Twenty seven

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This is a long post ...

September

I have been keeping a detailed diary for a year or so, tracking our love life, the frequency of intercourse, our moods, our climaxes. On several occasions, we've gone more than a month orgasm free; but I can't say I've noticed much difference between those times, and the times we've had several orgasms in a row - on a superficial level, at least.

The only certain conclusion I've come to is that knowing there are potential pitfalls from too much orgasmic sex ensures I keep an ever open eye and ear that, as soon as they detect the slightest hint of alienation, set in motion the palliative balm of close, physical contact. In practice what this means is that we get together naked even - or particularly - if we didn't much feel like it.

This seems to work wonders, and makes me question which has the greater effect, dopamine excess, or oxytocin shortfall. If we have orgasmic sex, because I am aware - hyper aware - of the possible repercussions, I make sure we engage in as much bonding behaviour afterwards as possible. This seems to calm any stirrings. I am the ringmaster in all this; my wife seems quite happy to be my smiling assistant. What small degree of coercion I sometimes have to apply is on me rather than on her.

The stirrings I do sense are a slight edginess in my wife and a tendency to withdrawal in me. They are such feeble ripples, though, that I could easily be imagining them. The only other obvious effect of orgasm is my immediate disinterest in sex. This can last a day or two. It doesn't seem any better or worse or longer lasting than my disinterest in food for a few hours after eating well.

Deeper down, the story is different; but it is so complex, I've given up trying to make sense of it. There are heaps of small, and not so small, behavioural changes I've noticed have taken place over the duration of my diary keeping. I can't say when, or in what order, they occurred. The one that interests me most concerns arousal. For thirty plus years, I have generally become aroused well in advance of lovemaking. The mere idea of sex was enough to get me excited. My wife didn't have to do anything other than exist for this to happen. During this period, we both understood that my main task, once we got together, with a sexual agenda, was for me to arouse her. Everything I did, from kissing to overt touch, was done with this in mind. Sometimes it was easy, other times hard.

Without either of us intending to change anything, the tables seem to have turned, so that I now find I rarely get aroused in advance of lovemaking. I might think about it, or anticipate it, but that's all. Even when we are naked together, I am still not automatically aroused. Nor do I make much attempt to arouse my wife. My kisses and touches seem to be have become more for my benefit. Generally, at some point, she touches me - or, more specifically, she touches my penis - I become aroused, and that arousal causes her to become aroused, too. It works like magic.

I spent a lot of time in the past trying to excite my wife through attention to her breasts. She was never very keen on this, but I persisted. I've now given up on this, but I haven't lost interest in her breasts. However, instead of trying to turn her on, I am simply enjoying them for what they are. I feast my eyes on them, and touch and kiss them. I have no idea if this resonates with her (although she does occasionally cluck, contentedly, and covers my hands with her own) but it certainly does with me.

Something occurred in late summer that alerted me to how much my arousal patterns had changed. I was lying on a sofa with my wife, cuddling. We were fully clothed and I, for one, wasn't anticipating having sex. I slipped my hand inside her shirt and lightly cupped her breast. As I lay there, I was appreciating the softness of the flesh and its connection with my hand. To my surprise, I got a very persistent erection; but this didn't make me hanker after sex. I simply noticed it, was mildly intrigued by its longevity, but carried on cuddling.

Later the same day, I was searching online for a list of nudist beaches in France. We are planning on being there sometime next year and I quite fancy the idea of naked swimming. Needless to say, I came across plenty of accompanying pictures of people cavorting on these beaches. This, in turn, threw up links to beaches where 'exchangistes' met like minded souls whose predilection turned out to be having sandy sex in the company of strangers.

Photos, and then videos, of these scenes popped up. I was riveted by this, but it felt like watching a wildlife film. My arousal levels were at absolute zero, as I peered at these strange creatures, copulating freely, with my attention straying to wondering why they so often kept their shoes and socks on, why it was de rigour for the men to wander around holding their penis's, and why body hair, and specifically pubic hair, seemed to have become so deeply unfashionable.

I wondered what it would it be like to find myself amongst these hairless humans. Could my wife and I face going onto an even straightforward nudist beach, unshaven? We would stand out a mile. My mind wandered further. Wasn't it an enormous chore to have to consistently depilate the genitals? I found it bad enough having to shave my face. What was wrong with pubic hair, anyway? After ruminating on this for a while, I lost interest.

Something along these lines has happened to my masturbation habits. My penis has belatedly cottoned on to the fact my wife's hand is different to my own. When I touch myself, the response is increasingly one of indifference. I can labour away for a while, and get some result, but by then my mind has usually wandered. Overall, the allure of self stimulation has dissipated. It isn't that I don't think of doing it; it is more that I don't feel like acting on that thought, or if I do, that I don't get much out of it. It's okay, but not that good. A bit like snacking between meals. One point of interest is that any masturbation I do indulge in is strictly non ejaculatory.

Erotica is only slightly different. I still like looking at it, occasionally, but it doesn't arouse me in the way it once did. I don't think this is a case of over exposure. It is more of a resigned realisation that two dimensions, while titivating, are hardly a substitute for three. Erotica and arousal were always linked together for me, though this seldom resulted in masturbation, at least not directly. Masturbation tended to happen separately.

