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The average human vagina
April 1, 2013 5:21 PM   Subscribe

Do you secretly suspect that your vagina is above average? It may be, but how would you know?
posted by latkes (66 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
That was a good article. It dropped some science but it was easily accessible, and it had a clear point that was restated at the end.
posted by desjardins at 5:32 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


It also has the best footnote ever (pun probably intended):
*We had a line in here comparing the vagina to an upside-down sock, but it turns out that the wide variety of sock shapes–some have toes!– could lead to confusion, so we deleted it.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:35 PM on April 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


"In 2005, after getting consent from premenopausal women who would be under general anesthesia for other reasons, a group of researchers examined the appearance and dimensions of 50 women’s genitalia."

Can any medical types explain why it was better to do this under general anesthesia instead of during a routing GYN exam?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:37 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Really excellent article. I learned a lot about the vagina that I do not own.
posted by item at 5:39 PM on April 1, 2013


Can any medical types explain why it was better to do this under general anesthesia

I am a medical type and it is idiotic to do this while the woman is under general anesthesia. Vaginal exams shouldn't be painful, as anyone who has consensually had anything in their vagina can attest.
posted by latkes at 5:39 PM on April 1, 2013


I spent too much time in England. All I could do while reading this was think of innuendo after pun after pub name. I feel like a 12 year old who heard somebody say balls now.
posted by srboisvert at 5:40 PM on April 1, 2013


Also, can I request that this post retains the cute cat photo in perpetuity? Pussy puns welcome, if I get a vote.
posted by latkes at 5:41 PM on April 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Can any medical types explain why it was better to do this under general anesthesia

I'm not a medical type but I'm guessing it was to observe in a neutral state, sans stimulation. (I'm assuming you cannot get aroused while under general anesthesia, I could be wrong.)
posted by desjardins at 5:44 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


It sounded to me like the study would involve a lot more touching of parts of the vulva than an ordinary exam. I'd guess it was done the way it was more for emotional comfort than physical.
posted by peep at 5:45 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know if there is an equivalent of the normal breasts gallery (NSFW I guess) for vulvas? I think it's a comforting thing to see a wide range of different types of people and hear "yes, you too are normal!"
posted by capricorn at 5:51 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Capricorn, the article links to a project that is sort of similar, though it focuses on the labia minora.
posted by devinemissk at 5:53 PM on April 1, 2013


Interesting!
posted by zarq at 5:54 PM on April 1, 2013


Thanks devinemissk! I need to buff up on my reading comprehension apparently :P
posted by capricorn at 5:56 PM on April 1, 2013


Does anyone know if there is an equivalent of the normal breasts gallery (NSFW I guess) for vulvas?

Googling for "normal vagina gallery" reveals a number of possibilities. This one seems the most helpful in . There are other galleries on that site that show the variation in female bodies or specific parts, including how different bodies look at the same weight.

Curious about variations in penis size, whether flaccid or hard? Start here.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:15 PM on April 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fascinating article. All the vaginas are above average!

The author is missing one set of folks who both own vulvas and have likely seen a few vulvas of other women -- queer women.
posted by gingerbeer at 6:15 PM on April 1, 2013 [13 favorites]


The authors observe, “In general, there are surprisingly few descriptions of normal female genitalia in the medical literature. In contrast, measurements for male genitals are widely available and were published as early as 1899.” And perhaps most shocking: “…even some recent text books of anatomy do not include the clitoris on diagrams of female pelvis. ” In 2005!

Surprisingly few? Not surprising at all.

Fantastic piece. Thanks!
posted by rtha at 6:17 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


But be careful: if your vagina is above average, don't let it get to your head.
posted by Cash4Lead at 6:21 PM on April 1, 2013


I do wonder what the male concept of female genital diversity is. In terms of number of sexual partners, I'm well within the normal range for a forty-something Western bloke and not far off the sample size of some of those studies. Qualitatively, I can report experience of a decent subset of the variations documented. (I haven't in general taken quantitative readings, but as the sensory homunculus shows, some precision is possible. NB: actual Devonian not pictured.)

