Audrey and Erica smooch

That Sexuality and Birth are interconnected is indisputable; however, our existing social conversation has divorced itself so completely from this idea that we, as individual humans, struggle with their marriage as a concept, let alone as an embodied reality.  As someone who wants to help people access the transcendence and depth of birth by utilizing its interconnectedness to sexuality, I have found that my educational techniques must leap beyond a purely intellectual conversation in order to achieve progress. I need to provide a unique style of education that accesses the body’s wisdom as well as the mind so that they may work in concert to achieve new possibilities only accessible through healing.

 

When I first taught Sexuality and Birth as a class, I had a room full of people hungry to learn the material. The group was made up of clients, students and people from our local sex positive community.  Each of them wanted to learn how birth could be more like sex.

 

In preparation for the class I created an intricate outline filled with the many ways sexuality and birth are similar.  My plan was:

  1. Talk to them about bones, hormones, nerves and the multitude of similarities between sex and birth.
  2. Provide them with some time for discussion.
  3. Wrap up with ways to utilize the information provided to prepare for better birthing experiences!

All this in just a few short hours!

 

Well it wasn’t quite so simple. Some were able to engage with the material on an intellectual level. Some even went home and played a bit with the suggested exercises. But for the most part, what I was laying in front of this very sexually progressive troupe was quite a distance from their comfort zone. It challenged them in ways I had not imagined.

 

I was finding similar results in other venues as well. I had birth workers tell me they didn’t want sex anywhere near birth. I had clients stare blankly at me as they tried to absorb the things I was explaining.  I had people tell me that what I was saying was impossible and that I shouldn’t give women false hope. I must admit, I teetered for a while. I was taken a back. Sometimes I would watch my own class footage and wonder if I was indeed talking nonsense. Had I made it all up?  While I teetered however, my visceral passion was unwavering. So, I just kept going.

 

Eventually, something began to happen that gave me a glimpse of understanding I had not expected. Old students, clients, people who followed me on Facebook, and people who I spoke with socially started contacting me to share how they had come to a realization. Then the realization they would report would be something I had said to them months and sometimes years prior. My first impulse thought was, “Well yeah, that was what I was explaining.” Then I would think, “Wait, that was such a small part of the bigger picture I was teaching.” I sat with these experiences and took them in. The truth was not that I was speaking nonsense, but that people were taking a great deal of time to digest morsels of the gigantic volume of data I was providing to them in my hope to prove my point. So, I had to ask myself what was more important, my planned outline or actually supporting people to understand?

 

As I sat pondering this, I remembered a few things.  I was reminded of the fog I had been in while I was recovering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after being in the middle of downtown Manhattan during 9/11. I remembered feeling every morsel of myself exploding as I read Trauma and Recovery by Dr. Judith Herman. In this book, she provides a powerful corollary between how the effects of sexual abuse on the psyche are much like the effects of war on the psyche: both produce PTSD. With this, I realized I needed to seriously reevaluate how I was talking to people about this material. I needed to recognize the reality that when I spoke to people about sex and birth, I was speaking on two topics shrouded in trauma.  If I wanted to get anywhere, my style would need to incorporate healing opportunities as much if not more than facts and exercises. This was an “ah-ha” moment for me.

 

There is a style to Embodied Birth work that is rooted in my mother’s technique as a massage educator. It incorporates intellectual information with experience to ultimately achieve what I call Embodiment: the practice of aligning our consciousness with our physical body to exchange information. The purpose of this design is to connect cerebral understanding with our human experience. I have used it for many things my entire life because it works so well. But what my younger self did not understand that my more mature self now grasps is that often the cerebral material is just a conduit for healing, especially when it comes to topics shrouded in trauma like sex and birth. The brainy material may be useful, but what people truly need is: time, love and attention paid to them as they work to reintegrate their minds and their experience. With this, there is often more lasting power in my providing an hour of space for people to verbalize what comes up for them when I say, “Sexuality and Birth” than there is in my ability to prove their interconnectivity.

 

What I have learned is that I don’t actually get to teach you how birth and sex are interconnected. What I do get is to provide you a possibility and the space to process that possibility. And isn’t this so very perfect? Isn’t this so much like a lover providing us the possibility of pleasure should we choose to accept it? Isn’t this so much like a parent providing a child nourishment should the child choose to ingest it? Isn’t this so very much like being “with woman” supporting her in whatever way she needs as she births her baby into this world? Aren’t these all ways to be present for someone to come into their own power and their own pleasure? What a privilege it is to offer such support!

*photo courtesy of jennygg.com

About the author

Community.Relationship.Intimacy.Sex.Birth and so much more. Do you know how to find yourself and the space between you and another? Nekole can help you find your way. One small warning....Nekole has been known to change lives!

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