This article from The Independent is the most complete I've seen from a mainstream publication on the still-touchy subject of orgasmic birth.
The writer talked to several midwives and a birth center in the UK that encourage and support women in designing the birth process to be pleasurable.
"... the approach is capable of transforming birth - perceived by most women to be terrifyingly painful - into a pleasurable, even, ecstatic experience."
I recently spoke to someone from a pharmaceutical company who described labor and birth as "one of the most painful and traumatic events in a woman's life." This is an incredibly sad view of giving birth, and one that's endemic to medicine.
According to the article:
Part of the problem, it seems, is the way sexuality around childbirth has been denied. In her book, Ina May's Guide To Childbirth, Gaskin points out that doctors had to downplay female sexuality for medical men to be admitted to the birth chambers of women in the 18th and 19th centuries. This " denial" was later institutionalised when hospital births became routine.
Even today, it's a pretty taboo subject. "Lots of women would worry they'd be seen as abnormal or deviant if they admitted to feeling sexual at birth," says Carolyn Cowan, a yoga teacher and doula based in south London, who herself had an ecstatic birth.
The article also gives eight tips for achieving an ecstatic -- or at least relaxed -- birth.