I had my partner do the massage with #1 and #2 and it always ended up in sex, like Adina. Woohoo!
Those were both hospital births - 1 small tear with #1 and a larger one with #2 - keep in mind these were extremely fast births with really fast pushing phases (each approx. 3 pushes to baby completely born).
I asked my midwife about it this time and this is what she had to say:
"MANA (midwives alliance of NA) did a study which showed that perineal massage possibly causes more tearing. You are essentially stretching the outside area. The baby's head is doing the stretching from the other direction.
Firm and healthy perineal muscle has good integrity allowing it to stretch without tearing or too much tearing. If you loosen that it may not be beneficial.
Early in my midwifery training we used to do alot of perineal stretching pre- and during crowning, I found it rather invasive and though many of the women didn't complain about it I'm not sure that it feels that soothing. I moved away from that technique and now use warm-hot cloths on the perineum during crowning (most women say that it feels good) coupled with slow gentle pushing if possible (some babies just seem to be on a speed track though) because that allows for the muscle to be stretched incrementally as opposed to long, hard, aggressive pushing as often witnessed at hospital births."
So, based on what she had to say, I'm not doing it this time and will trust that a better birth position, more controlled/slower pushing on my part and my fabulous midwife will help.
But... the horizontal mambo 'side-effects' of the massage are always good!