COME AGAIN: YOUR WEEKLY DOSE OF SEX & WELLNESS
Yoga and meditation are almost as ubiquitous as Starbucks these days, and with good reason. As we grow increasingly addicted to our gadgets, slowing down is essential — we need this mindfulness stuff to stay sane. Chanting and breath work: It’s not just for hippies anymore.
But what if I told you that your relaxing meditation practice could come with a heaping side order of pure pleasure? That’s right: “orgasmic meditation” is a thing. A very, very good thing.
Here’s the gist: A woman’s clitoris is stroked by a trained orgasmic meditation partner for about 15-minutes in a very precise way, creating a state of relaxation, bliss, and higher consciousness. Yes, your vagina can help you to access the divine.
The power of orgasm cannot be denied. In addition to the momentary bliss it provides, the Big O brings a whole host of health benefits, from dopamine-release (for depression), oxytocin-release (for possible cancer prevention), brain-oxygenation/memory boosting, immune-boosting and even cramp- and wrinkle-fighting powers. The list goes on: A daily orgasm is basically a daily vitamin.
Yet sadly, adequate orgasms have indeed been denied to women for centuries, in the main. There’s a lot of blame to go around: from patriarchal bias, to a basic misunderstanding of the female anatomy, to Freud’s many missteps, to what we now call the orgasm gap.
Women with partners and those flying solo often find themselves in the same orgasm-less place. Of course, this is something we can (and should) provide for ourselves, even just for its purely medicinal benefits. But orgasmic meditation offers something different than we can achieve through masturbation or even partner-provided climaxes.
According to the principles of OM (the term Orgasmic Meditation practitioners prefer), there’s a lot more to the Big O than merely the myriad brain and body benefits discussed above. The benefits are multiplied when you allow a partner, in the OM parlance, to “stroke” you to orgasm. To put it in wellness-speak: An orgasm is a basic kale smoothie, while an OM session is a kale smoothie with 30 extra superfoods and an organic, locally grown cherry on top. Holy acai-berry, Batman.
This is in part because being stroked allows the hyper-vigilant part of our brain (controlled by the amygdala) to relax — because someone else has taken over. Women’s brains tend to be particularly active is this area — we are major worriers, with loads on our collective plates. Think for a moment about your own tendency toward hyper-vigilance — what are you trying to control even as you read this article?
Orgasmic Meditation is based on an ancient Buddhist tantric practice modernized by Nicole Daedone, the founder of OneTaste, a San Francisco startup of sorts. Except here, the killer app’s technical infrastructure is your clitoris. Interestingly, a majority of OneTaste’s early membership hailed from the Silicon Valley. OneTaste even refers to the practice as a “technology.”
The practice itself is somewhat simple, and can be replicated at home, after you’ve taken a course. In short, the stroker learns to stroke his or her partner’s clitoris in a very specific way — the upper left-hand quadrant of it, to be even more precise. This goal-less practice lasts for 15 minutes, and it has a very particular beginning, middle and end.
OM centers have popped up far beyond San Fran. From New York to London to LA, it’s possible to get your OM on in live workshops in these major cities. They also have affiliate cities, where certified OM instructors can teach you the practice. These include Austin, Berkeley, Boston, Dallas, Denver, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Seattle, Burlington and Toronto, Canada.
But for those of us who don’t live near an OM center or an affiliate — you can now stream classes online. Even though I live in New York City and could have gone to an in-person workshop, I was thrilled to find out that I could practice at home with my partner. There is something to be said for going in person — either traveling to a weekend workshop or going to a kind of OM mixer at one of their pop-up events, called TurnONs.
Here’s the thing about OMing — it forces you to be brave, even if you’re at home with your partner. The first thing you learn about OM is that it is not sex. Sex requires active participation — a form of vigilance. Partnered sex is most often an act of giving and receiving. For women, the OM practice is all about being receptive and feeling your body, and nothing else. Lying prone with your legs splayed and your vagina intensely observed forces you to be vulnerable in a way that partnered sex rarely ever does.
And when I say “partner” I don’t mean it in the traditional sense. Your OM partner does not have to be your boyfriend or girlfriend or spouse or even someone you’re casually dating. You can of course practice with someone that you sleep with, but you can also practice with someone that has never touched you, if they are open, game, and you feel safe with them. When you go to live OM workshops and courses alone — many men and women do this all the time — you OM with a complete stranger. That might sound terrifying and weird, but the thousands of people who’ve come through OM’s doors will attest that it’s not scary — it’s in fact utterly liberating.
But if you’re like me and want to practice at home with your Wi-Fi connection and your BAE, that’s good too.
When I first experimented with OM-ing, I didn’t expect much. I’d read that many women do not orgasm the first or second, or fifth time, and assumed I’d be in the group with the learning curve. My partner was trying it for the first time as well — he was not an experienced stroker. We watched the streaming video of a live class together, read all the materials, including the OM Essentials Guide and got down to business.
Again, because OM is not sex, I was clothed from the waist up. This is not going to prevent your partner from being turned on (it certainly didn’t stop mine) but it’s not about him — it’s about you. He turns all his attention and energy onto you. I was sure this was going to send me into a fit of awkwardness and hysterical giggles. But as soon as we began — and I mean within seconds — I was in a deep trance.
I do meditate and have practiced yoga for almost 20 years, but this was nothing like I’d ever experienced before. The intention of your OM session is to focus on sensation, pure sensation. You aim to stop worrying about how your body looks or how it’s performing, as we so often default to during sex. Instead, you keep returning to sensation. Just like in meditation, if your mind drifts off and you begin to worry about your grocery list or hair appointment, you gently swipe away the stray thoughts and return to sensation — sensation is your mantra in this case.
In my case, this was unnecessary, as I was right there from the get-go. Then, at the 12-minute mark, I had the most insane, explosive, never-before-experienced orgasm of my life. The practice is 15 minutes long, and the last few minutes are a “cool down” just like shivasana in a yoga class.
My first OM was profound lesson for my partnered sex life, too. Although I’m fairly orgasmic and always have been, learning to OM and remain so fully sensation-oriented has allowed me to stay in that state during sex — this is magical and transformative. I can be in the process of giving and receiving, yet wholly attuned to the sensation in my body.
OM is like a Kegel centered on the brain-vagina connection, and once you learn it, it stays with you. But even though you’ve learned to ride that particular bike and you will always have the muscle memory in some way, it pays to keep practicing, as your experience gets deeper and deeper over time.
Many women find themselves at an OM course or event after a breakup, or at the end of a sexless marriage. Some who’ve cycled through every possible yoga and guided meditation practice will end up learning OM, seeking the holy grail of mindfulness practices. Some will go for community, in order to meet new people. Some will go to improve intimacy in their current partnerships. It is, according to the OM Essentials Guide, a practice that inspires “human connection.”
But if your goals are not that lofty, you might want to give it a try because even if you don’t have an instant spiritual awakening, OM is damn good medicine.