by Walter Last

Presently a large number of marriages ends in divorce, often already after a very short time. Informal relationships are even more fragile. While this is a rather recent phenomenon, the underlying reason has always been there. In previous centuries marriages simply were held together by social pressure and an inability to get a divorce.

The underlying reasons that drive relationships apart are rooted in the hormonal characteristics of our sexual relationships. In evolutionary terms we are conditioned to spread our genes as widely as possible, and provide a safe environment for raising our offspring. This means we are programmed to meet, fall in love, mate to conceive a child, and after some time to meet another lover and repeat this procedure.

Females are attracted sexually to handsome men, but often choose mates based on resources and parenting potential, and males try to spread their genes by being strongly attracted to any (fertile) female with genetically desirable features.

This evolutionary pattern comes to a head after pregnancy when the woman maintains high prolactin levels during breastfeeding, and instead of maintaining a loving oxytocin connection with her partner, she now has switched her oxytocin bonding to the baby. In this situation sex is hormonally undesirable, and any orgasmic sex leads to further hormonal and emotional instability.

Therefore, what happens presently in our society is perfectly normal in evolutionary terms. The main problem is just the unacceptable amount of emotional distress and social upheaval that it causes. Other casualties are our health and wellbeing, which are greatly enhanced by harmonious long-term relationships.

Initially we were bonded together by falling in love through a generous release of oxytocin and enjoyed the exciting peaks of dopamine release during our sexual encounters. Gradually the oxytocin glow faded and we began to fall out of love, and it also became more difficult to maintain an exciting sex life.

Instead of enjoying dopamine peaks, increasingly we now have to cope with the dopamine lows after our routine sexual encounters. We begin to see all the faults in our partner that were previously covered by high oxytocin levels (from frequent physical contact without unpleasant subconscious associations). As these dopamine lows may last for up to two weeks this causes considerable strain on a relationship.

During this time we tend towards increasing irritability, nagging, resentment, frustration, blaming each other and similar negative emotions as an expression of a biological hangover. Depending on our emotional makeup we may now develop a subconscious desire to separate, and many couples do just that. Over time couples start losing interest in sex and withdraw emotionally, or they may try to shift their emotional involvement to other common interests and in this way may be able to maintain a satisfying relationship.

Still others try maintaining peak dopamine experiences by exploring all the different sexual positions, or start swapping partners, or becoming interested in a new partner. Dopamine peaks can also be maintained by becoming addicted to something, it does not really matter to what. This may be legal or illegal drugs, games, racing and betting, chocolate, or frequently finding a different sexual partner. Apart from causing long-term stress-related and other health problems, addictions also have a host of unpleasant side effects on our capacity for intimacy.

Beyond Orgasm

With the present structure of our society it is obviously an advantage to form stable cooperative sexual relationships for the benefit of the children and also for the emotional wellbeing of the parents. As this objective is contrary to our evolutionary neurochemical conditioning, we need to find ways to outsmart the hormonal changes that drive us apart.

In hormonal terms we need to maximize oxytocin production and avoid the dopamine rollercoaster. Apart from occasional procreating activities, all of this could be done within a loving platonic relationship. However, there is a biological catch: To maintain a strong and healthy body we also need to maintain a strong production of sex hormones. This hormone production is best maintained by sexual feelings. As with muscle activity, it is best to use it or we may lose it.

This leads us to two remaining questions: “Can sexual activity without orgasm be satisfying?” and “Is orgasm needed to stimulate our sexual glands and maintain the health of our sexual organs?” These questions cannot be confidently answered from theoretical considerations, but fortunately we have already a wealth of practical experience in this regard.


Karezza and the related practice of White Tantra are one answer to non-orgasmic sex. "White Tantra" was promoted by Samael Aun Weor in his book The Perfect Matrimony (1950), Thelema Press, also see These non-orgasmic methods shift the focus of love-making from the sexual organs to the heart. There have been three basic ideas in the evolution of Karezza: increasing health and wellbeing, avoiding unwanted pregnancy, and increasing close bonding and sensual pleasure.

From time to time some health-minded individuals, generally males, felt from their own experience that non-ejaculatory sex gave them more energy and improved their health, while at the same time preventing unwanted pregnancies. Their female partners were uniformly enthusiastic about the close emotional bonding that it provided. However, this not necessarily the case at present as many women still prefer orgasms and men are even more strongly orgasm oriented.

The Oneida Community

One early pioneer was John Noyes from the Yale Divinity School. Noyes came up with the concept of Male Continence as a consequence of his wife losing four premature children in the first six years of their marriage. After struggling with self-imposed celibacy, he eventually found that he as well as his wife greatly enjoyed non-ejaculatory sex. He told friends about it, and in 1848 they founded the Oneida community in upstate New York, which eventually grew to 250 men and women.

