Trouble down there? Dr Cuterus has you covered
On Instagram, an Oxford-educated doctor is discussing sexual health, period myths and other intimate issues one viral post at a time
In many ways, social media would seem like the last place to discuss an intimate matter. The forums are too public, trolls are just waiting to pounce, it’s hard to stay anonymous forever – and what if your uncle is reading this?
Yet, it has emerged as the millennial port of call for sex education. Dr Tanaya Narendra, in her Instagram avatar as @dr_cuterus, aims to put the fun back in the fundamentals. The 27-year-old is a trained doctor from the University of Oxford. She does quick videos and offers candid advice about every doubt you might have had but never thought to ask: Can I get an STI from a toilet seat? Why do women’s panties end up bleached at the crotch? Is it ok to wash your hair when you’re on your period?
Narendra says she started her account a year ago because there was so much misinformation online, even put out by legitimate brands. “I was misled so much myself, that I hated my body for a long time,” she says. “You keep hearing that your intimate areas should be lightened or that your butt should be firm. But pigmentation is normal and so is your butt.”
She came up with her name, Dr Cuterus (Cute and Uterus, get it?), while binge drinking at a pub. And in the last year, her posts have garnered several thousand views each, and at least 1.8 lakh followers.
The questions reflect millennial preoccupations too. “People ask, ‘How do I understand if there is consent in a situation or there isn’t?’” Lots of questions are about oral sex, anal sex, toys, period sex and having sex for the first time. “It’s less about their anatomy and it’s more pleasure focused now.”
There is more awareness about diseases and LGBT health too. “Earlier, contraception was primarily talked about in terms of how to avoid a pregnancy,” says Dr Narendra. “Now it’s discussed even among same-sex couples, how it can protect from infections, and how it can balance hormonal issues, which is great.”
She creates most of her material during breaks at her job in a private clinic, which gives her just enough time in the day to dedicate to her page. “I’m never out of topics because the questions keep pouring in, so if I’ve received 15 questions about the same thing, I know it’s time to talk about it,” she says.
Dr Uma Vaidyanathan, senior consultant, obstetrics and gynaecology, Fortis Hospital, Delhi, says having a medical professional offering advice on Instagram is a welcome move. “The format offers more accessibility and awareness to a generation that might be just one wrong Google search away,” she says. “Not everyone is going to like the nature of such content, but if the right information reaches a young girl or boy, the trolls are insignificant.”
On Dr Narendra’s page, roughly one in three queries come from Indian men, who typically ask about size and appearance , and are concerned about sperm count and sexual stamina. But on the whole, Narendra finds that women are better informed and interested in their sexual health. “In my experience, men have a very linear focus on these things.”