Recently I attended the premiere of Orgasmic Birth, an exciting documentary by Debra Pascali-Bonaro that I highly recommend. In this movie, various experts discuss the experience some women have, not only of a painless childbirth, but of actual physical orgasm during delivery. I remembered that I too had an orgasmic experience during both my home births, yet I recall being a bit embarrassed about it. In those days my catholic upbringing would whisper in my ear at such sacrilegious thoughts, “You should be ashamed of yourself, mixing sexual pleasure with the sacredness of birth!”
After all, thinking of having an orgasm related to a child is something that automatically goes against everything we have been taught. The dichotomy is simple: sex is naughty, for some perverse, for adults only; others think of it as having one single primary function—procreation. It is also fun, enjoyable, a natural need as well as a beautiful expression of love. Birth, on the other hand, is seen as: sacred, hard, painful, a marathon, a sacrifice women do for their children, a rite of passage, a medical event women know nothing about, the most memorable experience in a woman’s life, the closest we come to God as we embody the power of creation. Few of us would see any correlation between the two other then one can often result in the reason for the other. To be sure, some of us have used some of the same words related to birth, when it came to really good sex. Incredible marathon, we have shouted the name of God in ecstasy several times, and the first time we experienced it, some of us considered it a rite of passage as well. But we hardly look at both as having not only the same quality but also similar physical sensations.
At the time of my two home births, I had read a book by Ina May Gaskin called Spiritual Midwifery, in which she talks about orgasmic birth. She goes further to encourage couples to engage in sexuality during labor to promote relaxation and infuse the birth with the parents’ love. But in the book the couple are mostly hippies, birthing in big hippy busses in a commune, nothing to do with our upper-mobile middle class woman. Many of my clients giggle at the thought of sexuality during labor and most women are just not in the mood, probably because we see the two as so very different.
Fascinated by the subject matter and curious to find if there was any scientific evidence to substantiate the orgasmic experience, I went on a search in the attempt to understand what Mother Nature’s design was and how can we let go of the negative, scary connotations our culture and society have given to such a sublime experience? Recently I stumbled upon and interesting book.
Part 1 | (Part 2) | (Part 3)