Here's something you don't hear very often during childbirth: "Oooh, that feels so good!" Generally that is because the mother-to-be-is either unconscious, writhing in pain, or numb from the waist down. But according to a new documentary, childbirth and sexual pleasure are not mutually exclusive.
Last year, actress Ricki Lake started a conversation about birth practices in the U.S. with the release of her documentary The Business of Being Born. She urged us to to rethink the way we view childbirth and experience it for what it really is -- a natural life process and not a medical emergency.
Now, a new documentary by filmmaker Debra Pascali-Bonaro takes that idea a giant step further by claiming that childbirth can not only be a natural experience, but an orgasmic one as well. The film, Orgasmic Birth, was shot over a five-year period and follows eleven women as they experience what midwife Naoli Vinaver describes as "the sensual and sexual nature of birth." Yes, these women are having orgasms while in labor.
According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, experiencing ecstasy during childbirth is perfectly natural. "All of the pathways that are involved in sexual pleasure are in fact stimulated by birthing a baby. And when you can allow yourself to open in the same way that you open to orgasms, the exact same experience is possible," she says in the film.
Of course, a hospital setting is not conducive to orgasmic birth. "When we first put birth into the hospital decades ago, we treated it like it was surgery," says Dr. Marsden Wagner, former Director of Women's & Children's Health for World Health Organization. "It's got to be like it is when you make love with someone. It's got to be safe, and secure, and uninterrupted. And that is how you will have an orgasmic birth."
Watching this clip from the documentary initially made me a little uncomfortable -- like I was witnessing something private and personal and should turn away. But after several views, I got past the fact that these women were experiencing orgasms and could appreciate what they didn't seem to be experiencing: Pain.
Orgasms are generally something we don't discuss with anyone other than our partners and maybe our closest girlfriends. But, let's try it anyway. Did you experience anything close to orgasmic pleasure when you gave birth?