Sexual Health

Get Email Updates

Related Checklists

Sexual Health Guide

Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

In Karezza, Gentle Touch Replaces Orgasm as the Goal

By Stacy Lloyd HERWriter
the goal of karezza is gentle touch, not orgasm JupiterImages/Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock

As a general rule, those of us who can have orgasms, strive for orgasms. The idea of avoiding orgasm may seem very foreign and counter-productive. But this perpective has been gaining in popularity.

The practice of Karezza is used by many couples trying to reignite the spark in their relationships. Columbia University’s Go Ask Alice column called Karezza a lovemaking technique of "gentle intercourse" where affection, connection, and relaxation are the goals, not orgasm.

"Karezza" is a variation of an Italian word, meaning "caress", continued Go Ask Alice. It comprises 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.

ABC News reported that the word "Karezza" was coined by Dr. Alice Bunker Stockham, a Chicago obstetrician and early feminist who promoted birth control, a ban on corsets and sexual fulfillment for both genders.

In 1896, in her book by that name, she encouraged what was then called "male continence," although in the interest of equality, she asked that women abstain from orgasm, as well in order to strengthen marriages.

Many couples credit this lovemaking technique as being a savior to their marriages, helping them inject more passion into their sex lives, said Medical Daily.

Go Ask Alice added that some credit Karezza with healing sexual dysfunctions and soothing menstrual cramps.

A caution is raised, however, that to achieve these benefits, Karezza 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.

Orgasms are shunned because they are thought of as quick, intense neurochemical bursts that leave a person exhausted, drained, and restless shortly afterwards, wrote Go Ask Alice.

Marnia L. Robinson, author of "Cupid's Poisoned Arrow," told ABC News that "even for those with the highest libidos, performance can become a grind and drive a craving for novelty.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

Improved

1549 Health

Changed

573 Lives

Saved

430 Lives
4 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Do you think sex gets better as you age? :
View Results