When we think of orgasm-inducing activities, childbirth lands at the very bottom of the list. But it turns out that some women can reach climax during labor. Just ask Amandine Mangin, a French mother of two who told news.com.au this week that the birth of her second child was intensely pleasurable, not painful.
“It felt like I was having deep intense sex but without the erotic mindset,” the 29-year-old told the news outlet. “It is a borderline kind of pleasure. This borderline pleasure we may feel while making love.”
Mangin’s birthing experience didn’t feel so amazing just by chance. Mangin said she was determined to make childbirth a better experience after she endured an extremely painful birth when she delivered her first child. So she trained as a prenatal yoga instructor and researched tools that would help her “ride the waves of childbirth.”
One of those tools included shifting the way she thought of labor. “Basically it is getting free of old programming and beliefs—such as ‘childbirth is painful’—and updating my brain with positive affirmations,” she said. Other tools she used included meditation, relaxation techniques, and spiritual chants. “I also prepared my perineum with oil massage,” she added.
The first three months of Mangin's second pregnancy were not easy: She had severe morning sickness that lasted all day long. “But as soon as the third month was over, I was blossoming like never before,” she said.
That ‘blossoming’ continued even as she felt the first contractions. “I was actually nicely surprised when I felt the first waves! They were pleasurable!” she said. She even went for a walk outside before heading to the hospital, where she decorated her room with candles, essential oils, and music. During labor, Mangin kissed her husband to kickstart production of the hormone oxytocin (which can trigger calm and serenity).
Mangin believes women first need to adjust their mindset in order to be able to enjoy labor. “If you can’t imagine enjoying childbirth, it’s going to be hard to get a pleasurable birth,’ she said.
And she isn't alone. According to orgasmicbirth.com, many women can orgasm during labor. The site references a handful of MD-approved resources, like documentaries and books, that support the possibility of pleasurable labor, also called "ecstatic birth." There's little science on the topic, but one 2013 survey found that midwives reported witnessing during about 0.3% of births, according to livescience.com.
If you’re still not convinced that orgasmic childbirth is a real thing, you’re hardly alone. An overwhelming majority of women would say childbirth feels pretty damn uncomfortable, at best. Our take? If you have an orgasmic birth, we are extremely jealous of you. If you don’t have one (which is probably way more likely), we feel your pain. Literally.