Dilemmas of our sex life

Submitted by recoveringsobriety on
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Here are the current dilemmas in our sex life:

Normally, on the conventional sex model, when my wife and I are both passionate, my wife is into it, and we both have orgasms, the sex is so much more satiating and AMAZING than any other pleasurable thing that I've experienced in my life! (But maybe Karezza lovemaking will prove to be more so eventually). I love it when we're hot for each other, and I'd hate to give that up. But of course, the sex isn't always amazing. We get stressed, we get busy, we feel rushed, we feel tired, or generally disinterested, so it either doesn't happen at all, or if it does happen under those conditions, my wife isn't that into it and things are over fairly quickly and not-so-passionately. In fact, if I'm honest, I'm not that into it either; I'm just seeking the high of orgasm to get a dopamine fix. Thus, the conventional sex dilemma the past few years has been that we either:

    1) Wait for the stars to align to have amazing sex (maybe happens every two-three weeks), with all of its accompanying passion cycle fallout and relational ups-and-downs (among other things, this is what led us to seek Karezza); or

    2) Intentionally have sex more often, but accept that its intensity will ebb-and-flow with our circumstances and emotional states. Inevitably, I am more interested in sex than my wife, which means I often feel like it is over far too quickly, with a lingering sense of dissatisfaction and frustration, accompanied by a passion-cycle that drives me to seek ejaculation again to feel better (again, this option seems crappy, so we were led to Karezza).

Besides being filling, our sex these days is also strange. I'll say it - this Karezza stuff is weird, and a little awkward. Overall, our experience has been that it is a lot of time-consuming work to put in for some run-of-the-mill, peaceful feelings. So my question is this: if we're gonna do this Karezza thing, do we have to work so hard for it all the time? I seem to get two conflicting messages from the Karezza literature:

    1) Before having sex, the woman should always be wet and ready, which in our experience means that there must be some substantial (and time-consuming) foreplay. This leads to two results:
        a) If the foreplay gets the woman wet and ready, this means it also gets her horny and passionate, which makes it that much harder to do Karezza. Even if we succeed in not climaxing, we still get a real dopamine rush, which still leads to some of the passion cycle effects.

        b) Or, if the foreplay stays mild and not overly passionate, then the woman does not get very wet. Further, on nights when all of the ingredients that I listed above do not align, foreplay can feel very goal-oriented (we must get her into it, or else!). But this undermines the entire purpose. In other words, since the foreplay doesn't 'work' on such occasions, it seems we might as well have skipped the foreplay altogether.

    2) But the other message I seem to get, which confuses me more, is that Karezza is easy, relaxed sex with little-to-no passion involved, and should last at least 15-60 minutes with us sexually connected. To make it more confusing, some of the anecdotes I've read are from people who wake up, immediately pop the penis in for 15-30 minutes of relaxed, karezza-style lovemaking (with no foreplay involved), then go about their days. In other words, the message seems to be that lengthy foreplay is NOT necessary. Besides, who has time for such foreplay 3-4 times a week, especially given that instead of 3-5 minutes of thrusting, we're connected for 15-60 minutes? We have two kids and careers to tend to as well!

To summarize: Conventional sex has led to sexual frustration and the craziness of the passion cycle. The sexual frustration stems from either going long periods between passionate lovemaking, or intentionally seeking sex when the passion isn't there and thereby staying stuck in the passion cycle. Karezza has led to sexual frustration, dopamine-induced (without orgasm!) miniature passion cycles, and awkward lovemaking with no ostensible goal of orgasm, but still with the goal of successful foreplay. The sexual frustration from Karezza is on account of : a) not having sex at all and going long periods between lovemaking because of how much time the foreplay/intercourse requires; b) not having sex because the foreplay is 'unsuccessful,' so we simply go to sleep instead of forcing intercourse; c) having sex anyways, despite 'unsuccessful' foreplay, which results in awkward (or perhaps just unfamiliar?) sex that my wife is usually more-than-happy to end; d) having extremely passionate sex that leaves us both wanting more, leading to sexual frustration.


