Some thoughts

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My wife and I have been married for more than thirty years. We've always enjoyed our sex life. We've had our ups and downs, of course, the causes of which I'm now beginning to reconsider.

Recently, it's got a little more twitchy than usual, with me wanting one thing and my wife another. What I've noticed particularly is the frantic thrusting she likes and that brings her to orgasm seems to diminish my own pleasurable sensations to the point where I wonder if I've even climaxed.

I've got a stack of books on my shelves about extended orgasm, some bought at the outset of our marriage; but the exercises always seem so dauntingly complicated, we haven't got far with them. A simple version of Karezza (briefly outlined in a book by Barbara Keesling) was something we got into early on, but I wasn't as enthusiastic as my wife, who seemed to like falling asleep soon after we started, which I found frustrating.

We've experimented with the Coital Alignment Technique (similar to 'grinding the corn'), which is great for producing a gentle build up of sexual friction and an explosive, whole body (usually simulataneous) orgasm that has to be experienced to be believed. The trouble is, it's hard to keep from speeding up and getting over frantic towards the end.

Recently, reading 'Peace' and also the two (new to me) Karezza booklets, I'm reevaluating matters. I never appreciated before just how regularly I've been climaxing – whether through making love or masturbating – over the years. I suppose, since I first had an orgasm, aged maybe 12, I've averaged two or three a week.

Now, the prospect of stopping enjoying orgasm, in the traditional way, both appalls and excites me. Recently, we were staying at a friend's house, and the bed creaked massively. We got into the habit every night of starting to make love and then just lying there noiselessly until we drifted off to sleep. It was great; and neither of us felt the least frustration, although it didn't last quite long enough for me. However, the first night we were back home, we started to do the same, but got carried away, and ended up 'grinding the corn'.

Although I had often noticed that in the past after a pleasant night of lovemaking I frequently seemed to be grumpty the next day, rather than loving as I would have anticipated, I never atttributed this to the consequences of orgasm. I haven't noticed this grumpiness recently; but I did feel wiped out the day after ending our week long period of 'celibacy'.

I haven't finished 'Peace' but needless to say I've peeked into the exchanges section where I've been a bit disconcerted to discover the relative lack of 'action' and the daunting prospect of a lot of talk and eye gazing and clothes wearing. This isn't a critique, but I'm not surer we're ready for that just yet. I feel there is probably an alternative way forward, avoiding orgasm and undue passion, but with a little more excitement and a little closer to what we're used to. The two pamplets by Alice Stockham and William Lloyd seem to suggest this but they are very coy with their language.

Is there a more explicit explanation of Karezza available? The way I see it, when a couple get together, they start at a basic level of togetherness but unarousal, such as when lying in bed, cuddling, with no sexual intent, or during a prolonged hug. Then, something happens that causes the first stirrings of arousal. If the circumstances are suitable, arousal increases, passion intensifies, and they are on our merry way towards mutual orgasm.

Now, if we take their base level as 1, and orgasm as 100, we could formulate 'zones' in between. Say, the zone between 1 and 10 represented basic 'arousal'. And the zone between 90 and 100 represented the point of no return. From my experience, somewhere around the 60 mark is where being in a relaxed state is no longer an option. In other words, a certain frenzy takes over. So, if the zone from 60 to 90 is usually fairly frantic, it might be best (for avoiding orgasm) to avoid climbing any higher than, say, 50.

From experience, I would say the main danger from staying in the zone between 1 and 30, especially in the evening, in bed, would be drowsiness. Assuming a degree of excitement is required to keep arousal levels sufficiently high to avoid this, but sufficiently low to keep a damper on rising passion, an initial aim could be to set sufficicient time aside, make a commitment to stay on track, begin making love, and then trying to stay within the 30 to 50 zone for an extended period.

Does this make sense? Would it be a reasonable approximation of what Karezza is?

To move, or not to move

Great letter, good questions. It's interesting that you write this letter now, because we've been wrestling with this same question: "how much movement during intercourse is best with this practice?"

Honestly, I'm not sure I know an absolute answer to this, other than, "The ideal amount of movement does not put strain on the prostate and does not lead to loss of control."

