The fact that birth has become technology intensive is not news, we see it every day. Though there are still people who know how birth should be. There are many words that could be used to describe birth, but one that we aren't used to hearing is orgasmic. I had a chance recently to sit down and talk with renowned birth activist and women's advocate, Debra Pascali-Bonaro about her documentary film - Orgasmic Birth.
REW: What is orgasmic birth?
DPB: Orgasmic Birth is a documentary in progress, that examines the sexual nature of birth and its powerful role in the lives of women who are permitted to experience it fully. People who see this film will reexamine everything they thought they knew about the act of giving birth and its life-affirming potential for both parents and baby.
REW: Why this project?
DPB: Working as a childbirth educator, doula, doula trainer and birth activist for twenty years, I felt we needed a powerful documentary to create an awareness of the power and possibility that birth brings in our lives. I hope to stimulate a discussion for young women and men to consider how an overuse of major abdominal surgery, machines and drugs are changing an experience that could be ecstatic, or orgasmic into an experience that is sometimes traumatic. With major abdominal surgery [cesarean section] now at the highest level ever in the US – over 30%, is it a coincidence that our rates of postpartum depression are also on the rise? My goal is to educate and inspire people to consider all their options; so that women and their partners will gather the information they need to make truly informed decisions.
REW: Why orgasmic? Why not joyful? Special? Or any other word?
DPB: As Ina May Gaskin a famous midwife says in the film, “Orgasmic Births are one of the best kept secrets.” In a poll she conducted in Tennessee she found of 151 women, 32 reported having at least one orgasmic birth.
As I have been speaking about orgasmic birth the past year I am always nicely surprised by the number of women writing me, who speak to me at a conference about their orgasmic birth or just raise their hand when I ask a group would you describe your birth as orgasmic. Why have we not been talking about this? Why if it is possible to have an orgasmic experience giving birth don’t we want all women to know about it? That does not mean everyone will have this happen, but even in lovemaking not everyone will have an orgasm each time, does that mean we should not try?
Marina Alzugaray, a midwife says: “Orgasmic births are powerful, juicy and full of love, spiritual and unforgettable-an endless moment beyond words. It is more than lovemaking because it is releasing, loving and being stimulated by the passion of life itself. It is the gift of humankind to discover divine pleasure in birthing.”
I feel it is time to talk about this secret and allow women to decide with whom and how they would like to give birth and open up to the sexual power of birth and their power as women.
REW: What makes a birth orgasmic?
DPB: For some women they describe their birth as providing the orgasm of their life, so full and sensuous, their baby moving through their body in the most joyous, loving way. Others call the experience orgasmic, as I would say eating a really good piece of dark chocolate might be orgasmic. An incredible ecstasy.
REW: Who can have an orgasmic birth?
DPB: Birth is a continuation of a woman’s sexuality. So a woman who is touch with her body, who gives birth in a private setting, feeling safe, protected and without disturbance is more likely to experience birth as orgasmic. With only those people with her that she trust and who trust her ability to give birth. Creating an environment that you might have for intimacy, dim lights, soft music, nice smells, and a safe, sensuous environment. When we are intimate we secrete oxytocin the “love hormone”. This is the same hormone we need to have flowing in labor and birth, so as Sheila Kitzinger, world-renowned writer and speaker says, “The place a child is going to be born must be as similar as possible to the place he/she was made.”
REW: Can you have an orgasmic birth in the hospital?
DPB: Yes, there are women who do, but these are rare and with very special providers who honor the normal labor process and encourage women to move and listen to their bodies.
How many women would have a sexual relationship in a hospital? If you did how many would have an orgasm with strangers coming in and out, an intravenous drip, machines strapped to them and with an epidural? I believe that the typical hospital environment today does not ask how can they provide the most comfortable, easiest environment for women to labor, to surround to the process and to feel private and protected. In our concern to know all we can at every moment, we disturb the women’s natural abilities and connect her to machines, beeps and technology so she is distant from her body and what it is possible of doing in childbirth.
REW: Where can I learn more?
DPB: Visit www.orgasmicbirth.com to learn more about our documentary.
Note: This film is still being made, please check their site for more information on how you can help.