By Susan Barnett
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – First there was Fifty Shades of Grey, now there’s a new trend in intimacy that has couples holding back in the bedroom.
You might call it, ‘the new sex’.
John Russell has been married for 21 years.
He says his sex life is more exciting than ever.
“We try to make it a point to nourish that part of our relationship,” says Russell.
How he and his wife nourish their sexual relationship could be considered unusual.
“Most men are goal-oriented, that’s the main focus,” he said.
But for the Russells and a growing number of couples, climax no longer plays a role in love-making.
They’re using a technique called karezza.
And relationship experts like Jane Greer say it helps couples put more spark into their sex lives.
“Sex without orgasm is a wonderful way to re-position sex to be about expression of love, affection, taking out all the pressure,” says Dr. Greer.
It was obstetrician Alice Bunker Stockham who first discovered the power of karezza in 1896.
The Italian word, meaning caress, involves various types of touching but no climax.
“It’s made my whole life better,” says Marnia Robinson.
Marnia Robinson is a karezza devotee.
She’s been married for 10 years and believes that kareeza creates emotional intimacy that is so much deeper than what one experiences from conventional sex.
“We’ve been kind of brain washed to think that the point of sex is orgasm,” says Robinson.
“We are typically about beginning, middle and end,” Greer says.
Greer doesn’t often recommend karezza but she says it can certainly serve a purpose.
“As part of your overall sexual repertoire it can fit in really nicely,” she said.
“I sometimes have described the feeling as standing under a waterfall,” says Robinson about the practice.
Because the goal of karezza is to avoid climax, practitioners say their love-making never really ends and so sexual energy continues to flow even when they’re apart.
Some counselors have found the practice of kareeza to be useful in helping couples repair broken marriages.
By refraining from conventional sex, couples use affectionate touching instead.