October

I have always had something of a problem with not particularly liking to initiate sex because of liking still less the feeling of not being wanted if my advances weren't met with equal enthusiasm, which occasionally happened. Finally, I seem to have put two and two together and recognised that there are times of day and places and circumstances when and where my wife enjoys making love so much it would be almost inconceivable for her to demur; and that there are other times, places and circumstances that no amount of persuasion will make her believe are right. By avoiding the latter, no 'rejection' can occur. In the case of the former, I no longer need to 'initiate', as we are both of a like mind, so we can go forward together.

Nowadays, we are indulging in occasional orgasmic but mostly non orgasmic intercourse, in a largely haphazard manner. For the time being, our schedule has gone out of the window. That is, the 'formal' schedule. Informally, we both know, the likelihood is strong, at certain times of the day and in certain areas of the house, we will get together. Sometimes it is for a cuddle; other times it is to make love. Every time we make love, it starts out as Karezza, but then might evolve into something else. Although we never set out to deliberately climax, often it just seems that to not let it happen would be flying in the face of some deeper need. Generally, it stays slow, no matter what we do. It is definitely more Stanley Bass than Diana Richardson, but it is neither, really. I would say, on average, my wife has an orgasm every third time we make love, while I have one maybe every fifth time.

Why did we still have orgasms? Partly it is because we have difficulty resisting them. We are definitely what I would call 'face flush' enthusiasts. Until our hearts are going at least fast enough to bring the blood to our cheeks, we feel we're not really making love, we're cuddling. When I press my wife, she admits she would still far rather have an orgasm than not; but as she's usually reliant on me to lead our, or match her, movement and tempo, she doesn't always get her way.

My take is slightly different, as I still believe, for men at least, occasional orgasms are essential for health, so I am unwilling to go for extended periods of non ejaculation, even if I don't enjoy them half as much as I once did. If I knew, categorically, that having no orgasms was better for my health than having one a day, or one a week, or one a month, or even just one 'occasionally', then I would feel more steady in any resolve I have. As things stand, I'm still uneasy repeatedly activating impulses that would have a natural culmination in orgasm without ever letting that come about. At the same time, I'm increasingly aware of how much more can happen if those impulses are thwarted.

One indisputable benefit from deciding it is physiologically healthier not to avoid orgasms completely, is that I no longer experience any sense of having a goal and being disappointed if I fail to reach it. It always bothered me that I would set off with the intention of not climaxing, only to give into temptation half an hour later. Now I find I no longer mind, one way or the other; and the effect of this is that I seem to have become less, rather than more, inclined to indulge.

What keeps us as Bass rather than Richardson followers has to do very largely with focus. I find there is a major qualitative difference between the sort of focus that comes naturally and the sort that requires effort. During 'cool' sex, I notice my mind wandering, and for me, when making love, this is definitely not desirable. The conclusion I've come to is that to stay in the moment, to stay fully engaged, I have to be doing, or feeling, something sufficiently strong to blank out the extraneous thoughts that hover constantly on the edge of consciousness, and tend to push their way through whenever there is nothing to stop them. I much prefer this to doing less and having to 'work' at maintaining focus.

Neither my wife nor I are very good at putting our attention where it isn't. Though everyone's different, I find if I have to cajole my mind to focus on something, it's likely that that something isn't what I am truly interested in. Letting our attention go where it wants to go, we tend to engage in activities that take our minds with us. Maybe that explains why we are not meditators, which requires the sort of attention we have to direct, rather than the sort we have trouble being deflected from.

Sexual fervour has always been something I could immerse myself in without trying. Part of the problem I've experienced with the cooler sort of Karezza, because there is no fervour, as such, is that my attention lapsed, and I lost interest. Having to persuade myself back on track doesn't come easily to me. Nor does it for my wife. In fact, I suspect she finds it even more difficult than I do.

November

For as far back as I can remember, I have fantasised about sex. Ninety five percent of my imaginings had my wife at their centre, and I always considered this a fruitful way of passing time in between actual encounters. I've noticed I'm not doing this anymore. More to the point, I can't do it. I find myself trying to crank a fantasy into action, and it is as if the mechanism is broken. I suspect this has something to do with the greater amount of lovemaking we are doing. I didn't need to fantasise, because there is less of a lack to make up for.

I vividly remember, a couple of years ago, travelling together in a Muslim country. We were on a tight budget, and were staying in grotty hotels where the sheets were seldom changed. We rarely exchanged touches or kisses in public, because we were mindful it might be considered inappropriate, even for married couples. We didn't feel like getting intimate in the privacy of our dispiriting hotel rooms, either. We stayed partly dressed in our lumpy beds, because we didn't like the idea of making too close contact with those who had slept in them before us. We took a lot of long bus and shared taxi rides.

On one occasion, I was cooped up in the boot of a seven seater Peugeot for three hours, and I found myself fantasising about continuous sexual encounters, with constant erections, detumescence, dribbling, momentary satiation, etc, so that by the time we arrived at our destination, and I uncoiled myself from the car, I felt utterly exhausted and in need of a complete change of clothing.

I assume it was the relative deprivation that led to, and allowed, this intense fantasy activity; and that a comparative time of plenty is causing the opposite; but, of course, there may be deeper currents at work.

