If I was asked to rate my sexual activity on a scale of 1-10, I’d most likely say it was a 4.8. I don’t go out of my way to find sexual partners nor does the idea of hooking up with strangers seem all that appealing. In fact, I’d argue that I’m more attracted to Netflix and cookie dough than I am to men and their nether regions.
Yet despite my self professed chastity, I somehow ended up with crabs. Now I’m going to assume that readers do not want to know any of the nitty gritty details of my whole “living creatures in my genital area” situation so for the sake of both our sanities I will leave it out. What I will say is that genital crabs are something usually transmittable only through body contact…something I had not had in months. So basically what I’m saying is that I somehow inexplicably ended up with crabs despite the fact that people don’t just randomly get crabs (often). I’ll also say that it is NOT an STI or STD or what have you. It’s just like head lice…but like on private parts.
When I discovered the “situation”, I immediately called my school’s health services office to book an appointment to deal with the issue. I had read online that crabs were easily treated with over the counter lotions but I wanted to go to the doctor just to make sure I was correct in my assumption and so that I could remedy the situation. But because university health services are the worst, I couldn’t get an appointment until hours later. And what was worse- I had to explain to the woman on the phone that I needed an appointment because I had “CRABS EVERYWHERE!” Okay so that’s an exaggeration- I didn’t have that many crabs. Just enough to make you want to set everything, including yourself, on fire.
For some reason I thought that if I bought proof of my crabs that I wouldn’t have to undress in front of a doctor. So I brought some of them in a ziploc baggie. And if you were wondering, yes they were still alive and kicking and yes it was mortifying. Unfortunately even after handing those over to the slightly horrified nurse I was still forced to strip down. And the best part- my fears were realized. In fact, when the nurse returned to the room she said “Ooooooo, you got crabs!” I was surprised I didn’t hear a laugh track after she delivered the line.
After the nurse left, the doctor came in. He checked everything out and confirmed that I did in fact have genital lice and called in a prescription for me. It is important to say, however, that this doctor was a fucking asshole. I felt incredibly judged the entire time we talked and I could tell that he thought I was lying about my sexual history. He basically said, “Well like people don’t get crabs from nonsexual encounters so like…#yourealyinglittleslut #whiteboyswiththeirfuckingcrabs”I felt humiliated and embarrassed for a thing I had no control over, for a thing that had been inflicted upon me without me engaging in any risky practices. I was basically slut shamed for not even doing anything remotely slutty.
That night I completely shaved off all of my body hair, applied the cream/lotion and prayed that would be the end of it. And it was. All of the fuckers died. I felt relieved. But I also couldn’t help but find it funny. Out of all the people in the world- of course I was the one who would end up with crabs. I started looking at it as a humorous situation and probably told a lot more people than I needed to. I started making jokes about the situation and began using the excuse “I can’t. I have crabs” for any and all situations.
But the whole situation, especially my interactions with the doctor, made me realize that there is some serious victim shaming going on in the sexual health world. People sympathized with me because they knew I had not done anything that would have normally resulted in me getting crabs. But I can’t help but think that this type of reasoning justifies judgment against those who are more sexually active. I think we have a tendency to morally judge people who have STIs or crabs or what not and convince ourselves that they somehow deserve to have them. Maybe it’s part of the whole attributional bias in which we attribute other people’s actions to internal factors rather than external ones. What I mean is that we assume that these people have crabs or STIs because they are promiscuous, reckless, or immoral. But why can’t we assume its more because of external factors? Maybe the person’s partner lied to them about sleeping with other people and transmitted the STI/crabs from their other sex partner. Maybe this person got crabs from the first person they were sexually active with. We need to give people the benefit of the doubt. And beyond that- we need to realize that no one deserves to deal with a medical condition or any complications brought about by these kinds of situations.
At first I didn’t want to write this article because I didn’t want people knowing that I had crabs. It seemed like too much information.But then I thought- who gives a flying fuck! Yes, I had crabs. Why did I have crabs? Because I somehow got them from someone else from nonsexual contact. How did that happen? I DON’T KNOW! I’m not a different person because I had crabs. It was a one and done thing, like many STI’s are now with available treatments. I shouldn’t feel bad because I didn’t do anything wrong. And while we should engage in safe sex to protect ourselves, we can’t force our own ethical viewpoints on other people. I believe that people have an obligation to be forthcoming with anything they have and have a responsibility to not spread things to unwilling or unaware partners. But beyond that- people should have the right to live their own lives and we should remember that sex and the issues that come along with it are often more complicated than “He/She is a whore! They deserve that STI!”
I secretly think getting crabs was a good thing for me. At the very least it’ll make a great chapter in my fucked up future memoir.