Monday, June 26, 2006

Pleasure in Childbirth

From the UK Times Online, Delightful Deliveries:
More women, it seems, get turned on by birth than you’d think. When Ina May Gaskin, a US midwife, conducted a poll of 151 women, 32 reported having at least one orgasmic birth.

It almost sounds too good to be true: a touchy-feely labour followed by an earth-shattering orgasm at the moment of birth. Unfortunately, this is very far removed from most women’s description of childbirth.

One big hitch is that, as with any sexual activity, the amount of pleasure gained is closely related to the degree of relaxation, trust and safety that a woman feels. Most women anticipate with dread the “birth ordeal”, a state of mind that will make muscles contract and adrenalin levels rise before labour even begins. And then, most women can feel sexy only in intimate surroundings, in front of people they know well. Hospitals and doctors don’t really do the trick.

“Adrenalin inhibits sex drive and labour contractions,” Prescott says. “You become tense and are more prone to feeling pain. It’s why women can have trouble with labour and birth at hospital.” Part of the problem it seems is the way that sexuality in childbirth has been denied.

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