My introduction to the concept that birth could be orgasmic came via my college roommate Kim.
We were discussing painless birth (I had just read Childbirth without Fear) when Kim casually said, "You know, some women actually have orgasms as they're giving birth. My mom had one with me."
What?! Even as open minded as I thought I was, the concept was almost embarrassing. I imagined this "mother" lying in a hospital bed, having an orgasm in front of a bunch of strangers - and doctors, no less. Yet I was definitely intrigued. If conception feels good, why not childbirth?
In the years to come, I would read about this phenomenon again and again, and although in my own births I was never able to achieve it, I think that in time, it will become more commonplace. Little by little, our culture is ridding itself of the fear, shame, and guilt that keep many of us from experiencing sex - let alone birth - as orgasmic. Perhaps someday, if we can fully accept our sexual natures, more of us will be able to know the joy that the following women have known.
Photos of Summer Elliott copyright Lisa Cape.