♥ Twenty four

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It's been a while since I posted. Progress is slow. Unlike most people who try Karezza, and take to it like a duck to water, I - we - seem to be stuck in the slow lane. However, one thing has changed. Little by little, I'm losing interest in having orgasms. Initially, every Karezza encounter I had found me split down the middle, my better self struggling with my lizard for control. The lizard had the upper hand for so long, I thought he must really 'be' me; but gradually his dominance lessened, until one day I realised the tables had turned, and if while love making I did have an orgasm, it was either a mistake, or a conscious decision to go with the greater flow, rather than him having his pesky way.

In fact, recently, my lizard has become so subservient it's almost worrying. Something else has crept in, though. Whereas before, I found it impossibly hard to differentiate myself from the part of me that craved orgasm as a fitting finale to each and every sexual encounter, now the lizard's voice is thoroughly enfeebled, my ego has become more recognisable. Because my wife has little enthusiasm for giving herself an orgasm - although she certainly encourages it to happen - historically it's been me that has had to do whatever was necessary to ensure a 'happy ending'. I think I might have become so reliant on being able - uniquely able - to do this, that no longer being required to makes lovemaking seem a little flat. 

The result of this has left me with a subdued desire for orgasm (deflated lizard), much more staying power (Karezza side effect), but lots of historical pride, so that if and when we reach a certain level of ardour, the desire to give, and be appreciated for giving, what only I can, becomes irresistible. That this can happen with less movement or effort than before makes it even more difficult to resist. The added risk at this point is that I get so involved in giving, I run up against the fact - or apparent fact - that the true magic of orgasm is when it's simultaneous. This isn't a resurgence of the lizard; it's something quite different. It feels like an erotic current that,  in order to flow properly, and to expand, has begun to circulate; but, by stepping away and 'redirecting' this current - rather than remaining in its vortex - any orgasm that results seems to trigger a reciprocal climax.

I'm not complaining when this happens. On the contrary, it seems to leave Karezza in the shadows. I say 'seems' because I know from what I've read we're still skating on the surface of what's possible.  Still, Karezza is, how can I say ... somewhat boring? In a nutshell, the experience is generally good, the after effects okay, the lead up to it fine; but none of these things is great. The reason I write at this length about our journey - which, for all I know, might end in the Return of the Lizard - is because it seems less promising, less immediately transforming, and less according to the book, than that of anyone else posting on Reuniting. This could be down to our particular personalities and circumstances; but I find it hard to believe we're so peculiar we're the only ones finding adopting a Karezza lifestyle less than straightforward.

Since we haven't spent as much time as we would have liked yet in the sunlit uplands, why do we continue with Karezza? Saying it's okay, but that it hasn't become any real substitute for what we still think of as the real thing, sounds like damning with faint praise. 

Part of the answer is my keeness to stick to the decision I made to give non orgasmic sex a genuine trial. Another part has to do with my liking for the sense of sexual readiness I feel at all times, regardless of when we last made love. This is quite a turnaround. After a dismal beginning, when going without orgasm seemed to deprive me of all desire, and sapped my arousal potential like cold water, I've now returned to the glory days - but with the added bonus of there being no refractory period! One more reason has to do with the paltry quality of a couple of the orgasms I have had. Or, maybe, I'm just seeing them in a new light. One, a few weeks ago, reminded me of when I turn my garden hose on, but without having opened the main tap first. There's usually some pent up pressure in the hose from the last time I used it, so when I twist the nozzle a spurt of water and air shoots out violently and then ... the hose goes limp and a few drops dribble from the end.

By far the best reason ought to be how consistently  good not orgasming makes me feel; and how attracted I am to my wife as a result; but this isn't always the case. Sometimes, Karezza is like alchemy that appears innocuous in itself but has a transformative effect. Other times, it is consuming in itself, but leaves us both flat and disinterested.

Someone posted elsewhere on this site saying a particular session of Karezza had been the best sex of his life. I started trying to remember what the best sex of my life was. Certain times stood out in amazing relief: but they all seemed to be occasions that were etched in my memory because of the circumstances rather than the actual sex. The more I remembered them the more I realised they had to do with a behavioural trait in my wife coming to the fore much more forcefully than usual which elicited in me a sense of voluptuousness that was almost engulfing. The most recent of these was probably half a year or so ago. Maybe over our lifetime only two or three dozen stand out. That doesn't mean the other few thousand weren't worth remembering; but they weren't of the same ilk.

There have been no such 'stand out' Karezza moments, yet. Part of the problem may be that the behavioural trait I alluded to depends to a large extent on raptness of attention, which has so far not become a reliable part of our non orgasmic encounters. That raptness was invariably accompanied, or even caused, by the generation of feverish heat - ardour, as I think of it - that again seems not to be part of Karezza. Thinking about this, it wasn't so much, I now realise, what we did, that made these occasions special, or even the way we did it, but the mutual  construction of the 'arena'  - that is, the mental and physical space - in which it was done.

