Ep. 100 - Similarities Between Preparing for an Orgasmic Birth and Sex

with Debra Pascali-Bonaro

Birth and sex are transformative, intimate, and deserving of safe private spaces that honor the essence of the experience.”
Debra Pascali-Bonaro
Episode 100, orgasmic birth the podcast

Welcome to episode 100!

Our podcast has hit its pleasure peak as it reached its century mark all thanks to you, our dear listeners. 


And what better way to celebrate this milestone than to reclaim birth as a natural and pleasurable experience with a heartwarming and insightful message from your host, Debra herself! 

Societal conventions have long inhibited an open discussion of birth’s inherent sexuality. However, when a woman’s experience of her changing and birthing body is shrouded in silence rather than embraced as natural, she is deprived of cultivating an environment to honor birth’s intimacy.  

In this episode, Debra talks about transforming childbirth from a medicalized procedure to a natural, pleasurable experience by embracing its inherent connections to sexuality. Listen in as she discusses how physiological and psychological factors can either enhance pleasure and flow or diminish these experiences during both labor, delivery, and intimacy. Debra also shares mind-body techniques that can help women get “out of their head” and fully into their body, the role of embodiment practices, how to cultivate a safe space to honor birth’s intimate nature, and challenging the societal norms that have stripped away acknowledgment of birth’s sexual elements. 

Episode Highlights:

00:50 Guess What?

06:27 Factors That Impact Pregnancy, Labor, and Delivery

14:06 The Importance of Creating a Safe Space for Birth

19:48 Birth is Intimate and Sexy



Full episode transcript can be found at the bottom of this page

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Debra Pascali-Bonaro: I have a quiz for you. What do these things have in common? They both slow when your thinking mind gets involved. They both stop if you’re afraid or don’t feel safe and private. Making sounds feels good. Your breathing changes. You freely move your body. You feel the energy build through your whole body, and good vibrations can take you even deeper into pleasure. You feel love and connection. Your oxytocin increases in your brain and drips down into your body bringing you into a blissful state. It’s sensuous, it’s impacted by every sense. What you see, what you hear, what you smell, what you feel, and what you taste. If you said birth and sex, you are right, shout that out and tag us on Instagram at our Orgasmic Birth. Yes. Birth and sex have so many similarities, that’s why the right place to give birth has the same feeling and creates the same safety, privacy and ambiance as having great sex. It’s time to acknowledge and prepare for childbirth as part of your sexuality. 


Hi, I’m Debra Pascali-Bonaro, Founder and Director of Orgasmic Birth, and host of the Orgasmic Birth Podcast. Celebrate with me today, we’re at Episode 100. I have to thank you so much for listening, joining us and being part of the journey to transform childbirth from pain to power with pleasure. Today, we’re going to take a journey through the connections that thread through these various aspects of our life, how birth is a part of sexuality. So I encourage you to pause, go grab a cup of your favorite drink, find a comfortable space, and I would encourage you to get something to write on. I have a series of questions for you to ponder that will help you go deeper, whether you’re pregnant, preparing for your birth, or whether you’re a doula, nurse, midwife, birth worker who’s supporting others, so let’s get ready. But before I start, if you’re listening today, and you’re pregnant, and you’d like to learn more ways that you can transform your childbirth with pleasure, I’m offering a special discount to celebrate Episode 100 with you on our Pleasurable Birth Essentials, an online childbirth class that goes at your own pace to positively prepare for birth. Or if you’re a doula, midwife, nurse or birth worker, I’d love to invite you to join me in our Orgasmic Birth Practitioner Mastermind program. We dive deeper into our own healing and expansion of our own intimacy and sexuality. And then learn practices that you can use to guide your clients to enjoy the fullness of all that birth offers. We kind of pull back the curtain and look at the taboos and reevaluate the stories that we’ve heard to understand the parts that have been stripped away. I say sterilized because we need to approach birth with the intimacy and love it deserves. So join me now as we continue on the similarities of birth and sex. 


Have you ever observed how everything seems to slow down when your thinking mind gets involved? It says, time itself adjusts to the rhythm of your thoughts. So let’s consider the dance between the mind and the experience in birth and life. Have you ever been making love and your mind jumps in with thoughts of what you need to do or what you didn’t get today? What happens to your pleasure? The same is true in birth. You can’t think your way to birth, you have to feel your way to birth. And so if you’re in your head, you’re going to shut down birth. You find the movement, the breath, the rhythms that get you out of your head and into what we call liminal space into your body to listen to what you and your baby need. What feels good, and what causes discomfort. These sensations or messages, how you feel them are messages to guide you. Have you ever noticed that when you allow your mind to wander freely, time takes on a different quality. It’s a reminder of the profound connection between your thoughts and the pace of our experience. And so really consider and we’ll go deeper into how your thoughts can impact your birth. What happens when fear or a lack of safety hits the pause button? It’s fascinating how our ability to make sounds move freely and connect with the energy around us comes to a halt in sex or birth when we hold fear or don’t feel safe. What experiences trigger your pause button? What you need to feel safe to find safety in birth is one of the most important elements to have a safe and gentle birth. So make sure to write that down. Write what you need to feel safe and share that with your birth team. 


