Abbie Chatfield wants women to stop 'fumbling' our way through intimate health

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·Features and Health Editor
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Never one to be afraid to tackle 'sensitive' or 'intimate' topics, reality star Abbie Chatfield's latest project is the perfect fit.

From first gracing our TV screens looking for love on the Bachelor, to taking out the crown on I'm a Celebrity... Get me out of Here! and recently kicking off her very own hosting gig for Love Island Afterparty, the podcast host is now leading an interactive digital course as part of Canesten Australia's University of Down Under, which aims to educate and empower young women with regards to their intimate health.

Abbie Chatfield on Canesten Australia's University of Down Under.
Abbie Chatfield has joined Canesten Australia's University of Down Under. Photo: Supplied

"I mean she's a lecturer only by name," Abbie laughs, as she speaks to Yahoo Lifestyle about the new gig, and why she felt it was so important to do her bit to help rid so many topics around women's health of the shame often still associated with them.

New research revealed as part of the 2021 Intimate Health Report Card by Canesten, showed that while female-identifying Gen-Z women may be comfortable or confident speaking openly about their vagina (49%) and vulva (45%), important intimate health topics - like thrush for example - continue to be a taboo topic of conversation.

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"When I was younger my sex education was pretty good, but it was more like 'don't get pregnant', 'don't get STIs', 'use condoms'. It was more warnings rather than being like, this is what thrush is and if you get it, it's okay," Abbie tells us.

"There was none of that really. So you have to kind of like fumble your way through these things. And then when you when you have to fumble your way through, there's all this shame around it. Like for example, the first time you get thrush and you think 'what the f**k is this?' So with this [project] I love the idea of like accessible easy information."

bachelor star and love island host abbie chatfield
Abbie wants women to stop 'fumbling' through their sexual health. Photo: Instagram/abbiechatfield

Abbie openly discusses her sexuality on her social media accounts and It's A Lot podcast, and even launched her own sex toy this year, so she's not shy about touching on the topic of women's health.

Though she admits she was very lucky growing up to have open discussion in her household, but knows that everyone doesn't have that luxury. Not the mention the fact that, as she puts it, "women have been left out of medical conversations for such a long time".

"We have our own field and gynaecology, because 'normal' medicine is for men, you know, like there has to be a specific field about it because it's so underrepresented," she says.

"But I was quite lucky growing up and that my mum she had that the idea of like, 'if you ask the question I will answer the question'. And I knew that I could ask any questions. So I did ask questions, and I also knew that I wouldn't be shamed for them."

With an overwhelmingly positive response to the things she puts out into the universe, the 26-year-old says that's what makes her so passionate about speaking out.

"I think that what I've learned over time on Instagram is that so many people don't feel seen," she says.

"And they don't feel like they have the education or the I guess representation that they need, around things like thrush for example. 

"And I think that's why I'm so passionate about it, because when I do post about things, people are like, oh my god, like with [talking about] masturbation, [people have said] I felt so ashamed to ever masturbate and then I decided to just be like, f**k it and then bought my vibrator and their life has changed."

abbie chatfield in a bikini
Abbie is open about her sexuality online. Photo: Instagram/abbiechatfield

Of course, with positive reactions come the negative ones as well, and Abbie has never been shy to call out 'trolls' on social media.

Only recently, she shared terrifying details about the death threats she has received throughout her career, including voice notes sent via Instagram DMs, but says she has developed a thick skin since her time on the Bachelor in 2019. 

There is only one thing she considers before posting anything - and that's making sure she is inclusive and not "upsetting or further marginalising minority communities".

"The only thing I really worry about is inclusivity. And making sure that I'm including everyone that I can and that's one of the I really care about. I mean, obviously there are going to be times I missed the mark. Being, you know, a white sis woman, there are going to be times that I missed a mark," she says.

But when it comes to the haters, she could not care less.

"Like if you're offended that I'm talking about my vagina, no mate. I'm not scared of people being offended and being prudes about what I'm posting because, you know thrush exists, vaginas exists, masturbation happened. What are you gonna do about it?"

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