As You Desire: Orgasmic Childbirth ~ Can it be?

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After watching this video there were so many things running through my head. The first of which was, “If I had known that I would have had many more children”. The next was, “I’m pissed off because I didn’t know that was a possibility when I was living through 24 hours of natural labor and delivery”!

I went into my own childbirth experience very well educated and prepared. Now I realize I was not nearly as prepared as I would have liked to have been. Can labor and delivery actually be a sensual, orgasmic experience? According to the experts approximately 20% of birthing mothers experience an orgasm during the delivery. Dr. Christiane Northrup explains that the very same anatomy which is stimulated during sexual intercourse is also stimulated by the descending baby. Makes sense. Then why don’t more women know about this? Do we have puritanical attitudes which prevent us from seeing sexuality as a normal physiological process… kind of like breathing?

I was a labor and delivery nurse for part of my nursing career. I have to admit I never saw that side of childbirth. My experience and research explains why. When we put a laboring woman in bed, attach her to wires and machines, she is unable to move about and labor naturally. There are very few cultures who do this to their women. Birth is the most natural act (besides sex) and yet we treat it as though it was a “diagnosis” to be dealt with. I’ve heard all the reasons for this… the medical culture in the USA has very stanch beliefs to back up their defensive practice actions. Morbidity, Mortality, & Legality are the top three. But what they don’t realize is that the way we currently treat childbirth is creating a whole new basket of problems (we call them unforeseen consequences) they have yet to connect the dots to.

Birthing chairs have been popular far longer than reclining deliveries.

Don’t kid yourself. Childbirth changes women. All of the following factors (and more to be discussed in future columns) will affect future sexual experiences for the woman (and therefore her partner).

Episiotomy: When you lay a woman on her back to deliver a baby all the pressure is downward into the rectum. To avoid a tear (which some believe is much worse) they create incision in the perineum (the tissue between the vagina and anus) to allow more space for the baby to exit her body. This incision hurts like a mutha after delivery (try sitting on your surgery). This incision causes scarring, which can take months to heal making sex painful and frightening. The more compassionate forward thinking doctors do what is called perineal massage (or have the partner do this) which stretches the skin allowing for an easier, less likely to tear, delivery. This makes healing a breeze and back to normal sex timely.

Monitors, IVs, strapped to bed: The most abnormal, unnatural way to labor. Have you ever watched an animal? They pace, they stretch, they get up and down… they move. The natural movements assist labor. They make it faster and more pleasurable. Most then stand or lie on their side to deliver… no other mammal reclines on their back to birth a baby.

Anesthesia VS Natural Child Birth: What happened to Lamaze and Bradley? Or how about Yoga during Pregnancy? The only birthing classes I’ve heard about lately are the ones where the labor and delivery nurse describes what is going to happen “to you” and what drugs will be at your disposal! This floors me. Women are not being taught about their bodies and how to make this process pleasurable and intimate. Setting the mood is not being in a sterile hospital room unable to move. When we anesthetize (epidurals are the new favorite) the laboring woman she cannot fully participate HER labor and birth of her baby. This in and of itself increases the odds to need a dangerous, more emergent surgical intervention. I am dumbfounded when I hear women say they would prefer to have a Cesarean section delivery. What have we done to our women? We have left them so frightened and disempowered over their own bodies they would rather subject themselves to risky anesthesia and surgery.

Fear: We have all heard the horror stories surrounding birth. Women talking to other women are the worst! We teach our young women to be afraid and in doing so we set the tone for this injustice to recur. When prepared, as the women in the video displayed, labor and delivery can very well be a joyful, sensual, erotic and pleasurable experience. First we have to be willing to question our beliefs. Until then we will recreate the horrors of our mothers and grandmothers or be willing to subject ourselves to the medical interventions which are not at all risk free. You don’t hear about the paralysis or deaths related to the anesthesia do you? Or the epidurals that only work on half the body? Or don’t work at all and leave the unprepared, uneducated woman to live the horror she believed would happen without the drugs. Education is power. We need to wake up and get back to teaching women how to control their own bodies – in every way.

So you ask, what does all this have to do with sex? It reflects our attitudes about something so natural and important. If we do not take charge of our beliefs about our own body and how it functions then how in the world are we going to enjoy a fun, energetic, healthy sexual life? And remember… the result of having some of that yummy sex…. is often a baby. They can both be a euphoric, orgasmic, pleasurable experiences… if we have the attitude for it! Do you?

Intimately Yours,
Nancy

Additional Reading: More information on the History of Childbirth. The story of King Louis XIV who is credited for creating a fundamental change in the history of childbirth positioning.

Nancy Sutton Pierce RN, Health Educator is the Founding director of Nancy Sutton’s House of Yoga and Radio Talk Show Host on The Conscious Living Show LIVE every Saturday 11a-12noon on KCNR 1460am You can reach Nancy at asyoudesire@ymail.com with your comment or questions.

