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Hello Mamas! Boy we have an exciting topic today. Breastfeeding and sexual arousal! You know I had a client come into my office the other day and she told me that she was five months pregnant and wanted to know if I delivered babies at my clinic. She had decided that she preferred to have an out of hospital experience . This was her second baby. No, I do not deliver babies I told her but I can surely mentor you during your pregnancy. (Promotional link).
She then proceeded to ask me what I did at the clinic. I told her our services . She commented on breastfeeding, that she was not able to breastfeed her first baby because it actually aroused her sexually while her baby breastfed. and she did not like getting aroused so early after having a baby. She asked me if there was something she could do to prevent it because she really wanted to try breastfeeding this one. I shared with her that my experience was one where I felt the excitement but not to that extreme. I just felt loving by mother oxytocin. I focused all that energy into my newborn baby. We are not all the same. There are different strokes for different folks.
Did you know that while firm numbers are hard to find, research suggests that between 33 and 50% of women have experienced arousal while breastfeeding? It seems to be a taboo topic because hardly anyone talks about it.
This Is Normal But We Hardly Talk About It
“It’s common, but women don’t talk about it,” according to Viola Polomeno, an associate professor in the University of Ottawa’s School of Nursing and a sexuality researcher. Arousal during breastfeeding is completely normal, according to nurses and lactation consultants, and it shouldn’t be a source of shame or anxiety. It’s not a woman’s choice, it’s how we are wired; but if a woman knows in advance how this works, she’ll be a little more comfortable with it. (Paid link here)
Mamas and dads do you know that there are 59 studies regarding breast feeding found that at least a quarter of women who report arousal while nursing feel a sense of guilt over it. Many are too scared to discuss it even with their partners. “The breast is an erogenous zone,” explained Mary Jo Podgurski, a nurse and childbirth educator in Pennsylvania. “But if a woman feels anything sexual while performing a motherly duty,” she may wonder, “What’s wrong with me?”Mamas absolutely nothing is wrong with you; nothing at all!
Here’s the Biological Theory To Breastfeeding And Being Sexually Aroused
There’s a biological theory, too, which boils down to the fact that many of the ingredients present during sexual experiences are also present during the act. When a woman breastfeeds, her body releases two very important hormones: prolactin and oxytocin. Prolactin stimulates milk production and helps with bonding. It also makes women feel relaxed and sleepy. Meanwhile, oxytocin, famously known as the “feel good” bonding hormone, creates feelings of pleasure for the mother—and causes the uterus to contract. The other instance in which oxytocin is released and the uterus contracts? (Promotional link).
Some women become aroused enough to orgasm while breastfeeding. A Dutch study of 153 nursing moms, published in 2006, found that 8% reported orgasming while breastfeeding. Several experts mentioned this phenomenon to me as well. “We know that in a certain situation, if the mother is sitting with her legs crossed, that puts pressure on the clitoris and it can get stimulated,” said Polomeno.
Notably, some nursing mothers will shoot milk from their nipples while orgasming during sex—thanks, once again, to hormones. “When oxytocin is released into the bloodstream it can cause milk ejection,” says Diana West, a lactation consultant for La Leche League and author of several breastfeeding books. Another illustration of the way breasts, nursing, milk production, and sexual experiences are all, biologically speaking, connected.(Paid link here).
While the combination of nipple stimulation, hormones, and uterine contractions can all lead to feelings of arousal, these feelings in no way signal that a mother is turned on by her baby, or has sexual feelings toward her child. “You’re just pushing certain buttons,” said Podgurski. Yet education and communication about the topic is key to helping mothers—and the public—understand what’s really going on.
Years Ago Mothers Were Visited By the Child Protection Services
While discussing arousal during breastfeeding today may raise eyebrows, a few decades ago—before the academics and researchers started speaking out—it might have sparked more serious consequences. Confessing such feelings may have even called into question whether a woman was fit to be a mother, said Polomeno. “I would say, 15 years ago, here in Canada, when women said they were aroused during breastfeeding, Child Protection Services would come in and remove the child.”
Society Makes This All Taboo: Women Need To Be Free To Speak About Their Feelings
The 2006 study on breastfeeding and sexuality describes a specific—and extremely disturbing—case of a mother losing her child here in the United States. The author, Roy Levin, a British behavioral scientist, wrote, “Ignorance about such normal physiological occurrences can sometimes create gross miscarriages of the law.” For example, he said, “a mother in Syracuse, New York in 1992 had her two-year-old child taken away from her after admitting that she became aroused on nursing, the authorities claiming that she sexually abused the child.“( Promotional link).
According to newspaper articles at the time, the mother had simply called a hotline with a question: Is it normal to be aroused while breastfeeding? The volunteer who answered the phone equated her question with sexual abuse and contacted authorities. The mother spent the night in jail was separated from her daughter. While criminal charges were dismissed, sexual abuse and neglect charges were filed in family court. (Government officials were also ignorant to the fact that it is completely normal and healthy for two-year-old children to nurse.)
Anthropology and biology aside—psychology may play a role in women’s experiences while nursing as well. Women’s breasts are sexualized nearly their entire lives, and research shows that more than 80% of women experience sexual arousal from nipple stimulation. There’s no reason to think that just because a child is born the sexual component of breasts disappears.
“Human emotional psychology is tied to hormonal experiences,” explained La Leche’s West. “Breastfeeding really is such a primal experience, and the hormones accentuate the situation.” Which means, for some women, the feelings of sexuality and eroticism typically associated with breasts can carry over into breastfeeding.
On the flip side, she said, some women focus less on their breasts during sex while lactating, to avoid blurring any lines. Every woman’s experience is different and deeply personal. “I would say almost every woman, even in her 90s, can tell you about her breastfeeding experience,” she told me, “because it’s so meaningful.”
While increased understanding has limited dramatic reactions to arousal, breastfeeding experts argue that we, as a society, should do more to fight stigma. “I’ve been talking about sexuality and breastfeeding during my Lamaze class since the mid-80s, because we need to talk about the stuff that our culture doesn’t talk about,” Podgurski said. Interestingly, she told me, it’s younger moms—particularly the ones in her teen support groups—who are more comfortable bringing up the arousal questions.(Promotional link).
“Teens will bring up the erotic feeling more so than other generations,” she said. “Someone will say it’s arousing, someone will giggle and say they’re happy their partner is there that night, and someone might say that it’s never happened to them.” The whole point, she said, is to communicate to women that they’ll experience a range of sensations after giving birth.
For her part, Polomeno stresses the need for communication on a larger scale and a more concerted effort between the media, public health departments, and healthcare professionals to normalize these feelings and increase awareness.
“So many prenatal healthcare professionals are not comfortable talking about it because they haven’t been trained,” she said. “We need to arm them with the knowledge.”
While nothing is being done to help women with this issue, I would like to encourage you to not let that stop you from breastfeeding your baby. Set your mind to the fact that you are nurturing your baby. Focus your mind, like I did solely on loving your baby as you feed him. Remember you are what you think. Society has to change the stigma that becoming aroused while breastfeeding is dirty, because it is not and allow women to be free in expressing how they feel. I hope you learned something. Thank you for stopping by and do visit again. I would be happy to have your email list.
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