I have a specialized license as a sexological bodyworker and we do a lot of pelvic floor massage. I have been using myself as a guinea pig to develop a better version of the perineal massage for pregnancy than what I have read about in books and that my MW gave me. My first impression is that the massage is not really a massage and for the most part is not at all enjoyable. I have learned in my years as a bodyworker that tissues need to be warmed up and that they respond much differently when things are slowed down. Like a balloon, if you go in and poke it or stretch it too fast, it pops. But if you slowly press into the ballon you can get your finger all the way to the other side.
In my own personal exploration of my perineum, I have learned that for me warming up the tissue with massage that I find pleasurable and then slowly working the tissues in the most pleasurable ways has reinforced to me that birthing a baby can be orgasmic. I think that the perineal massage as it is taught now (stretch until you feel burning and then numbness) reinforces pain and then a lack of embodiment. My partner reports that when we take time and allow arousal to happen then he can stretch me even farther without me experiencing any burning or pain. He also guides me to breathe deeply and communicate with him about my pain edge so that he can work with it, instead of trying to push through it. We are planning on doing the massage during my labor. I have also heard of certain oild being beneficial so we will be using them as well.
I am doing research with an MD right now about how massage of the pelvic floor both internally and externally can aid us in natural childbirth and orgasmic births. He has some really great insights about how the anatomy works and in training ourselves to be more in tune and aware of how the muscles work we can enter into childbirth much easier and without tearing.
I'm rambling on...can you tell that I am excited about the perineum!
Feel free to PM me and I can e-mail any of you the perineal massage that I developed. I'd be happy to get your feedback on it. I think that it is too sexy to post here