Orgasm for pain relief in childbirth?

Empress new orgasm

I am not making this up … a bunch of natural childbirth advocates are making it up.

I’ve finally been able to stop laughing and catch my breath after reading this nonsense and I thought my readers might get a good laugh out of it, too.

The paper is ‘Birthgasm’: A Literary Review of Orgasm as an Alternative Mode of Pain Relief in Childbirth, published this month in the Journal of Holistic Nursing. It really should be titled “The Empress’s New Orgasm.”

[pullquote align=”right” color=”#ff95d5″]So now orgasm in childbirth isn’t simply a form of pain relief, but it promotes bonding, too. Who could have seen that coming?[/pullquote]

You simply cannot make this stuff up:

Current thinking supports the view that labor and childbirth are perceived to be physically painful events, and more women are relying on medical interventions for pain relief in labor.

Current thinking? Current thinking??!! Have these women never read a Bible?

They go on to spew napalm grade stupidity.

This review explores the potential of orgasm as a mode of pain relief in childbirth and outlines the physiological explanations for its occurrence… While there are indications of widespread use of complementary and alternative therapies such as hydrotherapy, herbal remedies, and breathing techniques for pain relief in childbirth, orgasm was not among those mentioned. Lack of recognition of the sexuality of childbirth, despite findings that orgasm can attenuate the effects of labor pain, suggests the need for greater awareness among expectant parents, educators, and health professionals of the potential of orgasm as a means of pain relief in childbirth.

How is exactly is orgasm supposed to serve as a mode of pain relief? Are women supposed to have orgasms every two minutes for hours?

The authors don’t say. What they do say is ridiculous enough.

While it is understandable, in light of the aforementioned theory, how sexuality and childbirth may be viewed as separate entities, Harel (2007) argues that sexual pleasure and arousal during childbirth should be better recognized as a possibility, given that a woman’s sexual organs are stimulated …

If that’s the case, then men should have orgasms from being kicked in the crotch since their sexual organs are stimulated.

How many women note orgasm during childbirth?

… Gaskin (2003) and other researchers have observed that some women in the midst of labor and when birth is imminent, look and behave in a manner that is similar to women experiencing an orgasm. While numerous women have described the birth of their child in pleasurable terms, others have confirmed actually experiencing orgasm/s during labor and just before delivery (Baker, 2001; Gaskin, 2002, 2003; Harel, 2007; Shanley, 2008. Qualitative research by Harel (2007) revealed some women experienced “unexpected” orgasms while giving birth, that is, with no conscious stimulation. Harel refers to this phenomenon as a ‘birthgasm’. There were also reports of other women who experienced ‘passionate’ orgasms, that is, a woman, with or without her partner, stimulates herself to orgasm during the birthing process with the hope of relieving labor pain (Harel, 2007).

Surprise, suprise! The only people who have noted this phenomenon are well off white women who have read the natural childbirth literature. What a coincidence!

You want to know an another amazing coincidence? The phenomenon seems to be described only at out of hospital birth. The authors ponder this phenomenon:

The greater number of women experiencing orgasmic births in the comfort of their own homes or birthing centers may also point to how comfortable women are in the environment they choose to give birth in (Buckley, 2003; Gaskin, 2003; Hotelling, 2009). Gaskin (2003) refers to ‘sphincter law’ and explains that sphincters such as the cervix and vagina are involuntary muscles that can be “shy” and function best when a sense of privacy is ensured.

But Gaskin fabricated the “sphincter law” from whole cloth. There is no evidence that exists anywhere but in her fevered imagination.

The authors impress themselves with pages of scientific sounding terms but never demonstrate that what they write has any connection to reality. But that doesn’t stop them from making stuff up:

The above-mentioned findings have generated speculation that the combination of pleasurable sensations from VCS [vaginal cervical stimulation] together with its apparent pain relieving properties may assist childbirth by attenuating labor pain, thus promoting increased bonding between women, their partners, and newborn infants …

So now orgasm in childbirth isn’t simply a form of pain relief, but it promotes bonding, too. Who could have seen that coming?

The authors conclude:

The likelihood of orgasm as an alternative mode of pain relief in childbirth is a possibility… [But]there appears to be a paucity of information with regard to promoting orgasm as an alternative means of pain relief in childbirth.

Why doesn’t it happen more and why is there no actual scientific evidence about orgasm as a method of pain relief in childbirth? The most obvious explanation — that a bunch of natural childbirth advocates made it up — seems never to have crossed the authors’ minds.

Instead they blame it on hospitals. Who could have seen that coming?

There is speculation that perhaps hierarchical and time constraints within the hospital system along with deeply held cultural beliefs about sexuality may infringe on ability of hospital staff to encourage intimacy between birthing couples …

It’s the hospital’s fault! That’s why we no longer have the birthgasms described in every ancient literature around the planet.

Wait, what? No ancient literature from any other country or culture describes birthgasms?

It must have been an oversight.