Promiscuous lesbians aside, I think there's a strong chance of gender bias - even among those who like to bring whatever objectivity they can muster along to the party.
posted by Devonian at 6:22 PM on April 1, 2013


"These big vagina ladies are getting away with murder"
posted by peeedro at 6:30 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


Damn, bad link. Here's vaginal hubris.
posted by Cash4Lead at 6:33 PM on April 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


What a great piece.

I think too many women are taught their bodies are some kind of secret mystery they need to be ashamed of and that makes me really sad. I think women deserve to be comfortable and have ownership of their bodies and this article reads like "you may think your vagina is weird -- but everyone's weird! Everyone's is unique!" and I think that's really cool.

I like sites like the Normal Breast Gallery & the Large Labia Project show the parts of women that are typically only seen in sexualized contexts in a non-sexual way. Yeah, they're different from hands or legs or whatever, but they're still just body parts in the end.

I am a fan of diversity, though, in all things. I think the differences in our bodies is what makes us all awesome.
posted by darksong at 6:38 PM on April 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


Can any medical types explain why it was better to do this under general anesthesia instead of during a routing GYN exam?

Because routing sounds incredibly painful?
posted by Greg_Ace at 7:42 PM on April 1, 2013


Devonian: "Promiscuous lesbians aside, I think there's a strong chance of gender bias - even among those who like to bring whatever objectivity they can muster along to the party."

I have a hard time parsing what you are trying to say. Also idek, you are "well within the normal range" but lesbians are promiscuous?
posted by moody cow at 7:52 PM on April 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is incredibly interesting:

They caution, “Playboy photographs have the potential to condition readers to experience sexual arousal in response to viewing or fantasizing about girls and young women.” Keep in mind that as of 2011, Playboy magazine’s national circulation exceeded 3 million copies a month, and over 19% of subscribers were female. Playboy magazine at least seems to be asserting that there is such a thing as a normal vulva, and it looks like that of a pre-pubescent girl.

It's fascinating to see some actual discussion about how our culture can shape sexual preferences and nudge people towards pedophilia. It would be great if this were a more common part of our conversations about sexual culture, instead of all the stupid "men are naturally attracted to girls because fertility!!!11!!1!" bullshit that always gets trotted out.
posted by medusa at 8:37 PM on April 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


No, I just don't know what the distribution of number of partners is for queer women. It's just stats and sample size - I'd count myself as having been normally promiscuous for my demographic. I suppose it's the sort of 'who knew?' tone of the OP... I think a lot of men knew, for a start, but was just musing on what other groups might.
posted by Devonian at 9:07 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Does anyone know if there is an equivalent of the normal breasts gallery (NSFW I guess) for vulvas?"

/r/gonewild
posted by klangklangston at 9:39 PM on April 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


(I haven't in general taken quantitative readings, but as the sensory homunculus shows, some precision is possible.

The Female Erotic Brain, Mapped

NB: actual Devonian not pictured.)

Here's a more complimentary picture for you (nsfw).
posted by homunculus at 9:48 PM on April 1, 2013


I am a medical type and it is idiotic to do this while the woman is under general anesthesia. Vaginal exams shouldn't be painful, as anyone who has consensually had anything in their vagina can attest.

Sorry, but honestly, your response bothers me. You sound frankly astonished that any woman might be uncomfortable with these examinations, and that (pardon the pun) rubs me the wrong way. You're coming across as less than empathetic to the patients here, and speaking from the patient perspective, I value empathy highly from my medical types.

Plus, I just disagree with your premise in general. There is a world of difference between sexysex times and gynecological exams. Patients are not usually aroused by clinical procedures, and speculums are not pleasant.

Should an exam be painful? Ideally, no. Realistically, though, I think most women experience at least some discomfort. I think asking women who were going to be under general anesthesia for other reasons anyway was a good move. Kudos to the researchers for their sensitivity.
posted by misha at 12:47 AM on April 2, 2013 [19 favorites]


Devonian: "No, I just don't know what the distribution of number of partners is for queer women. It's just stats and sample size - I'd count myself as having been normally promiscuous for my demographic."

OK, cool, thanks for the clarification.

"I suppose it's the sort of 'who knew?' tone of the OP... I think a lot of men knew, for a start, but was just musing on what other groups might."

