The 2009 documentary Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret let the wider public know that there are women who reported having orgasms during natural childbirth, but one researcher is actually trying to quantify how many of crazy women are actually out there. Yahoo News reports French psychologist Thierry Postel is trying to nail down just how many women feel ecstatic sensations during delivery.
According to Rutgers University Barry Komisaruk psychologist, though orgasmic birth sounds weird, it actually makes perfect physiological sense. Komisaruk, who studies orgasm, hypothesizes "the intense stimulation of the vaginal canal in childbirth may work to block pain—whether that stimulation is felt as sexual or not." Besides, he explained,
"It's stimulation of the birth canal, stimulation of the cervix, the vagina and the clitoris and uterine contractions. A lot of women say during sexual orgasms uterine contractions feel pleasurable."
In a recently conducted survey, midwives said they've witnessed orgasmic or ecstatic births in roughly 0.3 percent of their patients. For Postel's research, he went to midwives, as well.
"Postel contacted 956 French midwives, asking them to complete an online questionnaire about orgasmic birth. He got 109 complete responses for midwives, who, combined, had assisted 206,000 births in their careers."
He focused on midwives because they see plenty of natural births firsthand; the settings in which doctors deliver babies often make it hard for women to be comfortable or experience anything remotely pleasurable. Of the midwives he worked with, Postel learned 668 of mothers experienced orgasmic sensations during child birth, and another 868 women showed visible signs of sexual pleasure.
These numbers are high but Debra Pascali-Bonaro, the director of Orgasmic Birth says they may likely be higher since all mothers aren't likely to report feeling pleasure during childbirth; for a lot of people, anything sexy in relation to childbirth is just weird. It's that disconnect that might prevent women experiencing orgasmic births to interpret their sensations as only pain. Komisaruk explained, "If a woman has a fear of sexuality, if she starts having a pleasurable sensation she may feel this is completely inappropriate psychologically, and that itself could be an aversive effect."
All the researchers say they don't necessarily want women to experience orgasm during childbirth; they just want them to know it's a possibility and it's okay. Postel, Pascali-Bonaro and Komisaruk want to remove the stigma surrounding ecstatic births. If you're planning a natural childbirth, an accidental orgasm may be the best thing that could happen to you.