from you having your pants off, legs in stirrups, speculum up your triangle, and the nurse or doctor being totally clothed. It’s an imbalance. Redress said imbalance by quietly and politely requesting that they too remove their clothing from the waist down. It’s only fair, and if they say no they’re being a real Jeremy Hunt about it if you ask us.

5. ‘Do you ever think that if shrimp were bigger and lived on land they’d be terrifying?’

Sometimes, it’s easier to just delve into a totally different area of conversation than, um, your area. So just muse, philosophise, let your reckons surface and share them with your nurse. People are always grateful when someone takes the lead in a conversation – but if they’re not forthcoming with responses, don’t be afraid to throw four or five more questions out at them in quick succession. Before you know it, they’ll be whipping out the speculum and it’ll all be over.

Have you got any smear test secrets for us? Share them in the comments below!

Bonnie Pumphouse

Bonnie began her professional life selling caravan kitchens. She then took on a part-time role throwing lady parties for a well-known sex toy retailer, but they parted ways over artistic differences. She now splits her time between a much higher end sex toy retailer and writing exciting, inspirational articles for Glamourless – all aimed at REAL women like her.

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