Recently we had a visit from a German/Italian couple (http://www.reuniting.info/testimonials/2007/embraced - shared with their permission) and this very subject came up. They had been exploring Barry Long's (Aussie tantra teacher) ideas, which they interpret as "just connect and lie still, and eventually the man's erection fades and then returns, after which a sort of electrical vibration joins the lovers in a total relaxation experience." They have experienced this and the profound sense of peace that accompanies it once, but haven't duplicated it.

At the same time, my husband and I shared that making love every night seems to cause some kind of...build up of goal-driven energy that eventually leads to sexual frustration. We've had better results with taking at least one night off in betweeen intercourse encounters and just snuggling - knowing that the goal is not intercourse. This seems to remind us of the mindset that goes with "being" rather than "doing."

Nevertheless, in the interest of greater understanding of sacred sexuality Wink we all four decided to explore each other's methods.

Their experiences so far (using the Exchanges from the back of our book) are recorded at that link above. Ours have been, well, confusing. Both of us have had erotic dreams, which is consistent with our past experience when we have intercourse every night. We did not experience the mysterious vibration phenomenon, although I have no doubt about its existence. I don't know if it's because a goal-driven energy sneaked into the mix, or what. I wish I did.

So now we're shifting back to gentle movement during intercourse. (Probably to your proposed 30-50 range.) I would say we continue until we both feel...complete...or as J. William Lloyd describes it in "The Karezza Method" (http://www.reuniting.info/karezza_method_lloyd) "well fed."

At the same time, I sense that stillness IS somehow related to the deepest mystery of union - the sense of effortless merging. For example, have a look at the case study mentioned near the beginning of this article: http://www.reuniting.info/wisdom/von_urban_sex_perfection_and_marital_ha... And there are many other hints that stillness and "not doing" and a lack of awareness of the physical body are ultimately important to the deeper merging experience that is possible with this practice.

What I REALLY think is that there's more to the equation than any of us fully understands yet, even though some of us have stumbled upon such experiences from time to time without quite knowing why or how. Or else the qualitative shift occurs after a sufficient period of quantitative shift - in which case it is wise to continue to hover near the balance point and learn to enjoy it - while we wait for the next inspiration. Gentle lovemaking may lead to the deep selflessness that the young doctor in that case study (referred to in previous paragraph) fell into because of his circumstances. For most of us this change from "getting" to "giving" may take time.

Or maybe there are other factors that haven't come into focus yet. Maybe results depend upon alignment of intention, or mutual desire for union with the Divine. Or none of the above. I confess that one reason for this website is that it serves as a meeting ground for those of us willing to experiment and share what we learn. In addition, my husband and I know without a doubt that our lives are definitely better with this practice than without, which makes waiting bearable. We're clear that abundance and greater harmony and more energy are dividends we already receive. (We know because of experiences that follow when we inadvertently experience orgasm. ;-))

As for your remark about "lots of eye-gazing," you are indirectly getting at a comment I have heard before, which has validity. I wrote the Exchanges to create a safe haven for new lovers to reach for union without falling into the biological trap for which they are naturally programmed. Long-term couples' circumstances are different. However, strangely enough, even long-term couples who go through the Exchanges as they are written (clothing on, etc.) often experience some kind of profound shift. Again, see the link to the experience of our new friends.

So there is something in selfless giving that is intentionally NOT goal-directed (or ?), which seems to be mutally healing and...well... inspiring or deeply comforting. Every now and then my husband and I also do some of the Phase 1 Exchanges again, and we experience it, too. This is one reason that I think subtle intention is a big part of the open-heartedness that seems to benefit all lovers. But so is a willingness to stay away from "the edge" of orgasm.

I hope you will continue to share. I'm sure a lot of readers of our monthly newsletter would find our exchange interesting. Would you mind if I direct them to this item of the forum? Your name is not included, so that shouldn't create a problem. You could replace your handsome face with a different image if you want to preserve your privacy more completely. Or I could simply not do it. Your choice.