As You Desire is proudly sponsored by Body Logic MD; helping both men and women restore their libido and vitality through hormone therapy, fitness and nutrition counseling. www.bodylogicmd.com

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Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce
Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce’s eclectic background places her expertise in a league of its own. The compilation of her career as an RN, health educator, intimacy author, radio talk show host, and yoga therapist all fuel her passion as an International speaker and clinical sexologist. Earning her Doctorate degree in human sexuality has broadened her reach around the globe teaching Conscious Living Sexuality™. When not traveling the globe inspiring others, Dr. Nancy enjoys her home life with the love of her life for more than 30 years. They’ve raised three children and now bask in what she refers to as “the dessert of parenting” -- being grandparents. Website. Contact Dr. Nancy
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8 Responses

  1. Agreed, Nancy! I feel very fortunately to have birthed my babies at home – in peaceful surroundings where I was in charge. God bless the midwives (and the few MDs) who recognize the power of women in childbirth. I wish more women would embrace and enjoy it.

  2. Avatar KB says:

    I just watched "The Business of Being Born" and was amazed at the difference between the medical birth and the natural birth. Female bodies were made to do this long before hospitals and male physicians took over the process, so why do we have such a hard time trusting our instincts?! I won't be planning for a baby for a few more years, but I'm already stockpiling information (ammunition) because I know it will be a FIGHT to have the "unconventional" birth that my body is very capable of doing.

  3. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Powerful article Nancy. At one time, around 20 years ago, there was a Birthing Center in Redding. My niece and and the daughter of a friend were born there.

  4. Avatar Canda says:

    Very interesting article, Nancy. It makes me wish I were still of childbearing age. I love the idea of being able to move around during labor, especially immersed in water. I would still have had a problem with my delivery though, because the baby never dropped into the canal, and I never dilated past 5cm. Of course after reading this article, I wonder if being able to move around would have changed that. I would like to see women have more options in the hospital setting too.

  5. Avatar Mary S. says:

    I was scared to death of child birth and had a medicated delivery at Mercy here in Redding. I had an epidural and ended up having some minor nerve problems after the birth and I still have flare ups. With my second, I sought out a midwife that my insurance company would pay for. This was difficult with the current medical community here in Redding. I knew I wanted a natural child birth, one that I had more control over. However, I couldn't afford to foot the bill myself.

    Luckily, we have the wonderful birthing center in Red Bluff. Pam Stuart who is a midwife that delivers at St. Elizabeth, was the most incredible woman I have ever met. She let me labor naturally and helped deliver my daughter. I had the most incredible experience there, the nurses are truly amazing. By using Hypnobirthing techniques and the birthing tub, I was able to endure 26 hours of labor without the use of drugs. I have a very low tolerance for pain, and had "back labor." I don't think I would've been able to do it without those resources.

    At St. Elizabeth, I was treated with such compassion and kindness. If I were to have another child, I wouldn't hesitate to deliver there again.

    Thank you for writing this article, women need to know that having a baby doesn't need to be automatically labeled as a medical procedure. It's a natural process, just let your body handle things.

  6. Avatar Tamara Joy says:

    As someone who has had an arduous homebirth and an intense c-section, I have come to value the love and support given by loving nurses and midwives. These are the ones who understand that birthing a baby is nothing to be feared, each birth story is one to be told and valued.

    Just for the record, I would choose to have the comfort of a homebirth over a hospital birth hands down. There is something so comforting about leaning on your hubby in the front yard while in early labor, and being in your own bed when your exhausted and learning to nurse your new bundle.

    I do believe that enjoyable birth is possible, even in the intensity of my first labor, I can honestly say that I experienced no "pain" just pure exhaustion at the length of the process. I'm hopin' for one of those births in the future!

    "Hypnobirthing is a great read by the way, and so is Deepak's Magical Beginnings, Enchanted Lives."

    Thank You, Nancy for this one!

  7. Avatar Adrienne Jacoby says:

    Great article!

    I wish I had had access to this type of birthing center 45+ years ago when I was birthing children. When I was pregnant, the only thing I could fund on natural childbirth (I had heard the term from a physician brother-in-law) was Childbirth Without Fear (Reid). It helped and I had a supportive but traditional MD. Wish this had been available to me. It would have made my 36 hour labor with my first birth a little less arduous. However, most of that time I was out watching a parade (Gold Nugget Days in Paradise) then later walking the halls of the hospital. I didn't do drugs but I sure got tired. When they wheeled me out of delivery after that 36 hours, I looked up at the doctor and said, "I can hardly wait 'till next year." meaning that I planned to do it again ASAP . . . and I did.

  8. Avatar James Hamilton says:

    Good informational writing.I've wondered so long about these issues.Family's have been having children , well forever.Modern Medicine , Not that long.Now from a mans point of view , this seems to make very good scene,But this is where status quo society shouts ,You try shoving a cantaloupe through your nasal passage.(Forgive my Paraphrasing).But these techniques illustrated above tell me Modern Medicine has a hold on many things that could be and more likely should be left to nature baring extreme complications .The fear factor has been in place due to aged puritan thinking and perhaps exaggerated fear mongering just so as to keep woman's leg's crossed for as many days per month as they (puritanical closed sexually minded) ,advisers deemed PROPER.Nice girls shouldn't enjoy any thing about their bodies below the Mendoza line..Hey I'm a man..I enjoy a full life & the children brought to our family by relaxed caring love in every way shape and style.God didn't lock me out a the labor room when my boys were due.Doctors did…..Imagine if you will a 21 year old first time father sitting in earshot and not able to be with my wife and emerging new son's…You've come a long way Baby!!!! So in agreement with this article ,I say whats new??????Thank you for not crucifying me as a shouvanistic pig!!!James