My proposed solution is that we schedule Karezza lovemaking for 3-4 times a week (perhaps every other day) after the nightly exchange. Perhaps the exchange will lead to heightened sexual interest and serve as foreplay, perhaps it won't. It will no longer have an aim, because we have an aim. On nights with planned intercourse, we aim to connect with me inside for 15 minutes, but do so in a relaxed environment, lights off, immediately before bed and not necessarily with extended foreplay beforehand. Because as it is, I'm even beginning to feel like all the foreplay and sex is a chore, albeit an enjoyable one. Maybe on Friday and/or Saturday, we shoot to spend more time with erotic massages and relaxed foreplay, maybe a little wine, and see where things lead us. In all cases, we seek not to get too heated through stimulation and we avoid orgasm. My last orgasm destroyed me emotionally for at least a week, so I'd like to avoid that.




You say:

"My last orgasm destroyed me emotionally for at least a week, so I'd like to avoid that."

Does orgasm have a similar effect on your wife?

Trial and error

Well, all I can say is, everybody has to evolve their own approach. If you're finding what you're doing by way of Karezza boring, you may need to spice it up. You could search out Darryl's posts on this forum, and also some by Virgil. They're more representative of 'Mode 2', as Emerson calls it.

Personally, I find beginning sex without a noticeably increased heart rate is like trying to launch a dingy without wind. Later on, I can quieten down, while still staying aroused, but to get aroused in the first place I need to be so consumed by what I'm doing it's axiomatic.

Talking of arousal, we may be lucky, but lubrication isn't something we've ever had to use. This has become even more the case since practicing Karezza. I think the key is the difference between foreplay that is done in order to bring about arousal, and foreplay that is done for its own sake, which is, paradoxically, far more arousing.

I had a good laugh when reading your original post. I tend to overthink things, but you've dotted every 'i' and crossed every 't', and still ended up with more questions than answers. I think your main mistake is to compare your situation unfavourably with those of others, or even worse, with an imagined 'ideal'. You talk wistfully of those who 'connect' at first light, sliding into each other with barely a murmur. If I was to try this with my wife, I would have a pillow thrown at me. All she can think of at that time of day is her cup of coffee.

I know it must be hard to carve out the time with kids and careers competing with what seems, by comparison, almost whimsical; but that's actually all you have to do. If you regularly spend enough time together naked with no preconceived ideas other than to be sexual but not to reach orgasm, things will probably work out fine in the end.

I had huge - I mean HUGE - difficulties in stopping climaxing. It took me years of trying! Whereas others seem to have no problem. It then took me a further tranche of time to stop feeling the need to 'give' my wife an orgasm. In fact, I'm still working on that one. If all this was done only for me to end up with 'some run-of-the-mill, peaceful feelings', I would have given up long ago.

My wife, who still loves her orgasms, describes Karezza as like eating an everlasting ice cream. For me, being sexual has always been more pleasurable than everything else in life put together; and I've come to see that Karezza is little more than the initial phases of conventional sex (excitement and plateau) slowed down to quarter speed, and put on a recurring loop.

The driving force is still orgasm, because without it, no arousal or ascent to the plateau would occur. It's like piggybacking a ride on the procreative wagon, getting off before the end, and then climbing back on to repeat a journey that turns out to be far more enjoyable when prolonged than when ended by reaching (usually prematurely) the destination.

Thanks for your insightful

Thanks for your insightful comments.

I'm definitely comparing my situation unfavorably with others. I also have this sense that it must simply be because we're 'doing it' wrong, but I'm seeing more and more that there is no right way, just our way. That's what we have to figure out.

"If you regularly spend enough time together naked with no preconceived ideas other than to be sexual but not to reach orgasm, things will probably work out fine in the end." That is very helpful, and has a lot of intuitive appeal. Somehow, I've gotten the impression that Karezza is about spending a lot of time together relaxing and bonding, which may or may not lead to anything sexual (in my case, it's been a lot more "not" leading to anything sexual, or doing so awkwardly). I'm thinking we'll just need to keep figuring out how to do it in a way that will work best for us. I'm committed to putting in the time; my biggest learning curve is not coming to this time with a lot of preconceived ideas and comparisons to others swirling in the back of my mind.

