Can You Force Yourself To Have An Orgasmic Birth?

by Cat Bowen

When I was in the middle of my unmedicated birth, the very last thing I was thinking was, "I'm going to orgasm." It fell just after "oh, please touch me," and "I love childbirth." But some women are thinking this and some women are even hoping to make it happen. But can you force yourself to have an orgasmic birth?

I know — my brain pretty much exploded when I first heard about women having orgasms during childbirth, and for a long time, I was reasonably sure they were totally making it up to get a chance to go on television to talk all about their sex lives and magic vaginas. I will admit to judging the heck out of those women, but as it turns out, you can have an orgasm during childbirth according to the Journal of Sexual and Relationship Therapy. Maybe I couldn't possibly dream of it, because if I ever have another child, I will be so numb in my downtown that you could take a sandblaster to my vagina and I wouldn't feel it. But hey, maybe you can have an orgasmic childbirth. If it's not naturally occurring, can you force it to happen?

British midwife Gemma Bishop tells Romper that orgasmic births are exceedingly rare and can only happen during unmedicated childbirth. They're like the unicorn of childbirth — or that trip to Target where you only spent $20. They just don't happen all that often.

"As far as forcing yourself to have an orgasmic childbirth, it's not like choking down bad tea; it requires, from what I've seen, intense concentration and an ability to distance yourself from what your body is going through." She says it's totally possible to have one, but that the women who do are able to either compartmentalize the pain, or figure out how to ride the endorphin high in a way that most women would find difficult to achieve.

There are ways, however, that can make you more inclined to have an orgasmic birth, also known as an ecstatic birth, says Bishop. "You'll need to prepare your whole pregnancy. You need to focus on quieting your mind and connecting with yourself. If possible, take a self-hypnosis class or group meditation. You'll need to be able to focus beyond the immediate pain to the other sensations happening in your body." She notes you might also want to prepare your partner to take a more active role in your labor. Often, women who experience orgasms during childbirth have been working in tandem with their partner, whether through kissing, language, or even clitoral stimulation.

Bishop says that in the end, an orgasmic childbirth is truly a singular experience if you can have one, but it's not about forcing it — it's about letting it happen. "You're no more likely to be able to force yourself to have an orgasm in regular life than you are in childbirth — it's not something that you can wish to happen. You just have to try to allow yourself to let it happen." She says it's almost entirely mental, and just like in your regular sex life, the physical follows the mental.

It seems as though it's a mental race uphill to the climax, and that, like climbing Everest, few people get there, and even fewer do it alone. If you're lucky enough to have one, though? I'd love to hear all about it.