Orgasmic BirthFriday, June 5th, 2009
I recently viewed a film called Orgasmic Birth. In it several women discuss the “bliss and ecstasy” that they felt during their “natural” childbirth experiences. Other “experts” discuss how this occurs with references to blood flow, sexual hormones and anatomy. I found the dialogue and the described certainty with which we can achieve this to be quite fascinating. And I wondered where these women were (and why I hadn’t been one of them).
In having attended over 3000 births, in hospitals, birth centers, homes, bathtubs, hammocks, on the floor, in beds, pick up trucks and more, I have never had a woman tell me she experienced an orgasm during her birth. Perhaps women don’t mention it. Intense sensations and emotions? Yes… Loud, verbal expressions, often similar to what a woman might express when having an orgasm? Yes… Incredible wonder, amazement and bliss? Yes… An actual sexual, toe curling, “oh my god” orgasm? No… Nope… Not so much… But for those who have, what a lovely bonus gift in addition to bringing life into the world. That takes multi-tasking to a whole new level. I did find quite a bit of good dialogue on the subject though, ranging from a different sort of feminist perspective to a frank sexual discussion to testimonials of women who swear they experienced orgasmic births.
I, by no means am saying that women cannot, have not or will not have an orgasm when giving birth. However, and this is a big however, the truth is that the vast majority of women – don’t. And that’s really okay. What is troubling is the expectation presented to women (so often by other women) that if they don’t have the “blissful, orgasmic, natural, amazing birth they are entitled to” that they have missed out on something. Something magical and wonderful. Really not fair. I keep looking for a word other than unfair but can’t find one that describes it any better than that. Working really hard and holding a beautiful baby in your arms is the miracle. To labor and give birth is the astounding process by which that miracle happens. The mere progression of a pregnancy and then bringing a baby out through your body are phenomenal. Please, let’s not think we should strive to have an orgasm as well.