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Docs Starting to Rethink Pitocin

There's a fair amount of scientific evidence -- along with tons of anecdotal evidence -- that the routine use of Pitocin to speed or manage labor is a bad idea.

Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin, commonly administered in a steady drip to "keep labor on track," that is, deliver the baby within a timeframe determined by the hospital or doctor, not by the woman's body. In an unmedicated birth, the woman's hypothalamus and pituitary gland deliver spurts of oxytocin to the brain and bloodstream, causing the uterus to contract, pushing the baby down the birth canal. These pulses also give the woman's body time to rest between contractions, while reducing her anxiety.  The pauses also relieve pressure on the baby, allowing blood to flow through the brain.

In the hospital, Pitocin can make these contractions too strong and too close together. Too-strong contractions can compress the baby's head, causing brain damage.

Some natural birth experts believe that an overload of Pitocin can flood the oxytocin in the baby's brain, causing them to be less sensitive throughout life and contributing to autism spectrum disorder.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, doctors in the seven-state Trinity Health System are now using a standard protocol to limit the amount of Pitocin given. According to the article:

Pitocin should be used only to stimulate the uterus to behave as it would during a delivery progressing normally, not to make contractions stronger and faster, [Dr. Augustus Parker, an obstetrician who works on improving quality at Mount Carmel East] said. Before this, dosing was left to individual obstetricians.

In addition to striving to keep Pitocin-use at a safe level, the hospital system is working to make sure doctors who are inducing labor have good reason to do so, he said.

I hope the tide is beginning to turn, and we're moving toward an era when we don't automatically think we know more than Mother Nature.

Viagra and Oxytocin A Hot Topic at Edguider Forum

Here’s a post from Paul, a moderator for the forum. He monitors the forum and has been seeing an increasing interest for oxytocin among men with erectile dysfunction:

A discussion in the Edguider Forum on how oxytocin helps men decrease their sexual performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction has become one of the most popular topics.

Meyer Jackson of the University of Wisconsin's Madison School of Medicine and Public Health found that sildenafil, AKA Viagra, increased the amount of oxytocin released by the pituitary glands of rats. It's very likely that it does the same thing for men.

Sildenafil is the active ingredient in Viagra. It was always thought to be a physical reactive drug by helping increase the blood flow in and around the penis arteries allowing the penis to become hard for sexual intercourse.

Enzymes in the body can act like a braking system for hormones like oxytocin, controlling the release and also dampening the excitation of cells. One enzyme, PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type 5), can also contract blood vessels limiting the amount of blood flow.

According to the Daily Mail,

Viagra overcomes impotence by blocking phosphodiesterase type 5, a chemical that limits blood flow. Scientists have now discovered that this chemical also regulates the release of 'love hormones' in the brain. is an online forum for men to discuss all related news and information regarding erectile dysfunction, Viagra and other therapies. Here is an example of what the members of the forum are saying about oxytocin:

 The drug was wonderful: oxytocin has anti anxiety effects, and stimulates various types of positive social interaction. I've never felt so calm, confident and relaxed. This may be a God's send if you suffer from sexual performance anxiety, like me. The effect lasted the whole evening.”

Read more: I tried oxytocin and Levitra yesterday

What Is Orgasmic Meditation?

As I wrote last week, I'm training to be an Orgasmic Meditation instructor at OneTaste. This practice is deep and mysterious, and I have not gotten to the bottom of its relation to oxytocin and connection. But I have not found the practice to be at odds with sex's power to connect.

I spoke with Alisa Price, who is on the core faculty at OneTaste, about the practice and what it's meant to her. Go to the One Taste website for more info about their programs.

First of all, what is OneTaste?
OneTaste is an organization that offers classes and coaching for people who are interested in expanding their ability to be intimate and conscious, in weaving their sexuality more consciously and wholly into their lives, and in incorporating mindfulness practices into the arena of sexuality specifically.

Our points of focus reach from gender dynamics to working more consciously with our desires, to our sexuality directly to how we communicate and show up in every part of our lives.

The OneTaste practice of mindful sexuality is orgasmic mediation. We seek to bring practice and mindfulness into the sexual arena directly, to create a discipline that people can use and connect with and be held in that will allow them to increase their conscious connection to sexuality in a slow, sustainable way.

What exactly does that mean, to bring mindfulness into sexuality?

It means experiencing my desire for sex, my desire for connection, my desire for intimacy, not only with another human being, but within the bigger, broader sense of living an intimate life, living a life that feels connected, that feels impassioned, that feels alive and electric.

When I speak about orgasmic meditation, I typically start by saying people hear the word “orgasm,” and they don’t hear the second word that comes after that, which is meditation. Because people are like, “Wow, orgasm!” And they either light up about it, or they’re like, “Ooh, I might want some of that.” Or there’s a fear, or a “What?!"

And so, the meditation part is not always caught in the first communication. And it truly is a meditation. It is meant to be an intentional, mindful meditation where I, as a human being, can drop into a more connected, conscious state while in connection to my orgasm

Can you describe the practice for us?

It is a physical practice. Two people get together. The woman lies down and butterflies her legs open, and the man strokes her genitals in a very intentional and conscious way. It’s done in a very particular manner, from how it’s timed, how the position goes, the intention and the technique around the stroking of the genitals and also the focus, because it is a meditation.

So, for both people, whether they’re the person being stroked or the person doing the stroking, there is a very conscious, intentional focus that you’re focusing on the orgasm and on your body at the level of sensation. So this is a bridge that many people can understand if they’ve had any experience with any kind of sitting meditation, where you sit and you notice thoughts that arise. You notice feelings that arise. You notice emotions and associations. You notice them, and you simply let them go. And you come back over and over again to focusing on the sensations of the body and the awareness of the body, either in a particular spot or the body as a whole.

The mindfulness practice, the orgasmic meditation practice specifically, experiencing orgasm together, that is a true meditation. In other styles of meditation, there is an intentional focus on experiencing the body at the level of sensation. We are applying that to the orgasm specifically. Investigating, what are the sensations in my body right now? Noticing and acknowledging emotions that arise, noticing the tendency to cling to them or force them out. Letting it go and coming back to the sensations.

My blog is about oxytocin, the chemical that causes us to feel connected to each other, producing those feelings of trust and love. And a ton of oxytocin is released during orgasm. Is this something you think about and work with?

We do. We've looked into the scientific, biochemical side of orgasm, absolutely. On that same page, one of the things we're saying is that orgasm, pleasure and sexual connection are part of the full spectrum of healthy human experience. The science behind this, in my opinion, the release of oxytocin is a signifier that points to the fact that our sex is important, and that we do well to be properly nourished in that area of our lives, as well.

On an essential level, people do want physical and sensual connection. They want to be in resonance with other human beings. When you start incorporating aspects of practice and mindfulness into relationships, sex and gender, you start to have a better structure to explore those things sustainably.

Can I find emotional connection at OneTaste?

Yes. It's part of the philosophy of people who come to OneTaste to connect. It's very full-spectrum, full-bodied that way. As a faculty member, I have a rich emotional connection with many people.

Any other thoughts about how orgasmic meditation relates to connection?

I can see from my personal experience, having done the practice for five years, I've experienced an expansion in my ability to feel other human beings. The orgasmic meditation practice is interesting specifically because it is a partner practice. You cannot do it in isolation. Every time I lay down to have my genitals stroked in an orgasmic mediation session, I am asked to be open  Enough to not only feel my own body but be able to feel the body of another human being on some level and to allow my orgasm to arise. From being in physical contact with someone else all the way out to my ability to connect in life, I've experienced a tremendous amount of expansion. I'm more available and more open. I just feel more.