Eastern Sex

February 16, 2014

in Reader Requested, Sexuality

Someone asked me what I thought about orgasmic meditation.

I keep my eye on many things sexual, so I’ve been aware of orgasmic meditation (OM) and slow sex for some time. To some degree, these are offshoots of Eastern sex, Eastern meditation, and Eastern philosophy practices, but I suspect this is not the real base of the practices. Still, the practice of such things should be a concern for anyone following Jesus.

Another concern I have with these is OM and slow sex tend to focus a great deal on the women. It seems the male partner, if indeed the partner is male, is little more than tool for pleasuring the woman. I’m all for giving our wives sexual pleasure, but not at the exclusion of male pleasure. The man’s needs aside, a woman can and should enjoy her husband’s pleasure, and making that an afterthought at best is not good for either of them.

Orgasmic meditation and slow sex are just a bit more than a decade old. Other Eastern based practices of “Sacred Sex” have been common in the States for decades. There is Tantric Sex, rooted in Buddhism and Taoist Sex, which came out of Chinese Taoism. Both of these originally involved a good deal of Eastern mysticism and spirituality. Many modern teachers give little more than lip-service to these roots, but there’s usually enough to be concerned. 

No Sperm © Willeecole | Dreamstime.com & © cooldesign | freedigitalphotos.net

A practice common in Easter sex, which is gaining popularity outside of those disciplines, is limited ejaculation for the man. Some Eastern religions teach that semen contained a vital life force and losing semen makes you weak. Karezza is sexual intercourse with the man not having an orgasm. Dr. Alice Bunker Stockham coined the word Karezza in 1896. Stockham claimed it took a man two weeks to a month to “recover” from an ejaculation. She felt men not having orgasms would benefit wives and form stronger marriages. Men were to avoid orgasm unless they were trying to conceive, but women were encouraged to climax during sex. In her later writings, Stockham said women too should learn to have sex without orgasm.

Amazingly, a growing number of people are now promoting Karezza. A blogger on Psychology Today’s website advocated this for several years (the blog has now been removed). The NY Daily News, ABC News, Huff Post, and others did stories on the practice in 2012. The claim is frequent sex (daily or multiple times a day) without either person climaxing is good for a couple’s relationship. Supposedly, you get all the benefits of sex, but you do not get all the “harm” that comes from climax. Support for these claims is usually vague and often based on junk science. 

In my opinion, none of these is how God intend us to have sex. These practices can open us to other religions, deny or skew our masculinity, put too much emphasis on the woman, or put us in a place of great temptation.

Links may be monetised
Image Credit: © Willeecole | Dreamstime.com & © cooldesign | freedigitalphotos.net

Shop to give links page

Great tweet of the week:

What you do in secret will have an effect on your marriage, both positively & negatively. Deeds are seeds! @mrgwrks

Links to blog posts that stood out to me this last week:

Featured Post – A must read article I saw this week:
The Forgiven Wife posted Oral Sex for Her – Survey for the Guys ◄ Got a minute for a survey?

 

Black and Married with Kids

10 Tips to Immediately Improve Your Sex-Life with Your Spouse. #10 Is Our Favorite ◄ Some good stuff here.


The Generous Wife

Necessary Rest ◄ Are you getting enough?
Coffee Connect ◄ I’ve been enjoying this – you should try it.


Journey to Surrender

A New Spin on Scorekeeping ◄ “Love keeps no record of wrongs, but it should definitely keep a record of ‘rights'”


Leading Men Only

What Men Need More Of – Accountability ◄ A big yes and amen to this!


Loveseat Marriage

Kissing ◄ Are you doing anything she likes?


Marriage Life

Is Infidelity A Form of Abuse? ◄ What do you think?


refine us

Relationship Series: Gary Thomas ◄ “Small and steady will get you much further than “big and sweaty”

10 comments
lovelettersfrom
lovelettersfrom

The bible calls us to self-control in many places. To me, there is no greater self-control than to make love to my wife and abstain from my own climax. I'll agree that lovemaking has become a much more emotional and bonding experience when climax is not the factor that determines how long the intimate time together will last. I've found the sensations during intimacy to become much more intense and found our time together to become much more frequent.  Remove the pressure for me to climax, and my spouse is more willing to "play" for a few minutes knowing that she's not responsible for bringing me to climax. I've also found that my own happiness and satisfaction with life outside of the bedroom improves with more frequent intimacy paired with less frequent climax. I even suspect that most sexual addiction is a result of the body's "need" for the hormonal release in the brain that comes with climax. Making climax less frequent may provide your brain the relief from the constant exposure to the climax hormones to allow it to "normalize".  I certainly see nothing unbiblical about introducing this type of sex play into a loving and consensual marital relationship.


