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'Believe it or not': the medical framing of rectal foreign bodies.

Authors
  • Robertson, William J1
  • 1 a School of Anthropology , University of Arizona , Tucson , USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Culture, health & sexuality
Publication Date
Aug 01, 2017
Volume
19
Issue
8
Pages
815–828
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2016.1263874
PMID: 28060572
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Medical and lay attention to and intervention for rectal foreign bodies, the presence of an object in the rectum most often via insertion through the anus, has long been a source of humour and suspicion in both medical and public discourses. How do the ways medical providers write and talk to each other about rectal foreign bodies shape and reflect understandings of gender, sexuality and the (im)proper use of the anus and rectum? This paper examines the medical literature on rectal foreign bodies to shed light on the ways in which medical providers frame rectal foreign bodies. It develops a set of six frames that demonstrate how the medical literature on rectal foreign bodies (re)produces a variety of normative assumptions about and sociocultural values concerning bodies and sexuality, danger, shame, deception, mental illness and medical professionalism. It concludes with a discussion of how these framings of rectal foreign bodies might potentially contribute to the ongoing stigmatisation not only of rectal foreign body patients, but of non-heteronormative sexualities in general.

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