I hope we hear from some others who are experimenting with movement vs. non-movement. Thanks again for this post.

Warm regards,
Marnia

Please use what I've written

Please use what I've written in any way you like. I've changed my avatar from a mug shot to a painting I did years ago, which seems more appropriate.

I've been thinking about what you said concerning movement during intercourse. I imagine familiarity - or lack of it - is quite important. When I first met my wife, holding hands was indescribably exciting. I remember how we used to communicate by squeezing each other's hands, and the sensation was delicious. We still hold hands now, but the feeling is entirely different. There is no excitement but simply a sense of togetherness and stability.

Similarly, when we first lay in bed together, the touch of my wife's skin on mine was electric. A naked embrace involving virtually no movement was sensational. Now, of course, after sleeping in a shared bed for thirty odd years, both initial and sustained contact, while still very pleasant, are not so breathtaking.

I can't remember in detail, but I guess it's much the same for movement during intercourse. Maybe more is needed now than was the case before. How this relates to a new partner, I don't know. We were both close to being virgins when we met and haven't had any affairs since, so what happens when you start over with someone new is a closed book to me.

It does strike me, though, that with the 'exchanges', it might be as if a form of re sensitizing takes place, where, repeatedly, less touch and movement, along with more thought and intent, brings about increased receptivity.

I'm still only half way through Peace, and I suppose my primary interest remains to deepen and prolong the pleasure we get from existing lovemaking, primarily through an increased control over the process. However, having learned what I now have - and from the two Karezza manuscripts, which have really made an impression on me - I'm beginning to rethink the wisdom of that process leading to traditional orgasm.

I still feel there are orgasms and orgasms (and I don't just mean 'peak' and 'valley', or ejaculatory and non ejaculatory ones); and I find it hard to believe they all result in the same hangover effect. In my experience, some are pretty desultory, whereas others can be awe inspiring. A lot seems to have to do with the qualitative nature of lovemaking. I've noticed again and again that we tend to start making love in a slightly matter of fact way – especially if it is 'scheduled' lovemaking – and that this involves a lot of premeditated touching and movement, where we are often out of synch with one another, which is reflected in the localised and generally ragged quality of our sensations; but that at some point, after arousal but prior to orgasm, we usually enter a completely different phase, where we seem to tune into each other and the way we touch and move becomes much more instinctive and harmonious.

The problem is, this is also the point where passion has a habit of taking over; but if we don't reach this point, making love is somewhat flavourless, to me. The trick, it seems, is to retain enough control over events to, firstly, engineer matters so the 'moving and acting as one' point is reached, and then, secondly, to ensure this point it is not overreached.

A few weeks ago I would have said it would only have been necessary to ensure the point was not overreached too quickly, before 'allowing' orgasm – ideally, whole body, simultaneous, of long duration - to take place. Now, however, I must admit, an alternative possibility would be to simply continue until, as you put it, there is the feeling of being 'complete'.

It's early days, and we need to experiment. What I would have liked, in advance, would be a preliminary taste of what it is like to reach satiation without much movement and without orgasm; but I appreciate we probably need to go through the Exchanges as written for that to happen. Although I didn't buy Peace and get interested in this whole area for the specific purpose of heart opening and satiation without orgasm – being more interested in prolonging and intensifying traditional lovemaking – I can see lots of reasons for considering it now.

Not the least of these reasons is the fact that I am so off put at the prospect. I'm put off it primarily because it seems threatening. Actually, it is threatening! It threatens the way we have lived together for thirty years or so. We tend to be quite cuddly and tactile but to stay out of each other's minds. We also enjoy a certain amount of passion. My initial glimpse of the Exchanges gives me the impression that sharing thoughts and minimising passion are integral ingredients.

I'm somewhat loathe to admit I'm on a spiritual journey of any sort. I don't meditate and I find the hardest part about wanting something but following an injunction to not want it in order to ultimately receive it in the best possible fashion means, when you get down to it, that you have to genuinely no longer want it, rather than pretend not to want it, before you can be considered ready to receive it, by which time it's sort of too late, since you no longer want it at all!

I'll try and update this as and when.