In a brave and epic fashion, Gawker writer Nitasha Tiku attended AND participated in an OM conference, living to pen the tale. For those of you who are not familiar, OM (orgasmic meditation) is a sequenced practice in which one partner gently strokes the other partner’s clitoris for 15 minutes. The result is said to be therapeutic, rather than sexual. The “stroking” allegedly activates the limbic system and releases a flood of oxytocin. The technique was originally billed as a spiritual-style practice like meditation, but as it gains popularity, it’s being presented as more of a “technological innovation” or “body-hack to happiness.” The “guru” of the technique, 46-year-old Nicole Daedone, guarantees that it’s profound whether you’re coupled or single. If you’re thinking OM and it’s parent company, OneTaste, sound cult-y, I wouldn’t argue with you. After reading Tiku’s exhaustive expose, I would describe an OM conference as Landmark Forum for the clitoris. The 1960′s free love culture is back; but for a fee and backed by technological sophistication! Tiku did a thorough job of demystifying the practice. Here are the most important things to know about OneTaste and the OM experience:
1. It’s not free. Make no mistake, this is the kind of sexual awakening that you can pay anywhere from small bucks to big bucks for. OneTaste has centers in London, Los Angeles, Austin, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boulder, Philadelphia and New York City The company offers Coaching Certification ($15,000), a Mastery Program ($7,500, a one-day PLay Class ($195) and Turn On events ($10), as well as merchandise and badges for entry into their exclusive social media hub.
2. Many of the OM employees live in the same residence. OneTaste’s headquarters, where the company hosts therapy sessions and OMing classes, is located in SanFrancisco. It’s spiritual center is just a couple blocks away and many of the employees of the company live there. OneTaste’s business development manager, Marcus Ratnathicam, described the living situation to Tiku:
“You come in with certain boundaries and because it gets so multi-dimensional, it starts to crack open. Friends are lovers are friends.”
3. It’s targeted at “tired and wired” women. Van Vleck, a OneTaste employee, described the OMing practice as being like a morning latte for the female body:
“Most women are ‘tired and wired,’ and OM is the exact opposite of that. It’s like eating breakfast. That’s what we eventually hope: Instead of a latte, women will have an OM. Because that’s what regulates your body. An orgasm for breakfast, you know?”
4. You can practice OM with anyone who asks, but you can always say no. It doesn’t sound as if direct pressure to participate in OMing is applied. While at the conference, Tiku was instructed that she could always give a simple “yes” or a “no” when asked to engage in “stroking.” Although she initially wasn’t sure if she would try it, she did end up saying “yes” to a few willing fingers. Also, the men who “stroke” are required to practice something called “safeporting,”where the stroker tells the woman exactly what he is about to do before he does it. This is supposed to activate the “vigilance center” of a woman’s brain to make her feel safe and connected. I should note that, the woman removes the clothing from her lower half, and only from that half. The partner, typically a man, remains fully dressed.
5. The “stroking” process is the same every time. At the center of this whole thing is the “stroking” process. If you’re interested, you can watch a sample session here. If not, NBD, because Tiku explains the sequenced practice in detail:
“The stroker prepares for the session by massaging the subject’s legs with ‘grounding pressure,’ while the stroker’s gaze is focused on her clitoris, or at least the general area. After that is the ‘noticing’ phase, in which the stroker is supposed to narrate what’s being seen, using ‘non-value’ terms, as though a woman can listen to her vagina being described aloud without feeling judged. Then the stroker gets into position, placing his right thumb at the edge of her introitus (the opening of her vagina) and the tip of his left index finger on her clit at the 8 o’clock spot. The subject is encouraged to give ‘adjustments,’ detailing if she wants the stroker to move a little to the left or to apply less pressure. Don’t apologize, just ask, after which the stroker is supposed to say ‘Thank you.’ At minute 13, start winding down, so as not to be left loopy for the rest of the day.”
6. You do the “stroking” in front of other people in something called a “nest.” “Nests” for OMing are made with the Signature OM Kit, which you have to buy for about $200. This consists of a yoga mat covered with blankets and scattered with pillows. The organic lube comes with the price of admission to the concert.
7. Why would any man want to “stroke” a fully-clothed woman and receive nothing in return? OneTaste promises an “increased confidence and intimacy in the bedroom, better communication with their (now more turned-on) girlfriends, and less pressure to perform.”
8. Women report some crazy sensations after engaging in OM. Here are some quotes Tiku shared from the post-stroking “sharing frames”, which is OM-speak for sharing your experience:
“I think halfway through, I’m not sure, it felt like the front half of my body was being sunburnt. And there was a little soft arrow that stopped my breath.”
“There was a moment I felt my body was a shell, it was hollow, and I felt this white substance filling up from my pussy, inflating up my chest like a Michelin . . . guy.”
“There was a moment when it felt like my whole entire body was at a low, deep, expansive vibrating hum that just kept moving out.”
Tiku says of her own, less dramatic, but still intense “stroking” experience:
“I thought about telling [my stroking partner] that I hadn’t really climaxed, but I realized that was besides the point: the oxytocin had kicked in. When it came time to offer ‘frames,’ suddenly there I was, whispering to [my partner], sounding just as shroom-y as every other motherfucker on the mic … Afterward, I wandered around the Regency from panel to panel, delightfully faded, with an occasional tingling sensation in the back of my legs. Is this what Trudy and Sting feel like all the time? I still wasn’t sure if OMing was something I could actually get into. I just knew I wanted to try it again.”
7. Nicole Daedone’s past greatly influenced the development of OM. Most fascinating to me is the information we receive about Daedone, the guru of practice. Tiku goes into detail about her history and training and her vision for the practice, which is “to go into the belly of the beast and begin to heal this trauma about misused sexuality.” Daedone says she hopes to “welcome those whose minds had been hijacked by the idea that appropriateness is somehow better than honest or the fallacy that it’s ever better to pretend to be something than to actually be who you are.” And who is Daedone actually?
Tiku describes her as a woman on her own “twisted road to enlightenment.”
“When she was in her mid-20s, her father, who had always been a distant figure in her life, went to prison for molesting two girls. She said he never behaved inappropriately to her; they had long been estranged. At 27, she learned that he was dying of cancer and only had hours to live. That trauma propelled her to study at what she called a ‘mystery school of theosophical studies,’ then graduating to Buddhism and celibacy before finding orgasmic meditation.”
Perhaps the most telling is the way Daedone frames the OM lifestyle. She is enchanted by the idea “that your darkest spot is actually what becomes your purpose.”
[Photo from Shutterstock]