Rite of passage

This recent article from the Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger about adolescent gynecology made me think about how this issue is largely left out of the discussion on teen sexuality.
The first visit is described as a “gynecological encounter,” which doesn’t include a full pelvic exam, but allows teenage girls to start a dialogue with their OB/GYN. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that healthy girls first visit a gynecologist between the ages of 13 and 15 and preferably before sexual activity. As a good friend of mine pointed out, the first visit is kind of like the “control” to which every exam after sex can be compared.
This also ties into the discussion on abstinence-only education. If teenage girls aren’t getting accurate information about sex in school, then maybe they can get it from their OB/GYN. I’m wondering: Are parents who advocate abstinence-only education delaying the date of their daughters’ first visit to the gynecologist?
Speaking from personal experience, my parents are conservative Catholics who believe strongly in abstinence-only until marriage. I made my first OB/GYN appointment by myself, and I was way older than 13. This article certainly makes the case that more girls would benefit from starting a relationship with their gyno at an earlier age, even if they aren’t sexually active.
Thoughts? Do you think age 13-15 is too young to see the gynecologist, or should we be encouraging girls to be comfortable with their doctor at an earlier age?

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