I too, Paul, found your approach to this topic to be inconsistent with your normal approach. I hope you'll come back to your normal position that the bible quite honestly is just pretty silent in the area of what can and cannot be enjoyed between to mutually consenting adults committed into a loving marital relationship.  I'd suggest you even give it a try!  Maintain (or increase!) your normal intimate routine but limit your climax to once a week. I think you'll maybe start to think a little differently on the subject.

VictoriaLloydJustesen
VictoriaLloydJustesen

Another concern I have with these is OM and slow sex tend to focus a great deal on the women. It seems the male partner, if indeed the partner is male, is little more than tool for pleasuring the woman. I am all for giving our wives sexual pleasure, but not at the exclusion of male pleasure. The man’s needs aside, a woman can and should enjoy her husband’s pleasure, and making that an afterthought at best is not good for either of them.

This has bothered me all day. Frequently you write that men should accept sexual pleasuring from their wives be it manual, oral, or sex without orgasm if that is what she is offering. Why is it ok for a woman's sexual pleasure to be an afterthought, but not a man's? This seems out of character for something you would say.

WinkWB
WinkWB

Don't make the mistake of thinking that the Bible is an owner's manual for being a human being.


The Bible is a book that tells us about God's plan to redeem the world through Jesus.


Yes, the greatest release of oxytocin is from orgasm, but pay attention to what happens just after orgasm, it crashes. When you skip out the orgasm, you don't do away with that build-up of bonding chemicals, you keep them going.


If orgasms bonded people together, we would see few one-night stands.


We already pretty much practiced slow sex. We just never intentionally did it that way. We just found that it was the style that both of us preferred. Only real difference is skipping the orgasm at the end, which makes it last about 20 minutes longer.


I wouldn't say drunken lack of control. I would say "intoxicating." Sex without orgasm is still just as intoxicating, if not more so. I have never experience anything like the valley orgasm I had while practicing karezza.


I felt this amazing rush where it felt like I was having the feeling of an orgasm, though it was only about 60% as strong, but the plusses were that it wasn't just focused in my penis, it was my entire body, and it lasted for several minutes. There was no ejaculation. Been having sex for 20 years, and I have never experienced anything like it.


Afterwards, I didn't have any of the typical post-orgasm feelings, I just felt amazing, and at peace, and just grateful.

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

Interesting to have comments from a couple of men who practice and like Karezza. (alphaOri, your second post got held due to the number of links, I have cleared it).

I do see Karezza a bit differently than Eastern Sex as it is fairly well removed from any of the unbiblical spiritual stuff. Yes, it comes from that, but I think it is free of the baggage.

However, if it was such a great idea, why does it not show up in the Bible? The Bible several times talks about sex between spouses as being like a drunken lack of control. That seems to be the complete oppose of Karezza.

Studies have found many benefits from sex. Some of these happen without orgasm, but most either do not happen or are not as great without orgasm. Oxytocin is one example - while all forms of sex release oxytocin into the body, the greatest release is with orgasm.

As I see it, God designed sex to be a process with a build to a climax followed by a release. We have many biologic processes that work this way, and cutting the cycle short seems like a bad plan to me. I have read about orgasm hangovers, and how long it takes the body to get "back to normal" after an orgasm. What if what they call normal is not? Maybe what we see after orgasm was supposed to be. Maybe what they call normal is a result of going too long without an orgasm?

All of that said, I can see how it would be a big help for a man trying to get free of porn and other selfish sex habits. Any change can help us break a bad cycle. If the choice is Karezza or being sexually selfish, I can see why one would choose Karezza. I just think there is an third alternative.

For us sex is not a hurried thing. We have learned to take our time and enjoy far more than just having an orgasm. I cannot imagine having sex just for orgasm - I would miss so many of the things that sex means for me. If I had to choose between orgasm and all the other things, I'd take the other things most of the time. However, I do not think one has to choose, I think you can have both.

