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Is giving birth harder for lesbians than straight women?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I know this may sound like a dumb question but being in a gay relationship and never having had a male partner and therefore still "technically" being a virgin, I wonder if giving birth would be more difficult and painful? My partner and I have been talking about conceiving via AI for quite some time, but the fact that i've never had anything much "up there" makes me think how on earth would a child be able to get through ?? Has any of you had a child but never actually had sexual intercourse with a man? If so how did the birth go as opposed to straight women?

 

Thanks. 

post #2 of 20
Hmm. Well, I can understand your concern, but as far as I can tell (having had sex with men, but not any babies) they are completely different situations. Like, totally different. My guess is that you'll have an added twist of 'oh! that's interesting!' if you really have never put anything up there before, but I expect that it'll be just as difficult or easy, painful or not as it would be for you if you had been with male partners all along. Most of giving birth is getting the baby out through your cervix, which is nothing that straight sex ever gets into (to my knowledge--anyone out there that kinky?). The vaginal part, from what I hear, goes pretty quick and is not the main event. So I wouldn't worry about it being worse for you because you've got a gold star. I hope that helps!
post #3 of 20

I agree with PP that your sexual behavior prior to giving birth probably has nothing to do with how easy or hard giving birth is.

 

That said, looking at lesbians as a whole group, there may be differences in how we give birth compared to straight women as a whole group. For example, lesbians could tend to be older when they give birth, and that could affect our c-section rate. Or lesbians could be more likely to use "alternative" birth options like home birth, since many of us are living "alternative" lifestyles in "crunchy" communities. I don't know.

 

Does anyone know if there are studies or research out there that compare lesbians giving birth to straight women giving birth?

 

post #4 of 20

just saw this thread title in "new posts" and could not, for the life of me, figure out why giving birth would be more difficult for lesbians.  duh.gif now i get it.

 

let me just say that, as a straight woman who has sex with men (ok, just one man), having a penis inside you in no way prepares you to push out a baby.  how "difficult" giving birth is will have to do with the individual, not her sexual orientation.  

 

how well you prepare your body and mind matters much more.  with our second child, my husband and i took a bradley class to prepare for the birth (our first child arrived via emergency c-section).  i credit the class (and our amazing instructor) as being a huge reason i was able to deliver naturally.  i also did tons of reading about natural birth, did lots of visualization and relaxation.

 

women's bodies (all women's bodies) were made to birth babies! 


Edited by samstress - 7/21/11 at 10:59am
post #5 of 20

No, no harder for queer women in general than any other group of women.  It comes down to the individual.  I'm guessing the question comes from the assumption or experience that lesbian women don't have intercourse?

Just to provide a PSA from a local sex-loving lesbo to all those who might not know this:  queer women have some pretty crazy sex, in my experience.  In my experience, lesbian sex includes toys of all kinds, including dildos of various shapes and sizes and various activities including everything from a few fingers to double-handed fisting. Back to assumptions, lots of straight women don't do much more by way of intercourse besides their primary male partner's penis, which in no way mimics an infant's head. 

I think perineal massage is every pregnant woman's best friend and is a great way to get the stretch going.  I think women who have some experience with stretching (toys, fists, penises, previous labour) will have an 'easier' time than women who've not had much penetrating action down in their nether bits, straight or queer. 

There are so many variables; body shape, baby size, baby position, length of labour, fatigue, hunger, psychological state, support and preparation for labour, labour position, medicated or not medicated, etc.

 

 

post #6 of 20

Hello and welcome to the Mothering message boards!  Welcome.gif

 

I'm having a little difficulty trying to understand why having a hymen would make things more difficult, honestly.  That seems like such a trivial thing to me, and if it was still intact, it would probably break early in labor, but I'm not very knowledgeable on that subject.  I think, however, that having a first baby usually tends to take longer, and there would be more of a difference between a first baby and a second, but I know it can be different for everyone.

post #7 of 20

It kind of makes sense, but it's just as false as the idea that small chested women can't breastfeed.  Randomly I feel like I have read that gorillas in captivity have to be delivered by c-section because they are inpregnanted by AI and then because of the c-section they won't accept the baby and it has to be raised by a human and then another gorilla they can find to accept it.  I hope I'm wrong, but I remember being very saddened by that whole series of events.

 

Anyway, since no one else has said it (tho thanks, Starling, for saving me from talking about the diversity of options available for queer penetration), the vagina has rugae that grow during pregnancy to allow a child to be born.  That's why a premature birth is no less painful than a term birth.

 

Honestly, this group excluded, I have had easier births than most of the straight women I know.  I attribute much of that to education about the process, and not a proclivity for double fisted entertainment.