A further observation concerns a peculiar reoccurrence every few months where I seem to reach overload and suddenly, overnight, my libido vanishes. It stays missing for anything up to a week. This was worrying the first couple of times, until I treated it as a time to step back, as much from my wife as anything else, because it seemed to centre around a confusion in some part of my brain between loving her and lusting after her, following an overdose on my part of the former. Put simply, the more time and effort I spent approaching her for bonding purposes, the more likely I seemed to be to eventually arrive at a point where the satisfaction from that squashed my underlying desire for sex.

I attribute this to a complicated process of reinfantalisation on my part. Given that babies when born are apparently poly perverse - that is, every pore of their body is equally sensitive - and that it isn't until later in life they start finding (specifically sexual) sensation focussing on one or two especially erogenous zones, it doesn't seem too far fetched to believe that through substantial whole body touching and bonding a similar state might be reached where nothing other than that became either desirable or satisfying.

December

Christmas found us, for an extended period, in the tropics, living in someone else's house. The temperature was consistently hot, it was very humid, the air was stagnant and the only time we could call our own was at night, in a far too small bed, inside an even smaller mosquito tent. Any sort of lovemaking that involved effort resulted in hours of intolerable perspiration afterwards, as our bodies desperately tried to cool themselves, for which there was no alternative recourse - no fans, no air conditioning - so we learned to not move much.

This definitely had an effect on my desire for orgasm, which more or less declined to zero. I remember having two ejaculations that were so dismal compared to the sensations that had immediately preceded them, I thought, why bother? My most recent climax had an entirely different genesis. I found myself wanting to 'give' my wife an orgasm, during intercourse, and this proved harder than I anticipated. The result was messy and sweaty, with my wife failing to climax and me suddenly realising I was about to go over the edge, the jolting sensation of doing so being akin to taking a shower where the thermostat momentarily malfunctioned and I got a jet of extra hot water for about three seconds.

'Giving' - or wanting to give - orgasms to my wife seems to be a problem I'm still tussling with. We had been discussing matters, and my wife had claimed she was losing out on orgasms as a result of me no longer aiming to have them myself. I pointed out that it was never a sure fire thing she would have an orgasm, anyway, from intercourse, no matter what I planned; and after thinking it over, we agreed she probably had about as many orgasms as a direct result of intercourse without me ejaculating as she had ever had when I, too, was climaxing. However, any shortfall had tended to be made up by me using my fingers or mouth, which I freely admitted, didn't happen during 'pure' Karezza.

Although my wife said she was perfectly content and fulfilled from lengthy intercourse without orgasm, and was only mentioning it to let me know that any resolutions of mine had consequences for her, something about this conversation seemed to affect me. It was almost as if I felt it a slight on my manhood to not be giving my wife what she had indicated she wanted - and at every available opportunity! As it happened, our 'too small' bed was so uncomfortable to sleep in with both our shoulders at the same end, we had taken to lying head to toe. Since excess movement was out of the question, we found we had far greater and easier access to each other's genitals than ever before; while intercourse was correspondingly trickier.

My intention was to evolve a sort of manual or oral form of Karezza. Unfortunately, the only lubricant we had access to that was not going to add uncomfortably to our already viscous state - oil was just too messy, in the circumstances - was saliva, and it didn't do the trick, at least with manual stimulation. Or maybe, secretly, I didn't want it to. I sensed an impatience in me to catch up on this so called 'shortfall' my wife claimed she was experiencing. The end result was a succession of orgasms for her, though none, interestingly, for me, even though she was far from passive.

At present, I would say I am now at a stage where I start lovemaking with barely a thought of orgasm, and only occasionally have them. There is no fight to avoid them. If they come, they come, but they're usually a disappointment. I'm not sure about my wife, and I'm still less sure what I should be doing in relation to that uncertainty. Asking her if she enjoys orgasm is as fruitless as asking her if she enjoys chocolate. Of course she does! But does that mean I should be plying her with the stuff? Especially as she clearly derives immense satisfaction from a chocolate free (ie, Karezza) diet.

January

I haven't been visiting Reuniting much recently, but I did take a look in the New Year and there were one or two discussions going on concerning the wisdom of otherwise of 'persuasion'. If two people are not of like mind about something, is there a place for it?

We've been staying near a beach, and would swim at most opportunities. Our host had fallen out of the habit of doing this, and used every excuse for not joining us - it was too hot, too cold, the sea was too low, too high, too calm, too rough; her bathing suit wasn't dry, or she didn't want to get it wet; it was too far to walk, it was not seemly behaviour, anyway, etc, etc. My wife took it upon herself to force the issue.

Within a few days, our host was happily leading the way down the path towards the sea. I mentioned to my wife the similarity of her approach to this to the one I had adopted with her in the past whenever she had fallen into the habit of finding sex too laborious an effort. She would say she was too tired, she had a headache, it was too late, she would rather watch television, hadn't we just done it a couple of days ago, etc, etc; that whenever I persuaded her to give it a go, she had revelled in the occasion.

Just how firm was my persuasion, then? I don't remember, for certain; but my wife's stance with our host was straightforward: she simply wasn't prepared to take no for an answer. Although sex and swimming are hardly the same, the principle seems eerily familiar. When someone who previously enjoyed an activity falls into the mode (assuming it is that, and nothing untoward has occurred) of no longer wanting it, I don't think there is much more going on than the insidious process of habituation. We all need to jerk ourselves awake if we are not to fall prey to this syndrome in virtually every area of life; and maybe sometimes we need to take the responsibility for reminding others, to help them do the same.

