If you think the words “orgasm” and “birth” don’t belong anywhere near each other in the same sentence, I would have to say I completely agree with you. Science, however, would disagree with both of us, because orgasmic birth definitely, 100%, without-a-doubt exists -- but what is an orgasmic birth?
And you could say it's a beautiful thing.
I mean, think about it: some women are able to experience what is arguably one of the worst “natural” pains known to the human race and instead of screaming, panting, or crying their way through it, they are able to experience pleasure? It’s astonishing, really. Most of us are content to just take away some of the pain from birth, let alone actually feel anything resembling joy or pleasure during the experience.
For a long time, the phenomenon of an orgasmic birth was shrouded in secrecy, like it was a shameful occurrence, one that should be left in the world of women and birth and blood and babies. Surely no “normal” mother would get pleasure from giving birth, right? Surely there has to be something wrong with that? An orgasmic birth is unsettling in a lot of ways because 1) we still think of women’s sexuality as a shameful thing to begin with, let alone during something as sacred as birth and 2) the majority of individuals who give birth definitely do not come anywhere near feeling pleasure during the delivery.
But the truth about orgasmic births is coming more into the limelight thanks to things like the “Orgasmic Birth: The Best Kept Secret” documentary and more women coming forward (did not intend for that to be a pun, but hey, whatever works) to share their own stories of having an orgasm during birth.
For example, Debra Pascali-Bonaro, a doula and childbirth educator herself for over 30 years, was never put off by the idea of a woman orgasming during birth and when it actually happened to her during her third baby’s delivery, she was thrilled.
"I moved, stood, swayed, listened to music, took a shower, and enjoyed each last surge of ecstatic orgasmic release as my baby slid from my body into my arms,” she described to Glamour magazine.
So now that we know that it’s possible to have an orgasm during birth, can we just talk about, um, how it’s actually possible to have an orgasm during birth?
During the end stages of labor and especially near the very end as a woman’s body is getting serious about getting that baby out, the uterus contracts pretty rhythmically about every one to two minutes. The uterus and vagina are connected and as the baby’s head moves down, it’s also moving down at a steady pace.
Picture the woman kind of rocking during labor to open up the birth canal, the baby’s head bumping into the birth canal opening, and the vagina and uterus rhythmically moving in conjunction with the contractions as a woman relaxes instead of tenses up in pain and voila--an instance recipe for orgasmic birth.
And on the other side, some women straight-up have sex or masturbate during labor as a form of pain relief. Women who have used clitoral stimulation during labor describe it was a way to turn labor into pleasure, even if it’s not a completely sexual pleasure.
“Birth & Sex operate in almost the exact same ways,” wrote one blogger, who chose to, as she describes, “touch herself” during labor. “The hormones, sensations, the anatomy involved, brain activity, receptors…they are all so heavily intertwined. Our vulvas swell, blood flow is increased, we moan, sway our hips, deep breathing, sweat – we drop into a seriously sacred intimate space. Heck, women around the world are experiencing orgasmic childbirth. I wanted to make sure I had a piece of that pie!”
Doctors and experts in childbirth actually say the idea of an orgasmic birth makes a lot of sense from nature’s perspective--a woman feeling like she could orgasm during birth is going to have endorphins and oxytocin in her body. The endorphins override pain signals in the body. Oxytocin not only helps her feel good and happy and joyful, but it also helps her labor and birth go faster too. Win-win all around.
One of the key things to remember: any type of pleasure a woman might feel during birth isn’t necessarily the same type of pleasure a woman might experience during sex with a partner, but it’s still a pleasurable experience.
And that sure as heck beats the pain of a contraction any day. So why would any woman feel ashamed about that?
(Image: iStock / lovleah)