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Karezza, Tantra, Sexual Mastery and Religion

From: (nagasiva)
Subject: Karezza, Tantra, Sexual Mastery and Religion (Ego-Dissolution)
Date: 9 Jan 1995 12:10:48 GMT
Organization: Portal Communications (shell)
Lines: 338
Message-ID: <3er948$>
References: <3eg1hd$>
Reply-To: (nagasiva)
Xref: alt.magick.tyagi:1788 alt.polyamory:20126 alt.religion.sexuality:2881 alt.consciousness:9082 talk.religion.newage:33922 talk.religion.buddhism:3162 soc.women:130104 alt.feminism:81507 alt.pagan:85342

Kali Yuga 49950109

In, (Cyronwode) writes:

|Stockham was, as far as i have been able to determine (although i welcome
|rebuttal with citations) the first writer to promote sexual equality in
|tantra. That is, she stated that if men will benefit spiritually from
|learning to control their orgasm response, so will women. 

The following quote addresses LeGrand's question and that of catherine 

"The psychosexual discoveries [made by John Humphrey Noyes] were not
allowed to die.  They had attracted the attention of an incredible
woman, Dr. Alice Bunker Stockham, who has oddly escaped the notice of
feminists.  America's gratitude to Noyes is best expressed in the fact
that the only complete collection of his works is in the British Museum.
Dr. Stockham was to be arrested and fined $300 for distributing a type-
written sex-education pamphlet entitled 'Wedding Night'.

"Significantly, Alice Bunker's family were Quakers rather than Calvinists.
Born in 1833, she grew up on the frontier, in Michigan, living in the
classic American log cabin surrounded by Indians.  She received her high
school education at Olivet College, paying her way by manual labor and
teaching during vacations.  Keenly interested in progressive medicine, at
twenty she entered Eclectic College in Cincinnati, the only institute of
higher education in the West that admitted women.  She was among the first
five women in America to receive an M.D.

"A dedicated advocate of the rights of women and children, Dr. Stockham
was a pioneer in obstetrics.  In _Tokology_, which she published herself
in 1883, she urged 'natural childbirth.'  The book was translated into
Swedish, German and Russian (by Leo Tolstoy, no less).  In its pages, we
find the first mention of the tantric technique called *karezza*.  While
she acknowledges Noyes' work, Dr. Stockham quite evidently had other
sources of information.

"So now we have Tantra in the hands of a scientist, as well as a woman.
One would expect a considerable contrast to Noyes' treatment of the
subject.  What we find is this:

		In the physical union of male and female there may
		be a soul communion giving not only supreme hap-
		piness, but in turn conducing to soul growth and
		development... and there may be a communion,
		rightly understood, not less significant than the be-
		getting of children.  Creative energy in man is man-
		ifold in its manifestations, and can be trained into
		channels of usefulness and power.

"Noyes started with religion and arrived at sexuality.  Dr. Stockham reverses
the logical process.  The inference is clear.  The two are, one and the same.
What she had to say about the results of using this technique is particularly
interesting.  Tantrics claim you can spot their women by the vibrant glow of
their faces.  Dr. Stockham writes:

		Men who are borne down with sorrow because their
		wives are nervous, feeble and irritable, have it in
		their power, through Karezza, to restore the radiant
		hue of health to the faces of their loved ones,
		strength and elasticity to their steps and harmonious
		action to every part of their bodies.

"Body consciousness and sexuality are intimately linked in a relationship
of mutual reinforcement.  The physical effects of the psychological changes
that take place during sexual arousal are far more general than we ordinarily

_Tantric Sex_, by Robert Moffett, Berkeley Medallion, 1974; pp. 87-9.

"Another karezza advocate was George N. Miller, and Dr. Stockham published
his novel, _Strike of a Sex_, in which he described the tantric approach to
love, calling it Zugassent's Discovery.  Testimonials from readers who tried
it were included in _Tokology_ and make fascinating reading...."

Ibid, p. 90.

"What happens is easy to understand if you recall that ecstasy is regression.
The mind goes back to a point before its conditioning.  Concepts it has been
trained to reject are suddenly acceptable because the inhibitions are
inoperative.  These changes in attitudes, particularly if they are subse-
quently reinforced by logic, can be fundamental and lasting.

"At least one of Dr. Stockham's disciples recognized the potential practical
applications of this.  Her husband wrote:

		She wishes that all these works could be placed in the
		hands of every prospective bride, as she is quite sure
		it would save much suffering and misunderstanding
		at the very beginning of married life.

