March 23, 2018


Birthing photographer Angela Gallo shares why she masturbated through her labour.

So convinced that all women should be doing this, the 30-year-old has written a very frank and revealing blog post on the subject.

It is not uncommon for women to orgasm during childbirth, having an orgasm during labour as a non-sexual form of pain relief is a taboo topic rarely spoken about.

‘Something I’m particularly passionate about is choices in childbirth,’ she said.

The birthing photographer, from Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, said women in mainstream birth cultures were limited with their pain relief options – with an epidural, gas or nothing at all being the main choices.

Angela shares her incredible birthing story titled: ‘Why I touched myself in labour – here’s three reasons you should consider it, too!’

 “Shut the front door – she said WHAT?!”

“Yes, you heard me right. And don’t be so shocked. Birth & Sex operate in almost the exact same ways. The hormones, sensations, the anatomy involved, brain activity, receptors…they are all so heavily intertwined. Our vulvas swell, blood flow is increased, we moan, sway our hips, deep breathing, sweat – we drop into a seriously sacred intimate space.  Heck, women around the world are experiencing orgasmic childbirth. I wanted to make sure I had a piece of that pie!

And yet it still boggles people’s minds when I let them in on my (not-so dirty) little secret.

Birth brings out the animal in me; and it is a feeling I shamelessly indulge. It can only be described as a lioness coming out of her cave – sexy, strong, capable, warm.

My second baby’s birth was remarkably more empowering then my first. Firstly, I laboured in the comfort of our home, with the people I love most.  Secondly, because of the privacy, support, and love I felt wrapped in, my surges felt COMPLETELY different. They were intense, yes. But the wildness of them felt…electric. Sensual. Powerful.

I remember one moment very vividly. As I neared transition (9-10 cm), I felt incredibly fragile, hopeless, and overwhelmed. (Transition can be such a fickle bitch!) Masturbation made the MOST sense to me as I laboured through my surges. I remember my husband saying, ‘Would you like to have sex?’ And although I couldn’t commit to sex in the moment, he must have read my mind!

Clitoral stimulation worked an absolute TREAT. It shifted my focus to my vagina, to the energy brewing within me. It made me feel connected, and made me feel like I had some control over what I was feeling. The surges were much more manageable, and the rest between them was so much more enjoyable. If I close my eyes now, I am taken back to that place. The hot water on my back, my husband’s hands locked in mine, the safety of his presence, the happiness as I rode those wild waves.

Orgasmic in a sexual way – no. Pleasure – YES. It was my glorious instinctual pain-relief system coming to life! I am so proud of myself for exploring an avenue so typically shamed.

For as far back as scientific, biblical, or medicine based text exist, birth has always been spoken about as something to ‘endure'; pain as punishment for eating the apple off that damn tree. To boot, many people feel very uncomfortable with the idea of pleasure in childbirth. And hey, I get it. For some, It’s a pretty big idea that takes us way out of our comfort zones.

Debra Pascali-Bonaro, pioneer and crusader for orgasmic birth, says,  “It’s such a culture where some women actually feel shamed that they have pleasure, because the expectation is pain,” Pascali-Bonaro said. “We have to change that.”

The good news is if you’ve made it this far, you’re at the very least, intrigued. Here are a few enticing reasons to take the shame out of pleasure, and put the sex back into childbirth!

1. ‘What gets the baby in, gets the baby out!’

Oxytocin, baby. With a side of Endorphin and Adrenaline. (In all the right amounts, too!) Ina May was not kidding when she coined that term. Nipple, vaginal, clitoral stimulation, kissing, intimacy, affection; these all inspire the flow of our hormonal allies in birth. Experiencing a ‘stalled’ or lengthy labour?  Need a natural pick me up? Touch yourself, mama! It gets the good stuff flowing.

2. Pain Relief

Ever had a headache, or been hung-over, or couldn’t sleep; and you instinctively decided on a mini-masturbation sesh? And then voila – headache magically gone? Well – many of us do it. And that’s because it works. So why would it be any different to using clitoral stimulation in during/between contractions? In 1988, a man by the name of Komisaruk published a study in the Journal of Sex Research,  that explored the idea that when ‘women stimulated their vaginas or clitori, they became less sensitive to painful stimulation’.

‘Using rats, Komisaruk  found that vaginal stimulation blocked  the release of a pain transmitter called Substance P. In other words, the sensory neurons tasked with transmitting their message of “ouch!” to the central nervous system are stymied from the get-go.’

“It’s an actual physiological, very primordial system of the genital system blocking pain input,” Komisaruk said.

angela g

3. It feels good!

Mood boost, anyone? Want to feel more relaxed? You know that dopey, satisfied, tired feeling you can after an orgasm…that’s it right there. You may feel tense, anxious, stressed, unable to rest, mind racing – bring it back to basics with some deliciously luscious clitoral love.”

Share your comments below





  • This seriously would have been the last thing I would have wanted during my labours.


  • Whatever turns you on I guess.


  • I’d never heard of this but, hey, if it works.


  • I sure think touching yourself / orgasms releases feel good hormones and reduces pain, however I personally wouldn’t feel good about touching myself in the presence of others/medical staff.


  • Never thought of this and not sure I’ll do it either


  • Whatever works I guess, but personally, I don’t think I could have felt anything but the intense, all-consuming pain of all four of my labours.
    But if this blogger could rise above that and actually feel pleasure as well, then she should be the envy of birthing mothers the world over, lol!


  • I have been using self orgasam for pain relief for many years as it works and at least I get some sleep. It is not permanent but is relaxing. In also believe the actual use of vibrators can stem pain in the seams way as orgasam interrupts the pain signal and can release that sleepy hormone. When will orgasam during labour with my first child people think K I am nuts and I didn’t need the stimulation either. I think just being open to it helps. I had an emergency ceaser with the second and it was not the same experience. If you go in expecting pain it will be painful. I think research should go toward using what we have along with vibration techniques. I will not be made to feel dirty because sometimes I facilitate my own pain relief. Be warned though it can be addictive.


  • An interesting article, thanks for sharing.


  • I’ve neve hard of this. Good on her for being able to get an orgasm in this moment, in don’t think I would be able to do it.


  • Each to their own. I don’t have a theoretical problem with this, but can’t imagine doing it.


  • Ive never heard of this, but i suppose it makes sense. But I will never find out!


  • wish I had known this and many things when giving birth, but yes within the pain there was also an orgasmic feeling too. This sort of article should be in mum to be articles to help them on this journey.Also stroking yourself while pregnant I feel is soothing for you (especially when they are kicking away inside) and the baby,such connectedness is inexplainable but magic


  • Very interesting take on pain relief. Heaps less risky than an epidural. Sometimes epidurals do not work in the areas they are meant to. I would never ever have one.


  • Well I had an epidural that lasted for 6 hours post-labour so I could not feel a thing down there. There was certainly nothing pleasurable about my birth – except when I saw my baby for the first time!


  • I could not see myself doing this or even wanting to do this. Each to their own ways of getting relief and if it was considered it would have to be a private affair not in a hospital where most of us have our children.

    • I agree – it is a private and personal affair.


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