Exchanges sans 'mumbo jumbo'

Submitted by Quizure on
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The exchanges - I have not even suggested them to my partner. (He hasn't read Marnia's book, and isn't going to read it.) How do you get past the whole basis in spiritual beliefs, if you don't believe in them?

I went through the exchanges, and from each exchange I found that there was a spiritual or 'new age' type belief that was required to make it be anything but a laughable 'sham' of an exchange. I thought maybe I could take them and some how 'rewrite them' without the spiritual new agey part, but I couldn't really figure out how to do it Even the yin-yang stuff was too much. Is there anyone out there that's done exchanges with a partner who doesn't believe in religions of any kind or other 'spiritual' beliefs?

Here's what I pulled as show-stoppers for doing the exchanges:

“Healing energy” that you can ‘send’ from one person to another.

Yin / Yang energies

Sending ‘waves’ of calm through your hands

Hands ‘glowing’ with energy.

Chanting or humming single tones “OM” as in some an obvious spiritual meditation

“Energy circulation” (he said, you mean like water heating solar systems circulate the hot water?)

“moving energy through fingertips”

“finding a ‘feeling’ of joy in your body and ‘expanding it’”

“there’s a pituitary spot on your big toe” or any other ‘foot reflexology areas’

‘loving energy’ that you can send, inhale, exhale or otherwise control.

Is there anything we can do that's 100% science based - the dopamine / oxytocin / fmri studies is what brought me here, and it feels like a bait and switch.





Sorry you're so upset. Believe it or not, some of my readers relate best to the non-science bits of the book. For them, the science is the "mumbo-jumbo." In writing the book, I tried to keep both kinds of readers in mind.

It's quite all right to design your own Exchanges. You know the bonding behaviors (p. 178). You may also find the article and affectionate behaviors below make your task easier. The only thing the Exchanges proper can contribute aside from pep talks is a gradual escalation in intimacy. If you've read them, you get the drift.

Older article about the Exchanges:

31 affectionate activities for couples:

Have fun!


Wow, we had done nearly all of these - years before I found your book - as a natural part of discovering one another and who we were together, and we continue to do many of them as part of just enjoying being together. But we're doing them more now than we have in the past few years. While it happened gradually, the busy-ness of life and jobs and activities took away from our alone-time together, and we gradually spent less and less time just doing these kind of things. I can see now that fur-licking is a maintenance activity that's necessary to keep the warm glow alive. Finding your book rebooted us - and it seems we've naturally returned to doing them again.


Because life is not about who you were, it is about who you are becoming.

Hi Q

I arrived here much as you did - following the cause and effect of endorphin cycling and the science/ neurochemistry to explain my issues with hangover effects that result from orgasm. Having been exposed to way too much information and taught to use logic and reason to solve problems I also struggle with religion and spirituality. I was trained to assume nothing and only believe half of what I could prove - and there is no proving religion or spirit. "Poisoned" by science if you will. So I keep motoring along, firmly grounded in my "belief" that coming to a better understanding of the science is going to be the key to my "salvation". Having said that however I am trying to keep an open mind for there definitely is an exchange that takes place between my wife and I - regardless of how you "label" it - that is much more delicious and profound when we are more "connected." With or without the so called "mumbo jumbo" there is no doubt the bonding behaviors can be very beneficial. I filter out the spiritual aspects that don't work for me and inject science into the remains and "work through it" until I can get my "logical" brain wrapped around it. It works for me.

Perhaps you could think of

Perhaps you could think of them in the context of the whole "fur licking" thing? And how it bonds animals together?

Ever since I read the article here, I see things in that way--such as, every morning and evening, I brush my two mares and now I realize I don't really do it because they especially need brushing, I do it because my touch on them keeps them closer to me and me to them. Plus it gives me some nice endorphins and hopefully, it does them, too (they seem to love being brushed).

The same thing with you and your husband--the more you touch each other, the more bonded together you will be. The various exercises are just different ways to touch and be touched so that you have a direction or variety to it all and don't get "stuck" doing one thing.

Another thing (for me) is it is very easy to switch my mind from a *taking* mindset to a *giving* mindset and it really does feel different, but not in a spiritual way necessarily, it just allows you to give your love unconditionally without receiving in return. I think so much of regular sex revolves around "he got his and now I want mine" etc. and when you stop thinking in that way, it allows you to give and get back without expectations.


This thread makes me think

of an experience a friend recounted. Years ago, a few years after I first started learning about this other approach to sex, I bought a whole case of Mantak Chia's Taoist Secrets of Love, and shared copies with various male acquaintances. One of the exercises was "Testicle Breathing," in which one breathes air from the testicles up to the head.

