“Your naked body should only belong to those who fall in love with your naked soul.”
It was with trepidation that I journeyed up to Boulder to visit TurnOn Colorado’s Orgasmic Meditation (OM) course. I was intrigued… and nervous. I tried to put on my best mature journalism face, but I pulled into the parking lot I giggled because it is conveniently located in the same building as a Mattress Factory, and behind the “Big O Tire”.
I took a deep breath and walked inside the door. Erica, our coach for the evening, greeted me warmly. With an infectious smile, she handed me a name tag and a waiver to sign.
“I’m glad you came,” I overheard someone say. I swallowed a smirk.
A palpable pressure could be felt as some of the participants cast furtive glances around the room, all the while trying not to sustain eye contact. I peeked from behind my hair and did my fair share of analyzing.
The truth is, no matter how hard you try to enter a situation like this with an open mind, you go in with some preconceptions, and even as you sit there you still make judgments. Without even meaning to, you label people.
Who was OM for? I’m not sure what kind of sexual deviants or weirdo’s I was expecting to see. In the middle of the room sat five guys in black shirts, black jeans, black tennis shoes, glasses and I wondered who invited the IT department. On my left sat a bohemian woman with a long river of black hair, an exotic scarf, navy blue dress and cognac colored booties. Her personality felt about as fluid as water and I suspected it would be a similar experience trying to box her in. In contrast a business woman dressed in smart grey pinstripe slacks with a matching grey sweater and mint green kitten heels and blouse with a blonde bun pinned neatly up on top of her head adjusted her gold rimmed glasses. She sat with her hands folded primly in her lap. There was a pretty college age girl in combat boots with cat like green eyes and a polka dotted cardigan that seemed eager to explore her sexuality. There was another girl who distinctly reminded me of nurse who’d just finished a long shift sat with her arms folded, while next to her was an older European gentleman with a hint of an accent, who kept nodding-off throughout the lecture.
We were asked to share a reason for coming tonight and some of the answers that I heard were: “connection, freedom, vulnerability, trust, intimacy, understanding of self and curiosity.”
As the class continued, and I began meeting, interacting na connecting with these people, my initial stereotypes fell aside and I began to see beauty. I saw people who were hungry for connection, people who were lonely, people who longed to learn and people who desired more from sexuality, spirituality and life.
As Erica and Costen began sharing their own personal experiences and journey’s to OM, my guard began lowering. Erica, a young pretty brunette, spoke with intimacy, like one divulging confidences with an old friend. She possessed a rare blend of vulnerability and confidence that made her magnetic. As she opened up there were moments when she blushed, but her honesty only made me like her more.
The tenants of OM are: Connection, Simplicity, Attention, and Desire. As Costen was describing these, I found them resounding in my own heart and realizing that there is a deep lack in most of society of these values.
An alarming trend I have observed in society is: the more we are connected through Facebook, texting, e-mail, phones and the busy-ness of life, our hearts are drifting further away from what is truly nourishing us. With family overseas, I am a firm believer in these great modern modes of communication, yet we have replaced quality with quantity. Instead of a few close friends who share in your adventures and know your heart, we amass hundreds of acquaintances via social media. Instead of reaching out to someone who actually cares, we bitch about our day to everyone we know. We annoy most of our “friends” lists with grumpy rants about traffic or vague shout-outs, where we “tell off” a person we are so frustrated with on Facebook with things we would never dream of saying in real life. We have exchanged connection for the chaos of a busy social calendar, and intimacy for illusion.
Even something to me as sacred and beautiful as sex so often becomes a mode of currency. People, can wield it as a weapon by either withholding it as punishment or feeling guilted into giving it as a reward or as a form of commerce, i.e. he took you on a nice date and you ordered the lobster, so now you know he will be expecting at minimum: a blowjob. One of the key aspects of OM-ing is taking away the transactional, “you owe me” side of sex. In OM, there is no reciprocation that occurs towards the man or even the expectation of sex after the nest is folded up. In fact, it is discouraged.
Another key value in the OM community is honesty. One of the exercises that I participated in was where we practiced saying “No” and “Yes”, and not giving a reason or an excuse. It was incredibly challenging. I worried about hurting someone’s feelings. I felt more comfortable to not say no, but to say, “not now”, or “maybe”, or “I’ll get back to you”. But as the challenge continued, I found my, “No” coming out easier, a relief and even a joy as it erupted, stifled deep within me. Something else I learned through the no exercise was that when someone gave us a “No” answer, we were to reward their honesty with a “Thank you”. This spoke to a deeper principle. While caring about a person’s response seems considerate it can be condescending when we find ourselves withholding the truth, because we do not believe they can handle it. What are they five? By this point in life, someone should be able to accept a polite “No” without letting it crush their ego. Sometimes, we hide behind excuses, because of selfishness, because we want to be viewed a certain way, or because we fear another person’s judgment or even because we just don’t have the energy or the bravery to deal with another’s feelings.
Talking further with Erica she revealed that the truth exercise was very pivotal for her also. She explained that, “Owning my no makes my yes more powerful. It is so nice that it is always available to say, I don’t have to make up a story or little white lie about my no. It allows my yes and no to have more integrity. I find myself being more honest in general.” Erica went on to reveal that not only does she find that she is able to gain strength and confidence in other areas of her life in regards to honesty but that she is also checking in with herself more. She claims that her practice not only brings her a positive experience while she is engaged, but is a true success, now that she is implementing these values into her everyday life.
