I Have A Flipped Uterus?


I went in for my first pap smear a few months ago. My gynecologist is the dream gyno: young, hip, and very sex-positive. I expected to be in and out with no problems. It started off with the usual for any pelvic exam: get undressed, put on a gown, get up in the chair, and put your feet in the stirrups.

I waited patiently with my legs spread while my doctor, realizing the lamp she needed for seeing where she was inserting things (it’s dark up there) was out, called a nurse to grab another light. Instead, the nurse came in bearing a very hefty flashlight, explaining there were no other lights available. So now this was a tag team effort: my doctor reaching to find my cervix while the nurse held the flashlight at my feet. She was really digging in there, as she apologetically told me that it doesn’t usually take this long and that she was having trouble finding my cervix. I assured her I was fine when she added, “It looks like your uterus is flipped.”

Now, I’m not sure about others who’ve had pap smears… but the last thing I’m ready to hear while sitting in that vulnerable position is my doctor nonchalantly telling me my uterus is “flipped.” What does that even mean?

The technical term is retroverted uterus. As scary as that sounds, turns out it’s actually pretty common, affecting about 20% of people with vaginas. Normally, the position of the uterus is tilted backward, so that the bottom part — the cervix — is frontwards towards the stomach, and the top of the uterus is tilted towards the back. A retroverted uterus is tilted the opposite way, therefore the cervix is pointed more towards the back and the top of the uterus is towards the stomach. Essentially, this means a retroverted uterus extends more directly up and back toward the rectum, instead of folding over and hugging the bladder (if this is confusing, there are a lot of good google images out there). Usually, a tilted uterus is inherited genetically, although there are some conditions that can cause a uterus to become retroverted such as endometriosis, fibroids, or pelvic inflammatory disease.

So do people with tipped uteruses have to worry about anything different than people with normally oriented ones?

My biggest, most fearful questions centered around pregnancy and childbirth. After talking to my gynecologist and doing some of my own research, I found that a tilted uterus itself does not affect getting pregnant. In some cases, conditions that can cause tipped uteruses (mentioned above) may affect getting pregnant, but the orientation of the uterus itself should not. However, in most cases, a tipped uterus does not affect childbirth. Once the beginning stages of pregnancy have passed, the uterus usually pushes itself up and re-orients into the correct position. In rare cases, the uterus is not able to push up and gets caught in a retroverted position. This condition is called uterine incarceration and can lead to pregnancy complications, although it is extremely rare — occurring in less than 1% of births from people with a retroverted uterus. Still, if you’re pregnant, it’s always a good idea to mention to your doctor that you have a tipped uterus.

The most surprising and seemingly most important thing to know about having a tipped uterus is that it can affect the pleasure of sex. It’s common that a tipped uterus causes painful penetrative sex in some positions. This is mostly because, during penetrative sex, the penis/toy will more easily hit the walls of the vagina or bump against the cervix which can be painful. This is usually specific to the position. Positions in which thrusting is deeper can be painful, so avoiding these positions can be helpful. Sticking to positions where you can be in charge of the depth of penetration is ideal. Usually, people with flipped uteruses find doggy style and other back-entering positions to be more painful while finding that positions, where partners are facing each other, tend to work better.

Having a retroverted uterus is usually not a game changer, but at the very least, a good thing to be informed about. The only way to tell the orientation of your uterus is through a pelvic exam by a physician. It’s important that if you think you might have this condition, for reasons such as painful sex, that you talk to your doctor. There are other, more serious conditions that can present similar symptoms.



Who Is Brett Kavanaugh?


In June of 2018, Justice Anthony Kennedy retired after having served 30 years on the Supreme Court. With his retirement, he left one of nine spots on the Supreme Court open. The court is the highest federal court in the United States, and its primary function is to interpret the constitutionality of laws, acts, etc. Their rulings have a major effect on the upholding or suppressing of civil and human liberties. Supreme Court Justices serve for life and are nominated to the position by the sitting President. To be confirmed, the nominee must approved by the Senate. Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh; here’s what you should know.


So, who is Brett Kavanaugh?

Brett Kavanaugh is currently a justice for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He has served on that court for over 12 years and has heard many major cases. Historically, he has ruled in a significantly conservative manner. 


What’s an example of a major case he’s taken part in?

Last year, Kavanaugh was part of the three-justice panel that heard the case Garza v. Hargan, which had already been appealed by the government and had gained significant media attention. The case regarded an undocumented 17-year-old’s right to seek an abortion while being held in federal custody. Kavanaugh voted in favor to keep the minor in custody until she could be assigned a sponsor—which he did not see as placing an undue burden on her right to abortion. Effectively delaying the minor’s termination by over a month. Ultimately this decision was overturned by a larger court, which Kavanaugh again disagreed with. The minor was eventually able to attain her abortion with no further delay. Kavanaugh is believed to be pro-life (anti-abortion).


He’s been accused of sexual assault. 

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a professor at Palo Alto University, wrote a letter to Congress members accusing the Supreme Court nominee of pinning her down on a bed, attempting to remove her clothing, covering her mouth when she tried to scream, and sexually assaulting her at a party when they were both teenagers in the early 1980s. She initially requested that her identity remain anonymous, but then went public with her story.

Kavanaugh has denied these allegations. Ford has agreed to testify before a Senate committee regarding the assault.



What are the chances that he is confirmed?

