Not doin’ it

Two issues ago, I wrote of Marnia Robinson’s book Peace Between the Sheets. In it, she encourages lovers who are serious about making their sweet passions of lusty lovefire last to use a different, radical and ancient approach based on a philosophy of gentle, non-orgasmic sex.

Safe to say, Ms. Robinson’s act doesn’t exactly mesh with the modern mega-climactic mindset. But it’s provocative and worthy of examination. In the introduction on her website (, she writes, “Passionate encounters overstimulate the pleasure/reward center in the primitive brain, triggering temporary hangovers. These recurring lows push couples apart at a subconscious level.” Translation—skull-cramping orgasms shared by madly humping lovers lead to major gushes of the self-generated feelgood neurotransmitter dopamine, which in turn lead to persistent “love hangovers.”

Here’s how the Taoist sex adviser to the Yellow Emperor, ruler of China 5,000 years ago, described the post-orgasmic male: “After ejaculating, a man is tired, his ears buzz, his eyes are heavy, and he longs for sleep. He is thirsty and his limbs feel weak and stiff. In ejaculating he enjoys a brief moment of sensation but then suffers long hours of exhaustion.” Every man reading this column, it’s extremely safe to assume, knows exactly what this dude is talkin’ about.

Robinson again: “What are we to do? Learn to overcome the neurochemical separation mechanism.” Meaning, learn to not fall for Nature’s baby-making sex scam, with its incredibly efficient and seductive Orgasmic Payoff. Robinson describes how through the years, Taoists, Gnostics, and a 19th century cult practicing a non-orgasmic system called Karezza “insist that the result is improved health, greater harmony between partners, increased moral strength, and even a decrease in cravings and impulsive behavior. In our experience [Robinson and her husband], gained over a decade, these sages are right.”

Here’s what J. William Lloyd wrote in his 1931 book, The Karezza Method: “Karezza (controlled love-making) leads to a sense of sweet satisfaction, fullness of realization, peace, often a physical glow and mental glamour that lasts for days, as if some ethereal stimulant had been received.” Keeping an open mind, I have to admit that state of prolonged, sublime afterglow could be at least as sweet as your standard post-climax cheeseburger and jumbo suds.

One guy I suspect wouldn’t be a big fan of this non-orgasmic approach, and that’s my urologist. He’s a firm believer in “use it or lose it,” and he likes to have his patients pumping the love juice and pumping it often. That’s a “philosophy of love” to which the whopping majority of men and their ever more climactic female partners subscribe, even if they do so without question or exploration of alternatives.