Have you ever had a time where fear stopped you from expressing yourself fully? It’s incredible how emotions can act as powerful influencers on our experiences. They can create pauses that hold us back, and this is so true and labor. I believe many of our long labor’s are unexpressed emotions and fears. And I’ll say that again, I believe that many of our long labor’s are unexpressed emotions and fears. It’s another reason why feeling safe and private is so important so that you can fully express your emotions. And it’s not about solving them. You don’t need to bring a therapist to labor. It’s about releasing and giving voice to them. Birth is an opening physically as well as emotionally. Ask yourself, what do you need to fully open to birth on every level to feel private and safe? 


My mentor the late Penny Simkin taught us how asking this question in labor is so important as a personal check in what’s going through your mind. So if you are holding back any fears, or sadly for many of us past traumas, sometimes birth trauma from a previous birth or your own being born in the world. Any unexpressed emotions and labor holding our feelings during labor holds the baby in. As a doula, I always encourage people to ask this question. And if what comes is tears because they are holding an emotion or a fear to let the tears flow. Tears actually release emotions, but they also carry stress hormones out of your body. And if you’ve listened to our episode with Dr. Sarah Buckley, episode number four, on the hormones of labor, you understand how stress hormones in the first stage of labor, slow or stop labor. 


Let’s keep going. How about sound and breath? Take a moment to reflect on the joy that’s derived from making sounds and how subtle changes in your breathing patterns when you’re making love just naturally shift. Do you enjoy releasing sound? Do you enjoy that your breath changes and flows? What would happen when you’re making love? You were told you have to keep your breath exactly the same, and you can’t make any sounds. And when you think about it in birth, we often put people in a bed. I’ve actually had providers when people were making really beautiful sounds. And in our film on Orgasmic Birth, Midwife Ina May Gaskin says, when women are well cared for in labor, they sound like they’re having great sex. There is a similarity in the voice and the sounds that people make. So imagine being told that you can’t make them and providers have come in rooms and said, hold that sound in. It’ll help labor. And I often think, wait a second. It’ll help maybe providers feel more comfortable because it’s hard to enter a space if we acknowledge that birth and sex are connected, and this is an intimate space. It will require really rethinking and talking about it publicly as birthing people, as doulas, midwives, nurses, doctors. We must have these intimate conversations. So I think the natural flow of sound in breath creates a powerful symphony that connects you deeply to the experience. 


So take a moment and let’s make some intentional sounds, and focus on your breath to bring a sense of calm and joy. We know that just taking three deep breaths in through the nose, really breathing with me expands deep in through the nose, fills your chest, your abdomen. And as you release, let some sound HA come out. Sometimes, if you’re watching me on our YouTube channel, we wiggle and jiggle our shoulders to just HA let the out breath, really release and ground us. Take another breath at your own pace with your own sounds, maybe just the deep sound of your breath.


It’s a simple and powerful practice. And we know from science that three deep breaths can actually recenter and settle your nervous system. So make sure you take these top times and pauses throughout the day and add some sound. But add to that, and delve into the concept of embodiment. The fusion of breath, movement and sound. So how does the integration of these three elements enhance your awareness and presence in the present moment, both personally and as a doula? I’ve discovered the magic of embodiment. On a given day for me, it might be a mindful walk, a yoga practice, or even a spontaneous dance. The unity of breath movement and sound opens a gateway to a deeper sense of self enjoyment. Are you preparing for birth with embodiment practices? Do you have music ready so you too can dance, sway, sound and breathe your baby into the world with the same releasing of control of just listening to your body that you do when you make love, following the rhythms of love and pleasure? Well, that leads me to love energy and vibration. The forces that shape our experiences, I’ve often found that moments filled with love and positive energy, bring a vibrancy that elevates the ordinary to the extraordinary. I know you probably thought I was going somewhere else with vibrations. And I mean that too. 


I have to share a little secret. It’s a little early, but I have to share it today as we’re celebrating Episode 100. We’re working with a special sexuality company that is woman owned and designed on a vibrator for labor and birth. We hope to have it available for you soon, so stay tuned for good vibrations. The kinds that create pleasure ride the same pathways as pain. So we’re learning from science that you can actually stimulate pleasure, and minimize or eliminate pain, and amplify your pleasure. So consider that as we keep going forward. So what about love? Love for me is a powerful force that radiates through simple gestures, shared connections, eye to eye gazing moments of pure authenticity. It’s a reminder of the energy we carry with it and how it influences the vibrations of our experiences. That’s why I always say, how will you love yourself, your baby and your partner through labor? How will you bring the energy of making a baby to birthing a baby? How will you express your love through touch kisses, words, eye contact or keep going? What other subtle ways can you love through labor? Can you imagine making love without love? If you’ve had that experience, how does that feel different when you make love filled with love and passion? The same is true in birth. When birth is sterilized, you have the ability to bring your passion, the love, the experience can lack joy and pleasure, and it also makes birth more dangerous as the feelings of love flow through the hormone of love oxytocin. 