Since we've been back home, on our own again, in a cold house, I've noticed my interest in orgasm, even as an occasional, health giving treat for my prostate, has evaporated. Partly, this is because I'm realising, for the first time, just how complicated a juggling act it's become, to try and squeeze passion into a predetermined mould that seems to require above all else a mutually satisfying ending.

I began married, sexual life thinking of little but my own satisfaction, which was okay, after a fashion, though perhaps less so for my wife. For a long time, events were demarcated by my pursuit of orgasm, where I didn't make much attempt to pace myself. Later, I started to think more of my wife, which maybe made things better for her, but it seemed to leave us strangely disjointed. I became so wrapped up in turning her on, I began losing sight of myself.

Finessing the laborious process of simultaneous orgasm came next, and I like to think we got quite good at it, but I eventually recognised I was so caught up in orchestrating the rise and fall of our different arousal patterns, I barely had time to enjoy anything other than the satisfaction of fulfilling my role. Occasionally, things would work awe inspiringly well, and we would feel our souls merge; but generally it felt more like one of us slipped on a banana skin and then tripped the other up. Although slowing the whole process right down helped enormously, our sex life began to seem like my tennis game - great fun, fairly strenuous, but a bit ragged, in the style of a journeyman, with only the occasional ascent onto the ''zone', where good shots played themselves.

Recently, the quality of my orgasms has diminished to the point where they are less rememberable than ever, and I'm wondering if this isn't so much that they've changed (though they might have done) but because their backdrop has come so vividly to life. I'm starting to notice a richness and depth to what precedes any orgasmic stirrings that is positively fixating. Slow, deliberate, controlled intercourse, in pursuit of nothing other than the immediate moment, is forcing me to stop and pay attention, as never before. It's like being caught in my own headlight. It's doing the same to my wife too, and although we don't talk about this, other than acknowledging it, it's creating a tremulous quality that is entirely new and very refreshing.

I've been searching for an analogy for this, and all I can come up with is the formal handshake. Whether they are friends or strangers, for a duration of several seconds, contact is made between two people, with - usually - an undeniable sense of mutual presence. The hands reach out and clasp each other, eye contact is established, the changing pressure of palm and fingers creates a subtle feedback circuit, an undeniable connection is made; and then the moment is over.

Intercourse is massively different, of course, but it shares the magnetism of two people meeting, but then extends and magnifies it one thousand fold. I'm finding it is as if I am 'meeting' my wife, and making contact with her, in a sublimely pleasurable fashion, on the most fundamental level, again, and again, and again, for as long as both of is can sustain each other's presence. And to do this, we don't have to do anything but continue to be there. Fabulous!

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Comments

Wordy

Twenty seven blog posts does add up to a lot of words; but it could probably all be summed up in one sentence. "We tried Kareza more than five years ago; we're still trying it now."

At least my book would be longer than the one I downloaded from ibooks (it was free) called "What Every Man Thinks About Apart From Sex'. When I finally got around to looking at it, I discovered it was nothing but blank pages. I thought my download must have been corrupted, until I got the joke.

i love your posts Sood

it is such a joy to read your discoveries.

What fascinates me is your detailed journal of your evolution. And your exceptional writing makes this come alive. I can so relate. 

[quote]A further observation concerns a peculiar reoccurrence every few months where I seem to reach overload and suddenly, overnight, my libido vanishes. It stays missing for anything up to a week. This was worrying the first couple of times, until I treated it as a time to step back, as much from my wife as anything else, because it seemed to centre around a confusion in some part of my brain between loving her and lusting after her, following an overdose on my part of the former. Put simply, the more time and effort I spent approaching her for bonding purposes, the more likely I seemed to be to eventually arrive at a point where the satisfaction from that squashed my underlying desire for sex.[/quote]

 

I find this happens when I get satiated with bonding activities that are too edgy. It has an effect similar to having an orgasm for me. I try to avoid really edgy bonding activities, those where I get aroused, basically.
 
And: I'm also fascinated by my seeing my partner in a different way each day, and over time in a different way. My perceptions of her has been changing over the last year and sometimes changes over a few days, in waves. Do you find perceptions of your wife change this way?

 

The edge

It doesn't seem to be edgy bonding that does for me. It's almost the other end of the scale. My wife is like my security cloth. I get to a point where I like to feel safe so much, I became almost insatiable. I keep nuzzling up to her for more of the same, comfortable feelings. When I get like this, the thought of sex doesn't often enter my mind, but when it does, my penis seems to have no intention of cooperating.

It's not so much that I see my wife differently each time, or from day to day, but it is as if I am able to see her in two different ways, either clearly, or not clearly. By 'her' I mean, for want of a better word, her soul, although that sounds a bit rarified. It's more like I see her as I might have seen her as a child, with those shining, radiant features young people seem to have. Adults can have them, too. I'm not sure if it's me becoming able to see my wife this way, or whether her becoming this way enables me to see her, or whether it's a mixture of both. My wife has an amazing face - well, I'm sure all wives do - and to see it for what it is (or her for who she is) on a regular basis is as heavenly as it was when I saw it/her for the first time.

okay, got it

I now think I can understand this perceptual shift.

It used to happen to me a lot. Now it doesn't.

