Veronica Roberts

Love-making always has a goal in sight and though pleasure is part of it, the "Big O" is the ultimate euphoria. Now a new kind of sex is causing a "certain kind of stir" among couples, who say the intimacy, not orgasm, is the path to intense pleasure and oneness with your mate.

This new wave is called Karezza sex. I'm sure you have heard of tandem or tantric sex, the kind singer Sting and wife boast of having where they prolong the pleasure for hours. This is similar, with orgasms left out of the erotic equation and couples reportedly swearing by its intimacy-boosting "properties."

According to an ABC report, the practice of Karezza is growing among those wanting to improve the intimacy in their relationships, and more and more therapists are encouraging their patients to use this method to rekindle the spark dimmed over time.

Removing the focus from the usual goal of an orgasm, lovers concentrate more on each other's needs through gentle touching, caressing, kissing fondling. In fact the word Karezza is Italian for "caress." Actual genital penetration is bypassed for everything else and couples soon discover the body is filled with numerous erogenous zones besides those "main areas."

The fingertips and tongue can be powerful erotic instruments of pleasure, and using them correctly over your lover's body awakens tingling satisfaction otherwise missed when orgasm via sex is the urgent reward.

Experiment with lips, fingertips, feet, toes, materials like silk and feathers to uncover a tantalizing tactile paradise but gentle enough for pleasure and intimate awakening, not orgasms.

Some might think this level of restraint must be incredibly difficult for men for they are more, should I say "O goal oriented?" But according to counselor Deb Feintech, most of her patients interested in Karezza sex are men.

Maybe it's because women already know what it feels like to find satisfying pleasure without the big O?

Marnia Robinson, author of "Cupid's Poisoned Arrow," told ABC's "Good Morning America" that after the hot and heavy passionate honeymoon phase for couples wears off, the passionless slump that can follow sometimes tears couple apart. She said the culprit for this lag in lust for each other lies behind the nose area which she calls Cupid's Poisoned Arrow.

Robinson claims this part of the brain shuts off and needs to be jump-started to refuel intimacy. Through Karezza sex, couples relearn each other's bodies and by foregoing orgasm, the closeness is remarkably intensified.

I know passion is paramount to a healthy, enjoyable relationship, so anything that works at rekindling the love, lust and fire is worth trying in my book. Well, anything within your boundaries and limits of course. That may vary from couple to couple.

So anyone up for some Karezza sex with their partner? Go on, give it a try, what do you have to lose?

While you're answering the above question, how about these two: Is it realistic to have sex without an orgasm and would that make you feel closer to your lover or drive you further apart?