Paper (750 words)
Today’s gynaecological practice treats the pregnant woman as the mere recipient of a foetus during gestation. It infantilises the woman and denies her the right to fully experience her pregnancy. In other words, it denies the sexual state in which she finds herself. Pregnancy is a crucial stage of female sexuality, and that is how it should be treated. Many women who have been pregnant claim that their sexual desire was boosted to unprecedented levels for them.
Some women have had orgasms during childbirth, and some women come while they breastfeed. Pregnancy, childbirth and nursing are sexual states. To deny them is to diminish of our sexual potential. Today’s gynaecology and the society that we live in emphatically deny women’s sexuality and reduce it to intercourse for reproductive purposes. Once they are pregnant, women’s sexuality is no longer considered either important or appropriate.
Gynaecologists systematically forbid women to have sex during pregnancy as soon as the slightest complication arises, totally ignoring the fact that most women feel a strong urge to engage in sexual relations during this stage. But there is no scientific proof that sexual intercourse during pregnancy is harmful. Only deep genital penetration may affect the neck of the uterus and cause problems, but there is no proof that penetration within the bounds of logic for a pregnant woman, without pain or violence, can lead to problems.
Sexual practices such as fisting, in which a fist is inserted into the vagina or anus, could actually be of great help by favouring dilation of the vaginal canal and thus a quicker and easier labour. Gynaecologists should recommend these practices rather than repressing women’s sexuality. The patriarchal gynaecological order is what stands between women and their orgasms.
Canadian activist Nicole Pino imparts workshops on orgasmic birth, in which she uses her own experience to explain that – given the appropriate conditions – it is not only possible to have an orgasm as you give birth, but to have a super mega orgasm. The orgasm of your dreams. As Casilda Rodrigáñez tells us in her books La Represión del deseo materno y la génesis del estado de sumisión inconsciente (The Repression of Motherly Desire and the Genesis of the State of Unconscious Submission), El Asalto al Hades (Attack on Hades) and La Sexualidad y el funcionamiento de la dominación (Sexuality and the Dynamics of Domination), giving birth can be compared to a fuck. If you fuck with fear, with ignorance about your body, and with rules imposed through patriarchal violence, it can be rape, and it can be an extremely painful and unpleasant experience. But if you fuck the way you want, with who you want, it can be extremely pleasurable. In both cases it is a fuck, but the two are totally different. One is pleasure, the other is pain. The same goes for childbirth. There are two kinds of labour – painful, and pleasurable. It all depends on the circumstances.
We dissociate pregnancy, childbirth and nursing from our sexuality, as if they were mere functions that our bodies carry out mechanically, without any relation to sexual pleasure, like digestion.
In her book on cultural and historical aspects of the vagina, The Story of V, Catherine Blackledge talks about the specific role of orgasms in women’s sexuality: aside from providing pleasure, they favour conception. The contractions in the uterus, the vagina and the anus cause the sperm to be shaken and absorbed so that it can enter the uterus through the cervix and fertilise the egg.
She also writes about Aëtius of Amida, physician to the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, who claimed that the twitching of the uterus during intercourse was a sure sign of pregnancy. The very moment I got pregnant, I knew. I felt a quiver in my uterus that triggered an intense and totally new pleasure. I didn’t need to have read Blackledge to know that something was going on in there. Today’s gynaecology does not accept that a woman can know the instant she has gotten pregnant.
All our problems in relation to our orgasms, our labour – in short, in relation to our pleasure and our bodies –, stem from the ignorance that has been forced on us in relation to our sexual potential. It is a systematic violation of our bodies, legitimised by the hetero-patriarchal order.