This week on the blog I am excited to introduce you to a very special woman, Dr. Peta Elmer. I met Peta a few years back when she joined me for my sensual expansion study group and then took the leap with me when I launched my first ever Ecstatic Birth Practitioner Training.
Peta practices Chinese medicine in Australia and is as passionate about supporting women in pleasurable birth as I am. She is actively involved in our budding community of Ecstatic Birth practitioners (graduates are invited back into subsequent trainings each year) and consistently brings amazing insights into our work and training.
One of the most remarkable aspects of my Ecstatic Birth Practitioner Training is the unique zones of genius each woman brings forth, building and expanding our collective wisdom around Ecstatic Birth.
In this blog post, Peta illustrates how the constriction of sexual energy throughout a woman’s life is a root cause of the sensation of pain in birth and shares several suggestions on how to support the flow of Qi for pleasurable birthing.
It is an honor to share her wisdom with you! Enjoy her as I do…
What I love about the Ecstatic Birth Practitioner Training is the willingness to have the discussion inviting women to lift the taboo around female sexuality and to explore the pleasure that is available within their beautiful goddess body…and apply that to birth.
Imagine, just for a moment, how a man might experience his sexuality. Imagine what it feels like to be a man when he’s really aroused. He’s all hot and hard and all of his energy is building toward the climax of orgasm.
Now imagine rather than experiencing the release of orgasm, he doesn’t get to orgasm or ejaculate. How does he feel? Frustrated?
Then imagine if this were to happen quite often, in fact if most of his sexual experiences ended this way. Would he start to feel very frustrated? Would his testes start to feel sore and swollen? Maybe even pain or distension in the lower belly?
Now imagine if all this is happening but he doesn’t realize the connection between his frustration and pain with his lack of sexual release.
What if the cultural and social understanding of his sexuality had taught him to not expect sexual release, to not expect orgasm, every time he made love? Maybe he’d never experienced it before. Perhaps he didn’t even know he could orgasm.
What if this cultural and social perception of his sexuality was so deeply entrenched that he’d never considered that his moodiness and irritability or his andrological (male version of gynecological) health issues originate from the unexpressed sexual energy stuck in his pelvis?
Welcome to the energy in the average woman’s pelvis!
Culturally, men expect sexual release in the form of orgasm every time they make love. You’ve most likely heard a man complain of ‘blue balls’ if that doesn’t happen and it’s easy to imagine his physical, mental and emotional discomfort if he doesn’t get there.
Yet culturally most women don’t expect the same.
So what has this got to do with Ecstatic Birth?
Perhaps the biggest assumption that most women have internalized about birth is the belief that birth is inherently painful.
One theory (that I love) explaining the ‘pain’ women perceive in labor is that this pain is the result of a lack of free flow of energy (Qi) in the pelvis due chronic frustration and tension of sexual energy. Let me explain…
Within the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine there is an expression that’s core to the theory of how Qi moves in the body, ‘where there is free flow, there is no pain; where there is no free flow, there is pain’.
According to this adage, Qi is the flow of life. Pain is the result of blockage or resistance to the flow of Qi. Unexpressed sexual energy equals stuck-ness. Stuck-ness equals blockage and blockage equals pain.
I love to use the metaphor of male sexuality because for most people it’s easy to understand this concept if you put it in terms of how a man would feel if he didn’t orgasm or enjoy the full expression of his sexuality. A woman’s body is the same.
From a Traditional Chinese Medicine understanding, the underlying cause of most common gynecological issues: pre-menstrual tension, breast tenderness, period pain, fibroids and even headaches is a lack of free flow of sexual energy within the pelvis and subsequent build up of tension within the meridians (energy channels).
Have you ever had a pre-menstrual headache or cramps and reached for pleasure instead of pain medications to release the tension?
Whether it’s your personal experience or not, you’re not meant to experience pain or discomfort as part of the menstrual cycle. Despite this so many women suffer unnecessarily every month and expect it as par for the course – part of being a woman. In the same way, you’re not meant to experience pain during birth. But, do you expect it as part of being a woman?
The chronic frustrations to the flow of sexual energy that exist within the female pelvis exist as tension in birth. As the baby descends further into the pelvis these subtle blockages to the flow of Qi have the potential to slow the process, create resistance and may be perceived as pain.
The ‘pain’ is a matter of perception. The cultural taboos around female sexuality and orgasm are the same assumptions that created the culture where women expect pain rather than ease or pleasure during birth.
Either way, women have not been taught the truth of their body.
Our culture as a whole is rife with sexual blocks, but for women in particular it’s been a long time coming for female sexuality and orgasm to be recognized. For most women, their entire experience of sexuality may have been geared around male pleasure. You might have learned fear, guilt or shame. You might not have learned what your own body requires to fully open and release or you might not have been taught the boundaries that honor your female sexuality.
So what can you do?
There are many techniques you can use to release tension and blocked energy within the pelvis: conscious breath work, sound vibration exercises, bodywork, massage, acupressure, movement and dance and so on. In the Ecstatic Birth Training Sessions, Sheri Winston includes a handout ‘Sex Craft Skills’ that describes simple exercises you’ll find beneficial here.
A few years back I was introduced to a sublime massage and acupressure technique to liberate stuck energy in the pelvis that I routinely include as part of my pre-birth bodywork treatments and teach to couples as part of their birth preparation. It’s the world greatest butt massage and feels amazing during pregnancy!
By consciously exploring the energy in your pelvis, learning to liberate sexual energy and release tension during pregnancy you open the way not just for easy and pleasurable birthing, but for a lifetime of enhanced sexual health and wellbeing. Enjoy!
Dr Peta Elmer is a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner who specializes in pregnancy, birth and postnatal wellbeing. She’s studied normal, natural childbirth for over 20 years since preparing for the ecstatic birth of her second daughter.
As an Ecstatic Birth Practitioner and Birth Mindset Mentor, she helps empower women to develop the inner resources and self-belief to achieve natural, pain free, drug free childbirth and avoid unnecessary intervention. She’s the creatrix of the upcoming online birth preparation course Breathe | Believe | Birth with Ease.