An increasing number of men and women are rejecting conventional climax-oriented sexual intercourse for a different type of lovemaking in which couples purposefully have sex without reaching orgasm.
Karezza, based on the Italian word "carezza," which means caress, is a type of intercourse that gives up orgasms and emphasizes attachment and affection between couples.
Many couples have credited the lovemaking technique as a savior to their marriages, helping them inject more passion into their sex lives, shed their porn addiction and even treat their sexual dysfunctions.
In 1896, Dr. Alice Bunker Stockham, a Chicago obstetrician and feminist who campaigned for birth control, a ban on corsets and sexual fulfillment for both genders, coined the word karezza.
While Stockham created the technique to encourage "male continence," she also encouraged women to abstain from orgasm in the interest of equality.
Hailed by doctors and couples alike, the non-orgasmic sexual technique is beginning to be seen as a natural alternative to Viagra and even a cure for sexual dysfunction as well as lack of female sexual desire.
Deb Feintech, a counselor from Portland, Maine, told ABC News that she often uses karezza as a way to restore broken relationships.
"The people most interested are men," she told ABC News. "It's very radical for them, but they are finding the emotional intimacy far outweighs any of the thrill of the chase and the mating mind."
She added that the practice has not just helped middle-aged couples struggling with the boredom of long marriages but young couples headed to the altar.
"I offer this to them as something to try for a month or so," she said. "They wake up every single morning and they are not even thinking about genital stimulation. They are snuggling, holding and breathing with eye contact and flow. It's very conscious -- from the genitals to the heart."
Scientists researching the connections between sexual behavior, neurochemistry, and relationship harmony found that 80 different regions of the brain reach their levels of maximum activity during orgasm, and researchers said that this overstimulation of the pleasure receptors can desensitize the brain to pleasure or create more wants that lead to unhealthy cravings in the brain's harmony.
Marnia L. Robinson, author of Cupid's Poisoned Arrow, published in 2009, and the website, Reuniting: Healing With Sexual Relationships, is a devotee of kerezza and told ABC that when men are addicted to pornography or have frequent orgasms, "no amount of pleasure can satisfy."
"We are always looking for something novel," she added.
She said that in karezza, lovemaking has no finish line so sexual energy continues to flow, which many people who practice it say keeps them from becoming bored with a partner.
Karezza which encourages bonding behavior and relaxation discourages conventional foreplay like oral sex, but encourages the brain to release the "love" hormone oxytocin.
In the past, scientists found that the only other event that affects the brain as intensely as orgasm is an epileptic seizure, leading doctors to conclude that when it comes to female sexual dysfunction, clinical trials may have so far been attacking the wrong organ.
Robinson is a strong believer that the orgasm's power is rooted in neuroscience.
"Even for those with the highest libidos, performance can become a grind and drive a craving for novelty," she explained. "Such feelings, although perfectly natural, can create projections and resentment that cause disharmony, especially after our temporary honeymoon neurochemistry wears off."
Robinson explains that in the "passion cycle of orgasm," the hormone dopamine rises in anticipation of sex and then plunges after orgasm, creating a sort of biochemical "hangover."
In men, this hangover happens almost immediately after ejaculation and for women it can take up to two weeks before the brain returns to its equilibrium.
Darryl Keils, a 56-year-old furniture maker from Brunswick, Maine, who has been married to his wife Annabelle for 29 years calls conventional sex "lick, pump, squirt, snore," an act that was driven by the man, and for the last eight years neither he or his wide has had an intentional orgasm.
Keils said that now his wife feels like she is an equal partner in the bedroom.
He says that they have sex every day "and it's not boring."
"It's really alive, great sex with great feeling. The pleasure goes up another level ... You follow the sensation in your body, not the stimulation," Keils said.
He said that most men who have never heard of the technique look at him as if he were a "freak of nature."
"It's just hard to get men to want to skip orgasms," he said. "One guy said to me, you want me to climb 10,000 feet up Mt. Everest and not get to the top?"
Like Robinson, Keils said him and his wife do experience occasional accidental orgasms, but karezza guru Robinson said it does not violate any rules.
"I have orgasms and it's no big deal -- gentle lovemaking sometimes slips over the edges and that's nice," she explained.
Published by Medicaldaily.com