Coitus reservatus (coitus, "sexual intercourse, union" + reservatus, "reserved, saved"), also known as sexual continence, is a form of sexual intercourse in which the penetrative partner does not attempt to ejaculate within the receptive partner, but instead attempts to remain at the plateau phase of intercourse for as long as possible avoiding the seminal emission.
Alice Stockham coined the term karezza, derived from the Italian word "carezza" meaning "caress", to describe Coitus reservatus, but the idea was already in practice at the Oneida Community. Alan Watts believed, in error, that karezza was a Persian word. The concept of karezza is loosely akin to maithuna in Hindu Tantra and Sahaja in Hindu Yoga.
The practice of Karezza
Stockham writes, "... Karezza signifies 'to express affection in both words and action,' and while it fittingly denotes the union that is the outcome of deepest human affection, love's consummation, it is used technically throughout this work to designate a controlled sexual union." So that in practice, according to Stockham, it is more than just self-control, but mutual control where the penetrative partner helps the receptive partner and vice versa. According to Stockham this is the key to overcoming many difficulties encountered in trying to control sexual expression on an individual basis. Stockham's contribution was to apply this same philosophy of orgasm control to women as much as to men. A form of birth control, the technique also prolongs sexual pleasure to the point of achieving mystical ecstasy, according to J. William Lloyd, a practitioner of Karezza, whose own experience of cosmic consciousness appears in Cosmic Consciousness, a book written by the Canadian psychiatrist Richard M. Bucke, a friend of the American poet Walt Whitman. In this practice, orgasm is separated from ejaculation, making possible enjoyment of the pleasure of sexual intercourse without experiencing seminal ejaculation, while still experiencing orgasm.
Some would have the principles of karezza applied to masturbation, whereby a person attempts to delay orgasm as long as possible to prolong pleasure in a process known as "orgasmic brinkmanship", "surfing", or "edging" but this is different from the heterosexual practice of "karezza". In Latin literature, this is known as coitus sine ejaculatione seminis.
One purpose of karezza is the maintenance, and indeed, intensification of desire and enjoyment of sexual pleasure within the context of relationships. According to Stockham, it takes from two weeks to a month for the body to recover from ejaculation ... "Unless procreation is desired, let the final propagative orgasm be entirely avoided". Stockham advocated that the 'honeymoon period' of a relationship could be maintained in perpetuity by limiting the frequency of ejaculations or preferably avoiding them entirely.
There is a slight difference between karezza and coitus reservatus. In coitus reservatus, unlike karezza, a woman can enjoy a prolonged orgasm while a man exercises self-control; similarly, in the context of two male sexual partners, the receptive partner can enjoy the stimulation of his prostate for a longer period of time than he would otherwise.
Like coitus interruptus, coitus reservatus is not a reliable form of preventing a sexually transmitted disease, as the penis leaks pre-ejaculate prior to ejaculation, which may contain all of the same infectious viral particles and bacteria as the actual semen. Although studies have not found sperm in pre-ejaculate fluid, the method is also unreliable for contraception because of the difficulty of controlling ejaculation beyond the point of no return in over-reaching the orgasm. Additionally, if it follows an earlier orgasm, it is possible for pre-ejaculate fluid to pick up sperm from a previous ejaculation, leading to pregnancy even when performed correctly.
Views on coitus reservatus
The Oneida Community, founded in the nineteenth century by John Humphrey Noyes experimented with coitus reservatus which was then called male continence in a religiously Christian communalist environment. The experiment lasted for about a quarter of a century and then Noyes went on to create Oneida silverware and establish the Oneida Silver Co. that grew into Oneida Limited. Noyes identified three functions of the sexual organs: the urinary, the propagative and the amative. Noyes believed in the separation of the amative from the propagative, and he put amative sexual intercourse on the same footing with other ordinary forms of social interchange. Sexual intercourse as Noyes defines it is the insertion of the penis into the vagina; ejaculation is not a requirement for sexual intercourse.
English novelist Aldous Huxley, in his last novel Island wrote that Maithuna, the Yoga of Love is... "the same as what Roman Catholicism means by coitus reservatus." Getting to the point by discussing coitus reservatus, Alan W. Watts in Nature, Man and Woman notes: "...I would like to see someone make a case for the idea that the Apostles really did hand down an inner tradition to the Church, and that through all these centuries the Church has managed to guard it from the public eye. If so, it has remained far more secret and "esoteric" than in any of the other great spiritual traditions of the world, so much so that its existence is highly doubtful..." The Welsh writer Norman Lewis, in his celebrated account of life in Naples in 1944, claimed that San Rocco was the patron saint of coitus reservatus: "I recommended him to drink -- as the locals did -- marsala with the yolk of eggs stirred into it, and to wear a medal of San Rocco, patron of coitus reservatus, which could be had in any religious-supplies shop". Coitus reservatus was admittedly part of the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding sexual intercourse and was generally a permitted form of intercourse but was subject to the same arguments as coitus interruptus.
The psychologist Havelock Ellis writes: "Coitus Reservatus, – in which intercourse is maintained even for very long periods, during which a woman may have orgasm several times while the penetrative partner succeeds in holding back orgasm, – so far from being injurious to a woman, is probably the form of coitus which gives her the maximum gratification and relief".
The AMORC Rosicrucians declare openly that they do not engage in sexual practices of an occult nature. This has been so since their First Imperator H. Spencer Lewis, Ph. D. made it public knowledge. Their rival organization Fraternitas Rosae Crucis led by Dr. R. Swinburne Clymer engages in sexual practices for the sake of race regeneration. Dr. Clymer is completely opposed to the practice of Karezza or coitus reservatus and advocates instead a form of sex intercourse in which the couple experiences the orgasm at the same time. The Secretary of the FUDOSI instead heartily approves the practice of Karezza to establish harmony in the family as well as in the world by preventing the waste and misuse of sex energy.
Dr. Arnold Krumm-Heller established the Fraternitas Rosicruciana Antiqua (FRA), a Rosicrucian school in Germany with branches in South America, having the following formula of sexual conduct: "Immissio Membri Virile In Vaginae Sine Ejaculatio Seminis" (Introduce the penis in the vagina without ejaculating the semen). Samael Aun Weor experimented with that formula and developed the doctrine of The Perfect Matrimony.
Dr. Alice Stockham was taken to court and forced to give up teaching the practice of Karezza in the United States of America. Like many other sex reformers, Stockham was arrested by Anthony Comstock. He jailed for long terms a variety of spiritual marriage reformers including Paschal Beverly Randolph who had been a personal friend of Abraham Lincoln. Ida Craddock committed suicide after being repeatedly jailed for peddling pornography. The Oneida Community was attacked in the press and Noyes was forced to flee to Canada due to a warrant being issued for his arrest on a statutory rape charge on June 22, 1879. From there, he advised others to follow St. Paul's plan of either marriage or celibacy, and to obey the commandments against adultery and fornication.
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