So here are my experiences...
My girlfriend and I have been trying non-orgasmic sex (with lots of failures!) for maybe 4 months now. We are both in our mid-twenties, and have been together for around 6 months.
I should say now that I was a virgin until me and my girlfriend made love for the first time.
For years I had strong and irrational fears of intimacy with women. In fact, I was a very closed person in general... I hid behind a wall and didn't let anyone in. Then I met 'A'.
'A' wanted to know the real me, and her honesty and direct approach was just what I needed. I finally felt like I wanted to open up to someone, and we were in the perfect situation for me to try to break down some of my fears. This was my chance to tell someone about my problems, and talk about my intimacy issues.
After I spoke about my fears, we started with just stroking one another - on the arms or the belly. We would also hold eye contact for hours (literally) and gently touch and stroke. Or we would touch our feet together under the table if other people were around.
Things progressed, and we started to kiss and there was more stroking and touching while lying down in bed. I didn't realize it then, but we were pretty much doing some of the Exchanges. Every afternoon we would rush off after working to be together for a few hours.
It was me that suggested we try sex without orgasm - I had been interested in the topic for a few years, particularly the spiritual possibilities, and I was lucky enough to find someone who was open to these things.
I also knew of "Peace Between the Sheets" but had not yet read it - I thought I would wait until I actually needed it! So I ordered the book and read it.
Our first time making love can only be described as a failure, and it's because I wasn't strong enough to say "No, I'm not ready yet". I orgasmed very quickly, and that was the end of that.
As I've already said, I was a virgin until this point, and my body really was not ready for sex. I had learnt in previous years that orgasms affect me in a very negative way, and for years I had been masturbating.
I discovered pranayama (breathing) as a way to control my feelings and to try to cut out masturbation (this helped a lot), but I think years of masturbation had conditioned my body and brain so it was very hard to control the orgasm.
Although we should have taken things slowly, my animal mind wanted to take the brute force approach, so we kept trying and I kept on struggling. We had successes - for short periods we would be successful and avoid orgasmic sex, and these were wonderful experiences.
So jump forward to now, and I have to be honest and say we still haven't nailed it yet. And as for the book, I'm afraid we haven't really followed the exchanges much, I have used it more as an advisor.
The reasons for failure mostly come down to either a) My body still being too sensitive, and getting overly aroused before we unite... leading to premature ejaculation or b) My (and her) animal brains kicking in and wanting to make movements which obviously leads to disaster.
It's probably a bit early to tell, but I think there has been an improvement recently. I've got a strict set of rules to follow and these have really helped. I'm also finding it easier to say "no thanks" to my animal thoughts, even when I have a naked and horny female provoking me!
Here are the rules I have got for myself. I know how obvious some of these appear, but it's so easy for the animal brain to kick in, and for the sane mind to lazily accept what the animal one is doing. Having a personal set of rules has helped because there is a clear line that you cannot cross.
1. Start with the scissors position.
I can't believe it took so long for us to try the scissors position from the book. Months of frustration and struggling to find the perfect position where we can both be relaxed and I can be deep enough... and it was there the whole time!
We tried the bridge position, but I couldn't really get in far enough to feel comfortable. I highly recommend the scissors position. It also kind of discourages you from movement compared to traditional positions like missionary. You can also be completely relaxed which really helped me with controlling the orgasm. It's important for me to keep still in the first minutes, and having to support my weight with my arms in missionary does not help at all.
2. No deep thrusts.
Let me say that again: NO DEEP THRUSTS. It's right there in the book as well, but it's so easy for the animal brain to take over. Sometimes there is a genuine need to push in a bit further, but try to pause before you do this to ask yourself why you want to do it. If it's just for the nice feeling, forget it. Refocus on the stillness and remember what this is all about.
3. No in-and-out movement (except maybe for initial entry/lubrication).
Another obvious one, but things can quickly turn sour from just one moment of animal movement. Although technically the women should be very well (naturally) lubricated, a small out then in movement is required when uniting for the first time.
4. No from-behind.
It's fun to try different positions, but for me anything from behind is too risky. There is some trigger in my brain that goes when 'taking' from behind. Just don't go there. Seriously.
5. Stop when you want to stop.
I have felt pressure to continue even when my body wants to stop. This again comes down to animal desire - the desire to please your partner sexually. But if your body wants to stop, tell your partner and then, maybe a few minutes later, you can disconnect when you are both ready.
If I continue for too long, there is a very clear change from harmonious stillness to horniness, and suddenly the animal brain will kick in again.
You need to be very firm and remember that your partner will understand.
7. No sexual thoughts to stimulate an erection.
It's strange how long this behaviour stayed with me... it's so obviously wrong, but if I lost my erection too soon I would find myself trying to get it back again with sexual thoughts. This is another example of the animal mind wanting to please the partner, but you should just listen to your body and wait. The amount of sexual energy you have varies, and the erection will come and go. Don't force it.
8. Listen to your body!
If your body isn't responding (male or female), just accept that now isn't the right time and wait. Be honest and tell your partner if you don't want to continue. Don't feel pressure.
So those are my rules, and in the past few weeks I finally feel like progress is being made. Just using the scissors position at the start has helped tremendously.
A typical (successful) love making session for us is over 2 hours, sometimes much longer. I am convinced this is the right way to make love.
I do regret that we haven't stuck with the book much, that is something we will work on in the future. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Marnia for all her work... this is such an important topic and you are doing an amazing thing! Good luck with the second edition.
And good luck to everyone out there who is trying to give this a go.