 

My stupid question is: Are you still gold star if you deliver a son vaginally?  I mean, it's not sexual, but there is a penis in your vagina.  Or does mere pregnancy with a boy take away your star, since there is a penis inside you?  Or does all that sperm count for anything?

post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by seraf View Post

My stupid question is: Are you still gold star if you deliver a son vaginally?  I mean, it's not sexual, but there is a penis in your vagina.  Or does mere pregnancy with a boy take away your star, since there is a penis inside you?  Or does all that sperm count for anything?



ROTFLMAO.gif

post #9 of 20

Maybe you would tear more, but I wouldn't really worry about it--many women tear anyway, and the tearing isn't usually as bad as you would think it is--it happens quickly, unlike the rest of labor! I had a second degree laceration and it was really not that big a deal. If your hymen is still intact it probably won't be by the time you give birth anyway, because you'll get some internal exams during prenatal care. If your hymen did tear during birth it would be the least of your problems!  If you're worried about it you could always do some exercises to stretch things out a bit. I have a suggestion for you and that is to go on youtube and watch some births--it's sort of traumatizing but it will give you a better idea of what you are getting into!

post #10 of 20


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seraf View Post

 

My stupid question is: Are you still gold star if you deliver a son vaginally?  I mean, it's not sexual, but there is a penis in your vagina.  Or does mere pregnancy with a boy take away your star, since there is a penis inside you?  Or does all that sperm count for anything?



biglaugh.gif

 

I think it's hilarious that I have a penis in me for the first time in 36 years!  There's a small portion of the general population who also finds this funny.  I also think it's funny that I'm growing a penis!  And I'm a gold star queer!

post #11 of 20

I haven't had any babies yet, but I attend births for a living, and many of my clients are queer.  I haven't noticed any added pain, tearing, or any of that.  And I second the idea that some lesbian sex involves much larger objects than many guys' penises.  Perhaps if the OP is concerned, she could use a dildo a few times before the baby comes--not because I think it would help acclimatize the tissues or anything, but because it could alleviate the mental stuff.  Like just eliminate that variable, and it's one less thing to fret about.

 

That said, I recently heard a midwife's opinion that lesbians have longer labors than straight folks.  I can't say I've personally seen that happen, but I haven't been to as many births as this other midwife has.  The theory as I discussed it with another queer midwife friend was that perhaps there can be more emotional stuff to work through in labor, like if her partner had originally wanted to carry the baby, or wondering whether so-and-so's parents will recognize the baby as their grandkid, and all the other queer-specific crud that parents have to deal with every day.

 

 

post #12 of 20

As a person who identifies as a lesbian, who has previously had sex with men, and who has had a baby, I will say that birthing a baby is nothing like having sex with a man. A baby is way bigger than anything that I would voluntarily put in my vagina, but also your body is doing all sorts of crazy things physiologically and anatomically when you're in labor to facilitate that baby coming through. The physical sensations are totally different.

 

Before having sex with a man, I had a very small vaginal opening. It tore when I started having sex. It was extremely painful for me. If I had never had sex with a man, that tissue probably would not have gotten torn as I can not imagine having the motivation to use a dildo (or anything else) large enough to do that. However, in the grand scheme of things, that amount of tearing would have made very very little to no difference in how difficult it was to birth my daughter or how painful my perineal tearing was.

 

Also, my birth was awesome, my labor was 9 hours, and I would not use the word difficult to describe it at all. :) All about the preparation!

post #13 of 20



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seraf View Post

 

My stupid question is: Are you still gold star if you deliver a son vaginally?  I mean, it's not sexual, but there is a penis in your vagina.  Or does mere pregnancy with a boy take away your star, since there is a penis inside you?  Or does all that sperm count for anything?



spitdrink.gifHahaha That is a good question! As a (really gold) gold star (I've never even kissed or held hands with a male) I would hope that that wouldn't count against me, lol :-)

But as for the original question, I agree with what everyone else has said. I've never given birth before, but I would imagine that intercourse with a man and pushing a 6+ pound baby out of your uterus are two very different things. (I hope).

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmoon View Post

 

That said, I recently heard a midwife's opinion that lesbians have longer labors than straight folks.  I can't say I've personally seen that happen, but I haven't been to as many births as this other midwife has.  The theory as I discussed it with another queer midwife friend was that perhaps there can be more emotional stuff to work through in labor, like if her partner had originally wanted to carry the baby, or wondering whether so-and-so's parents will recognize the baby as their grandkid, and all the other queer-specific crud that parents have to deal with every day.

