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Orgasms During Birth? Study Suggests It is a Real Phenomenon

Update Date: Jun 01, 2013 05:04 PM EDT

People, whether or not they are mothers or fathers, know that giving birth hurts. Even though men might never experience it, they sure witness it during the hours spent holding onto their wives hands. Although giving births will hurt for the most part even with an epidural, for a very small percentage of women, the pains are stifled by a wave of blissful sensations, otherwise known as an orgasm. Yes, some women will experience an orgasm during birth, which a study suggests is a real thing.

In a study carried out by psychologist Thierry Postel from Blainville-sur-Mer, France, he contacted 956 French midwives and interviewed them about their experiences in helping women give birth. He specifically asked about these orgasmic births called ecstatic births. From the answers of 109 midwives who helped birthed a total of 206,000 babies throughout their careers, he discovered that the midwives reported 668 cases in which they were told by the mothers that they experienced orgasmic sensations during the process of giving birth. In addition to this number, the midwives reported 868 cases in which they witnessed mothers exhibiting signs of ecstasy while birthing. Postel stated that he focused on midwives as opposed to doctors and nurses because he believed that midwives had the most firsthand experience with the mothers and thus, they would be able to provide the best accounts.

Even though this finding strongly supports the concept of an ecstatic birth, Postel believes that these numbers are still underrepresenting just how many women experience this. He believes that for some women, admitting these sensations could be embarrassing. However, based on the available data, only 0.3 percent of women had an ecstatic birth, a rate, which is very low.

Although the study did not find any relationships between the mothers and their feelings of pleasure during births, some experts explain that orgasm during birth is not such a farfetched finding. Barry Komisaruk, a psychology professor from Rutgers University in New Jersey explained that during childbirth, the stimulation of the vaginal canal could be pleasurable for some women, while others feel nothing from it. Therefore, he states that generalizing this emotion could be difficult since everyone has different thresholds for pain and pleasure.

"There are so many factors that could make the difference between a pleasurable response and a terribly stressful, aversive experience that you can't generalize it," he stated. "There's no reason to try to generalize. Different people have different pain thresholds. Different people have different attitude. If a women has a fear of sexuality, if she starts having a pleasurable sensation she may feel this is completely inappropriate psychologically, and that itself would be an aversive effect."

The findings were published in the journal, Sexologies

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