I’d been alone and celibate for six years, by choice, before I decided I was ready to date again. I craved a deeper, more meaningful relationship with a man than I’d had in the past. So I signed up to an online dating site hoping I might find that person. After a few months of meeting people I wasn’t at all attracted to, I finally met someone who intrigued me. We quickly grew close and often talked on the phone late into the night, sometimes for six hours straight. Sooner than I was prepared for, he drove 400 miles to spend five days with me. I was both excited and petrified.

He told me he practiced Karezza. I’d never heard of it but was curious. He said it was about spending time nurturing your partner and creating a deep connection. He talked about brain chemistry and bonding—everything sounding heavenly at this point—before he dropped the bombshell that orgasm was not the goal and was mostly avoided.

What, no orgasm?

I was all for the caressing, eye gazing, and the other beautiful concepts my lover-to-be talked about. I couldn’t help but think about the sex I’d had in the past with husbands and boyfriends who behaved almost beast-like at times. The only goal for them was the orgasm. Once that was reached (usually within a matter of minutes), they would immediately leave the bed saying they had things to do. Men in my past seemed to believe that two minutes of kissing was plenty of time for me to get aroused, so sex was often uncomfortable and I’d have to fake an orgasm so it would end. For some reason, it was easier to satisfy his ego and ignore my own needs.

I was resistant to the idea of relinquishing orgasms. I’d already been cheated out of them in the past, so I felt entitled to my share now. However, I was willing to try Karezza because I wanted to be with this new man in my life, and it was the only way he would be intimate with anyone.

The experience

The first time we were together, I was enamored of the gentle way he kissed me, how lightly his hands brushed over my skin. We explored every inch of each other, and my whole body relaxed. He was truly present with me in a way I’d never experienced with a lover. I felt he saw me and was entirely focused on me. The sensation of him resting inside me, without him frantically riding me to the finish line, allowed me to trust and surrender. When two hours passed and he wasn’t antsy to get up and do something else, I was surprised. There was no rush to complete something. It was just a time to be together. I found I didn’t need to come. I was more satisfied than I’d ever been.

The third or fourth time we made love, some fractured shard of emotion broke loose from my solar plexus, rattled its way up through my ribcage, and burst from my throat in tortured sobs. I had no idea where this came from and I was helpless to stop it. I tried to choke out an apology but it only made me sob louder.

He let me weep until my tears ran dry, and never once gave any sign that my emotions alarmed him. He simply brushed my tears away, swept my hair back from my face, and smiled at me. It felt like I’d released grief that had been secreted away inside my body without my conscious awareness.

A healing practice

It was hard for both of us to part ways once five days ended. He pulled away from me for a while after that, because of stressful events in his life he needed to address. And it was difficult for both of us to come to terms with the reality that we lived so far apart from one another. But no matter what the outcome is for me and this man, in terms of being a couple, I’m grateful to have experienced Karezza with him. It feels like a healing practice somehow, and I’m unwilling to go back to the old way of doing things.