What is Karezza?

Karezza (pronounced ka-RET-za) is a type of gentle, affectionate sexual intercourse. The word “Karezza” comes from the Italian word “carezza,” meaning “caress.” The goal of Karezza, unlike most kinds of sexual intercourse, is not orgasm but reaching a relaxed state of union with your sexual partner.

Karezza encourages sexual partners to be as relaxed as possible, and to take deep breaths to relax when feelings of intense energy surge.

The emphasis of Karezza is not on sexual passion but spiritual love for another person. Practitioners of Karezza engage in sensual bonding activities such as smiling and skin-to-skin contact rather than typical foreplay activities. When practitioners reach sexual intercourse, it’s much slower and more relaxed than typical intercourse.

History of Karezza

The history of Karezza is recorded in “The Karezza Method,” a 1931 book written by sex theorist J. William Lloyd. According to Lloyd, the Quaker doctor Alice B. Stockham is responsible for naming the practice and popularizing it in the United States. But he wrote that an Oneida, New York man named John Humphrey Noyes discovered Karezza in 1844.

Noyes shaped the sexual practice that would become Karezza from “experiences and experiments in his own marital life.” He called his practice of achieving sexual closeness without orgasm “Male Continence” because it was still permissible for a woman to achieve orgasm during this type of sexual experience. Later, Karezza came to be defined by both of the partners having a non-orgasmic sexual experience.

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