I've always been reliant on events acting as 'mind wipes', chosen activities that transport me to the sheer ecstasy of thoughtlessness. Cantering on horseback is one. Playing fluent tennis is another. Sex was always the easiest, though. Sometimes, my horse was recalcitrant, or I was not on terms with the racquet. No matter what the occasion, whenever I made love - or even masturbated - the sensations I experienced drove all extraneous thought from my mind. For as long as it lasted, I was in a state of bliss. This bliss may have seemed like pure physical pleasure, but it was really the quieted mental landscape that allowed that pleasure to stand out in clear relief. What made certain occasions truly exceptional must, I think, have depended not so much on the quality of that landscape, its depth and subtlety, but my wife's hand in deliberately helping create it.

The problem I've found with Karezza is rather than being able to depend on it to 'wipe' my mind of all thought, I have - that is, my mind has - to do the wiping itself. This is tedious, at best; and as soon as my energy flags, I find my attention wanders. This is reminiscent of failed attempts at meditation. The obvious answer with Karezza is to increase the level of excitement a little, or at least to the point where thought becomes submerged again beneath the waves of sensation. The problem here is that if the heat becomes too much, the erotic circuit I mentioned earlier gets a heftier charge than I can easily cope with. The lizard doesn't intervene, but my ego does, determined to 'satisfy' my wife - even if I have ascertained earlier she has as little desire for orgasm as me. Of course, by then, the lack of desire she felt at the outset has become just as transformed as my own original, low key intention, and she welcomes the escalation of events every bit as much as I do.

The alternative answer is for me to focus my wavering attention on my wife - that is, on her presence - without trying in any way to turn up the heat. The problem I run into here, delightful as simply being present with her is, centres around the nagging voice - neither my lizard, nor my ego, so much as my disgruntled child - complaining that what started as a sexual encounter is in danger of turning into a naked cuddle. Fond as I am of naked cuddles, it's been difficult to still that voice and remain 'centred' at the same time.

One thing I've realised is how the emphasis on the Reuniting site is for the Richardson's Karezza approach, which puts a strong slant on sensing energy flows, whereas we've tended to veer towards the vigorous, more physical stance taken by Stanley Bass. This is a shame, as I sense the gentler approach holds the answers, but I find it almost impossible to put into practice. I'm not easily able to sense 'energy' in the way they suggest; and my wife's breasts don't seem to be the key to her arousal at all. In fact, if anything, it's quite the other way around. Her breasts become engorged, responsive, and thereby much more accessible to me, towards the middle and end of lovemaking, whereas at the beginning, she shies away from them even being touched. 

Maybe the biggest problem we have concerns time and location. There are suggestions in both the Richardson and the Bass books concerning the duration norm for Karezza sessions. Four hours, or a day. I find this ludicrous, or else we're doing something very wrong. Generally, if we're making love in bed in the evening, we'll be lucky to last more than twenty minutes before my wife starts yawning. Although this used to annoy me, I now secretly agree. It's not that we're bored, but, just as with watching a sunset or smelling a flower, there comes a point when enough is enough. Sleep beckons, and the level of excitation isn't enough to fend it off. 

Sex first thing in the morning is a non starter for us, as we're not human until we've had breakfast.

The best answer we've found is to carve out a chunk of time in the middle of the day, find or create somewhere warm, and give ourselves an hour. Even then, we have difficulty sustaining a connection. I think it's all to do with the quality of our appreciation. Maybe this is what we need to learn. Before, during orgasmic sex, we would up and maintain the tempo to the point where someone could have come in and danced a jig, and we would have ignored them, we were so consumed by events. During that sort of sex, I would have had to fight hard to steer my mind away from what we were doing. During Karezza, particularly quiet, 'energy flow' style Karezza, I sometimes have to fight to remember what I'm supposed to be doing; or to catch myself from falling asleep.  

At present, my answer to this is to do as much as is needed to generate and maintain a certain erotic charge, at which level we are both fully engaged, but without letting that charge take on a life of its own, so we risk becoming consumed by it. This way, lovemaking becomes like surfing on the crest of a continuous wave. A tamer version of Karezza might find us paddling around looking for a wave to get on, whereas orgasmic sex would see us on the edge of a ripper, hurtling towards a massive dump. 

So, there we are. Our journey may sound less convincing than many, but I think we're not derailed so much as going much slower than we anticipated. This is still, after all, a transition phase. After decades of one sort of sex, that we still find great fun, and don't feel any overriding need to give up, we're finding this other sort, which promises less downside, and considerably more upside, but hasn't fully delivered yet, still rather tame. We haven't given up the quest yet, though.

