Hold the orgasm, please – the Karezza technique

Dear Alice,

I am interested in learning Karezza. I read all the posts about this technique, but I am hoping for some more specific details about how to develop it.

Thanks so much!
Hopefully Hard

Dear Hopefully Hard,

Hopefully it won't be hard for you to learn Karezza, a lovemaking technique of "gentle intercourse" in which affection, connection, and relaxation are the goals, rather than orgasm. Karezza is a variation of an Italian word, meaning caress. As its name implies, it's comprised of activities like gentle stroking, spooning, skin-to-skin contact, and occasional gentle intercourse. Some evidence suggests this practice has been used for millennia, dating back to a Daoist practice called dual cultivation.

Karezza practitioners believe that great sex is not defined by orgasm, but instead by feelings of connection, bonding, and relaxation. Orgasms are shunned because they are thought of as quick intense neurochemical bursts that leave a person exhausted, drained, and restless shortly afterwards. Practitioners of Karezza say they feel energized and full of positive energy after their orgasm-less sexual play, possibly because gentle, loving touch without orgasm subtly raises levels of dopamine and oxytocin, neurochemicals which create pleasure and feelings of closeness, romance, and peace. The drop-off of these brain chemicals is gradual after a Karezza session, so shifts in mood are less dramatic than they may be after sexual play that includes an orgasm.

Some enthusiasts credit Karezza with healing sexual dysfunctions and soothing menstrual cramps, but caution that to achieve these benefits Kraezza should only be practiced between those who are truly in love, otherwise the gentle touch may lack the kindness and tenderness that make it so satisfying, enjoyable, and even healing. If you want to learn more about this technique, you can check out the seminal (pun intended) book by William Lloyd, The Karezza Method: Or Magnetation, the Art of Connubial Love, a handy little manual which explores the theory and practical application of Karezza.

If you're interested in Karezza, you could always give soft, gentle, and loving touching a try. If it doesn't work for you and your partner, there's nothing wrong with radically changing course and going for the big O!

Last updated Mar 26, 2015
Originally published Apr 30, 2010

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