The other day I came across a news clipping about a new mom who claimed to have had orgasms during her delivery. I was intrigued. All the retellings about the birth experience from friends and acquaintances have been stories that would make it straight to a horror anthology, blood and gore included, with some so terrifying they could be used for birth control propaganda. Orgasmic childbirth would be an oxymoron, right? Perhaps not.
French psychologist, Thierry Postel, conducted a study asking 956 midwives about the birth experiences they had witnessed. The midwives stated they saw mothers showing signs of pleasure during childbirth in 668 cases. Barry Komisaruk, professor of psychology at the Rutgers University, New Jersey, who studied orgasms, reports that the intense stimulation of the vaginal canal during childbirth might in fact block pain, even though the stimulation is non-sexual. A medical paper, ‘Birthgasm’: A Literary Review of Orgasm as an Alternative Mode of Pain Relief in Childbirth, by Mayberry and Daniel, explores the potential of orgasm as a mode of pain relief in childbirth and outlines the physiological explanations for its occurrence.
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