“Every patient who enters Dr. Rubin’s office, regardless of age, is taken on a tour of their own vulva. No longer is a sheet draped over a patient’s legs for the pelvic exam — a convention that Dr. Rubin believes helps keep women’s “private parts” shameful and hidden. Instead, Dr. Rubin starts by handing her patient a long-handled mirror to see the same anatomy that she will be examining.
With a Q-tip, Dr. Rubin probes each part of the vulva for pain, pointing out the labia minora, labia majora and vaginal opening as her patient follows along. Then, she checks under the clitoral hood for adhesions or other skin conditions. The entire exam usually takes under five minutes. “We go at your pace,” she said recently in an exam with a 62-year-old woman, who was experiencing pain after sex. “You’re the boss of this show.””