It's as if we can bond in two ways and they are different. One is a horny dopamine filled erection passion way. The other is a divine heavenly creature way. I found I would get that way sometimes, and my penis wasn't interested, and for me it linked up to a lot of bonding time that was spent with what I'll call "passionate cuddling".

Sometimes over a week or two (and these seem to be linked with the "after 14 day orgasm cycle" for her) I get such amazing feelings from cuddling that sex almost seems like it will just ruin a good thing.

I'm glad, Sood, that your

I'm glad, Sood, that your long absence has been made up for by a very thorough description of your journeys! I appreciate your sense of humor and deft writing. I love your mix of pragmatism and adventure. Over all your posts, your wife's soul, and your appreciation for it, has stood out, and does not seem in the least bit "rarefied."

I haven't made it to the forum much either recently. Sex, as a pregnant lady, for me has become pretty hit or miss, a struggle to feel where the sexual sensation fits in with the sensation of burning urethra, baby kicking in my stomach and bearing down on my bladder, and husband's penis. I'm at full occupancy! But still madly in love with my husband and so excited to get to gaze into my firstborn's eyes soon. I do miss sex though and the way my body used to feel when it was just mine. And I do miss posting in the forum and having engaging discussions on this most important topic.

However, in a way, in order to come here you sort of have to have a "problem". If there is none, we can always hone in on something that could be better sexually, as a discussion point. But we're all trying to get to the bliss. It is ironic that that state of bliss we are all looking for does not leave much room for description or blogging - so immaculate it is, that all else must fall away.

When the aperture of perception opens wide and pure crystalline presence glimmers like a newborn memory, sloughing off the goals and concepts and identity, I find there is not so much to say. If I do catch my breath and wonder at that mysterious state and how I got there, the idea of trying to repeat it is almost surely a distraction from how that state of bliss is still unfolding before my eyes.

I find I am doomed sexually and otherwise, prevented in experience pure communion and bliss (whether with the world or my lover) unless I decide that the only goal is to be fully alert and awake, and that the universe is by its nature intelligent, creative, and ecstatic. Interestingly, the abandonment of expectations and drives can cause a deeper ignition to take place, an ignition within myself in which there is energy, potency, movement, and purpose, yet somehow WITHOUT goal or striving.

For me this is at the heart of why karezza interests me - it interests me because i know from other life experiences in which I was able to broaden, soften, and suspend my awareness, that something very deep and potent emerged from that stillness. The process is one of orienting, attuning, synchronization, and then a neutral. Only after the neutral is reached, the reset button pressed, can a system reignite itself. I have such a hard time getting to neutral as a human being, such a bundle of nerves I am. I feel I have so much to lose in the neutral, that I will be doomed to a sexual life of boredom if I give in to this. Even while I sense that there is something very profound on the other side of the neutral - the reclaiming of the unguarded, unassuming self.

When I embark on this journey I am embarking into deep space. It takes a certain amount of centeredness to even take a step in this direction. The part of the self that wants a quick fix or to be soothed will not be satisfied in this. Because the potential it offers, I feel, is total reorganization, and this takes with it some risks. One of the most challenging apertures to travel through is that of seemingly "nothing going on". Boring sex or lack of libido is in some ways even scarier to the ego than bad sex or sexual frustration. And so it becomes very hard to reset my system, to wait for the potency that can come through that aperture of stillness and neutrality. Because my ego/nervous system takes up so much real estate.

I think that you, like I and many others here, sense that there is something that karezza offers that is hard to access because it is so immediate, but which we know to be ours for the having, not as a technique to be applied, but as a state of being that is our birthright, by that I mean, our most essential nature. Like all states of sublime awakening, it is already here for the having, but how hard it is to get out of our own way! My ego likes "projects" and "experiments" much better. They can be evaluated, analyzed, improved upon, used as a legitimate looking distraction from the only project there is, the project of presence. But I think we all know there is something much deeper available. Our basic wholeness, which is the ground of our being . . .

This moment

How lovely to near how and where you are in your very different journey. When we were expecting our first child, I was all over the place. I have to assume there's a satisfactory explanation for me maturing late in life.

The way I see it, paying attention to being in the present moment has got to be easier during lovemaking than almost any other activity. Even if sex appears to consist of nothing very much, it's always going to be more consuming than sitting in a bus, washing the dishes, or waiting in a checkout queue. With a struggle, I can engage in whatever I'm doing, but if it's insufficiently stimulating, my mind will start wandering. Sufficient stimulation is a matter of perception, so I know it's possible to be riveted by the banal; but it's so much less effort if the activity of the moment is intrinsically delightful, which is usually the case with sex.

The only criteria I have for delightful sex nowadays is that I maintain an erection during it. I know there's a lot of talk about the joy of flaccid intercourse, but finding the fun in that still eludes me. I used to be confused by some of the erotic carvings on temples in India. I took them to be 'stills' of what would, in motion, surely have to be vigorous, which made them seem precarious, uncomfortable and unrealistic. What I've discovered is, even the most unpromising position, if stayed in for long enough, when static - that is, neutral - but with full, rapt attention, can be enthralling.

Boring sex for me is when my mind wanders. As soon as it does, I know I have to do something else, or move a bit; but so long as blissful sensations continue, my mind can stay rooted to the spot, and my body can stay still. That's not to say it always does, though.

