Got a new one for you to chew on!
Have been thinking heavily on all these things, particularly about the statement that intercourse in karezza has no "goal". As a guy, as has been stated in many places, I tend to be goal or "fix it"-type results oriented, so I gravitated to thinking about it more deeply. I actually think there is a goal to karezza intercourse, and it is important to the overall experience, but it is NOT the type of goal usually associated with orgasm centered sex. The problem is it is not a PERFORMANCE goal.
Now, before everyone leaps to their keyboards and tells me how wrong I am :) let me clarify that I am NOT espousing creating a goal, but trying to think through a few things related to how people (specifically guys) perceive karezza and how to help make the switch away from performance oriented sex. For guys in particular, the switch is hard until you make a goal that is NOT based on your performance.
Take a look at this:
I just knew that in the psychology world there had to be a description of different types of goals, and there are plenty. This article is particularly interesting because it clearly distinguishes between "performance" goals and "learning" goals.
In the original goal models, two classes of goals were identified—performance goals, where the purpose is to validate one’s ability or avoid demonstrating a lack of ability, and learning goals, where the aim is to acquire new knowledge or skills (i.e., to increase one’s ability; see Dweck & Elliott, 1983)
Performance goals, with their emphasis on outcomes as measures of ability, were shown to produce a vulnerability to helplessness and debilitation after a setback or negative feedback, particularly in cases where current perceptions of ability were low...That is, when the goal is to validate ability and individuals do not believe they can accomplish this, motivation and performance tend to suffer.
Learning goals, with their emphasis on understanding and growth, were shown to facilitate persistence and mastery-oriented behaviors in the face of obstacles, even when perceptions of current ability might be low
Why do the negative effects of [performance] goals occur? Dweck and Leggett (1988) suggested several potential cognitive and affective mechanisms of debilitation for individuals who hold ability goals in the face of difficulty. These include the loss of belief in the efficacy of effort (i.e., “My ability is so low, no amount of effort could help me”), defensive withdrawal of effort (either as a form of self-handicapping or as a response to the belief that the need to put in effort confirms that one has low ability), and interference of negative affect with concentration or test performance. Another possibility is that students with ability goals may withdraw effort strategically when they are doing poorly to redirect the resources to courses where they have a better chance at getting a good grade.
Sound familiar? Note that a performance goal is SPECIFICALLY defined as a validation of SELF!
WHY we do intercourse is part of the larger LEARNING goal associated with doing karezza. Since performance goals are so tied to so many people’s sense of worth, removing them is uncomfortable. Think about moving from school to the workplace. Some jobs have very well defined activities and therefore measurable results. Most don’t. Unlike school, where you have well defined assignments with points associated with them and CLEAR deadlines and a clearly stated grading policy, real life presents some real challenges to mundane things: When is the house “clean”? How often should I mow the grass? What happens if I make my neighbor mad? Do I care? When are we done at the amusement park? How do I evaluate myself? How do I know WHEN I AM DONE with any real world activity? In most cases you cannot define that for anyone, you kind of have to tell them “you are done when you are done, but you have to figure out where that point is for yourself”.
The worst assignments in school for most people where the nebulous one that had a whiff of objectivity but were ultimately judged subjectively by the teacher: "Write a three page paper about the impact of social structure on post WW II Europe". How am I going to answer this? What am I being graded on? What does the teacher want? What the heck is "social structure"?? How am I ever going to pass this class!?!
Karezza is about LEARNING, that is it’s “goal”…better bonding, increasing love, tenderness, etc, which are all hard to measure and very subjective...like being asked to write that 3 page paper on a subject you THINK you know.
To make it more confusing, intercourse is part of the larger context, and outside that context you might seriously ask what the point is to karezza style intercourse. Causing people to focus on tasks or attainments I think distracts from the learning process and you start to fall into the traps related to failing to attain performance goals.
In a broad sense, there IS a goal to intercourse AS ONE PART OF karezza: to help bond partners together. But how do you translate that into a list of tasks or performance goals? You can’t….you just have to figure it out for yourself. The problem is that if we start to assign too much specific technique to karezza intercourse, just like the dopamine pathways, I think our little brains would convert a learning goal to a performance or task goal very quickly since sex has always been about the "goal". “I did everything they said in the order they said it…and nothing happened!”.
If you find yourself saying that, you have moved away from striving for knowledge and understanding in the lab of intercourse to trying to hit targets, which will likely cause you to fail in the near term and (per the research) feel bad about yourself in the process and try and redirect your energies to areas where you feel you can get a better “grade” :).
So my current bottom line (subject to change) is this: intercourse in karezza does not have a performance goal when compared to traditional intercourse, but there is a LEARNING goal associated with the whole process. You NEED to take this mindset in order to make the shift away from performance goals usually associated with intercourse. The tendency for your average person would be to substitute another measurable result for the measurable result you are removing because MEASURABLE RESULTS ARE EASIER FOR US TO PROCESS.
This is less about goals as it is about changing your understanding of WHY you started this experiment in the first place and recommitting to the LEARNING. For this to work, you have to stay focused on and committed to the LEARNING process in karezza.
This is a work in progress….you may consider this me “thinking out loud” to try and help form up thoughts.