When I perform a pelvic or breast exam on a woman, I am required to have a third person present to “protect” everyone. This is wise, I’m sure, and based on unfortunate past experience. On the other hand, I can do hernia exams, prostate exams, testicular exams, etc. with nobody there to verify that my maneuvering is purely clinical. I once asked my Attending if someone should come in while I performed a male exam and he laughed it off saying, “Only if the patient winks at you.” I volunteered no correction that the doctor could just as well be the one doing the winking.
I bring this up because being gay leads to odd scenarios that seem to break the rules at other times as well. Take, for example, showering with other guys. It’s not really a choice in high school, despite folks like my poor friend in middle school who got an erection and whose middle school life was never the same. Fob's quip in a comment that showering with other guys was not the time anyone needed to worry about him doing something inappropriate! Funny, and certainly true. But, just because they aren't likely to have public sex together, we still frown on high school guys and girls showering together... for some reason. I think extrapolating that traditional guidance to gay guys is probably a good idea.
We're careful about men going to girls' camp in the LDS church. And men and women living together in BYU housing, for example. A huge amount of care and effort go into trying to keep the situation itself, no matter how benign, free from temptation and even what my mother would call, "the appearance of evil."
So, I read with interest this post and the comments that followed. It reminded me of a discussion on D2 regarding SSA roommates. It doesn't seem like a great idea to me, to be honest, although I have mixed feelings.
In another example, I was jealous but also a little bit relieved that I couldn't hang out with the crowd of fun bloggers who met at the Evergreen conference and who had a big sleep over party.
I guess the point is that when the normal rules don't apply... you have to try to find wisdom in dealing with the situation for yourself. And although there are plenty who find tradition to be restrictive and absurd, I find it comforting as a default. Where it doesn't apply, as a gay man, I try to use an analogy to a straight situation when possible. When that’s not possible, I think it's important to use vigilant care in recognizing red flags. And maybe err on the side of caution.
Now, if I can just think of how to get a nurse in the room when I’m doing male exams without outing myself…