Sometimes the most respectful thing I can say is “No” because it means I trust someone enough to be able to handle it and if someone dignifies me with an honest no; the best response I can give is a sincere thank you, because they didn’t have to do that.
The group boasts many benefits of OMing. Costen, a handsome guy with a gentle voice, a sincere smile and an easygoing demeanor, described his first experience with it as never feeling more, “On” or fully alive. He reveled, “It will expand your capacity for energy more than you ever imagined.” It must have been a pretty profound experience because 3 days later, he signed up to become a coach. Other advantages that OM claims are: stress buster, a path to self-realization, spirituality, a heightened awareness of your sexuality, increased libido, sexual satisfaction, confidence, greater concentration and more intimacy.
Now the part you’ve all been curious about, the actual OMing. After the instructions, there was an optional lab where participants could choose to find a partner, stay and implement their newfound knowledge. There was a level of awkwardness that rivaled that of a jr. high dance. People tried to casually mill around and guess who was taken and who they felt most comfortable to have stroking their cliterous. Ironically though, it was actually less uncomfortable then the beginning of class, and within ten minutes there were several pairs of people agreeing to OM, and the men began the process of setting up the “nest”, which consisted of a pillow for the woman’s head, pillows on either side for her to frog her legs open and a pillow for the man to sit on beside the woman’s right hip. Both the stroker and the strokee remained fully clothed except for the woman who when given the cue removed her pants. I heard the snap of latex as the men put on gloves, which momentarily conjured images of my last pap smear, but there were no stirrups. The strokers placed their right hand below the woman’s butt to “ground her”, and when the timer started used their left index finger with a very gentle pressure as they micro stroked the one o’clock portion of the women’s cliterous for exactly fifteen minutes. Throughout the room the practice of honesty was implemented through nonjudgmental requests. One woman queried, “Could you move your finger a little more to the right?” The stroker might be tempted to ask something like, “Is this good?” But that would be a qualitative question which would put the strokee back in her head and remove her focus. Instead, instructions were given to ask something specific like, “Would you like more pressure?” Both of the partners focus their attention on the sensations they are feeling and the connection that they sense between them. There was heavy breathing, a woman in the left hand corner of the room moaned softly, and Costen walked through the room giving instructions and observations on the various techniques. I didn’t expect it to be so bright… or quiet, no new age music or candles, but the goal of One Taste the organization behind Oming is “to create a clean, well-lit place where sexuality, relationship, and intimacy could be discussed openly and honestly.” The two minute warning reminded me a bit of the NFL, but there were no touchdowns, and instead the final grounding exercise began as the stroker placed pressure both on the woman’s thighs and then finally cupping and sealing her vagina. Then the women sat up and both parties shared “a frame”, an unbiased observation of a moment of their experience together. And as casually as rolling up a “Twilight” sleeping bag after a slumber party, the men cleaned up the “nest” while the women got dressed. The atmosphere was notably lighter and calm as everyone regrouped and people shared how they felt afterwards. A woman with a shiny black bob hugged her knees and said, “I felt refreshed, not depleted or tired the way sex usually makes me feel.” A young college age guy, with the enthusiasm of child seeing a dinosaur announced, “That was f***king awesome!!” The group continued sharing and I was struck by the warmth in the room, the openness and vulnerability expressed and the smiles and laughter that popcorned around the circle. And in contrast to the first break where people bolted out of the room to smoke outside or hide in the bathroom, after the OMing many lingered and chatted by the tea table, eating a clementine while finding out when the next OM group would be.
Okay, I’m gonna be honest here. It’s kind of weird. No matter how much our guides assured us in the most mature tone possible that this was completely normal, it was still bizarre to me. I wanted to giggle like a jr. high girl whose mother is trying to have “the talk”. My face felt like it was frozen in a perpetual blush, which is a subtle shade of tomato, and my stomach turned somersaults like a hamster in a wheel. I could write an entire article just about all the uncomfortable feelings that I experienced. But, what I really took away from this was truly how bad ass the people who showed up and participated are. Each and every person there had the balls to say, something is missing in my life, or I want more, and instead of pushing that hunger down and ignoring it, they pursued it.
Is sex scary? Sure. But you know what is scarier? Gut level vulnerability, having someone see you in all your tainted glory. Asking someone a question honestly, without beating around the bush and trying to hide what we really want. Actually looking into someone’s eyes, making yourself vulnerable and saying what you desire, and then having the grace to accept it respectfully when they answer it honestly and it might be a no. One of the exercises that we participated in included saying top of your head, what it was that you want, the entire time, my heart was racing, my palms were sweating, and my throat felt like I was wearing a boa constrictor as a scarf. I was wildly uncomfortable, but you know what I realized? This was being truly engaged, being really vulnerable! That is the scary part, connection, intimacy, and that is what OM is seeking.
Trying to explain OM to someone who has never experienced it would be like giving a calculus lesson to a kindergartener. It is fluid, each experience unique for each person as well as being completely different both emotionally and physically. While I understood most of the basic premise by reading various articles nothing could have prepared me for how emotionally charged it would be or how welcomed and respected I felt. Is it for you? I couldn’t say, different strokes for different folks, but I will say that it is completely different than you think it will be.