Obviously, that's not physically possible, so most of my well educated friends didn't even bother trying it. A Jamaican friend, who left school at 12 and became a bass player, didn't know it was impossible. So he did the exercise...and felt the energy go right up. And not long after that he proudly wrote me a short letter saying, "I can now control my ejaculation no matter what style sex the woman is into." Wink

My point is that I use some of those energy terms because I hope people will step outside of their fixed views and see what they experience if they allow their imaginations some slack. That said, Quiz, I realize how frustrating it must be to know that this language will be a complete turn-off to your technically minded hubby. Maybe you could go through and highlight the red flags, then when you two read them, you do the reading and substitute your own words for the highlighted phrases.

Really, substance is more important than form.

When I first started down

When I first started down this path, I made one change - I moved my pillow from the left side of the (king sized bed) and gave the cat his own pillow on the left side. I sleep in the 'middle' now. This has added hours of 'snuggle time' to our fall asleep time and wake up time. It also makes it nearly impossible for me to hit the snooze alarm while still half asleep - so that we don't miss out on morning snuggle time, by only waking up just in time to jump out of bed to get ready for work. As Marnia has said, you can find the time.

We are not uncomfortable at all with copious fur-licking activities, so we don't need 'training' to find them something we happily and naturally do. We love to sneak actual licks in public, when one of us is least expecting it. It's a silly thing, and it makes me giggle.

The problem I was thinking that the exchanges would solve is one that he is having - he has trouble with 'sneaker' orgasms. We're doing karezza, (scissors) not moving at all, and about 5 or so minutes in, his erection flags, and he moves some to bring it back - and he gets an unexpected and unwanted orgasm. And then he feels as if he failed - he actually apologizes for it. The I feel bad because my asking him to participate in this is making him feel inadequate. During what we consider 'normal' sex (although we never approach anything we would call 'rough' or vigorous - at least compared to anyone else I've been with) we do not have this problem, and we can go for an hour or more, and then happily stop what we're doing (neither having had an orgasm), and then disconnect, snuggle for awhile, and then be done for that session. But this isn't Karezza in the way I've seen it described here. So it's just gentle, orgasm-less sex.

I guess if I were reading this by someone else, I'd say "Duh, stop doing what doesn't work for you!"

I'm going to let this simmer in my brain a bit. Wink


Because life is not about who you were, it is about who you are becoming.

'true' karezza

We have a very similar experience. For us, it is impossible to do motionless or slow-motion karezza because it gets uncomfortable for my wife. Actually, I have not even asked her to try it, but when the rhythm gets below a certain frequency, surfaces start to stick painfully and she requires that we move faster. So we have been having normal sex without orgasm, in which I never let myself get overly stimulated, and we stop whenever it feels like we've had enough or when someone gets uncomfortable. I believe this is just as effective for me as 'true' karezza--we get to have intercourse, we get to bond, we're relaxed (can have a conversation, laugh, etc. without feeling like something off-topic is 'ruining the mood'), and we (well, I) avoid orgasm.

In another respect our experience has been similar to yours. My wife would most likely refuse to read Marnia's books, so I have not even asked her about it. She would not read them (a) because, like your husband, she would reject any of the 'energy' or 'spirit' language, and (b) because I poorly represented the ideas to her a few years ago. When I first introduced the idea of orgasm-less sex to our relationship, I was not emotionally ready to dedicate myself to it, so the two experiments that we tried were dismal failures. It wasn't that avoiding orgasm was the problem--it was that I was trying to simultaneously disengage from fantasy, porn, thoughts about infidelity, severe anxiety, and depression while at the same time trying to be happy, loving, and giving in our relationship. So my wife remembers the no-orgasm experiments as very dark times because of all the other shit I was putting her through.

Your self-admonishment is probably correct--we should do what works for us. In your relationship, maybe 'normal' sex without orgasm is exactly what you need. And you can be grateful that your husband is willing to try the experiment with you. In contrast, I have had to resort to subterfuge (i.e. lying about the reason why I'm not having an orgasm, or else she'll remember the bad no-orgasm times and get angry at me), and my wife is still happily having orgasms with no apparent interest in stopping. For us, this is as close as we can get to karezza at this point. It's a bastardized form, to be sure, but it's better than nothing.

another variation


Very glad to read your post. My wife and I have different a variation of the karezza situation described throughout this site. I am a slow ejaculator – always have been, always will be. My wife has very low libido and hasn’t had an orgasm in several years, is not at all interested in sex, but she loves cuddling and the other bonding behaviors. We have just discovered these concepts and are still experimenting with what works best for us. For years we worked and worked to get me to cum. Now with our modified karezza, we forget about the goal of orgasm, I give her long, loving caresses of all kinds and I get to have sex with her (even though the sex part is of little interest to her). I am having the best sex of my life; she has been relieved of a chore. We are both smiling all day and long into the night.

