A growing number of men and women are giving up conventional, climax-oriented intercourse for a different type of lovemaking.
Karezza, which is derived from the Italian word carezza, meaning caress, stays far from the edge of orgasm, instead putting the emphasis on attachment and affection, not climax.
Many couples are finding that the technique of karezza has helped heal their marriages, inject more spark into their sex lives, shed porn addiction, and even cure sexual dysfunction.
New technique: Karezza puts the emphasis on attachment and affection during intercourse, not climax - staying far from the edge of orgasm
The word karezza was coined by Dr. Alice Bunker Stockham in 1896, a Chicago obstetrician and feminist who crusaded for birth control, a ban on corsets and sexual fulfillment for both men and women.
For strengthening marriages, Dr Stockholm encouraged 'male continence', although she encouraged women abstain from orgasm as well, in the interest of equality.
Lauded by doctors and American's alike, karezza is beginning to be seen as a natural alternative to Viagra, and possibly a cure for sexual dysfunction, or lack of desire, in women.
Deb Feintech, a counselor from Portland, Maine, says she often uses karezza to help couples repair their broken relationships.
She explained to ABC News: 'The people most interested are men. It's very radical for them, but they are finding the emotional intimacy far outweighs any of the thrill of the chase and the mating mind.'
She added that the practice is not just helpful for middle-aged couples struggling with the boredom of a long marriage, but also for young couples headed to the altar.
She said: 'I offer this to them as something to try for a month or so. They wake up every single morning and they are not even thinking about genital stimulation. They are snuggling, holding and breathing with eye contact and flow. It's very conscious - from the genitals to the heart.'
KEREZZA DEFINED: GUIDELINES FOR NO-CLIMAX INTERCOURSE
Exploring the connections between sexual behavior, neurochemistry, and relationship harmony, doctors have found that 80 different regions of the brain reach their maximum activity during orgasm.
This overstimulation of the pleasure receptors can desensitise the brain to pleasure or create a craving for more, leading to unhealthy cravings and an imbalance in the brain's harmony.
Marnia L. Robinson, author of Cupid's Poisoned Arrow, and the website, Reuniting: Healing With Sexual Relationships, is now a devote of kerezza, and says when men are addicted to pornography or have frequent orgasms, 'no amount of pleasure can satisfy.'
'We are always looking for something novel,' she added.
But in karezza, lovemaking has no finish line, so sexual energy continues to flow, which advocates say helps to prevent boredom with a partner.
Through bonding behaviour and relaxation, Karezza, which discourages conventional foreplay of oral sex, also encourages the brain to release the 'love' hormone ocytocin.
Researchers have found the only other event that affects the brain as intensely as orgasm is an epileptic seisure, causing doctors to conclude that when it comes to sexual dysfunction in women, clinical trials so far have been attacking the wrong organ.
Ms Robinson agrees, believing the orgasm's power is rooted in neuroscience.
Unstimulated brain: Exploring the connections between sexual behavior, neurochemistry, and relationship harmony, researchers believe the orgasm's overstimulated power is rooted in neuroscience
Orgasmic brain: Researchers have found the only other event that affects the brain as intensely as orgasm is an epileptic seisure, leading to an imbalance in the brain's harmony
'Even for those with the highest libidos, performance can become a grind and drive a craving for novelty," she explained.
'Such feelings, although perfectly natural, can create projections and resentment that cause disharmony, especially after our temporary honeymoon neurochemistry wears off.'
In the 'passion cycle of orgasm,' the hormone dopamine rises in anticipation of sex, then crashes after orgasm, creating a biochemical 'hangover,' according to Robinson.
She explained that in men, this hangover happens almost immediately after ejaculation; for women, it can be two weeks before the brain returns to its equilibrium.
Darryl Keil, a 56-year-old furniture maker from Maine, has been married to his wife Annabelle for 29 years.
'In karezza, lovemaking has no finish line, so sexual energy continues to flow'
For the last eight years neither one has had an intentional orgasm. He says that conventional sex, and its: 'lick, pump, squirt, snore,' is a purely man driven act.
Now, he says his wife feels she is an equal partner in the bedroom.
They are having sex every day, 'and it's not boring,' assures Mr Keil.
'It's really alive, great sex with great feeling. The pleasure goes up another level ... You follow the sensation in your body, not the stimulation.'
He added that many of the men he speaks to who have never heard of karezza look at him as if he were a 'freak of nature.'
He said: 'It's just hard to get men to want to skip orgasms. One guy said to me, you want me to climb 10,000 feet up Mt. Everest and not get to the top?'
Like others, the Keils say they experience occasional orgasms 'accidentally,' but karezza guru Marnia Robinson said it does not violate any rules.
She explained: 'I have orgasms and it's no big deal - gentle lovemaking sometimes slips over the edges and that's nice.'
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