I think the 'problem' that brought me to Reuniting, and kept me coming back, had to do with the nagging sense that there was more to enjoyable lovemaking that having it regularly and being 'satisfied'. Despite the closeness it engendered, I felt we weren't quite getting there, while not properly knowing where 'there' was. I now feel much clearer that 'there' is 'here', but I still need to remind myself not to go looking for it in other places.

Book titles that died at the publisher:

"The Joy of Flaccid Intercourse"  

Our experience with Karezza is not a still life, nor do we slow down to the point of flaccidity.  We do stop, occasionally, but it's not for a long time. 

Below is a very slow ballet shown at 1/4 speed. The power in the slowness is apparent in this film. 

Quizure

QUIZURE, lol!!!

who says it's a joy to have flaccid intercourse?

It is possible to have intercourse flaccid but it isn't a joy, I would say, although if I hang out a long time in my wife's vagina I might become flaccid. I think that may also be becuase she isn't into it anymore at that point and my penis knows the truth. I think that has a lot to do with it.

Also, my penis goes from rigid to semi to harder to softer over time when I'm inside her so sometimes it may be almost flaccid. But when that happens I move more and things harden up.

I think guys need an erection to maintain focus on sex.

It is a funny title, of course,

but if due to some physical issues, flaccid intercourse was the only option, I'd enjoy it more than not having intercourse at all.  

We certainly find joy/bliss in naked snuggling, without intercourse, and without an erection. Our nakedness in bed together is daily, and our naked snuggling is at least twice daily, but it's not always erection producing.  As my partner says "he has a mind of his own, and gets hard when he decides to get hard."  He says he never 'wills' an erection.  But he always gets one when I'm ready to have sex,  so maybe I'm the one willing them.

Quizure

 

My writing tends to get

My writing tends to get abstract I realize - articulating how consciousness and attention work is tricky because the mind and attention are so excitable/distracted. I see what you mean when you say you are more present during sex than at other times (than standing in line, for example). I generally find sex to be much more engaging and attention-grabbing than many other scenarios in life too (washing dishes). And while sex is more inherently stimulating, as you say, I've noticed that the type of sexual stimulation I actually prefer is not actually accessed through a level of presence aimed at heightening stimulation. In fact, having conventional, stimulation driven sex after having had relaxed karezza sex will often leave me with a feeling of being coerced (or coercing myself) into a state of stimulation, while at the same time observing just how deadening sensation-driven sex is. The more sensation and goal driven the sex gets, the more it might deaden my real interest. Again, this is usually only something that happens after I've been attuned to a whole different level of sensitivity through karezza sex. The fact is, I prefer to be relaxed in sex, mostly because I find a state of relaxation allows me to access more of my body and myself and therefore of my sensitivity to pleasure. When I am not comign to conventional sensation driven sex from the perspective and frame of reference of relaxed karezza, conventional sex feels better. The pleasures gained are on a more superficial level, but some superficial part of the self is just fine with this. I don't think we have to be totally deep and sensitive all the time, but overall I think sensitive, rather than sensational sex, gets me at least in touch with much more of who I really am, genuinely, as a woman. And as a woman, I like to be touched, I prefer to feel deeply touched by life, by sex. Fact is, orgasm driven sex just really doesn't profoundly touch me that much, fun as the sensations might be. And I think this has to do with presence. When I am engaged in orgasm-driven sex, my presence is superficial and sharp. When I am in a karezza state, it is broad and loose.

It probably has something to do with brain wavelengths and states. My sense is that karezza is a very particular trance state, and it can't really be accessed by a mind fixated on performance. Now there are many altered states and being jacked up on adrenaline or performance and dopamine is certainly its own kind of trance/high, I'm not saying that isn't also an altered state (clearly it is, which is why it can be so addictive in its own way). But the kind of trance state I experience in karezza when I do have the good fortune to experience it is distinctly characterized by a broad, soft, non-goal oriented awareness and presence, one that initially must smoothe out an amped charge and diffuse it spatially.

The glimpses I've seen of this realm almost require a sort of dead, neutral, or boring stage or "aperture" you have to walk through to get to the magical realm where the level of presence and clarity and bliss amplifies and magnifies the experience in a way that is distinctly different from the high and trance of orgasm-driven sex. Maybe this neutral isn't necessary for people who are really attuned to one another, but I find I have to go through this stage of letting go of expectation, excitement, and drive in order to get to the relaxed state. In that sense i think that the biggest hindrance to actually experiencing karezza is this neutralizing stage, which exists right before things get REALLY juicy. My mind might tend to wander during this time, probably because it is the interim time between trying to shift form performance-driven sex to receptive and relaxed sex. If we started off driven, then if I try to shift gears, first the driven part of myself has to die down. There arises a sort of battle between the active performer and the receptive still center. I slow down and just start to receive, and I get really quiet and still. My husband can tell that something has shifted, I am no longer "playing the game". I am no longer "game" for that particular game. It comes across as a lack of interest in sex, which it isn't. It is a lack of interest in that particular type of sex. A desire to deepen the sex a level.

This is a bit confusing for my husband probably. Since we are not overtly trying to practice karezza, it is perhaps unfair for me to slip it in on the sly, tho there are obvious benefits to him. He just loves it when he feels me completely surrender. It's rather paradoxical though. If sex is initiated by either person, this is a level of active intent. The other lover then has to respond in kind, or mirror the advance with a yes or a no. A yes needs to be some kind of response. The hard part of me then is shifting from the active to the receptive mode. Whereas if my husband starts out very slow, spacious, unhurried and present, I will already be receptive and will not have to shift.