I have “Cupids Poisoned Arrow” and am currently reading (actually studying) it. She took a look at it but, I doubt she will read it both because of the science (boring) and the spiritual mumbo-jumbo (goes against her religion). So I am learning what I can and putting it to practice in our relationship.

It’s working for us.



I'm happy you've found something that works well for both of you. One question: since your wife prefers not to orgasm, have you noticed whether she seems more emotionally balanced or slower to anger than when she used to have orgasms?

We are still occasionally having pointless quarrels over trivial things, but I have only been orgasm-free for 2 weeks, my wife is still having regular orgasms, and it's impossible to rule out the chance that I'm just a fundamentally angry person. I guess self-improvement is never a finished project.

In any case, it's great that you have a routine that satisfies you both!



I think our situation is a little different. We are both in our mid-sixties and I believe her loss of libido is part of normal aging. I didn't help over the years because my need to orgasm every time made sex an endurance event about the same magnitude as a half-marathon. Since we have removed that goal, our lives have a whole new dimension. It's not that she choses not to orgasm, I think it may not be possible (at this time) due to her physiological and neurochemical makeup. It is my hope that by continuing our karezza lovemaking her "juices" may be restored. If not, it is still magical. We are still in our "honeymoon" -- we just began this way of lovemaking about four weeks ago.

So, I don't think I can answer your question: "since your wife prefers not to orgasm, have you noticed whether she seems more emotionally balanced or slower to anger than when she used to have orgasms?" I can say that since we began this karezza journey, she has been an angel -- not always the case in the past. We still have the same faults and personality quirks as before, but we seem to easily overlook the flaws and work things out pretty easily.

And, yes, self-improvement is never a finished project. I would say stay with it. You will constantly be learning, improving, changing throughout your life, so embrace the opportunity.


As someone who can get witchy

after orgasm, I don't think you can rule out that *she* is contributing to the fireworks due to her own orgasms. I can't remember if you read Cupid, but I recount how I made this discovery in myself, as did another female friend. It was a real eye-opener. But I'm glad my eyes opened, because my relationships have been a lot sweeter since my discovery.

By all means,

do what works best for you. Who knows? You may discover something really useful to share with the rest of us. Wink As best I can tell from reading other books on the subject, every karezza "expert" has a slightly different sounding recipe, which is one reason I don't try to get too precise in instructions.

Most of all just enjoy yourselves!

this thread

Is interesting to me because I have no spiritual or religious beliefs. The way I regard the New Agey stuff is that there are some things science doesn't explain very well yet, so I tolerate it. After all CPA and this website have lot's of scientific research as a basis for the practice. Our scientific knowledge base hasn't caught up to discoveries made by ancients who had no way of describing or discovering things scientifically. I liked Marnia's example of "testicle breathing." Laughable and impossible! *scoffs* ... Yet when the cat that played bass tried it...results! There's gotta be something to that and as an atheist it isn't something metaphysical. So what is it? Simply a gap in scientific knowledge.

Likely there are things our conscious mind can influence in our body that we have formerly taken for granted as "biological" and not subject to our conscious control. If using ones imagination to "breathe into" a certain emotion and then that creates a certain response then what is the difference between this and using a biofeedback machine to consciously regulate one's heart rate. We don't have to all wear petiole and chant mantra's after giving that a try, we still know that material reality is all that exists. We aren't the type to get "converted" to a "spiritual" belief anyway. That leads us to search for logical and scientific explanations.

I have knee jerk reactions to religion and religious talk that goes way deep and makes me reject certain concepts even if they are beneficial to me. I really appreciate you broaching this topic, Quiz. Perhaps if more scientists were doing research on this topic we could have lot's more scientific theories and studies that could provide the kinds of answers that people who don't accept the existence of the metaphysical *could* accept. Till then we just have to try things and see what works. This is a very cool new frontier that isn't so "new" after reading the chapters on ancient wisdom. Perhaps we can make our own scientific discoveries? Experiments can lead to conclusions and perhaps even provide proof of the validity or falseness of a hypothesis.

I hope to one day provide helpful information from a scientific perspective on all of this Karezza sex. Of course right now all I want is sex. Any kind of sex. At least now I know this desire and response is part of the passion cycle ignited by brain chemicals after orgasm. That's the most scientific understanding I've ever learned about this topic.


