Karezza: Ethics of Marriage

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Each copy came with a bound-in certificate signed by Stockham and entitling the bearer to a free gynecological exam. In , a then year old Stockham and her publisher were convicted of circulating improper literature under the Comstock laws.


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She coined the term Karezza from the Italian for "caress" and authored a book by this name in It refers to non-religious spiritual sexual practices that draw upon tantric techniques of body control but do not involve any of tantra's cultural or iconographic symbolism. Stockham's interest in birth control could not overcome her fear that a mechanical sperm barrier would prevent "the complete interchange of magnetism" a theory popular among 19th century sexual-spiritual teachers.


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In part this stems from the biblical injunction against Onanism , but she also felt a failure of magnetic interchange was injurious and unnatural. Thus she advocated "the Oneida method" from the Oneida Society , then also known as "male continence", in which men refrained from ejaculation but women were encouraged to have contractive orgasms at will.

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In later writings she also began to promulgate the need for women to learn to control their orgasm responses in the same way that the men of Oneida did. Ultimately, Stockham rejected the "male continence" techniques of John Humphrey Noyes in favour of gender parity in orgasm control. She also rejected Noyes' polyamorous ideas and promoted Karezza as a way to strengthen marriage and monogamy. Stockham's gender-parity version of tantra yoga, despite its somewhat anti-orgasmic, and thus apparently anti-hedonistic bent, serves as an important counterpoint to the male-centered aspects of traditional tantric sexual practices and later variants such as the "sex-magick" of Aleister Crowley.

In the field of sex magic , the only practice that is similar to Karezza as far as the sex act is concerned is Samael Aun Weor 's The Perfect Matrimony ; otherwise, they diverge as far as doctrine is concerned. The emphasis was on selflessness in lovemaking, gentle, harmonious passion leading to sublime spiritual delights.

Despite the many benefits of Stockham's approach, including granting couples the ability to choose opportunities for parenthood without contraceptives, the Vatican did not like Karezza or its relatives. It noted that several contemporary writers, in discussing married life, had described, praised, and even ventured to recommend something they termed "a reserved embrace", and forbade priests and spiritual directors ever to suggest that there was otherwise.

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This precept is in full force today, as it was in the past, and so it will be in the future also, and always, because it is not a simple human whim, but the expression of a natural and divine law. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This section has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.

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Karezza Ethics of Marriage by Alice Bunker Stockham 9781298719874

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About Alice Bunker Stockham. Alice Bunker Stockham November 8, in Cardington, Ohio — December 3, in Alhambra, California was an obstetrician and gynecologist from Chicago and the fifth woman to become a doctor in the United States.

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She promoted gender equality, dress reform, birth control, and male and female sexual fulfillment for successful marriages. A well-traveled and well-read person who counted among her fri Alice Bunker Stockham November 8, in Cardington, Ohio — December 3, in Alhambra, California was an obstetrician and gynecologist from Chicago and the fifth woman to become a doctor in the United States. A well-traveled and well-read person who counted among her friends Leo Tolstoy and Havelock Ellis, she also visited Sweden and from her trips to schools there she brought back the idea of teaching children domestic crafts, thus single-handedly establishing shop and home economics classes in the United States.

Stockham lectured against the use of corsets by women, made public endorsements of the healthiness of masturbation for both men and women still controversial when echoed by U. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders more than years later , advocated complete abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, and believed in women's rights. Stockham was very concerned with the economic plight of divorced women with children and prostitutes who wanted to get off the street.


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  6. She felt that these women had no marketable skills and would be unable to support themselves, so she had copies of her book Tokology, a layperson's guide to gynecology and midwifery, privately printed and gave them to "unfortunate women" to sell door-to-door in Chicago. Each copy came with a bound-in certificate signed by Stockham and entitling the bearer to a free gynecological exam.