Lastly, although I have said I find myself in a buoyant mood, sexually, after periods of not orgasming, I wouldn't say this translates into a better mood overall; and I am still highly dubious about my wife's mood being affected adversely by climaxing. In fact, in many ways, the reverse is the case. The day following a particularly fulfilling orgasm, she becomes extremely affectionate. A less fulfilling orgasm might find her distancing herself somewhat. No orgasm at all for her is a lottery, mood wise.

As for non sexual repercussions, I can't say I've noticed any difference. Socialising, attitude in general, getting things done - all these seem identical, whether we've gone a month or two without orgasm or had a frenetic week of climaxes. 

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Comments

Thanks

I'm really glad you posted this. I'm definitely a duck to water here and I was curious if anyone had less satisfactory results. As you say, everyone on here is so unrelentingly positive about karezza! Your post got me really curious about how we are different from each other and why we may have such different reactions. I read your very first blog entry from 2007 (!?!?!). I'm AMAZED that you keep at it! Wow. I do understand the issues in your sexual relationship with your wife and why you are seeking solutions. I really admire that you and your wife have put so much effort into figuring out the sexual practices that will work best for you. When I first discovered this site I felt like I had found the answer that would fix everything for everyone. I have tried to be patient and calm down and figure out how I can get a sense of who will or will not be suited to this lifestyle. Two criteria seem to stand out from your first blog post:

1. Spirituality. I am absolutely on a spiritual path, a seeker, a meditator. My interest in transforming my sexuality is intimately linked with my spirituality. I have said in my blog that I have no idea how anyone could do these without meditation techniques for recirculating sexual energy. It has felt as essential as eating or peeing or sleeping ever since I stopped having orgasms.

2. "Staying out of each other's minds." I think this is one of the most interesting things to observe about other people's relationships. Some people want a lot of emotional privacy, some want complete transparency and most people are somewhere along the spectrum. I think this is one of the most important compatibility issues in relationships. I am someone who likes to feel extremely close. I like to have a lover I can tell anything, who knows me better than I know myself. I'd say that's the other major factor that attracts me to karezza.

I haven't read the 22 posts between the first one and the last one, so I'm curious if either of these things have changed for you at all? Does it seem true to you that these two factors might be why you aren't as naturally suited to karezza as many of the people on this board?

Compatibility

Is Karezza a spiritual practice? Maybe this is my problem. I'm not knowingly on a spiritual journey. I subscribe to some wacky beliefs in parallel universes, I spend a lot of time on the astral plain, it seems obvious to me that the dead live on, but I'm blind to the presence of any energy in my body other than the sort that moves muscles, and I find meditation blander than oatmeal.

The business of being, or not being, in each others heads, is complicated. I used to think my wife was the one who shared the entire contents of her consciousness with me, whereas I kept so much back it was like guarding a bank vault. However, I've noticed over the years that some subjects my wife would rather not discuss at all; and some ways of discussing any subject are completely alien to her. So, when we get down to the details of something, she loses interest. Unfortunately, that's the point where my interest begins. She might tell me the minutae of her day, but when I start dissecting it, she clams up.

Sex is a case in point. She doesn't particularly want to discuss it, though she's only too happy to do it. When we do discuss it, she likes to keep things light, so if I delve down into the depths, it soon becomes too much for her.

I've come to the conclusion we all guard our own 'bank vaults', some so deeply we hardly know we have them. 

When it comes to sex - doing, rather than talking about, it - there's a common process at work. We share a definite preference for non verbal lovemaking. Not silent, but as few words as possible. Real communication, for me, begins when we stop talking, and, ideally, stop thinking, too. Then, not only are we not 'in' each others heads, it's as if we're no longer in our own heads, either. We've migrated for the duration into our bodies, and through the process of lovemaking, are getting to merge, momentarily. That's the ideal communication, for me.

I think this process can happen with orgasmic sex as well as Karezza. My hope was - is - it's easier and lasts longer with the latter.

Sood

I'm curious, if karezza doesnt really float your boat and you havent found your groove why dont you go back to conventional love making?

Diet

I used to eat a lot of rubbish, because I liked the taste and it made me feel good. Gradually, over the years, I adapted my diet until I was eating very little that wasn't nutritionally sound. I liked the taste of this food much more than the rubbish, and it also made me feel better. This wasn't an overnight transformation. It was so gradual I never had to undergo any deprivation by stopping eating what I liked and starting eating what I disliked. I just added odd bits and pieces to my diet, and other bits and pieces fell off the menu.

I've come to think (although this may change) of Karezza as being 'nutritionally sound', and it's orgasmic counterpart a tad 'rubbishy'. I'm still at the stage where the rubbish tastes sweet and makes me feel good, whereas the sounder option hasn't quite hit the mark in either respect, although, to be fair, it's come close. Since I began this journey, things have certainly shifted.

