Many women are traumatized by pelvic examinations, resulting in reactions ranging from mild anxiety and embarrassment to avoiding the exam altogether. Studies which surveyed how women feel about pelvic exams are discussed and analyzed as are projects utilizing the educational pelvic exam approach. The concept of psychological preparation for pelvic exams is presented incorporating the importance of personal control. The main theme is the proposal that preparation for pelvic exams should be tailored to each individual patient. The role of the examiner is also discussed, stressing physician education and sexual conflicts involved in the performance of pelvic exams.