I'm a big fan of scheduling sex for this reason

"If you regularly spend enough time together naked with no preconceived ideas other than to be sexual but not to reach orgasm, things will probably work out fine in the end." That is very helpful, and has a lot of intuitive appeal. Somehow, I've gotten the impression that Karezza is about spending a lot of time together relaxing and bonding, which may or may not lead to anything sexual (in my case, it's been a lot more "not" leading to anything sexual, or doing so awkwardly).

This is why I think scheduling is great. Because the brain gets confused. We want to know, are we warming up for sex, or do we just enjoy where we're at and not try to move to a greater arousal. This takes a lot of the tension away, the disputes or the arguments or even small injuries, the tiny rejections that we can feel on a continuing basis, perhaps irrationally.

Does your wife really need to

Does your wife really need to be "wet and ready"? We find using a little gel (KY) is more than enough for me to slip into her with no discomfort and often even before I've got a full erection. There is something rather special about an erection growing from being soft as you go in.

We Go 'No Foreplay'

We go with little or no foreplay, r-s-. This morning, we woke up, I was interested in intercourse, I asked if I could put it in, she said 'yes,' I got up to put grapeseed oil on my member, slipped it in, and we had a great 20 minute session.

I really try not to engage in foreplay. Generally, I am gentle and tender during Karezza -- my wife enjoys having her face lightly massaged, and her feet and toes as well -- though I use periods of forceful motion, too. And, she seems to enjoy -- via my read of her kiss -- when I am in my 'energy circulation' breathing mode. So, I have not heard a request from my wife for foreplay, as she now seems to respond quickly, physiologically, to potential entry.

When we do engage in foreplay, the following Karezza session is no more enjoyable for me or, it seems, her. And, no doubt, if I engage in manual stimulation of this or that (which I really, really enjoy), I almost always end up accidentally ejaculating. So, I am always happy to just skip foreplay.

I use lubrication every time to reduce friction upon entry and because I am never 'rock hard,' only firm; the few times, early on, when I did not use lubrication, due to the higher friction, I always accidentally ejaculated.

We have intercourse nearly every day. We have been at Karezza for 16 months, now. On the days we do not have intercourse, we do not substitute massage, lots of hugs, or 'an exchange,' and things are still perfectly fine between us. But, no doubt, our life is a lot less hectic now that our two kids are away at college and given that we typically have time for a glass of wine and chit-chat in the evening.

So, Karezza is not a 'time sink' for us (although I sure wish we would go longer!).

Thanks, that's very helpful.

Thanks, that's very helpful. I should have made it clear that we always use lubricant; I was just unsure about how 'ready' my wife needs to be before insertion. Your comments make a lot of sense!

There are two modes

Mode 1 is plugging in without passion at the extreme end


mode 2 is hot but short of orgasm. Playing close to the waterfall.  Sometimes called energy karezza. 


We we practice mode 2. Foreplay?  Not interested. Mostly hugging and kissing for awhile. This builds sexual energy and makes us ready. Always use lube. 

It is relatively hot

But not hot compared to conventional sex. If my wife gets into it it can get a bit hotter. Quite often it's kind of like super cuddling but infinitely better. Not like conventional sex at all. But I feel immense pleasure from it. I would say it is a hundred times more than I used to feel. But still cool enough. When I do come it's often on off days when I'm not feeling it as much. 


Im struck by how different it is each time. But in general we don't do the connect for two hours kind. I would but she's not as into it as I am. 

Every couple settles into their pattern

And it takes six months to find it. And another year to be comfortable in it. And you keep discovering new things. If you search out my earlier blog posts you will see my evolution and the people here who commented and helped me. I've found this site indispensable and have read every post. Some a number of times. 

Regarding lube

My wife and I are big fans of Astroglide and also coconut oil. Astroglide in particular helps me with my control because its really slippery. Also, since we started avoiding orgasm, with the frequent sex, lube keeps her from getting too irritated. Maybe we could have gotten by without it in our 20's, but being in our mid 40's the lube is one of our favorite tools.