Thanks to both of you for taking the time to share

WinkWB
WinkWB

Count me in as another Karezza supporter.


I am a lifelong Christian, and I agree with alphaOri, what are we afraid of here?


For the most part, the church has embraced yoga. I don't do yoga, but I understand that there's an eastern religious version and a secular version that is more concerned with physical heath. I'm ok with that.


I don't meditate, I don't focus my energy, center myself with prayers, but I do crave a one flesh relationship with my wife.


If you want to root out everything that has some sort of influence from another religion out of Christianity, you're going to be cutting a lot out. Christmas trees, mistletoe, easter bunnies, wearing robes and stoles, and on and on.


Sure, you read some of the materials from people of other religions who have advocated something similar for ages and they start talking about a bunch of eastern chakra, etc. I'm not into any of that. But the ideas behind it worked for me. Even given my list of eastern practices I DON'T take place in, I had what they call a valley orgasm where I felt a several minute-long orgasmic sensation. 


Karezza helped me immensely in withdrawing from my 20 year porn-habit. I won't use the word addiction, since that's controversial, but once I decided to quit, my wife and I immediately started replacing my nightly "alone time" with cuddling, kissing, slow sex, etc. that Karezza advocates. It's basically hacking the body's systems. Science tells us that oxytocin causes us to feel bonded to each other. By not having an orgasm when I have sex, I prolong that feeling of closeness to my wife.


If you had told me a year ago that I would go a month of sex without having an orgasm, I'd have told you that you were crazy, but just as the point of being a Christian is not to go to heaven, it's the journey along the way of serving Jesus, the point of sex doesn't have to be about the destination. If you focus on the journey, you'll really enjoy it and end up feeling very satisfied, without the orgasm.

alphaOri
alphaOri

My response, part 2:

Karezza might not be for everyone but let me tell you how it has helped our marriage. One way in which Karezza is used is for those who are overcoming porn addiction.  This is true in my case.  I've struggled with porn use since years before marriage and only recently have found success in abstaining from it.  I joined a 90-reboot program advocated at links I provide below.  The first week, my wife and I agreed not to have sex to help with the reboot.  We were recommended to try Karezza and from weeks 1 - 3, we did Karezza (no orgasms) and it was the greatest sex and most intimate time we've had in our marriage. I hadn't experienced any temptation toward porn during that time and we felt so close.  I was attracted to my wife everyday and we had intimate bonding time almost everyday.  This was undoubtedly highly influenced by my abstaining from porn, but I soon found out this was not the only cause.


End of week 3, we agreed I would orgasm. After that, things went steeply downhill. Low motivation and emotional interest hit me in the next few days and I wasn't interested in sex or Karezza/bonding time. My everyday attraction for my wife stopped and I was losing interest in resisting porn. So, being aware of Karezza and the "hangovers" that some men experience after orgasm, I did some research on the passion cycle (http://www.reuniting.info/passion_cyclehttp://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=29020) which describes how irritability, disinterest, and depression can follow orgasm for some men and women. All of the sudden, I started thinking about my past married life and things started to make sense.


Ever since I can remember in my married life, in the days after sex, I've always felt disinterested and even turned off by my wife. And each time, it would be really hard to get myself emotionally interested. After several days, my body would be ready for more but emotionally I would still be disinterested in my wife. Sometimes I would do it anyway because "the man's body does not belong to him alone, but also to his wife", but I had to force myself.  All this time, I thought my only problem was with porn and that if I could beat it, everything would be better. It was true that porn created massive problems, but ignorance regarding my own negative reactions to orgasming kept me in the failure spiral.  For me and thousands of other men who face similar issues, Karezza is a key piece of our intimacy in marriage.


In response to these parts here,

"Dr Alice Bunker Stockham coined the word Karezza in 1896. Stockham claimed it took a man two weeks to a month to “recover” from an ejaculation. She felt men not having orgasms would benefit wives and form stronger marriages. Men were to avoid orgasm unless they were trying to conceive, but women were encouraged to climax during sex. In her later writings, Stockham said women too should learn to have sex without orgasm."

