Why Sex Experts Recommend the Karezza Method

Written by: Denise John, PhD


Published on: November 3, 2022


Sex therapists and sexologists use something called the Karezza Method to help clients spend more time on general sensual pleasure, as opposed to narrowly focusing on orgasm.

It involves lots of touching and caressing; “Karezza” comes from the Italian word “carezza,” which means “caress.” It’s sensual play, a way to increase intimacy without orgasm as the goal.

To begin, somatic intimacy coach Karen Yates says to get into a relaxed space with your partner, physically and mentally. You want to be comfortable and as free of distraction and interruption as possible. (If you have kids, ideally you get them out of the house.) Gently touch your partner wherever you feel drawn to, and have them do the same to you. You can ask your partner how they’d like to be touched. Look into each other’s eyes and share compliments—tell them how much you love them and their body and what you love about them. “You’re essentially building an energy of connection and love,” Yates says.

Clinical psychologist and sex therapist Stella Resnick, PhD, says that the Karezza Method is about getting in touch with your sensuality and experiencing all your senses: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and your sixth sense of interoception—sensing the internal state of the body.

You can experience more of your inner world by communicating with your bodies or flowing energy between them. Yates recommends imagining that you’re sending magnetic energy from your right hand into your partner’s, and then imagining flowing that energy through your partner’s body and into your left hand. Keep flowing and moving until you delve into a deeper, harmonious flowlike state.

You can use this method with penetrative sex, too (without orgasm). Being physically close during penetration is important—choose a position where most of your bodies are physically touching. “Once one partner is inside, there’s a lot of hugging, there’s kissing, there’s gentle touching, complimenting, professing love,” says Yates. “And if one partner feels like they’re going to orgasm, you want to slowly stop, pause, wait till that moment passes, then keep going.” The idea is to prolong the sensual experience—similar to edging, a stop-and-start technique—and, for some, to prevent orgasm altogether.

But: “Don’t should on yourself,” says Resnick. If orgasming feels like the best thing to do in the moment, then great. Let whatever happens be okay. You don’t have to attempt to have an orgasm and you don’t have to prevent one. Try to let each intimate moment be exactly what it is—sensual, awkward, loving, uncomfortable, or tender—and adjust and enjoy from there.

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