At this point, we are about 20 months into this practice and it has been an amazing life-changing experience. We are more the "hot" type, although we enjoy the variety. One of the most beneficial things we have learned is how her monthly cycle affects our sex life. We usually calm things down during her period. After that she goes into her fertile period when she is "hot to trot"! We only use condoms as birth control, and it's fun because I can last so long with one and we can get really vigorous - which she loves during this time of the month.

Once her fertile period is over, we enter our next phase. She cools down a bit, but losing the condom makes this time awesome too. That first sex of the month without the condom is always awesome and something we look forward to.

Best of luck finding what works for you guys. It's a journey of exploration for sure. I wouldn't get too hung up on "rules".

No Passion Love, Not for Us

Recoveringsobriety you mentioned in your post that you and your wife avoided passion; a few lines later you said Karezza was weird and boring. I would agree if my girlfriend and I didn't experience passion any type of sex would feel weird and boring. We don’t think the point of Karezza is to avoid passion in love making but more to control it. Sood and Emerson I think were making the point of some passion being a good thing—I liked Sood’s comment about launching the dingy. It brought to mind some funny jokes!

To give some background, please indulge my semi-religious explanation, you can see a broader sense of the meaning of passion. The word passion comes from the Latin verb "patere" meaning to suffer. We don’t normally think of passion in that context unless we think of “the passion of the Christ”; meaning Jesus’ desire to suffer for the salvation of man, in the broader sense God’s love for mankind. Passion has therefore come to mean desire, a strong emotion, even a sexual connotation. But Saint Paul said for a man to have passion and love his wife. Nowhere does passion equate to lust. Lust, from the Latin “luxuria”, means uncontrolled desire or lack of self control, really for anything not just sexual. Lust is one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Lust is also the second level of hell in Dante’s "Divina Commedia".

OK, enough of Catechism class, first communion studies and college literature class. You don’t need to view lust as a religious sin so much as something emotionally unhealthy. The point of the explanation is that passion is a good emotion; lust however is a bad thing because it is uncontrolled emotion.

With Karezza more than other types of sexual love you simply need to control the passion, but still have passion. I love my girlfriend, I want to show her the passion of my desire and part of showing her that love and passion is for us both to control our orgasms. Look at it that way, part of passion in Karezza is having that control.

One other quick point, chill dude; Karezza does not come with a set of step by step instructions. The point of love and a relationship is to experience it with another person and love along the way.


great response, Maso, and I'm so glad you still are here.

I feel a great deal of passion for my wife, but if it builds too far, then I experience an orgasm that I don't want. But there is always passion there.

Now, on her end, it's different. She does not seem to respond with passion at all except occasionally. When her fires get really stoked and she ends up having orgasms, which is maybe 10% to 20% of the time we have sex. But it's still fine. 

There is this book about the different Love Languages and although I haven't read it, I get the point. My wife speaks her passion through "service", and through her kindness to me and being generally wonderful. My passion language is not her passion language and that's okay with me. It has taken me a lot of time to realize this, and it still is something I catch my self wishing -- that she were more "passionate" the way I am. But if she were, I think our chemistry would be different and probably not as good.

To me, Karezza is being in the moment, and wishing for her to be different takes me out of the moment and I notice I make myself feel bad. So I go back to focusing on the moment. It's still an occasional struggle but that's okay.

Enjoy The Difference in Your Lover’s Nature

Emerson I’m glad you pointed this out; sometimes I forget how much I enjoy our differences. Acceptance that your partner can express and experience love differently than you do I think is one of the keys to a healthy mature relationship. I agree that we both can be different but fit together perfectly like two puzzle pieces. Sometimes I still struggle with this concept. I wish my girlfriend was more into sports, but she is a real girly girl who prefers shoe shopping. But if she was some girl jock would I really want to be with her? I don’t think I would want some chick to out shoot me in hoops.

Although my girlfriend is fairly passionate, like your wife she also has a high level of service and caring to her nature. Probably one of the reasons she is becoming a psychologist. At the risk of sounding like a misogynist, I think most women feel very comfortable in this roll. For me, what she does for me on a day to day basis rolls over into our love life and makes me feel more passionate towards her. She is making dinner right now but I am going to tell her during dinner how much I love her for being her.