CS: note that all the below articles refer to cis-women's experiences with birth and pregnancy, and are often discussed from a heteronormative perspective.
Aside from all the amazing articles I’ve had the opportunity to take part in (which you can peruse here and the articles I’ve loved writing these are some of the best reads that have been shared with me over the past year:
Why are we scared to admit that pregnancy and childbirth can be sensual?
This Establishment’s article is an incredibly thorough account of the sensuality of birth including a look at the orgasmic birth movement. There’s no shortage of narratives on how birth is terrifying, painful, hilarious, traumatic… and yet birth orgasms exist! And many people have had quite pleasurable birth experiences even with the presence of pain.
The only thing I feel the need to highlight is: despite our best efforts to cultivate a romantic birth story that will inspire future generations of birth that will last through the ages– sometimes shit just happens that we can’t prepare for and we can’t control. If you don’t orgasm during birth it doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It doesn’t mean you’re a prude. And it doesn’t mean you’re broken or don’t trust your body. But yes– it is possible!
This pairing of pleasure and pain brings me to the next beautiful article…
Is BDSM Safe When Pregnant? Here's The Deal.
Romper hits it out of the park again with this article Is BDSM safe when pregnant? here's the deal It gives me such relief! I have wondered about this, talked to midwives, and kinky friends who have given birth. I am so glad to finally have an article to direct people to! It’s very to the point, practical, and reassuring: most sex including most BDSM sex is safe during pregnancy. There are some specific details to note, so check it out and give it a read.
Megan the Doula Blog
A friend of mine introduced me to Montreal doula Megan Howarth’s series when she found out about my interests in sex in pregnancy and postpartum. It’s always exciting to meet other doulas interested in sexuality! What I like about Megan’s series is you get detailed insights into cis-women’s personal stories. So far, there’s an intro, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
Still craving more? You can check out my series Voices here.
Breastfeeding During Sex is totally OK, So Lets Stop Pretending Otherwise
What I love about this article is that it’s real: it’s just about the facts of life, parenting, and multi-tasking and not being ashamed. I deeply appreciate why people are scared or confused about sex while breastfeeding and about sex in front of children, generally, but more often than not it’s just another part of life. Sex in and of itself is not inherently dangerous.
Unfortunately, I've been told that in Canada if someone reports to Children's Aid Services (CAS) as having had sex during breastfeeding, CAS is obligated to investigate and it would likely lead to an "apprehension".
I, personally, would never report someone solely for having had sex during breastfeeding or while their newborn is in the same room. I do not believe either of these scenarios are harmful to newborn children. For me, there is no issue of consent because the baby is not old enough or aware enough of their surroundings in a complicated nuanced way to experience this as traumatic. A newborns survival is based entirely on nonconsensual activities because they are not capable of adequately communicating their needs or providing for themselves. That's what makes them so vulnerable. If anything, I think engaging in a pleasurable activity while your baby happily nurses is a loving, kind, and nurturing act.
I think it's fair and reasonable to have complicated or uncomfortable feelings on this subject. I think it's fair to struggle with ideas of consent and sexuality around babies, but I think it's okay to be uncertain and uncomfortable and for us to think on it more before we start unnecessarily taking children out of homes and away from their parents which is absolutely without a doubt harmful to children. Often times our discomfort with sex and children is more about us and less about sex or children.