by Laura Shanley
According to Ann Douglas and John R. Sussman, M.D., authors of the book The Unofficial Guide to Having a Baby, a single orgasm is thought to be 22 times as relaxing as the average tranquilizer. When you add to this the fact that the average vagina widens 2″ during sexual arousal, it only makes sense to fantasize, masturbate or make love in labor. The following women did just that.
“When Johnny got home around 12:30, we relaxed together on the couch. He breathed with me through contractions and was verbally encouraging. His loving presence was an important part of my opening up. By now we were both aware of the sensuality surrounding birth. Creating this child was an intimate act of love between the two of us, and birthing in a loving way simply and naturally completed that act. As a result of healing, I was much more able to ‘open up’ during this labor. I had finally become able to make my vagina wet and loose by fantasizing about making love to my husband, so while I labored, I graphically visualized having sex. John and I both welcomed the idea of actually having sex during labor (in fact John offered to perform oral sex on me right in the middle of it…what a man!), but I just happened to be focused elsewhere at the time. In the days preceding I had masturbated frequently. I found this to be an intensely pleasurable, loving, and appropriate preparation for our baby’s birth. Laboring in the environment of my own home was crucial to accepting these feelings….The spreading apart of my muscles and bones and the joy of voluntarily allowing my body to do its work was both arousing and exhilarating.”
-From Angelica’s Birth Story by Laurie Annis Morgan
“I really think the issue of clitoral stimulation in labor needs to be openly discussed. I can’t believe that I had to try to hide from the midwives and everyone else present what I was asking Robert to do – I mean, there I was totally naked, legs wide open, getting ready to push a baby out – but somehow for Robert to rub my clitoris was shameful. He was very embarrassed, but I loved it – it felt wonderful to have a little bit of pleasure right smack in the middle of all that pain. Maybe it’s not that it’s so shameful, but that it’s simply a very intensely private thing. And maybe the solution is not to have so many people around, or to have the strength to ask them to leave for private times.”
-From a letter to the editor written by Robbie Davis-Floyd (Childbirth Alternatives Quarterly, Summer 1985)
“The labour was so easy that I thought it must be ages before the baby would come. I continued to masturbate with each rush. I found clitoral massage during labour to be a non-invasive and gentle analgesic….I knew I could no longer do anything but concentrate on the labour. I could put mind and body together much better in the nude so I took off all my clothes and regressed into a more instinctive state. My husband’s presence made me feel both sensuous and secure. Kneeling in the lounge I put my hand into my vagina and could feel the hardness of my baby’s head inside me. With the rhythmic movements of my body and lots of vulval massage, I could really feel the baby coming….Come Baby, Come Mother. Loud, deep-throated moaning helped ease all this muscular exertion. I still have erotic dreams about this really sexy and painless transition of labour.”
-From “The Jewel in the Crown,” by Mary Field (Childbirth Alternatives Quarterly, Summer 1985)
“For a couple of days I went in and out of labor. My contractions were extremely pleasant and affirming to my heart. I was indeed heading into the luxury of my dream birth. As a way to increase my tolerance for physical intensity – and to protect my perineum from tearing this time – I massaged myself with olive oil and, via this gentle stimulation, enjoyed several wonderful orgasms throughout the day. After putting my girls to bed for the night, I poured a glass of organic grape juice and curled up in my overstuffed rocker. Staring out at the magnificent ocean view, I resumed perineal massage and reached orgasm with every contraction. Nothing in my life had ever compared to this moment in time. In my journal I wrote, ‘I’m massaging myself with olive oil and enjoying the most expansive orgasms I have ever known. Sex has never compared to the sensual pleasure I am experiencing right now.’”
-From Primal Mothering in a Modern World, by Hygeia Halfmoon, Ph.D.
“Labor for me was a total turn-on. Yes, there was pain – a lot of pain, and the most effective relief for it was stimulation of my clitoris. Larry rubbed my breasts and my clitoris and kissed me deeply and passionately for hours until the baby came. And when he had to go out of the room, I masturbated myself until he came back. I had lots of orgasms. They seemed to flow with the contractions. Even when I was pushing I wanted clitoral stimulation. It was the sexiest birth ever! And I loved every minute of it. I was completely alive and alove – turned on in every cell of my body. I felt that the totality of Larry and me – the fullness of everything we were individually and together – was giving birth to our child.”
-From Birth as an American Rite of Passage, by Robbie Davis-Floyd,Ph.D.
“My body felt like it was getting a deep internal massage. Just then, warm wet waters flowed from me relieving the taught roundness of my belly to concentrate on bringing him out to start his external journey with us. I rubbed my clitoris gently and drifted into a light and airy meditation. Then I sat up and I walked to the tub to lay in warm water, and realized I was pushing. I stepped into the tub, and asked Jim to put his hands behind me, because the baby was coming. His head passed quickly, and I reached down to greet him, ‘Hi sweet baby’ so warm, wet and slippery his tiny head was. Feeling his head in my vagina is something so indescribable, it needs to be felt by every woman during her birth. With the next contraction he slid into his daddy’s hands….I have never felt so high in all of my life….”
