I'm finding voluntarily forgoing orgasm a tricky business. It seems a remarkably similar process to when I gave up smoking. My intentions were good, but I enjoyed cigarettes so much, stopping myself from having that enjoyment, for what were very laudable but not so immediately obvious benefits, was astonishingly difficult. I failed repeatedly. I particularly remember the first cigarette of the day, with my breakfast tea or coffee, which was so serenely delicious, I usually lit a second from the tab of the first, to prolong the pleasure. Giving this up felt barbarous.
Countless times, I would throw away half full packets of cigarettes, only to find myself queuing up to buy another the following day. Obviously, I was addicted, so the craving was a very real phenomenon; but what made it harder was the sheer, unadulterated pleasure I got from inhaling tobacco smoke, and handling the slim, white tubes, particularly after a meal or with a drink. Like many of life's pleasures, a clear mandate to desist wasn't enough. Incontrovertible proof that I would be beter off as a non smoker was insufficient to motivate me. I needed to derive more, or a different, 'better' pleasure from not smoking than I did from continuing.
I think this was the key difficulty. I felt no better after periods of non smoking than I did while indulging. In fact, I felt worse. I accepted most of the benefits would be long term but I wanted more immediate feedback. I wanted to finish a meal, sit back, not have a cigarette, and feel better for it, rather than hankering after one from morning till night.
It took me years to properly quit. Even after a decade of non smoking I still experienced the powerful desire for a cigarette during social occasions. Occasionally, I indulged, and was usually revolted. This desire for something that was no longer delicious but now disgusted me persisted well beyond what seemed credible. In many ways, I'm still a smoker now, even though it's more than thirty years since I stopped.
I find a similar pattern with orgasm. From a safe distance, I seem very motivated to stop. I'm familiar with Karezza, I enjoy it, I've educated myself about it's benefits, and I've agreed with my lizard brain that a trial period of a couple of months is not a lifetime commitment. If it turns into one, that's fine; but knowing from the outset I am not giving up orgasm for good ought, I thought, to have made it relatively easy to give it up temporarily.
It may be wondered why I keep saying 'I' rather than 'we'. The truth is, my wife is happy either way. She's not motivated in the sense that I am, but this isn't surprising, as she hasn't really educated herself about the possible benefits. So, although it's a shared venture, I've organised the trip, and unfortunately, I'm the main map reader.
I'm trying to discover where the problem lies. It seems it has to do with my unwillingness, in the face of temptation, to stick to a decision I've previously made. In this, it's not unlike any addiction. I gave up smoking, I hardly drink, I haven't indulged in drugs since my youth, I'm not a binge eater, so I don't have many things I crave but would be better without. I do have a minor chocolate problem, but if the chips were down, I could drop that tomorrow. I find it difficult to accept my orgasm craving is on a par with more traditional desires, but maybe it is. It's certainly been with me a long time.
I detailed my solo sexual history in a much earlier post. I was around when copies of Playboy were something special. I don't find the porn of today very enticing. For me, there's something missing when pubic hair isn't there - not that Playboy ever showed much of it. Anyway, porn, masturbation, fantasies, etc, aren't an issue here. I don't really have a problem with desire or arousal. My problem is more one of containment. A decision - to avoid orgasm - that seems so logical and easy when we begin making love, for some reason keeps coming up for internal 'review' during that lovemaking. Unless I'm very careful, I find myself repeatedly sifting through all available evidence in an attempt to belittlle my current experience, however enchanting it might be, invalidating the insights and actions that led to it, in the hope that my original decision might be overturned. It's disheartening to be pitted against myself in this way, as although I always win, I always lose, too!
The first of these reappraisals usually takes place shortly after the outset, when we're barely warmed up. I have no difficulty reasserting my commitment at that point. In fact, I'm often to be found patting myself on the back, saying something along the lines of, "This is delightful; what a breeze; why don't we do this every day; why ever should I want to ramp things up?"
We continue, and the next review occurs when I find either my attention wandering or my ardour diminishing. I generally respond to this by heating things up a little. I do this because to not do it would seem to render the entire event pointless. I could simply let my erection subside, and lie there in a pleasing enough embrace, but somehow that wouldn't suffice. At this juncture, my intention remains intact, but I've made the decision to move the excitement level up a notch, towards the danger zone.
Similar reviews take place at recurring intervals. The critical one is usually accompanied by a wider 'scan', taking in a perceived threat to my prowess as a lover, the incipient surge of passion that is always hovering in the wings no matter what we do, a dose of realism in the form of a reminder that orgasm is an eminently normal occurrence, a snapshot warning that a healthy prostrate needs release, a derisory snort at the quaint notion of continence, and a kind of devil may care attitude that might be refreshing at other times but is a bit of a pain when it's not wanted. At that point, a balance becomes tipped, and suddenly I find myself on the other side of a leaking dam. The dam hasn't burst yet, there's still plenty of time to plug the leak - I may even half heartedly try doing this - but the trickle soon becomes a torrent, I begin surfing it, my wife eagerly joins in and before we know it we're on a familiar course again, with a bleating voice crying out that this wasn't what was supposed to happen fading into the distance.
Since my last post, when I described what we have always considered the acme of orgasmic lovemaking - CAT - the unconscious temptation to give this another go probably meant Karezza had little chance. We had hardly started when we found ourselves in a familiar position going through the familiar grinding motions. It worked well, which of course made it harder still to not try again the following day, which wasn't so successful. A standoff followed that, and I blotted my copybook by indulging in some frenzied grappling that was about as far removed from Karezza as could be imagined.
So, we're back to square one, but we're still good friends, and regardless of how all our best intentions have been shot down, my wife still seems like the same glorious incarnation of sexiness and desirability and sagacity she always has. We may argue like hell occasionally, but I'm beginning to wonder if that isn't our destiny.
I have to remember to keep this in context. I"m not agonising over my inability to quit visiting prostitutes, the impossibility of giving up my mistress, or an overriding compulsion to view porn, masturbate in secret, fantasise about my neighbour or slaver over an inflatable doll catalogue. Looked at from most angles, my struggle is the absurd one of how to avoid becoming so passionate during lovemaking with my wife that orgasm for both of us becomes inevitable. If I told my friends I considered this a failure, they would think I was bonkers.
But when I read some of the posts here from those couples who have successfully made Karezza their own, I think I would be much more bonkers if I was not to keep plugging away in the hope that one day the lizard in me will take a well earned rest, for at least long enough to allow my eyes to be more than just partially opened.
I ordered the Richardson's "Men' and 'Women' books. Maybe one will help motivate me sufficiently, the other intrigue my wife, and both steel our resolve, so future, mid Karezza 'reviews' of decisions already made will be less likely to result in overturned judgements.
P.S. For anyone who's seen Groundhog Day, I believe I might be living it. I just looked back at one or two of my first blog entries, dated 2007, and found I was doing and saying much the same thing then. Still, as I mentioned, it did take me a long time to quit smoking ...