So, the answer to your question is, I continue with Karezza, very largely, for the promise it holds of more fulfilling sex. My conception of Karezza as being something worth striving for is based on all I've read and heard over the years. My progress, or lack of it, reflects the fact that I'm either a slow adapter (as I was with food), Karezza is not all it's cracked up to be (that is, it's no more 'sound' than orgasmic sex) or I'm constitutionally ill suited to it. Time will tell - although some would say four years - off and on - is more than enough!

I think there is something

I think there is something else going on. Karezza is not rocket science. You try some and either it resonates with you or it doesnt. Its like the lights come on and you say, yeah! or its, well that was nice, but...think I like what I'm doing. I believe its about timing. If its your time you're drawn right in by it, if not, you give it a glance and pass on by.

So I say, either its your time and you like resisting it for whatever reason. Or, its not your time and you keep on shoving it down your throat like some medicine. You're neither in nor out. So, which is it? Do you have a tendency to sit on the fence in other areas of your life too?

All or nothing

None of the important decisions in my life have been fence sitters; meeting my wife, it took me less than a heartbeat to fall for her. I can procrastinate at times, though, for what it's worth, I don't see Karezza as a lifestyle choice. It might become one, but for now, it's more of an option, available if we want it, worth trying out for longer periods, but certainly not something to force on ourselves. I hope I didn't give the impression we don't enjoy it; or that we're not enjoying the journey. Overall, we're more sexual, and more at ease with our sexuality, than I can remember. Maybe I've been over dramatising my 'field reports'.

here's what I get

I get that you "should" feel this way or that way.

Your mind is telling you "shoulds".

But you do enjoy it and you have this nagging mind saying that it "should" be different than it is.

For instance, you mention in your post about the "naked cuddle" as if it isn't a proper thing or what you are after. Fair enough.

But this is more "shoulds" and labels that the mind loves. It's how we are built, to categorize and judge. But it also is something that I would work through because the whole point of Karezza is to be present with what is, with your partner, yourself, and not be going anywhere, have goals, or label this or that. At least that's how it feels to me.

So I think you are a bit drawn to this because it is that way. It is a great way for you to move on your journey of self realization and part of you knows that and is attracted to it because of that.

It's not "mindless", but it leads to that Eastern mindless thing that the mind can't grasp that we we "are" at our core.

Well, I guess your posts do

Well, I guess your posts do send mixed messages, at least to me. I get the impression that you would like karezza to, lets say, come alive for you but its not. If you're enjoying karezza style love making and liking the direction its going, then I am definitely misreading what you say. Like I said, most folks either love it or tend to pass it by. Wanted to see if I could nudge you one way or the other. Clearly there is plenty of room in the middle and praising karezza is not a requirment for anyone who tries it. To my ears it just sounds like you would like more from it.

In a nutshell

I think what it boils down to is this. I have a lovely wife, we've enjoyed conventional lovemaking for donkey's years, and we're still enjoying it; but I have always wanted 'more' - more often, longer, better, closer. I suspect Karezza might be the answer, but it's not been straightforward, for reasons I've tried to explain. I want to document this fairly (mostly for my own benefit) but maybe I'm sounding too much like the resident sceptic. It could even be a perceived need to remain sceptical getting in my way. As things stand, though, I do still consider this an entirely pleasurable 'work in progress'.

Tea or coffee

Yes, I think it is a bit like you describe. I don't play basketball, but I love tennis, and that wipes me out in a way other exercise doesn't. The trouble is, I like tennis a lot more than most other sorts of exercise, so I still play it. If it's a toss up between doing something I don't particularly enjoy to feel good afterwards, or doing something I really enjoy but feeling not so good afterwards (but not too bad, either) I'd rather do what I enjoy.

With Karezza, though, it's not so clearcut, because I enjoy it just as much, or almost as much, as regular sex; it's just a different sort of enjoyment, rather like drinking a herb tea compared to a strong coffee. I drink a lot more herb tea than coffee; but I could give up the first more easily than the second.

I'm not even sure what sort of sex leaves me feeling better afterwards. I'm even beginning to wonder what 'feeling better' means, or how much control we have over it. Since learning about the potential we have for experiencing fallout from sex, I've become hypersensitive to mood changes, both mine and my wife's; and I can honestly say they - our moods - seem to bear much more relation to external circumstances than anything we cultivate for ourselves.

The business of wanting to please our partner, and also wanting to please ourselves, is an amazingly complicated, and even treacherous, part of sex. Especially when we don't really know, or can't ever be sure, what is best for either of us. When we get things wrong, the consequences can be dire; but when we get it right, it feels so good!

One reason I am attracted to Karezza is because we can't really get it wrong, since, at least at the outset, there is little to do but 'be there', although 'being there', for me, is not so easy.