One thing I have learned over time is that on a very deep level, I find conventional orgasmic sex rather boring. On a superficial level, I find it incredibly gratifying. It boosts my ego, my sense of being a good lover and orgasmic woman, and i can perform that role. But I know deep down there is a lot more to me, and to my lover. And once I have tasted that multidimensionality, the superficial level feels quite boring to me, to the part of me, the woman in me that really wants it all. There are always these conflicting parts, and a battle takes place between the part that is more whole and the part that is more fragmented. In choosing the part that is more inclusive and relaxed in itself, a deliberate shift often has to happen, at least for me as a woman. If I don't shift to receiving, the sex remains rather mechanical.

My sense is that this all has to do with tempo. When couples first meet, there is a spark of attraction that allows their tempos to synchronize more immediately, and so orgasmic driven sex doesn't seem like a performance or superficial, because its not. At that stage it might be genuine and fresh and incredibly deep, sensation-driven, spiritual, sensitive, physical, orgasmic and relaxing all at once. But it seems eventually men and women's tempos go back to their natural rhythm as individuals, and so sex becomes more of an orchestration of how to get the tempos to coincide harmoniously, ie, it becomes more of a job. Maybe a fun job, but more work and concerted effort nonetheless. The couple can get really good at the orchestration of orgasm. But my sense is that as the relationship gets more genuine, it becomes clear that this focus is actually a limitation. And for me at least, once I had experienced a taste of that other realm, conventional orgasm-driven sex just truly paled in comparison, even while it delivers consistently in all the predictable ways that you can check off on your list to assure yourself that yes, we are having hot sex.

But really, only a small fraction of my being, the essence and ecstacy of me, is actually genital, - though vast expanses of my being can be accessed through my genitals, if they are approached in the right way. Slowly, with full loving spacious open presence.

The realm

[quote=hotspring]The glimpses I've seen of this realm almost require a sort of dead, neutral, or boring stage or "aperture" you have to walk through to get to the magical realm where the level of presence and clarity and bliss amplifies and magnifies the experience in a way that is distinctly different from the high and trance of orgasm-driven sex.
.[/quote]

The portal of boredom ... there is often a fine line between an experience that is so sublime it consumes attention and one that leaves the mind wandering all over the place. Often, they're just a nudge away from each other. Getting from one to the other without resorting to tricks and strategies is tricky. Just as the key to getting off the adrenaline fuelled sexual rocket ship seems to be to slow right down, but not so much you're at a standstill, to get away from the starting line and keep going does require the occasional depression on the accelerator.

I feel I'm still looking at the 'realm' in an academic sort of way. It's as if we're tiptoeing round its edges. Either we are very slow learners, or maybe our incentive is less than others. We've never had periods of even remotely unenjoyable conventional sex. In fact, in many ways, as you say, we got "really good at the orchestration of orgasm". That meant any striving for an alternative felt like abandoning something enjoyable for something a little dull by comparison. Except, it wasn't dull, once we got the hang of it. But it was like going on long, slow leisurely cross country ski trips across terrain riddled with death defying black runs and learning not to wish we were on those runs instead.

Then there's the other question. Not so much whether Kareza is more enjoyable, more fulfilling, more partner encompassing, in itself, than orgasmic sex, but whether its effect on other areas of a relationship is for the better. I'm still undecided about this, but if it genuinely led to a more stable, loving relationship, doing without the ecstasy of orgasm might be well worth it. If the alternative ecstasy of Kareza actually eclipsed by many miles anything achievable with conventional sex, and strengthened a relationship into the bargain, it would feel like winning life's lottery.

The story of your wife cajoling your host into swimming...

In traditional Chinese banquets I've read that it is a custom for guests to turn down a dish or drink offer two or three times. The host continues pressing it on them and they accept.

In my wife's family, when someone offers you a dish, say scalopped potatoes, you say "no thanks" and they ask you again. And again. And again. Then you reluctantly accept. I watched this dynamic when her parents were alive and she and her siblings do the same thing.

And I suppose when it comes to sex, that's what I do with her.

I've taken responsibility for our sex life for a long time. Our entire life together, really.

My wife proceeds quite willingly but without my lead it wouldn't happen the way it does now. This is the one thing that hasn't changed outwardly. That is, it remains that we have an agreement and she willingly honors the agreement (the schedule) and sometimes we do more than that, that is, we have spontaneous sex on non-scheduled days or times.

Someone has to take responsiblity. It is a masculine trait though that doesn't mean it is the man who has to, but it seems to fall on me in our relationship because I want it more than she does. That's the bottom line. At least so far. And my drive is greater than hers.

These dynamics are ever changing though...as I've read your journals over the years (I went back and read the past ones before I joined reuniting.info) it is so interesting how you two evolved.

Karezza is all about stillness and remaining present, but in that stillness there is a lot of movement!

 

Potatoes

That's an interesting story about your wife's family. It must be hard, sometimes, to know what's wanted - is someone desperate for more potatoes (or sex) but remains unwilling to say so, or even admit their desire to themselves, until they have been asked at least three times, or are they desperate not to have more potatoes (or sex) but feel duty bound to accept them if repeatedly asked?

