This article is from the Magick Tantra FAQ, by Tyagi Nagasiva email@example.com, Catherine Yronwode firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Karezza is a term derived from the Italian (meaning "caress")
which is applied to Western religious or spiritual practices
in which slow, mindful sexual union (or masturbation) creates
a path to the experience of spiritual ecstasy. Some of these
Western practices arose during the 19th century, apparently
by spontaneous discovery -- although one American
popularizer of Western sacred sex, Alice Bunker Stockham, is
known to have travelled to India to study Hindu tantra yoga.
While karezza shares certain common sexual techniques with
traditional Hindu tantra yoga, it fits conveniently into
Christian, Jewish, or Transcendentalist conceptual
frameworks, obviating the need for the practitioner to adopt
a culturally "foreign" religion.
George Washington Savory is the most outstanding example of a
writer working in the Christian religion with essentially
tantric ideas. His book "Hell on Earth Made Heaven, the
Marriage Secrets of a Chicago Contractor" (1905) is a
straightforward application of tantric techniques stripped
of any relation to Hindu or Buddhist cosmology and applied
instead to Christian cosmology. He did not refer to karezza
by name in his writings, but his location in Chicago and the
time period in which he wrote indicate that he was familiar
with Alice Bunker Stockham, the Chicago doctor who coined
the term "karezza" in the late 19th century.
For a further historical description of karezza, see also