"It was the attempt to carry out this wish that brought the good doctor afoul
of the law.  Three-quarters of a century later, it is still considered usual
for marital 'adjustment' to be a lengthy period, often years, if it succeeds
at all.  Certainly the problem is no longer the unavailability of informa-
tion on physical sex.  It is the difficulty of overcoming the inhibitions
against ego-dissolution.

"Alice Bunker Stockham's knowledge of Tantra wasn't gained from books.  It
would be twenty years after _Tokology_ before Sir John Woodroffe (using the
*nom de plume*, Arthur Avalon) would begin publishing his translations from
the Sanskrit of the tantras, the scriptures of the sakti sects.  Instead,
she went directly to the source, to India, to study the Nayars, a matriarchal
caste of hereditary warriors on the Malabar coast.

"Certainly, if there were any women capable of enlightening her about Indian
sexology, they were the Nayar sisters.  This Dravidian people had never
developed the concept of the nuclear family and were, into the nineteenth
century, practicing polyandry.  After puberty, when they were ceremonially
deflowered, the Nayar girls were entitled to have up to twelve husbands at
a time.

"The proud, famed beauties were in no way subservient to or dependent upon
their men, however.  They -- and any children born -- went right on living
with their families; all the males were entitled to were visiting rights.
By custom, reminiscent of the Sarmatians (as well as several polyandrous
African tribes), the husband in residence left his sword outside the door
as a warning to others.

"At the same time the Americans were forcing Noyes to recant, the British
Raj compelled the Nayars to take up, if not accept, monogamy.  Polygyny,
on the other hand, was tolerated in the castes that practiced it on the
grounds of religious freedom."

Ibid, pp. 92-3.

|...the overflow type of orgasm.... occurs when, after several
|days of tantric lovemaking it becomes impossible to distinguish pre-orgasm
|from orgasm and without any pelvic thrusting on either party's part, both
|people achieve orgasm together. No techniques exist to bring this
|condition on, as far as i know; it is simply a byproduct of tantric

|This was the only kind of orgasm Stockham endorsed or recommended. 

Isn't 'byproduct of tantric practice' the same as 'technique for bringing
this condition on'?  I'm not sure I really see a difference here.


Ok, a few more specific quotes on Tantra and karezza, for your eager 
readers. :>

"Stripped of all its theology and esotericism, Tantra is in reality the
programmed use of a set of ego-dissolving techniques -- sex, drugs, and
auto-suggestion -- to blast through the defenses of [the inhibitions],
in order to reach [the primitive mind] and remain there long enough to
savour the experience.  You are visiting the animal you in a forgotten

"The you that emerges is incorribly uncivilized, totally amoral, completely
unrational.  You are at one with Nature.  You don't think; your actions are
drawn from the common instictive pool of which you are so intimate a part
there is no sense of uniqueness.  For you aren't unique, not individual."

Ibid, p. 43.

[quoting John Humphrey Noyes]

"'I conceived the idea that the sexual organs have a social function which
is distinct from the propagative function, and that these functions may be
separated practically.  I experimented on this idea, and found that the
self-control which it requires is not difficult; also that my enjoyment
was increased; also that my wife's experience was very satisfactory, as it
had never been before....'

"Logically, therefore,

"'The discharge of the semen, instead of being the main act of sexual
intercourse, properly so called, is really the sequel and termination
of it.'"

Ibid, p. 85.

"Dr. Stockham, incidentally, was very strong on meditation as a preamble to
lovemaking and also emphasized reading poetry -- an idea not so quaint as it
might sound.  Poetry is, in essence, the language of the primitive mind.
Imagery is verbal symbolism."

Ibid, p. 126.

"Tantra is a variety of mutually reinforcing factors designed to achieve a
common end.  No one thing is essential; the only thing that matters is the
end and, in Eastern philosophy, it does indeed justify the means.  This is,
of course, the basic operating assumption in Tantra.  In this respect, the
East is far more pragmatic than the West.  

"No single element in Tantra has any importance in and of itself.  It is not
meaningless ritual.  If you know the objective and can find an acceptable
route to it of your own, it is perfectly acceptable.  Learning the various
techniques for this psychosexual act is similar to studying a manual such
as the _Kama Sutra_.  Neither is designed to be followed mechanically, but
sexual behavior in all the higher species is *learned*, not an instinct."

Ibid, p. 130.

"In your excursion into Tantra, by this point, you should be operating on
the level of the primitive mind to a sufficient extent no one will need to
tell you when it's right to start having intercourse.  You'll *know*, both
of you, for there will no longer be a both.