(I'm not really comparing a second helping of potatoes with lovemaking, but I imagine the mental processes concerning them might not be too dissimilar.)

I recognise myself doing something like this at times. If I'm at a friend's house, and they offer me, say, a second cup of coffee, a complex series of thoughts ensues. A part of me immediately says no, because it thinks one cup is enough, for what seems like lots of very sound reasons. Another part of me says yes, why not, after all, what harm can such a small, repeated pleasure do? A further part is busy computing whether accepting or declining will inconvenience my friend. Does he really want to have to make me another cup? Or is he depending on me to accept, so he can have another one too. Whether I actually want a further cup often gets so obscured by mental waffle I am wholly unable to locate a true answer.

For our host, and her reluctance to swim, I think it had to do with her perceived public image, and her own estimation of herself as 'selfless'. She is a member of the local church, and she has a definite angle on the question of indulgence. I think she saw swimming as something she enjoyed - adored, even - but needed to limit her consumption of, precisely because of that, especially as its pursuit was so obviously visible. I suspect she felt that if people saw her enjoying herself in this way they might begin to think she was over indulging. Initially, she may have limited her visits to the sea for this reason, and then, over time, even occasional foreys might have begun to seem imprudent, and giving up altogether became the easiest solution.

When asked by my wife why she had stopped swimming, it may be that the real reason had become obscured, or she had no idea what it was, or she was unwilling to admit to it. Hence, the succession of excuses. I suspect she began using the same excuses, whispered to herself, to bolster her resolve, when she first decided to limit her swimming, and continued doing so until they - the excuses - became the 'reason' she no longer did what she had once enjoyed.

Over indulgence isn't something she talks about. It's more of an internal disciplinary matter that stays between her and her God. I saw it in action repeatedly, from resisting delicacies at the table to doing without material comforts she clearly coveted. While there's nothing wrong with this, I think it can get unhealthy when the denial of a pleasurable pursuit that has as many positive aspects as swimming gets equated in someone's mind as equal to, say, not buying a set of new window blinds. In fact, the risk is that someone might think buying the window blinds was okay precisely because they had not gone swimming for so long.

I think someone does have to take the lead, in most areas of life. This is something Scharch's books clarified for me. He talks a lot about the High (HDP) and Low (LDP) Desire Partner. He means, mostly, for sex, but it is clear that the same pronciple applies to virtually every aspect of life.

are you talking about Schnarch (Passionate Marriage)?

It's been years since I read David Schnarch and I forgot this part if I ever really got it in the first place.

It's what I'm "struggling" with and may never have a resolution in our marriage. I'm realizing that it's my inner life that sees a problem as that's the only place there could be one. I'm the high drive partner in almost every area and I am sure that that is why we are so close and have gotten along so well. And with that goes pushiness that creates this resistance too...

My whole married sex life revolves around this issue of "is this what she really wants to do?" The answer seems to be "yes" but part of me is very unsure.

Your writing helped me put some perspective on.

 

Schnarch

Yes, sorry, I got the name wrong.

Well, there's a lot in his books, much of which I couldn't get to grips with; but his HDP and LDP concepts made a lot of sense.

One thing I particularly notice, when I look back in time, is how my wife and I have switched roles. When we first met, I was definitely the LDP for touch. I didn't really enjoy being fondled or kissed. Well, I enjoyed it, to some extent, but my wife seemed to want to climb all over me, and I felt smothered. I remember how I used to endure the agony of being kissed for the hundredth time and have her look deeply into my eyes when what I really wanted was to be left alone. I just wasn't used to that sort of devoted attention.

Somewhere along the line our roles switched and I started instigating the touching, kissing and fondling and now I am the HDP in this area. My wife enjoys rather than endures my attentions, but she has definitely taken on the mantle of LDP. Maybe she had to, to accommodate me. Our respective desires for intimacy seem to have undergone a change around, too. On a more mundane level, from being the LDP in the kitchen, I find I'm gradually taking over, organising meals and worrying endlessly over whether there's enough food in the house.

I suppose it's possible couples could be equally consumed by everything they engage in, but I'm not sure how they could maintain it, or even if it would be ideal. It seems to me that we start out where we are, hopefully complementing each other, and if change occurs, either through deliberate design or else some organic process we have very little control over, we accommodate to it. My desire for touch (preceding Karezza) happened without me intending it to, although I'm very glad it did. My enthusiasm for the kitchen was more of a conscious choice.

With sex, my wife was probably more forward than me in the early stages. Then I took over, and as my confidence grew, maybe I over asserted myself. Now, we're in an interesting period of evolution. I am instigating the changes, but my wife is changing too, in ways I couldn't have dreamed of. My impression is she is doing this partly because she wants to (consciously) and partly because she feels naturally inclined to (instinctively). I am still the HDP in this area but she is gaining ground on me by the day.

In this field, I've learned to tread on eggshells. We never used to talk about sex, and then when we did, we talked about it far too much. Things got antagonistic, and we were so caught up in tying to please each other, we didn't properly please ourselves. Now, I'm trying to lead by example, and - rather than explain beforehand (even, or especially, to myself) how I would like things to be - accept whatever unfurls, and not get upset if that isn't what I want. So long as I stay firm (firm in my resolve, that is) harmony usually prevails.