In this interview about karezza, T J Smith interviews Marnia Robinson on her book Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow: From Habit to Harmony in Sexual Relationships. The book describes a form of lovemaking sometimes called “karezza”. Robinson explains how she came to explore this alternative to conventional sex. For example, she traces the fragility she had experienced in her own relationships and had also witnessed in the love relationships of friends. She refers to her fascination with the books that talked about this little-known form of lovemaking. Importantly, she discusses the fascinating research on sexual love relationships.

Robinson makes good use of examples from real life to help explain the science. “Evolution is not too crazy about monogamy.” She goes on, “We have the brain machinery to fall in love and can learn to tap into that machinery to stay in love.” She suggests that exhausting our sexual appetite for each other may not be the best strategy. Instead she advises that keeping a bit of sexual tension going in the relationship, keeps the flirty energy flowing. In another interview about karezza, some men even say the best sex is without orgasm.

Karezza and divorce

Smith asks how ‘karezza’ can help with what family therapists say are the key reasons people get divorced: communication problems; infidelity; family interference; financial difficulties and abuse.  Robinson explains that orgasm is not just something we experience between our legs, but is a “big event in the brain.” She lucidly explains how the unconscious neurochemical shift affects our emotions. She explains how it alters perception of (and often our behaviour toward) our partner, for at least a week. Consequently, this has an indirect effect on those other relationship factors.

She says, “It’s important not wear out desire for each other. Instead we need to put attention on regular affectionate intercourse and bonding behaviours.”