I hereby volunteer my services in the interest of Science.

I'm wearing my white lab coat and standing in a long well lit hallway with twelve doors. I knock on the first door with one hand and in the other cradle a clipboard.

I push my glasses back on my nose, and nervously ask "Uh...How's it going in there you guys?"

"We're not done yet!" I'm startled, jump a little and I fix the cowlick over my forehead.

"Don't forget to fill out your form when you are um... done. Please remember to compare your Karezza experience to other sexual if you could please write legibly it would really help with my resear---"

"Get lost Dano!"

"Um uh... Ok sorry Quizure...I'll be back in about an hour." Long pause. "You folks have fun."

I close the door to the sound of "wordless sounds of contentment."

Then inexplicably...I hear music.... Wink

Blinded by Science

I loved that video when it came out, but have not watched it in ages. Thanks! :) I'd respond by putting up a link to "Oingo Boingo's Weird Science", but none of them are "safe" from what I might imagine are triggers for folks here. Anyway, I enjoyed watching them both.

In some ways, we are all volunteering ourselves in the name of 'science'. While our individual findings are anecdotal, that is where many scientific studies start - trying to determine if the anecdotal = fact. It's possible that fMRI could be used to identify the location of the various centers within the body that correspond to the chakras from the spiritual texts, or other node-like places identified in things like foot reflexology, acupuncture, craniosacral or other alternative medicines that involve energy centers in the body that do not appear to be anatomically visible.

Oh the mind just boggles when one thinks about energy, how it's everywhere, and stored in, and moving through everything in the universe. Place an ice cube in glass of hot water and watch it melt - that's energy in motion but it follows the 'law' of thermodynamics. Now put an ice cube in the palm of your hand, and prevent the heat energy in your hand from melting the ice cube. One couldn't directly control the energy (in my opinion) but your automatic systems do constrict the blood vessels to reduce the amount of blood flow, lowering the amount of energy transfer. I suppose that an experiment where I imagine (use the force, Luke!) that I'm holding an ice cube in my hand, and then plotting the surface temperature changes would suffice to see if it's possible.


Because life is not about who you were, it is about who you are becoming.

I'm happy there are others

who don't buy into mumbo jumbo. As much as I want to find common ground there's reality (no verifiable reproducible evidence for the existence of the metaphysical) and what people would like to believe. Good work on this thread.

Being a bodyworker, I come

Being a bodyworker, I come up against this need people have for scientific explanations of otherwise ancient observations. Firstly, we should acknowledge that the wisdom traditions that have been passed down for these so-called "New Age" beliefs were acquired through trial and error, through observation of cause and effect, and are basically scientific, although these people did not have the same instruments that we do. There are many cases of science only barely catching up with things that have been observed by ancients long, long ago. So we should be humble in this case.

That said, the best information that I have found which is a compilation of the scientific basis behind energy medicine and other phenomenon usually discounted by "scientific" types is James Oschman's book, "Energy Medicine in Human Therapuetics and Performance". Oschman is very well regarded in scientific communities.

Yes, it's about time Science and scientifically minded people caught up. Besides, there's nothing unscientific about seeing the world in terms of "energy." Where it gets complicated is when we start to use our own personal bodies as measuring apparatus - because once "energy" is subjectively reported, it is discounted by science. Especially once we get into the realm of intentionality and how intention affects people energetically, it is tricky waters (ie, sending 'waves' through one's hands) - simply because if science were to admit that the energy of intention really affects results, it would imply all sorts of things about the appropriate or rather inappropriate use of scientific methods, which are generally seen to be "objective" even when used for despicable things.

The real problem is that the mechanistic, scientific paradigm has so alienated us from our own trust in our own senses, that can't even rely on our own data anymore. This is a real pity, but it does not mean that simply because we are culturally numb to huge amounts of energetic information that this energetic information is a hallucination in those who are embodied enough to perceive it. Access to this information or experience of energy is really just a matter of training. Just as we have been trained to ignore subjective experience of energy, so too can we learn to train ourselves to sense it. When we do, most people will realize that there are definite patterns, laws, and consistencies within many subjective accounts as far as the perception of energy is concerned. Its just a matter of expanding our perceptive abilities.

As a bodyworker, I can easily say that mind is a form of matter and that I have learned that the practice of presence and embodiment in the NOW provides access to many levels of energy that may be too subtle for machines currently to detect. If we limit our worldview to what the instruments that we create can prove, then we are always beholden to know only what we can conceive of, and never touch that energetic mystery that is actually trying to communicate to us through our very bodies.