The article is aimed at women, and as gingerbeer points out, straight women. I think the "who knew" tone of the OP is because we live in a culture in which generally in the media, at school or even at home we don't even get the terminology to refer to the female anatomy right. Let alone capture scientific interest. As the OP refers to studies from 1991, 2000 and 2006, the author also notes:
"Until these studies, knowledge of female pelvic anatomy was largely based on old descriptions of a few female cadavers. I for one am a little disturbed that it has taken so long for basic female anatomy to become interesting enough for serious study."
posted by moody cow at 1:25 AM on April 2, 2013


It's a very frequent presentation to sexual health services of women who have, usually after having had somewhat risky sex, found Something Down There While I Was In The Shower. The Something is almost always part of their normal anatomy. Well, it gets them through the door for STI testing that they might not otherwise think of having, which is a good thing, but it does show the level of lack of knowledge that women have about their genitals.

I am a medical type and it is idiotic to do this while the woman is under general anesthesia. Vaginal exams shouldn't be painful, as anyone who has consensually had anything in their vagina can attest.

Another voice for - wait, what? No. Have you even seen a vaginal examination? From the business end? We need to get a good look at the cervix, which means exerting a two-way lateral pressure at the top end of the vagina with the speculum. This is not that similar to the everyday gamut of sexual insertions into the vagina (though if you get turned on by speculums, hey, you go for it), even without, as misha so rightly pointed out, the very different context. We're all built differently, and it's not possible to predict which women will find vaginal examinations most uncomfortable. Women who have never had any sort of penetrative sex generally find them worst, but you can come across women who haven't had penetrative sex for years who are quite comfortable, and women who have frequent penetrative sex without discomfort who find them nigh-on intolerable.

But this study seemed to not actually be doing anything more invasive to the vagina than putting a swab in to measure length, so I suspect that the general anaesthesia part was practicality more than anything - more likely to allow a good long few minutes of people measuring your bits if you have to be there anyway, and you don't have to know anything about it. It's a very muscular area, and there is the possibility, certainly for internal examinations, that the resting muscle tone (and thus dimensions) are different when conscious vs anaesthetised, which is hinted at but not explicitly mentioned in the article.
posted by Coobeastie at 2:50 AM on April 2, 2013 [4 favorites]


Let's not forget these were women who were under general anesthesia for other reasons, not knocked out specially for the exam. I assume they thought if they were going to have fifty unconscious women lying around anyway they might as well check them out while they didn't know anything about it rather than inconvenience another fifty. Or something like that.
posted by Segundus at 3:16 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Segundus: "they might as well check them out while they didn't know anything about"
I get your point and I agree that it's most likely out of convenience, but just to be precise - the women were consensual participants in the study.
posted by brokkr at 3:25 AM on April 2, 2013


Can any medical types explain why it was better to do this under general anesthesia instead of during a routing GYN exam?

I'd also say this is to also limit interference from changes in muscle tension and movement. The whole genital region is full of highly responsive, muscular tissue. Things like opening size and depth will change depending on how tense someone is, so measuring a knocked-out person is going to give you measurments in the "neutral" position. Regardless as to whether or not you find a pelvic exam painful, just uncomfortable, or whether you're totally blase about it, your body is still going to respond - and in an entirely non-sexual way too might I add, just a pressure-and-response thing - to touch and being manipulated during measurements.

Just a note too on vulvas in porn - it's always a tad sad when they go straight to Playboy for their porn sample. Mainstream soft core stuff like Playboy are far more homogenous than the rest of pornography, and they represent a very small portion of what is consumed. I recall when I first started out in adult that one of the things I found to be enlightening was the wide variety of vulvas in hardcore. There are women performing who have just about every conceivable arrangement of components, all of them described as being hot and desirable, and above all perfectly normal. From eeny weeny invisible labia to great big juicy ones, high small clitori, big ones, all shapes and sizes and ages.

But corner store porn doesn't reflect that at all.
posted by Jilder at 4:09 AM on April 2, 2013 [6 favorites]


I am a medical type and it is idiotic to do this while the woman is under general anesthesia. Vaginal exams shouldn't be painful, as anyone who has consensually had anything in their vagina can attest.