Now, I mentioned oxytocin before it needs to peak to the highest level ever in the moments after giving birth. So you need to be in a place that you’re loving through labor to flow the hormone oxytocin at its peak. So are you ready to be bold and prepare for birth acknowledging the parallels between birth and sex? How does acknowledging and preparing for childbirth as a part of your sexuality create a unique and intimate experience? I hope you’re pausing here to write that answer for yourself. Sexuality on the continuum of life that includes birth is a notion that can challenge societal norms. But the similarities between birth and sex are hidden in plain view. When you pause to look at them without all the taboos and allow yourself to consider all we’ve discussed, as well as the fact that birth, both birth and sex involve the same part of the body. If I were to just say vulva, clitoris, vagina, G spot, cervix without any context that you were here on the Orgasmic Birth Podcast, what would you think? How is it that we talk about the same body parts that bring pleasure and are a clear part of sexuality in life, and yet strip away any context of sexuality and birth? 


I hope you’ve enjoyed our many episodes on the role of the clitoris and labor from Dr. Gil Hedley, Episode 46. Go back and listen to Margaret Jowitt, Episode 26. And we’ve had many others that have dove deep into understanding sexuality, but the two of them talk about how the clitoris is 8000 to 12,000 nerve endings with the sole purpose of pleasure. So can you imagine why this has been stripped away from books, from texts, even being included in training for providers? I think that we have to talk about it. It’s not possible that the clitoral nerves just shut down in labor. But by creating practices that put women down physically and emotionally by not considering these roles in transforming pain to pleasure, I believe we’re creating more harm and pain. So we need this broader discussion of birth as a part of sexuality, and it needs to happen in the training of all providers in all childbirth classes. 


I hope you’re gonna join me in sharing your thoughts and contributing to the Pleasure Revolution by tagging us on Orgasmic Birth with, what do you think about the similarities between birth and sex in all the ways we’re talking about? I believe birth and sex are transformative, intimate, and deserving of safe private spaces that honor the essence of the experience. These sanctuaries allow us to fully engage with our most intimate experiences. They engage all our senses in safety and love. I’ve spoken about this before. What do you like the lighting, sounds, smells, taste and touch to be when you have great sex? How will you cultivate sensuous space for your birth? What turns you on and sex is what will open you up to birth. Your body needs the same conditions to open to either experience fully. 


Personally, I’ve found solace in creating moments of privacy, whether it’s through mindful, virtual, sacred spaces, candles, aromatherapy, music, ocean sounds, and simply disconnecting from the external world. These private sanctuaries are essential for nurturing a sense of intimacy and connection. So create your own list of what you need to have a safe sensuous space for labor and birth, and I’ll take it a bit deeper. I hope that maybe tonight or sometime soon that you’ll create an intimate experience with yourself. Or if you have a partner you love, consider making this experience extraordinary in every way to find the safety, privacy, ambiance, sensuality, connection, love, embodiment, pleasure, vibration, all that you need. Take the time to consider how many of these same elements you’re going to need to bring to birth. So hopefully, enjoy that evening, that day, that episode whenever it is, alone or with a partner, that you have an extraordinarily intimate experience. And then if you’re there with a partner, pause and say, how can we bring elements of that to birth? 


And once you write down and really have your list, make sure that you call ahead at your next prenatal visit, and ask if you can talk to your provider because you need to talk with them about everything you desire in birth. And if you don’t feel safe to do that, that’s already a message that something’s going to hold you back in the moment. So maybe it’s time to consider if you’re able to do a different practice. Or maybe it’s only your perceptions that are holding you back. There are more and more doctors, doulas and midwives that are honoring the science that birth is intimate and sexy. So definitely, make the time. You want to ask them how they can support you to have these elements to have the privacy you need to love through labor. But equally important is to make sure that they won’t disturb you in this sacred act of giving birth. Just as getting disturbed in the middle of making love would truly shut all the pleasure down, so I hope you will consider all the ways that you’re going to make this experience extraordinary. 


I really thank you for joining me and exploring these connections between sex and birth. Remember, the simple act of awareness can transform that ordinary to extraordinary. I encourage you to shout out on Instagram. Again, I’d love to hear what you’re thinking about the connection between birth and sex. I hope that you’re staying mindful, staying curious, and that you’re embracing these connections that truly make birth and life extraordinary so thank you so much for joining me today for Episode 100. 


I’d love to ask you to do me a favor if you haven’t yet. We appreciate your ratings and reviews. Not only does your feedback mean a lot to us, but it helps us if you’re agreeing that we need to have this revolution. I always say revolution was small, our big E, it’s the pleasure evolution that we need to bring to birth and life. You’ll help us reach more people if you rate, review and share our podcast. I thank you for joining us, and hope you’ll join us for the next episode of the Orgasmic Birth Podcast.