And

"The claim is frequent sex (daily or multiple times a day) without either person climaxing is good for a couple’s relationship. Supposedly, you get all the benefits of sex, but you do not get all the “harm” that comes from climax. Support for these claims is usually vague and often based on junk science. "


Paul obviously doubts the truth of these claims and blames it on "junk science." The argument against an idea simply because science hasn't confirmed it yet doesn't stand up.  Science is notorious for getting it wrong before getting it right.  Note how in the early days of the porn industry we Christians latched on to every testimony and young, incomplete science result available to prove our point that pornography is evil.  Porn users would then have a hay-day with our junk science because they wanted to believe what they wanted to believe.  Now it turns out these porn users are finding experiencially that porn is actually terrible (http://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap/) and science is starting to come around as well (http://yourbrainonporn.com/ , http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxGlasgow-Gary-Wilson-The-Gre). We Christians can also be guilty of the same thing.  People are finding Karezza has benefits and we are sceptical and don't want to accept it so we just poke holes in the young, incomplete science.  This is just close-minded.  Karezza is not sinful, so give it a try and see how it affects you.


Also, there are tens of thousands of independent posts (http://www.reddit.com/r/NoFap/) from single men who praise the benefits of not releasing sexual energy via masturbation.  The benefits are termed by those who experience them as "superpowers" and include enhanced concentration, more physical stamina (for example more energy during gym workouts), and more confidence.  When single, I myself have experienced these benefits when I've had a successful period of not masturbating and a distinct loss of these benefits after giving into my urges.  Now the question is what about orgasming in married sex?  There are fewer reports of this, but there is still a community who swear by Karezza. Sure, these are just testimonies, but don't disregard thousands of unsolicited reports just because you are sceptical. I'm not claiming that this is for everyone but there are a couples who can benefit from Karezza - I am one of them.  Please read some of these reports, or better yet, give it a try.

- See more at: http://www.the-generous-husband.com/2014/02/16/eastern-sex/#comments

alphaOri
alphaOri

First off, so you know where I'm coming from, my wife and I have practiced Karezza for a month and it has improved our sex life dramatically in both intimacy and frequency of sex.  So this will be my defense of Karezza and my story.


I think fear of eastern sex practices (especially Karezza) is an example of how we Christians miss out on helpful and positive ideas because we are close-minded.  So often we are afraid of touching other religions because they aren't our own.  What are we afraid of?  Are we really that insecure in our beliefs that we would shun other religions' ideas? Think about the key techniques used in Karezza:

  • smiling, with eye contact

  • skin-to-skin contact

  • holding, or spooning, each other in stillness for at least twenty minutes to a half-hour

  • wordless sounds of contentment and pleasure

  • stroking with intent to comfort

  • massaging with intent to comfort, especially feet, shoulders and head

  • hugging with intent to comfort

  • lying with your ear over your partner’s heart and listening to his or her heartbeat for several moments

  • touching and sucking of nipples/breasts

  • gently placing your palm over your lover’s genitals with intent to comfort

  • gazing into each other’s eyes for several moments

  • synchronized breathing

  • kissing with lips and tongues

  • gentle intercourse

  • cradling, or gently rocking, your partner’s head and torso (works well on a couch, or with lots of pillows)
    From <http://www.reuniting.info/resources/exchange_of_the_day>

When I think about these techniques, I think of one word, "Love".  Its bonding, its intimate, its heart-to-heart enjoying each other's presence.  This isn't the perfomance-driven, goal-oriented, orgasm-focused sex that we believe we must have.  Sex, as portrayed by our culture, Christian and otherwise, is so focused on reaching orgasm, wondering what our partner is thinking, and whether its "working for them".  We get so caught up in trying, working, striving to get to that mind-blowing orgasm that we forget about each other!  Forgetting the orgasms and enjoying each other’s bodies and minds allows you to peacefully rest into each other.  This is what Karezza is about.  Please don't try to soil its beauty by claiming “the horrors of eastern religion”.  If you want to stay away from eastern religion, fine, but don't throw out all its ideas as lies and garbage - especially in the name of Christianity.


I will agree with Paul that eastern sex often focuses on the woman's pleasure at the sacrifice of man's pleasure.  How exactly is that inherently wrong?  There is nothing unmasculine about a man choosing to control his urges to improve his relationship and grow closer to his wife and please her.  Of course, this should be the man's choice, not forced on him from others.  But are we afraid of losing our masculinity by controlling ourselves?