"Should" or "shouldn't" have very little to do with what "is" and "isn't". As anecdata - it is painful, consensual or otherwise. Not as far as unbearable, but definitely painful for the first few minutes.
posted by talitha_kumi at 5:18 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I remember from reading Bonk that we have a dearth on research in these areas because it's really hard to get funding for sex research unless you're trying to treat some kind of ailment, like ED or something. You ask for funding for pure research and people assume you're a perv, or worry that the public will accuse you of being a perv. Wouldn't surprise me (sadly) if folks are more squeamish about funding studies of vaginas and vulvas than penises and testicles.
posted by Peevish at 5:47 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


more likely to allow a good long few minutes of people measuring your bits if you have to be there anyway, and you don't have to know anything about it.

if they were going to have fifty unconscious women lying around anyway they might as well check them out while they didn't know anything about it


But they do know about it.

I dunno, maybe I'm weird or something, but I think if I was uncomfortable having a doctor measure my genitals, I would be even more uncomfortable having them do it while I was knocked out and not in control. So I assumed that doing it that way must somehow be for the benefit of the data.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:03 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


I agree that simple practicality was probably the reason for using women who were under anasthesia. Speaking as a biologist, it's always just so much easier to take measurements on a subject that isn't moving. If your specimen is squirming around while you're trying to collect your measurement data, it can really degrade your accuracy.
posted by Scientist at 6:11 AM on April 2, 2013


Another good reason for volunteering to do this kind of study if you're going to be under general anesthesia anyway is you (or maybe just me?) probably don't want to hear what the researchers are saying while they're examining you. I'm not suggesting they'd be crude or impolite, but do I want to hear "Look at those labia minora!" there should be a tumblr! or "Wow, this vaginal opening is so much more/less ______ than the three we looked at this morning!"

Also, they may not be painful, but they're not exactly comfortable either.

Last year we had a post about how it wasn't until 2009 that anyone actually bothered to find out that most of the clitoris is internal. Women's bodies: still a scientific mystery!
posted by rtha at 6:20 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


...but how would you know?

Yeah. How would I know?
posted by Appropriate Username at 6:32 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


For folks reacting to my statement about general anesthesia, I hear what you're saying, and let me clarify where I'm coming from:

I have received and given vaginal exams. I also taught med students how to do them as a live model/educator. While I find receiving them mildly emotionally and physically uncomfortable, I don't think they require general anesthesia! Even taking an ativan would be considered pretty unusual for this routine examination.

The paper doesn't say if a speculum was used to open the vagina before using a swab to measure it. My guess is no. Having a swab inserted into the posterior fornix, even if you assume they also used a couple fingers to do so, or even a speculum, is just not that painful for most women.

But more important to me is, when women are under general anesthesia, they can't give any feedback. They can't say, "You're poking that swab too hard into the back of my vagina!" which to me, makes this a less accurate measure of at least the functional length of the vagina.

It's possible the study was conducted while women were under general anesthesia so that they could ensure everyone's vagina was maximally relaxed, but I doubt it. Can you imagine conducting penis-measuring studies on men under general anesthesia? Even though an individual penis varies widely in size depending on stimulus? If you measured penis length during anesthesia, you wouldn't know whether you were unrealistically stretching it too much while measuring, etc. A woman's normal vaginal state is not anesthetized, and in my view a good study would measure the vagina in a normal state.

The study says they chose from a pool of women coming in for surgical procedures. This was likely just a convenient pool of available women to choose from. Looks like their consent was fairly robust - they excluded non-english speakers without interpreters, they provided an informational pamphlet, etc. But I personally think it's weird they didn't choose from a pool coming in for routine vaginal exams, and leave them awake for the procedure. That would have been a pool of medically more "normal" women anyway. They could have participated more actively, saying if there was pain, for example. And it would have been a measure of the vagina in it's normal, resting state.
posted by latkes at 8:52 AM on April 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


But latkes, they weren't just measuring the depth; they were also taking all sorts of exterior measurements of the vulva. I agree that if the study was simply to take a depth measurement, taking that measurement during a routine gynecological exam makes sense. All of the other measurements, however, seem like they would involve a great deal of manipulation (if only to get access to the specific part being measured). Some women might be totally comfortable with that, but I think a lot of women might find it difficult, from an emotional perspective. To speak colloquially, generally no one fiddles with my bits that much outside of sexytimes.
posted by devinemissk at 9:10 AM on April 2, 2013


Well, to each their own, but I prefer to be conscious when someone is manipulating my labia. And as a health care practitioner, I prefer to work with people who can respond.
posted by latkes at 9:37 AM on April 2, 2013


Sure, latkes, but that's your preference. Obviously, people are going to differ on what they feel comfortable with, which is why I objected to your calling the researchers' (and study participants') choices "idiotic".
posted by misha at 10:11 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


A woman's normal vaginal state is not anesthetized, and in my view a good study would measure the vagina in a normal state.

Sure, but I don't know that a vagina's "normal" state is going to be in evidence either when the woman is conscious, has her feet in stirrups, and is being examined/poked by researchers. I think that assumption is not necessarily any more correct.
posted by rtha at 10:19 AM on April 2, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hey, I'm not trying to criticize women who would prefer to be anesthetized for this. Although I still think that would be medically inadvisable for such a routine examination since general anesthesia has real risks. I'm criticizing the study designers.

In an awesome world, women's preferences would be made primary in this kind of study, but this is not that world, and medical studies are designed for the convenience of the researchers, not the participants. It's not an equal playing field between participant and researcher, where everyone sits down to a consensus meeting. Instead, the study designers think up the whole thing, then they bring it to the participants who can (arguably) decline to be involved if they don't want to. While this study appears to have been designed by women, there's no way to remove this totally from the context of the history of women's gynecological care.

Anyway, I apologize if I criticized anyone's personal preference for how they'd want their vaginal exam done. My intent was to criticize the study design.
posted by latkes at 10:27 AM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Does anyone know if there is an equivalent of the normal breasts gallery (NSFW I guess) for vulvas?"
/r/gonewild

Sorry if this was a joke and I'm tonedeaf, but r/gonewild is kind of the opposite of a normal breast gallery. It's a gallery of bodies that belong to women, mostly under the age of 30, who are so confident they have exceptionally nice ones, that they post pictures of them on the internet for public admiration. Not that there's anything wrong with that! But it's not a sampling of "average" by any stretch of the imagination.
posted by pocketfullofrye at 10:27 AM on April 2, 2013


Great article!
posted by Eicats at 12:18 PM on April 2, 2013


pocketfullofrye, I agree with you on the question of breasts in /r/gonewild, but I find that the vulvas are more varied.

In other news, I just added "vulvas" to my Chrome dictionary. Guaranteed that no one had to do that for penises....
posted by Xoder at 12:23 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Did Chrome prefer "vulvae"?
posted by klangklangston at 12:26 PM on April 2, 2013


Firefox has a preference for vulvae over vulvas. heh heh ha giggle snicker
posted by rtha at 12:31 PM on April 2, 2013 [1 favorite]


Vulvae it is here in Chrome then. I blame my lack of Latin!

rtha, spell 'em however you like and I'll still giggle too...
posted by Xoder at 12:40 PM on April 2, 2013


Averagina.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:13 PM on April 2, 2013


I thought they all were special.

Still do.

Anyhow, the average vagina is located in the average woman. (Speaking as an outsider, I mean.)
posted by mule98J at 3:46 PM on April 2, 2013


I hear disturbing reports of orangina surprisingly often. You should really get something like that looked at.
posted by msalt at 4:57 PM on April 2, 2013


latkes: "Hey, I'm not trying to criticize women who would prefer to be anesthetized for this. Although I still think that would be medically inadvisable for such a routine examination since general anesthesia has real risks. I'm criticizing the study designers. "

To be clear the women were already being put under for another procedure; the study just piggy backed on that procedure. If the procedure wasn't genital related then it's quite possible the were doing the measuring at the same time.
posted by Mitheral at 5:38 PM on April 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have no idea whether my vagina and vulva are average. What I do know is that they are fine.

Nice article! Thanks for posting.
posted by Too-Ticky at 4:47 AM on April 3, 2013


Oy. They could have chosen any pool of women they wanted to - just as easily could have chosen from women who were coming to a clinic for routine pap smears instead of women coming for surgery.

No problem if you disagree with me on my basic thesis that it was stupid of the study designers to study vagina length in unconscious women - but that's my opinion and is still my answer to the question, "Can any medical types explain why it was better to do this under general anesthesia instead of during a routing GYN exam?"

There's a lot of history about gynecology as a field treating women as objects and unnecessarily anesthetizing us. There's a huge amount of social context that this study exists within, and some of that social context is about how women are treated differently than men. And I'd be super shocked to hear of a study of penis length that studied unconscious men.

Some stuff that shows where I'm coming from on this:

Med students generally learn to do pelvic exams on unconscious women who do not give explicit consent for the unnecessary procedure (but rather sign a blanket consent that they don't necessarily realize includes this). References: Unauthorized practice: teaching pelvic examination on women under anesthesia., Teaching pelvic examinations under anaesthesia: what do women think?, Conversations We Shouldn’t Still Be Having: Pelvic Exams Under Anesthesia.

For several decades, until quite recently, women in the US were heavily anesthetized during labor. A brief history of obstetric anesthesia.

A core value of the Feminist Women's Health Movement was to make women informed and active participants in our own care. This movement brought us a huge increase in female gynecology practitioners, a rise of nurse practitioners for gynecologic care, fathers (and other support people) being allowed to be present during births, and an expectation that we should have a say in how we are touched during examinations.

The emotional reaction I had to the question of whether a woman should be anesthetized for this rather simple procedure (it's just a measuring tape and a swab!) comes from the context of these histories.
posted by latkes at 9:16 AM on April 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is the weirdest post ever, and I feel like am not getting a joke. I don't understand the methodology of this research at all.

You are all aware, of course, that babies usually come out through the vagina? And that this process does not leave the women with 6 inch wide vaginas? Or even 1 inch wide vaginas?

We can also all agree that women (and men)
have very different forms and shapes all over, not just in the pelvic region. Or what?

The links latkes are posting are really scary to read: hey, ladies: it's your body, you need to both know it and control it!!
posted by mumimor at 9:56 AM on April 3, 2013


more importantly - the vagina is not at all an inverted penis
posted by mumimor at 10:06 AM on April 3, 2013


The antipenis?
posted by msalt at 7:14 PM on April 3, 2013


Mark, you're thinking of antepenis, what you eat before the penis.
posted by klangklangston at 7:31 PM on April 3, 2013


In other news: Women better off without bras: French study
posted by homunculus at 8:50 PM on April 10, 2013


I was so sure you were going to say "Women better off without the penis"
posted by msalt at 9:26 PM on April 10, 2013


I need to know exactly how "mammoth" that study is before I take it seriously.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:36 PM on April 10, 2013


"Capucine, a 28-year-old woman who participated in the professor's in-depth study..."

Poom?!
posted by homunculus at 10:48 PM on April 10, 2013


latkes, you realize that these were women who were already put under anesthesia for other reasons, right? They were in the hospital for a surgery or whatever, some unrelated procedure which required general anesthesia, and the researchers simply took the measurements (with prior consent) while they were under anyway.

Nobody was anesthetized solely for the purpose of having her vagina and vulva measured. Arguably, doing it while the women involved were already unconscious for an unrelated procedure saved them the trouble of having to be conscious while their genitals were being prodded at, even if they would otherwise have already been going through some other prodding for a gynecological examination.

Also, these women consented to having the measurements taken in this way. It was not a surprise to them that they were unconscious while it happened -- I can absolutely guarantee you that they were made fully cognizant of that detail of the research before they gave their explicit, fully informed, written consent to participate in the study. It is OK for you to be uncomfortable with the idea of being measured while unconscious, that's fine. It is also OK for these other women to be perfectly comfortable with the idea -- they too are autonomous humans who are capable of giving or withholding informed consent, and they were not coerced into participating in this study.

Do you still take issue with that aspect of this study? If so, can you try to explain some more why that is?
posted by Scientist at 8:29 AM on April 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


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