Like love making, there's a process as to how things start. This may be a vanilla version, but probably rings true for most. Sex starts with a couple climbing into bed, clothed in some sort of pajamas. They embrace for a goodnight kiss and something shifts. The kiss lasts a little longer, hands begin to wander, underwear are tossed to the floor and any other clothing like a night gown or flannel bottoms follow soon after. Getting completely naked is kind of a process.
Labor usually unfolds much the same for a woman. She may start out in regular clothing and get into something more cozy, usually a gown of some kind. At some point when things are increasingly intense, a vaginal exam is done and the panties come off and usually don't go back on. Many moms who birth outside of a hospital will end up totally naked or mostly naked by the time mom is ready to push.
2. The Need For Security
Love making requires a certain level of security in order for a couple to become completely vulnerable to one another. Privacy is essential. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to "perform" with an audience? The best connections happen when couples feel safe - usually they are in a secluded space - often their bedroom (doors locked if they have children), under the covers and with dimmed lights, if any at all.
The security needs of a laboring woman are quite the same. If a woman has several people watching her, especially people she doesn't know, it can cause performance anxiety. Her labor may stall completely due to lack of privacy. Laboring women tend to do well when they get to be in the location in which they feel most safe - for some that's at home and for some that's at the hospital. They also do well when interruptions are limited and a dark, quiet environment has been established.
Noises, whether we like the idea of it or not, noises are part of love making. Just as the state of undress changes during love making, so do the noises. It usually starts with slow, soft moaning. When the passion becomes more intense the noises get deeper and louder. Love making culminates with guttural groans and, perhaps some roaring.
The same happens as a woman works with building contractions. The rushes start out gentle and strengthen over the course of hours. Her noises start out slow and low. Her soft moaning may almost sound like humming. As she gets deeper into labor, those noises change and can really mimic the sounds of great sex. It's been my experience that THIS is the time when most women ask for an epidural - sex sounds in front of strangers- that's a "no, thank you" (this relates back to security). When it comes time to push, raging roars are common.
I don't think I have to do too much explaining here. Great sex usually involves position changes. One position may feel fabulous for a while, and then becomes less fabulous - same with birth. And a change of position helps to keep things fun and interesting. Birth is the same in this respect, and almost every labor position looks like a comfortable pose for love making - side lying, all fours, upright missionary for pushing, leaning over a counter (hey sometimes sex happens leaning over a piece of furniture) - they all make wonderful options. Both experiences feel best when we just do what feels good.
The best part about both love making and giving birth is the euphoria. The exhilaration that washes over you during orgasm is very similar to the one that washes over you when your baby comes out and is placed on your chest. Love overflows and makes you feel as though your heart may just burst right open. The connection and love you share with your partner during sex is multiplied by 1000 when you meet your baby for the first time.
They say that some women actually do have orgasms during labor, because the process is so similar to love making. The figure is supposedly somewhere around 20% - not gonna lie - I'm a little jealous that I never got one of those. I often joke with friends that since I have 5 kids, statistically, I should have had at least ONE! That's okay, because I still had that orgasmic rush of euphoria that came when my babies were born. It it was pretty darn wonderful.
Can you think of other ways love making is just like giving birth? Please share in the comments!
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