As we say in craniosacral therapy, Primary Respiration is not the object of my awareness. I am the object of Primary Respirations awareness. Therein lies a very different shift in perspective. So long as we think that the world can be reduced to an object to be perceived, we simply will not get it. The deeper question is, "What is this LIFE that is perceiving itself through me, and what does it feel like?" The more we ask that question, the more we are likely to open up to very "energetic" experiences. And the more we open, the more touched we are, and the more touched we are, the more we know that this mystery is TRUE.

Qi: My newfound respect for energy

I'm as skeptical about non-scientifically-verifiable effects as anyone could be. However, I'm also open to whatever seems interesting and appealing. Thus, I've been around all sorts of unscientific and often spiritual folk over the years, and had a fair number of interesting experiences. None of that put much of a dent in my basic scientific understanding of the world, however, until my recent experiences with qigong. My wife and I attribute some portion of our increased libido to our qigong practice (a few years for her, one year--but an intense one--for me). She has recently become as juicy as she ever was and we're loving our karezza practice.

That's surprising enough, not to mention gratifying, but also amazing and less comprehensible in terms of any science that I know is that I've recently gained an ability to feel qi in my body. At this point it has expanded from a slight sensation in my hands, which I had felt for many months without thinking too much about it, to a more intense sensation that extends from my hands throughout my arms. This is definitely not imaginary, it is not something that I was working at feeling or longing to feel, and it is hard to describe. I guess calling it mildly electric would be good as I could do. What I've just described will probably be familiar to many others here who have practiced qigong or other energy arts and it will sound like hogwash to those who have not. I don't know whether or not there will ever be a scientifically verified explanation of what I'm feeling, but I'm investigating all of this with great interest now! (The sensation of course, would be of little interest to me were it not associated with other positive effects, including tremendous stress relief and an overall balancing effect, that kept me engaged in the practice of qigong for the many months when I was not feeling the qi at all.)

We don't know what we don't know. Life is short, there is more to learn than we can ever manage, we don't know who to trust or what to believe in (and I tend not to "believe" anything; I want proof), and pitfalls abound. Yet, my recent qigong experience has opened up many possibilities for learning and understanding, sexual and otherwise. You never know what you might discover if you stay open to the possibilities.

Equal access reality

Perhaps we should carefully distinguish between personal realities (total content of awareness of each individual) and a basic consensus reality (experiences equally accessible to every cognitively functional person). There are as many personal realities as there are persons, but the consensus reality must be an extremely limited intersection of the union of all personal realities. Reality constructs do not need to be polarized (only personal or only consensus), that is, we should be able to selectively assemble members of various personal reality sets into lower-dimensional sets (which I'll call 'partial realities' for lack of better nomenclature) that are not congruent to the basic consensus.

In practical terms, we discourse primarily about partial reality sets. For example, I have practiced qi gong intermittently for several years, and I appreciate how the forms improve my awareness of motion, but I have yet to understand (feel) qi as a novel sensation, somehow separate from sensations that have always been in my awareness. In contrast, greentea has recently felt qi distinctly. We share the partial reality of appreciation for motion in qi gong, but do not share in the reality of qi as a distinct force. On this basis, I would contend that qi is primarily a personal reality rather than a member of the consensus set.

The essential question is: to best define our reality, do we restrict ourselves to the consensus, do we allow various intersections of personal realities, or do we accept the union of all personal realities? I suspect that even the most entrenched rationalist/skeptic could not truly claim to perfectly adhere to the consensus. On the other hand, the most devoted pluralist could not properly integrate the union of personal realities due to the massive contradiction such an integration would require. It therefore seems necessary to substantially restrict many components of personal realities because of their basic inaccessibility.

Pertaining to the exchanges, I believe Marnia has selected an effective solution to communicate with most audiences. For those of us who best relate to the partial reality of energy or spirit, exchanges can be performed in the context of immaterial ecstasy; for those of us who best relate to the consensus reality, exchanges are bonding behavior that improve (equally perceptible) relationship parameters such as contentment, fight frequency, sexual satisfaction, physical health, etc.

If a brick lands on your head it's gonna hurt.

That's a consensus alright and it's primary to whatever one's "personal reality."

I subscribe to a philosophy that this world we live in and can identify things with sensors man made or biologically the only one. Whatever one's faith or religion or belief this is it. People can believe whatever they want it doesn't make it objectively true or verifiable. I'm not trying to flame or start a debate but here's a short definition for those who are further interested in philosophical materialism.

Of course thinking this and being able to communicate things isn't getting me away from porn. So I gladly come here and listen and read all opinions in my desire to stay away from this eyeball crack.