“I began having beautiful, rushing contractions that started low, built up to a peak, and then left me floating about two feet off the bed. Michael was lying beside me and going through the rushes too. I saw that I could breathe very deep and fast and rush higher with the contraction. The contraction would carry me and I would breathe harder and harder and then we would peak – it would slip off and leave us floating. It felt wonderful, and we were having a beautiful time. As the contractions got stronger, it felt like I was making love to the rushes and I could wiggle my body and push into them and it was really fine.”
-From Spiritual Midwifery, by Ina May Gaskin
”How many times have I tried to write an account of Naomi’s birth, each time to put the pen away and return to my work? Only recently did I understand why. Her birth, like her conception, was an act of a couple’s love. It would be as easy to share the details of intercourse as to share the private moments we shared during the wee hours of that foggy October morning. She was born with the same attitude of ‘do what comes naturally’ that led to her conception. I’ll share the play-by-play account with you in the hope that other couples might be encouraged to experience the natural culmination of their love….
I had gone to bed nude so rubbing and loving was unobstructed….Just how Bob managed to support my weight and rub my legs and back, do the perineal rub (sheer ecstasy at this point) and check my progress, I’ll never know….If only I could somehow recapture and put on this paper the intensity of the love that I felt for the man who was helping my child to be born. No father should ever allow any other man to be a stand-in for him at birth any more than he would call in a stunt-man double to take his place during conception. Every nerve of my body was completely bare to be stimulated and all the stimulations were pleasant….All I could do was tell Bob how much I loved him and how good it felt as he barely touched me with his finger tips.”
-Scarlett Hart, The New Nativity, Vol. 1, #4
“All the normal lovemaking techniques used by husband and wife in coitus also have a beautiful augmenting effect on the progress of labor and birth. Deep, warm kisses relax the mother’s face and the other end of her anatomy, too. Nipple stimulation brings on more effective contractions. And coitus in the early stage of labor is very beneficial because seminal plasma contains the hormone relaxin (at high levels, no less) which lengthens pelvic ligaments and softens the cervix. Furthermore, tender touches, husky whispers, sustained eye contact, and body odors each contribute something of value to the climactic orgasm of birth.”
-From “The Benefits of Sexual Closeness During Birth,” by Marilyn Moran (Two Attune, Sept. 1992)
“I decided to get into bed. At this moment I became intensely aware of Ken’s presence, as if a giant magnet were drawing me in. The next 25 minutes would prove to be the most busy. Though it was proceeding in near silence, it was in reality a beautiful calm. A calm overcast with an absolute clamor of constant and unspoken communication. The quick actions seemed all one fluid motion. It was in this climate of joy, anticipation and keen sense of ‘oneness’ that Ken’s firm but gentle grip on my shoulders helped me onto the bed. As our gaze locked, his soft whispers placed me at the pillows, ready for our greatest moment. About two pushes delivered the head and two again for the body….
The next thing we knew, Ken was on his knees on the side of the bed. We were all wrapping around, making all kinds of sounds. I couldn’t repeat the conversation. I don’t know if it made intelligle sense. It was a lot of good noises, anyway. All I could think of was, ‘Here I am, looking at the most beautiful baby in the world, the daughter of that gorgeous hunk of man at my side, who wore his heart in his eyes and spoke with his hands.’ How grateful and happy to be me…with him…having her.”
-From “Closeness, and How to Create It,” by Laura Goodloe
”The swells were now coming so close together that it felt almost like one continuous contraction. My entire focus was within me – on the ring of fire that was slowly but surely expanding. I moaned loudly and clawed in an almost desperate manner at John’s shoulder, but inside I did not feel desperate at all – the incredibly powerful energy surging through my body was coming to a head; I was at the apex of a Tsunami. I gasped, calling out, ‘Oh God, oh my God!’ I felt like I was about to have an incredible orgasm. And then suddenly, the waters stilled. My heart stilled. My body stilled. I was completely open, in heart and in body. All pain stopped completely….and slowly, out of the stillness, came an urge – a pushing, a grunting, an unstoppable force…. Suddenly, ‘uh-G!’ – a feeling of clearing the heights of orgasm exploded. My body took over completely and suddenly my son’s head was resting in my hand: large, wet, round and soft. It was amazing.”
-From “Having a Baby on the Way,” by Laura Joy Francis
“Babies are no longer the eventual, unwritten epilogue to a happily-ever-after ending; they have become the catalysts for steamy love stories told in breathless prose….Karin Stoecker, an editorial manager at Harlequin Books, observed, ‘Lately, authors have begun exploring the birth itself as a tender, romantic and to an extent, sensual event.’”
-From “Mr. Right is Now Mr. Mom in Romance Novels,” by Alessandra Stanley, New York Times News Service (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, April 12, 1991)