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In Karezza, Gentle Touch Replaces Orgasm as the Goal

By HERWriter
 
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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. Such feelings, although perfectly natural, can create projections and resentment that cause disharmony, especially after our temporary honeymoon neurochemistry wears off."

Medical Daily said scientists researching the connections between sexual behavior, neurochemistry, and relationship harmony found that 80 different regions of the brain reach their levels of maximum activity during orgasm.

Researchers said that this overstimulation of the pleasure receptors can desensitize the brain to pleasure, or create more wants that lead to unhealthy cravings in the brain's harmony.

The drop-off of these brain chemicals is gradual after a Karezza session, said Go Ask Alice, so mood shifts are less dramatic than they may be after sexual play that includes an orgasm.

ABC News added that Karezza also elicits the relaxation response and encourages the brain to release the "love" hormone ocytocin, which helps in bonding behavior.

Sources:

Donaldson James, Susan. "Karezza, or Lovemaking Without Orgasm, Strengthens Marriages, Say Advocates - ABC News." ABCNews.com - Breaking News, Latest News & Top Video News - ABC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 July 2012.
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/karezza-lovemaking-orgasm-strengthens-marri...

Gray, Emma. "Karezza Sex: Without An Orgasm, Couples Say Sex Strengthens Relationships." Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 July 2012.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/10/karezza-sex-without-orgasm-coup...

"Hold the orgasm, please — the Karezza technique | Go Ask Alice!." Go Ask Alice!. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 July 2012.
http://goaskalice.columbia.edu/hold-orgasm-please-mdash-karezza-technique

Hsu, Christine. "How Couples are Purposefully Having Sex Without Orgasm to Repair Broken Relationships - Medical Daily." Medical Daily - Latest Medical and Health News. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 July 2012.
http://www.medicaldaily.com/news/20120711/10783/relationships-karezza-or...

Murray, Rheana. "Skip the orgasm — what’s the point? Couples embrace karezza, sex without climax, to strengthen relationships - NY Daily News." Daily News America - Breaking national news, video, and photos - Homepage - NY Daily News. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 July 2012.
http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/skip-orgasm-point-couples-e...

"The Karezza Method | Reuniting." Reuniting | Healing with Sexual Relationships. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 July 2012.
http://www.reuniting.info/karezza_method_lloyd

Reviewed July 17, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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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.

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