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You don’t need to be feeling passionate to benefit from the ideas at this site or the Exchanges mentioned in our books. Bonding behaviors not only soothe excess libido, they can also allow dormant libido to awaken to the extent necessary for satisfying feelings of closeness. Everyone has advantages when learning karezza (bonding-based lovemaking). For example, committed lovers of longer duration who want to try the Exchanges may have less fire, but more patience. New lovers may have more optimism, but a lot of destabilizing honeymoon chemistry with which to contend.

Treat the Exchanges (or bonding behaviors) as a recipe for renewed courtship. See if you can recapture a “virginal” mindset, free of the past. You might begin by writing down three words or phrases that describe what you liked about your partner when you met, and share them with each other.

It’s tempting to increase the level of intimacy of the Exchanges just because you don’t find sexual control an issue. Instead, abide by their limitations, and take the opportunity to retrain your touch so it is generous, rather than a means of altering your mood. Even if you think you are as familiar to each other as old slippers, surprises are in store.

If you wish to have intercourse, but your body is not cooperating, you may like to experiment with this technique recommended by the late psychiatrist Rudolf Von Urban, who wrote a book called Sex Perfection and Marital Happiness. He believed that orgasm, and even intercourse, were not essential to marital happiness, but that close, relaxed, sexual contact was. He recommended prolonged (at least half an hour) sex contact, with or without intercourse, with full concentration on the physical connection itself. Even in the event of an orgasm, he advised contact for at least half an hour.

Von Urban suggested lovers begin in the “Scissors” or “Bridge” positions (side-lying positions), with or without erection. “After half an hour, when the full exchange [between] the two individuals is established, the penis usually becomes erected and can enter the vagina.” Trust that you are benefiting each other, even without sexual performance, and see how you feel as your nervous system resets itself so that arousal can arise spontaneously, rather than through your efforts.