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Katarina Rivers and Dr. Jennifer Lang hope men, women, and doctors alike will learn about the practice and work to eradicate it

shutterstock_1100035358 2The "husband stitch" is often given to women without their consent. Sopotnicki/Shutterstock

  • In 2010, Katarina Rivers said, she was given a "husband stitch" without her knowledge. She then spent years having agonizing sex.
  • The after she gives birth in order to create a tighter hole, theoretically making sex more pleasurable for cisgender men.
  • Doctors said the stitch is unethical and does not actually enhance sexual pleasure.

In 2010, Katarina Rivers went to her doctor to complain about experiencing painful sex over the course of four years. Although the doctor told her the pain was a result of past sexual abuse, she thought something else was to blame.

Rivers went to several doctors hoping for answers but was always sent home without them. Finally, four years later at Sunrise Hospital in Nevada, she said a doctor told her that she had unknowingly received a "husband stitch."

The is essentially when a doctor sews the vaginal entrance further than necessary after a vaginal birth. The theory is that the surgery makes the opening of the woman's vagina "tighter," with the antiquated goal that sex would be more pleasurable for a cisgender man.

But, as Rivers learned, the procedure is less than pleasurable for those who receive it.

"After the birth of my daughter, sex became extremely painful and uncomfortable for me. It became such an issue that my sex drive completely plummeted and caused some tension/stress in my marriage as a result," Rivers told INSIDER. "I would need to use excessive amounts of personal lubricants and could only engage in intercourse for maybe 20 minutes before I had to quit due to the pain."

The 'husband stitch' was once a widely popular practice created with the pleasure of cisgender men in mind

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, stitching up the vagina was more widely practiced when episiotomies — cuts made in the tissue between the anus and vagina — were common during childbirth.

As early as the 1920s, doctors believed , Healthline reported. Instead of allowing the vagina to expand and tear naturally, incisions were made and then stitched up afterward. It was during this repair that the husband stitch would be added.

Today, however, the ACOG does not recommend routine episiotomies. In an email to INSIDER, ACOG spokesperson Jamila Vernon said research proved episiotomies have no real benefits and thus are rarely performed. Reports on the ACOG website note that "in 2012, 12% of vaginal births involved episiotomy, down from 33% in 2000."

Vernon said the husband stitch is "not a practice that ACOG endorses or has any knowledge of regarding its current practice," and that "we don't believe it's common or standard."

Not only is the practice misogynistic; it is also illogical

OB-GYN Dr. Marjorie Greenfield told INSIDER that the husband stitch doesn't intensify male sexual pleasure.

"In terms of pleasure, if you are looking for more friction, this isn't even the way to achieve that," she said. "What you are looking for is more muscle tone. The vagina is made to be very flexible and so, naturally, the diameter of it will change with many things, including childbirth. If you want to increase your muscle tone, things like Kegel exercises can help this. It is also important to remember there are so many components to sexual pleasure."

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists no longer recommends routine episiotomies. Tyler Olson/Shutterstock

Although the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists doesn't endorse the practice, women still receive the stitch

"I have met several women with stories similar to mine. Just today, while discussing it in a private Facebook group, I found out a friend of mine had the procedure done without her consent," Rivers told INSIDER. "It actually caused such a strain on her sex life in her marriage that her husband was unfaithful, leading to her divorce."

Even doctors who have never performed the stitch say they have seen it done. OB-GYN Dr. Jennifer Lang told INSIDER she witnessed a doctor give a husband stitch to a patient during her training. She said she didn't step in — a decision she said she still carries guilt about.

"He was an older doctor, and he literally turned to the husband in the room and said, 'I am going to put in a couple of extra stitches so she will be nice and tight,'" she said. "The husband just nodded, a little confused, and, funny enough, I don't remember the wife's reaction. At the time, I almost thought he was reassuring the husband he was just doing a good job. If present-day me was back in that room, I would absolutely step in."

Aside from seeing the husband stitch performed, Lang said she has had to perform numerous "episiotomy revisions," a procedure to reverse the stitch.

"Moms come to me years after, saying sex has been painful ever since [giving birth], and I look and see that they have been stitched closed far beyond necessary," she told INSIDER. "That is evidence in front of my eyes the husband stitch is occurring. And while I don't know the doctor or the situation, I can see these aren't normal, these are overrepairs."

Rivers said she chose not to pursue this reversal procedure, as her doctor said it would involve recutting the area and allowing it to reheal. She said the pain of sex has reduced with time, especially after she gave birth to her second child.

A husband stitch being placed in a woman's body against her knowledge is a dark form of sexism

Just as it is not OK to have sex with someone without consent, it is also not OK to alter a person's body without their full permission.

"It's not her husband's body and he should have absolutely no say in it," Rivers said, adding that her husband had no idea she received the stitch. (He was out of town during the birth.)

Rivers said she didn't pursue any legal action "because it seemed like it would be too much trouble." She did, however, file a complaint with the hospital, but she said nothing came of it.

The extra stitch actually doesn't enhance pleasure. Neja Hrovat/Shutterstock

Katarina Rivers and Dr. Jennifer Lang hope men, women, and doctors alike will learn about the practice and work to eradicate it

"I hope others know it does happen, and more than it should. I hope other women tell their stories so more knowledge is available," Rivers said. "I hope men realize it's more harmful to their wives than helpful.






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Katarina Rivers and Dr. Jennifer Lang hope men, women, and doctors alike will learn about the practice and work to eradicate it
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Date: 15.12.2018, 07:49 / Views: 43274