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Stockham, Alice Bunker - Karezza - The skilful boatman



Type of spiritual experience


The symbolism used here is important.  Although I have not described this meaning in the symbol section, it is used in the specific context of sexual stimulation methods

A description of the experience

Karezza – Ethics of Marriage 1903 second edition – Dr Alice B Stockham

In Male Continence, a pamphlet now out of print, after giving a graphic and eloquent plea for the rights of the child, the writer says:

The discovery was occasioned and even forced upon me by a very sorrowful experience. In the course of six years my wife went through the agonies of five births.

Four of them were premature. Only one child lived. This experience was what directed my studies and kept me studying.

After our last disappointment I pledged my word to my wife that I would never again expose her to such fruitless suffering. I made up my mind to live apart from her, rather than break this promise. 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; that my enjoyment was increased; that my wife's experience was very satisfactory, as it had never been before; that we had escaped the horrors and fear of involuntary propagation. This was a great deliverance. It made a happy household.

I communicated my discovery to a friend. His experience and that of his household were the same. In normal condition, men are entirely competent to choose in sexual intercourse whether they will stop at any point in the voluntary stages of it, and so make it simply an act of communion, or go through to the involuntary stage, and make it an act of propagation.

The situation may be compared to a stream in three conditions, viz.:

1. a fall;

2. a course of rapids above the fall; and

3. still water above the rapids.

The skillful boatman may choose whether he will remain in the still water, or venture more or less down the rapids, or run his boat over the fall. But there is a point on the verge of the fall where he has no control over his course; and just above that, there is a point where he will have to struggle with the current in a way which will give his nerves a severe trial, even though he may escape the fall. If he is willing to learn, experience will teach him the wisdom of confining his excursions to the region of easy rowing, unless he has an object in view that is worth the cost of going over the falls.

Concepts and Symbols used in the text or image