It was previously believed that the confirmation vote would be close. The Senate is currently made up of 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats, and it was suspected that the vote would be split between the parties (Kavanaugh has a more conservative ruling record, making him an unattractive candidate for liberals), although there are still many Senators who have not taken a clear stance. 

However, the recent sexual assault allegation has received extensive media and its affect of public and Senate opinion of Kavanuagh remains to be seen. It is worth noting that Justice Clarence Thomas was accused of sexual harassment by his former employee, Anita Hill in 1991 during his confirmation process. He sits on the Supreme Court today.


If confirmed, what impact would this possibly have?

Although Kavanaugh’s leanings in the past do not necessarily dictate his possible future on the Supreme Court, we can look to them as a guide. Whereas recently retired Justice Kennedy took a moderate stance regarding social issues, Kavanaugh has shown significantly more conservative leanings. If he’s confirmed, the Supreme Court would be compromised of a 5-4 Republican majority. There is large concern that—given that a case regarding the right to abortion is making its way up to the Supreme Court— Kavanaugh could be the key vote in overturning Roe v. Wade (the landmark case in which the Supreme Court ruling made abortion a constitutional right in the U.S.). It’s also highly possible that, if Roe v. Wade is not completely overturned, there could still be partial changes made that would make seeking an abortion much more difficult.

Additionally, if confirmed and assuming he is guilty of sexual assault, a message will be sent to survivors that their attackers will not be held accountable.


Would abortion become illegal if Roe v. Wade was overturned?

It depends on the state. According to an analysis done by the Center for Reproductive Rights, 22 states are at high risk of abortion being completely banned if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Another 8 states are at moderate risk, while 21 states seem to have additional laws in place that will protect the right to abortion regardless of the Roe v. Wade ruling.


Does the public have any say in Kavanaugh’s confirmation?

Ultimately, the Senate will be voting to confirm/deny Kavanaugh’s place on the Supreme Court Justice. A specific date for this vote is yet to be set, but it’s rumored to be taking place this fall. If you want to weigh in, call your state Senators and let them know why you think Kavanaugh is fit/unfit to serve on the most powerful court in the country. 


*Roni Bowen is an editorial intern for Killer And A Sweet Thang. 


STI Stigma

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are once again on the rise in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2017…


Gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia are some of the most common STIs. Each are a different kind of bacterial infection that is curable with antibiotics, yet the majority of cases go undiagnosed and untreated. Why? The answer is complicated, but stigma plays a big part.

If you’re asking yourself what STI stigma is, consider this comparison.

A) Your friend calls to tell you that they have strep throat. You can conclude a few things: they have an illness contracted from another person, it’s a bacterial infection, it’s curable with antibiotics, and if left untreated—it could result in other serious health conditions (i.e. kidney inflammation or rheumatic fever).

B) Your friend calls and tells you they have chlamydia. Very similarly, your friend has an illness contracted from another person, it’s a bacterial infection, it’s curable with antibiotics, and if left untreated—it could result in other serious health conditions (i.e. pelvic inflammatory disease or infertility).

The contexts of these situations are not worlds apart, but your reaction to each is likely different. That’s stigma.

STI stigma is often fueled by misinformation and attitudes about morality. Misinformation is rooted in both an individual’s fear of illness/death, and inaccurate information about how STIs are transmitted. Others stigmatize STIs because of their personal belief that acquisition of such infections comes from irresponsibility or immoral behavior. This mentality usually stems from negative cultural beliefs surrounding sex, and a false categorization of people who contract STIs as the dirty and slutty.

But the reality is, the majority of people will contract at least one STI within their lifetime. STIs are an infection, no dirtier than the common cold or the flu. Understanding what stigma is and how it develops can actually reduce new cases of infection. Stigma not only plays into systemic governmental and healthcare barriers, but also causes barriers on an individual level.

A study conducted in 2009 found that increased STI-related stigma was associated with a lower chance of an individual having been recently tested for STIs. Even without empirical evidence, this can be understood on an intuitive level: the more stigma attached to STIs, the more likely an individual is to refuse STI testing, refuse to report/ lie about their status to partners, and/or delay seeking care—all because they fear how they may be judged by others.

Stigma often goes hand-in-hand with denial; the more an individual demonizes an STI, the more they mentally distance themselves from it. Some people struggle to believe that they can even personally contract STIs, because in their minds, they don’t exemplify the behavior they stereotypically associate with infection—leading them to forego protection altogether.

The most dangerous part about stigma is that it perpetuates a cycle. More stigma means less measures taken to prevent and treat STIs, which creates new cases of STIs… which ultimately ends in more stigma. To end this cycle, we must work to reduce stigma. Doing this is difficult and there is no clear cut path. It’s takes an active role that requires self-realization and acceptance of the fact that stigma has likely negatively affected your own attitudes toward STIs.

But a good way to start is..

  • Use condoms.
  • Educate yourself with accurate information about STIs, and in turn, educate your partners/peers.
  • Get tested regularly.
  • If you or a peer does contract an STI, notify past and current partners.
  • Remember: bacteria, a parasite, or a virus gave you a STI, not a person. Don’t attempt to identify “patient zero” because such behavior demonizes individuals.
  • Avoid using language such as “clean.” It perpetuates negative perceptions of STI contraction.
  • Speak up when you hear someone stigmatizing people with STIs.


Information leads to understanding, and will increase comfortability with STIs and sex-related topics. It might sound daunting, but normalizing these topics is a direct way to reduce stigma. It won’t go away overnight, but admitting it’s there and that we all contribute to it will decrease its power.