Karezza refers to a sexual practice in which sex is focused on intimacy and connection, and where orgasm is meant to be avoided.
The term was coined by Alice Stockham, a 19th century Quaker obstetrician and gynecologist. The term is derived from the Italian word "carezza," which means "caress." However, the actual practice dates back much further. According to "The Karezza Method," by J. William Lloyd, the Oneida community, a religious group founded by John Humphrey Noyes in the 1840s, may have been the first to come up with idea in the United States. Initially, the practice was focused on male orgasm in a heterosexual couple, but over time came to refer to both partners. The practice of sexual continence or control of ejaculation is also found in other religious practices, including Taoist practices, Tantra and yoga.
The goal of Karezza, according to Lloyd, is to experience a deep connection with a sexual partner. Karezza, like Eastern forms of the practice, also focuses on the notion of sexual energy, and the idea that failing to orgasm serves to preserve that energy. Proponents of Karezza say that because they never orgasm, they feel continual desire for their partner and more pleasure as a result. He also referred to Karezza as a natural form of birth control, where pleasure could be obtained and "undesired results" avoided.