"The whole tantric technique, of course, is based on the principle of
mutual reinforcement.  It simultaneously destroys the inhibitions against
sexual enjoyment but, because it is providing ego-dissolution at every
point, it reduces the tension of the drive for self-gratification in the
orgasm, to get a quick hit-and-run battery recharge.  

"It looks like a good plan but, as every male (and frustrated female) knows,
there's a built-in cut-off point.  When sexual excitement mounts to a certain
level, it's out of his hands.  The orgasmic mechanism takes over and that's

"But... it is not the invariable course things must run.  This the tantrics
discovered and, more than three thousand years later, so did Noyes.  It is
*karezza*, the means of indefinitely delaying the male orgasm.  The Buddhists,
Noyes and Dr. Stockham, for all practical purposes, abolished it altogether.
But, in an age when mechanical and hormonal birth control techniques are as
sophisticated as they have become, this is clearly unnecessary.

"The idea of sex without orgasm -- which is precisely what most women
experienced until relatively recently -- is bound to turn off most men.
And yet if, like Noyes, we think of sexuality and the orgasm as separate
phenomena, it substantially changes matters.  If the end result of
sexuality is ego-dissolution, could it not be possible to obtain it
*without* orgasm?  The answer is *yes*.  Those who have practiced
*karezza* without going to the point of orgasm have reported they
experienced complete satisfaction.  How?

"Noyes described the technique as akin to rowing a boat just above a

		This whole process, up to the point of emission, is
		*voluntary*, entirely under... the control... and *can be
		stopped at any point*.  In other words, the *presence* and
		the *motions* can be continued or stopped at will, and it
		is only the final crisis of emission that is automatic or

"Havelock Ellis interviewed Noyes Miller, who had spent most of his life at
[JH Noyes' 'Oneida'] colony and reported,

		In intercourse, the male inserted his penis into the
		vagina and retained it there for even an hour without
		emission, though orgasm took place in the woman.
		There was usually no emission in the case of the man,
		even after withdrawal, and he felt no need of emission.

"During this time, according to Kinsey, the man might reach as many as
twenty peaks of sexual response on the verge of orgasm without actually
reaching it.  Stockham carries it into the next dimension:

		At the appointed time, without fatigue of body or
		unrest of mind, accompany generally bodily contact
		with expressions of endearment and affection, fol-
		lowed by the complete quiet union of the sexual
		organs.  During a lengthy period of perfect control,
		the whole being of each is merged into the other,
		and an exquisite exaltation experienced.  This may be
		accompanied by a quiet motion, entirely under sub-
		ordination of the will, so that the thrill of passion
		for either may not go beyond a pleasurable exchange.
		Unless procreation is desired, let the final propaga-
		tive orgasm be entirely avoided.
		   With abundant time and mutual reciprocity the
		interchange becomes satisfactory and complete
		without emission or crises.  In the course of an hour
		the physical tension subsides, the spiritual exaltation
		increases, and not uncommonly visions of a trans-
		cendent life are seen and consciousness of new powers

Ibid, pp. 143-5.

"In Tantra, sexual activity is the woman's province, not the man's.
Therefore, she's in the position of mobility, on top, contrary to the
usual rule in our culture....

"As gynecologists have long noted, it offers a number of significant
advantages over our culturally preferred technique.  It is, for example,
one of the few positions that makes it possible for the man to conven-
iently caress his partner's breasts, buttocks and, most importantly,
clitoris for additional stimulation during intercourse....

"Equally as important as this secondary stimulation is the fact that
it is the woman who sets the pattern and pace of the act.  With the
advantage of mobility, it is possible for her to move in such a way
as to provide the maximum pressure on her vagina and labial lips.
Leaning forward over her lover's body not only stimulates the clitoris
but minimizes the pressure on his penis, acting to further delay the
man's orgasm.  It is, according to Master's and Johnson, the most
efficient position for rapid and intense clitoral response."

Ibid, pp. 148-9.

"Whiel there may be no merit in completely eliminating the male orgasm,
initially at least there are sound arguments for remaining motionless.
The position with the woman on top is used in the technique developed
by Masters and Johnson to train men in ejaculatory control.  By sitting
still for a while, with his penis in place, the man is given time to
calm down by his partner, sufficient to master the impulse to have his

Ibid, p. 153.

"Tantra is a means of letting the caged animal within each of us out for
a run, for if he isn't given some freedom, he becomes vicious.  When the
strains of civilized life become too great, he starts clawing at the bars.
And you are the cage.  He can lash out violently in an uncontrollable
burst of rage that can be ultimately ego-destructive."

Ibid, p. 168.

There you go. :>


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