Intercourse without ejaculation was a cornerstone of the Oneida Community. Noyes also realized some spiritual implications for Male Continence. In order to create the Kingdom of Heaven on earth we must not only strive for reconciliation with God, but also bring about a true union of the sexes. He even suggested that the frequent unease after ejaculatory intercourse lies at the heart of the Judeo-Christian association between sex and guilt.

Because of statements from some medical authorities that non-orgasmic sex is harmful a large number of members of this community were examined by a medical practitioner and found to be “in perfect health, happy and in complete harmony.”

Karezza Classics

In 1872, after more than 25 years of practice John Humphrey Noyes published his experiences and theories in Male Continence. Two other Karezza Classics are The Karezza Method by J. William Lloyd (1931), and Karezza: Ethics of Marriage by Alice Bunker Stockham, MD (1903). All of these are available as free downloads from

Stockham developed her method mainly to help her patients, and promoted it as producing better health, greater harmony and spiritual attainment.

She believed that sexual energy may be directed into building bodily tissue and permeating every cell with health and vigor. For Stockham, Karezza was a form of spiritual companionship. Partners seek union and mutual soul development rather than fleeting passionate gratification, but the emphasis is on loving closeness, rather than denial of pleasure. At the appointed time and after joint meditation the couple calmly engages in physical contact and expressions of endearment and affection, followed by the complete, quiet union of the sexual organs.

Only the book by Dr Lloyd has still some practical value in regard to details of the technique, while the other two books are mainly of historical interest. But all of them relate the great health and emotional benefits derived from this method. By the middle of the twentieth century the practice of Karezza had greatly declined in the United States, although related non-ejaculatory methods apparently had gained many followers in India and Egypt.

Peace between the Sheets

Presently Karezza enjoys a revival in the United States and is also spreading to other countries in large part due to the efforts of Marnia Robinson and Gary Wilson. They maintain the website with a wealth of practical, scientific and spiritual articles as well as a discussion forum and a monthly newsletter. The basis for this work is the book Peace between the Sheets – Healing with Sexual Relationships, available from their website.

Gary had been a long-time alcohol addict and on prescription antidepressants. Within a short time of their new sex habits he found it relatively easy to overcome these problems (although he still had some tough moments), and also Marnia’s chronic yeast infections and urinary tract infections disappeared. This book, as well as many website testimonials, shows the many health and relationship benefits of this non-orgasmic approach to making love, and Marnia also provides easy to follow instructions and exercises for beginners.

The Method

In Karezza the emphasis is on the inner feeling awareness as well as on the feeling of complete union with the partner. Orgasm is avoided or at least minimized. Caresses and slow controlled movements during intercourse generate a steady stream of sexual energy that is consciously converted into feelings of sublime joy and love. Typically, this may continue for an hour or more. It is not necessary for the penis to be erect or even inside to enjoy this type of lovemaking. Part or all of the time the tip of the penis may just touch the entrance of the vagina, or the sexual organs may not touch at all.

Initially concentrate awareness on the sensations at the point of contact with the partner, in the genital area and wherever the skin or a caressing hand touches. This generates pleasant sensations, which can now easily be converted into a loving feeling. Open your heart and send this love to your partner. In a more active fashion you can in your imagination lead the energy felt in the genital or pelvic area upwards to the heart. There you feel it as love and radiate it out onto your partner, and also envelop both of you in a cloud of love.

For many sensitive individuals this is more satisfying than just mechanically experimenting with different positions or chasing an elusive orgasm. You may also lie quietly connected, just to relax and feel close, cared for and protected, without attempting to generate any specific effects. If sleeping together, you may develop a routine of connecting daily before going to sleep or after awakening, or both. This may be done without moving, just to feel close to each other, or you may sleep together skin to skin. All this is not only emotionally satisfying, but produces strong bonding and greatly strengthens the relationship.

A connection based on love provides a natural increase in sexual self-control, as explained by William Lloyd: “As you acquire the habit of giving your sexual electricity out in blessing to your partner from your sex-organs, hands, lips, skin, eyes and voice, you will acquire the power to satisfy yourself and her without an orgasm. Soon you will not even think of self-control, because you will have no desire for the orgasm, nor will she.”

Lloyd also notes the ability of Karezza or controlled intercourse to nourish lovers. He reports a sense of “sweet satisfaction, fullness of realization, peace, often a physical glow and mental glamour that lasts for days, as if some ethereal stimulant, or rather nutriment, had been received.” And, “in successful Karezza the sex-organs become quiet, satisfied, demagnetized, as perfectly as by the orgasm, while the rest of the body of each partner glows with a wonderful vigor and conscious joy…tending to irradiate the whole being with romantic love; and always with an after-feeling of health, purity and wellbeing. We are most happy and good-humored as after a full meal.”

Disclaimer: The aim of this web site is to provide information on using natural healing methods to aid in the treatment of illness and health improvement.
The author cannot accept any legal responsibility for any problem arising from experimenting with these methods. For any serious disease,
or if you are unsure about a particular course of action, seek the help of a competent health professional.
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