 

 


I wonder if this is more a function of some other variable...for example, do lesbians on average tend to be older first time moms?

 

In my social circles, there seems to be a high tendency for lesbians to have long labors that end in c-section. But I don't know any lesbians who've had their first baby before the age of 35. Admittedly, the sample that I'm talking about is small, so it's hard to generalize.

 

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by seraf View Post

My stupid question is: Are you still gold star if you deliver a son vaginally?  I mean, it's not sexual, but there is a penis in your vagina.  Or does mere pregnancy with a boy take away your star, since there is a penis inside you?  Or does all that sperm count for anything?


 

This! This! This! 

 

post #16 of 20



Sorry, another straight mamma coming in after reading the thread out of interest...

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seraf View Post

My stupid question is: Are you still gold star if you deliver a son vaginally?  I mean, it's not sexual, but there is a penis in your vagina.  Or does mere pregnancy with a boy take away your star, since there is a penis inside you?  Or does all that sperm count for anything?



Given that mainstream, christian culture considers (and some sects worship) Mary as a virgin after her delivery of Jesus (the debate as to whether or not there was any "immaculate conception" being better left to the spirituality boards) I think yes, yes, you should still be considered having your gold star!

 

post #17 of 20


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by seraf View Post

It kind of makes sense, but it's just as false as the idea that small chested women can't breastfeed.  Randomly I feel like II have read that gorillas in captivity have to be delivered by c-section because they are inpregnanted by AI and then because of the c-section they won't accept the baby and it has to be raised by a human and then another gorilla they can find to accept it.  I hope I'm wrong, but I remember being very saddened by that whole series of events.

 

Anyway, since no one else has said it (tho thanks, Starling, for saving me from talking about the diversity of options available for queer penetration), the vagina has rugae that grow during pregnancy to allow a child to be born.  That's why a premature birth is no less painful than a term birth.

 

Honestly, this group excluded, I have had easier births than most of the straight women I know.  I attribute much of that to education about the process, and not a proclivity for double fisted entertainment.

 

My stupid question is: Are you still gold star if you deliver a son vaginally?  I mean, it's not sexual, but there is a penis in your vagina.  Or does mere pregnancy with a boy take away your star, since there is a penis inside you?  Or does all that sperm count for anything?


I also stumbled here from new posts, i couldnt fight the curiosity  Wow, that bit about the expanding vagina is fascinating!  Leave it to this thread to teach a straight gal the ins and outs (har har) of her vagina. 

 

post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by CI Mama View Post


I wonder if this is more a function of some other variable...for example, do lesbians on average tend to be older first time moms?

 

In my social circles, there seems to be a high tendency for lesbians to have long labors that end in c-section. But I don't know any lesbians who've had their first baby before the age of 35. Admittedly, the sample that I'm talking about is small, so it's hard to generalize.

 



I had a way shorter labour than the majority of straight women I know...I was 39 when I gave birth to DD. Just wanted to skew the averages ;)

post #19 of 20

As I mentioned, I haven't noticed any particular labor-length difference between my straight and queer clients, myself, and don't tend to put much stock in casual observations of others.  In fact, most of my own clients have had short-and-sweet labors with few complications.  But I also am pretty new at this: I haven't even taken my certifying exam yet, and will be a junior midwife for a few more years still.

 

That said, considering I intend to work largely with the queer community, I am interested in that midwife's experience.  I do think there could be a lot of compounding variables, including, as CI Mama mentioned, possibly waiting longer to have babies (I know I'll probably be 35 when I have babies).  But either way, it would be an interesting chart review research project!

post #20 of 20
I could have written this question and wish I'd found it a few years ago!
I am a lesbian who was technically a virgin when I gave birth (age 36) to our daughter last year. I tried to seek advice from my Dr and 3 midwives during pregnancy, all came back with the line ' a woman's body is made to give birth' but none of them examined me. The reason I asked them was because I found penetration impossible in the first place!
I prepared for the birth with Hypnobirthing and Natal Hypnotherapy and I had a doula. My labour was long (40hrs with a 12hr break in the middle) and Mother Nature threw me a couple of curve balls along the way. Long story short,baby tore my vaginal canal twice on her way down causing panic at the fresh blood and necessitating forceps. I had an episiotomy and a third degree tear, losing 1.5l blood. I was entirely calm throughout due to my epidural.
I don't think I had a bad tear because I don't have penetrative sex, I think i had a bad tear because my skin isn't very stretchy and I doubt whether average sex would have prepared me for a bàby's head. I do wish though that I'd had someone check me out during or before pregnancy.
FYI, I'm still struggling with penetration nowadays.

Did you go on to have a baby?
GGx
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