‘Would you masturbate during childbirth?’ isn’t something that is commonly asked or considered as a way to manage the pain of delivery, but are there merits to using self stimulation as a form of pain relief?
But I could never do that in front of a midwife
Masturbation is a very private and personal part of our lives, and something that is usually only done with a trusted partner present or done solo. The thought of performing self pleasure during the throes of labour isn’t one that your OB is likely to suggest trying when the contractions start to kick in. And the reality is that the hospital is a medical environment and not the sexiest of settings.
But whilst we associate masturbation with sexual gratification – perhaps it’s not about the joyous feeling we get from an orgasm that is the motivation for the act, but what it does to our bodies during labour.
Okay tell me, what does it do to my body?
Founder of Holistic Childbirth, Kate Dimpfl recently gave a TEDx talk titled “We must put the sex back into birth“. Dimpfl believes that “the hormones in birth and sex are identical”. She talks about the fact that sex is what put the baby inside in the first place, and sex can help to bring the baby out too. Refer to this slide from her talk comparing sex and child birth.
You may have heard that sexual acts including nipple stimulation and penetration can help to bring on labour when you’re in that ‘I’m so over being pregnant’ stage of your pregnancy. Dimpfl says it’s not uncommon in labour for contractions to ease off and slow down and for medical professionals to suggest that some of these acts might help to naturally bring them back on.
The other big bonus according to Dimpfl is that self stimulation can help to decrease pain naturally during contractions.
Angela Gallo is a Melbourne based doula and birth photographer Gallo who used masturbation in the late stages of the labour of her second child. Gallo said “it took the edge off the pain” as opposed to using it for sexual gratification. “The second I started using clitoral stimulation, the resting period between contractions was more pleasurable and I could use more force to meet the climax of the contractions.”
To masturbate or medicate
How we feel most comfortable delivering our babies is a very personal choice and one that has most likely been researched in the lead up to the birth, discussed with professionals and loved ones and most importantly the way that makes you feel safe and supported.
There is no shame in trying different methods of pain relief because let’s face it – having babies is painful. But what we love most about this particular discussion is that it is all about giving the power to women to explore all options to find the one that works for them in the delivery room.
Could you ever consider masturbation during labour?