Having said that, Karezza is actually very pleasurable for the man.  First, pleasuring his wife brings a man enjoyment, fulfillment, and confidence. There is alot of manliness in having the emotional and physical energy every single day to pursue your wife in and out of bed. Furthermore, Karezza usually involves the wife pleasuring her husband as well, so its not one-sided in the least.  


part 2 separate post...


TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@lovelettersfrom  Yes, the Bible does call for self-control in many places, but sex is not one of them. In fact, it calls for the exact opposite. Likewise, with worship, which is likened to sex – abandon, not control is the goal.

Much of what those practising this say about how they feel after sex sounds like what I experience from sex, with climax. The down side of climax I hear is not something I experience. I am not denying some do, but I wonder why. Is the down side a result of years of porn or non-intimate sex? As for making it last longer I am all for that. The occasional quickie is okay, but I’d much rather enjoy long drawn out sex. We have no problem doing that and also enjoying climax.

Less frequent climax:  From what I have read, the ideal is to never climax, and twice a month is set as the absolute “safest” frequency to climax. I do realise Karezza is not intend take a couple to the brink of climax. Just aroused enough for intercourse seems to be the idea, with prolonging the time together being the goal. I also see warnings about getting "too hot" which is wise because that would lead to some real problems for both men and women.

My concern is twofold. One is the possible spiritual danger. While it seems many are doing this free of the spiritual roots, I find those roots to be clearly shown by many of the main advocates. For many, maybe most, this is probably not an issue, but it is there.

My other concern is the long-term impact. There are plenty of studies that show health benefits from regular orgasm, and removing the orgasms removes those benefits. I know the proponents will say there are even greater benefits from not having orgasms, but they have no studies to back that up. Given some very long running and well done studies that show health benefits for those who orgasm more than three times a week, over all other levels of frequency, I do not see how not climaxing could be more healthy.

That said, I will admit health benefits ignores possible mental and relational benefits. If it is a “quality of life” argument being made, I can understand that. Unfortunately, much of what I read makes claims that cannot be supported, and some of them are contrary to what good science has found. I confess I react strongly to such bogus claims, and that may taint the whole thing in my mind.  If someone says “For us as a couple it is a better way” I can say I don’t get it and go on. When some expert (not anyone here) starts to tell me it is better for everyone, and does so with a mixture of Eastern mysticism and bad science, my response is to say “Danger Will Robinson, Danger!”


TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@VictoriaLloydJustesen  I should have been more clear. It seems to me that with OM the focus is always very heavily on the woman, with the man always an afterthought. I do not think it is healthy for either person to always be an afterthought. If a woman never wants to climax, or the focus is always on the man, that is a problem. Same if the genders are reversed.


That seem more in line with what I usually say?

TheGenerousHusband
TheGenerousHusband moderator

@WinkWB Actually, sex with orgasm does bond people, especially women. It is one reasons so many couples who have no hope of a future together stay together. This is more true for women, who get more oxytocin, and are more sensitive to it because estrogen boosts the effectiveness of oxytocin. One night stands are more about male choice, and are far harder on women than on men.

I am not finding anything that says oxytocin levels crash after orgasm. On the contrary, I am seeing it said oxytocin stays in the system a very long time compared to other hormones. The release of prolactin at orgasm does reduce dopamine levels significantly, but it does not affect oxytocin.

Oxytocin does reduce levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Does the longer low levels from Karezza reduce cortisol more than the huge release of oxytocin that comes with orgasm? Based on the data I have seen I doubt it, but I cannot prove that.

There are many significant hormonal changes that occur at orgasm. Many of these start to change shortly before orgasm, at higher levels of arousal than Karezza would provide. Vasoperessin (which reduces cheating) goes up. Oxytocin goes up - and keeps going up for several minutes after orgasm. Prolactin goes up, which brings dopamine down. Cortisol levels drop and keep dropping after orgasm. Endorphins spike, bring pain relief, stress reduction, calming and euphoria. Serotonin, which acts like an anti-depressant is also released.

The differences in having an orgasm and not having one are major. Most of what one gets from an orgasm sounds like it is good, IMHO.

Still, if a couple both feel they are better off without, I am not going to try to change their mind. I do not see this as a matter of morality.

Previous post:

Next post: