This article originally appeared as a guest blog on Rachel Grant's Blog.
Up until three years ago, I was a well-put-together, well-to-do woman. I thought I had it all figured out. I had specific ideas of who I was and how I am supposed to act. I meticulously curated my life, from what I wore to how I talked about my adventures, from volunteering in South America to raising chickens in my back yard. I had created an image of an I got-everything-under-control, cheerful and happy, grateful-for-my-life woman.
Nothing was further from the truth. Despite the perfect resume, a gorgeous apartment, and exotic travels, I was filled with dissatisfaction and fatigue. With a slightest derail of plans, I’d fall over in despair, lingering in the thoughts that something was wrong with me. That I was broken.
I was living a double life.
I hid it well at work and with friends, but it all broke down in the bedroom. In sex and with my sexuality, when I was naked and the attention was all on me, I had nowhere to hide.
I could not hide that I was ashamed of my body. I could not hide that I believed that I did not know how to have sex. I could not hide the insecurities and the shame of not being able to climax. I could not fake it. All I was able to do was shrink underneath the sadness and cry.
It was all too much. So I pulled away. I stopped looking for sex or sexual connection. When relationships would lead up to it, I would cut them off at the bedroom door.
My only hope was finding the right man, the one person who will complete me and make me happy. When I meet “him” and he will love me, then I will be able to be confident and open. Until then, I felt like a victim of how life just is … unfair.
I had always known that I was very sexual, despite the lack of actual sexual experience. And while I waited and waited, a part of me was dying. The part that deeply wanted the attention and the touch. That wanted to play. That was full of passionate abandon and wild energy. The woman inside – she was dying and I did not even know it.
I had starved myself of connection to the point of famine. Hunger turned to starvation and deprivation, and like in real famine, after a certain point, the body no longer felt hungry. It actually rejected food like a foreign object.
I had starved to the point of not wanting anything anymore. I no longer felt desire or hunger for sex. Or other people. “I am fine, I love my life”, I recall telling myself. I was beyond desire actually.
And with my sexual desire went my body’s ability to feel excitement and joy. Everything felt flat and gray. I had little energy to run on - for anything, including things and activities I used to fill my life with. I had flat-lined. And it was terrifying.
I lived under a veil of sadness and dissatisfaction that I could not put my finger on. “What do you want?” was the scariest question anyone could ask me.
Even though my mind and body seemingly had resigned to the impossibility of being fulfilled, there was still this little voice of hope inside that was whispering: “there must be more to life than this”.
“We act either out of desperation or inspiration.”
~ Nicole Daedone
When I was introduced to Orgasmic Meditation, a partnered sexuality practice developed by Nicole Daedone and taught by OneTaste, I had hit a point that I have had enough. Enough isolation. Enough misery. Enough deprivation. Enough hiding and avoiding connection.
It was not by coincidence. After a year of mysterious illnesses and hitting an emotional rock bottom, I heard another woman share a story similar to mine. For the first time in my life, I did not feel alone or broken. I also saw my role in my own deprivation: the beliefs about myself, the self-loathing and the shame that had me hide.
And I knew the next right step for me. With the work of life coaches, I started to dismantle beliefs about myself that came from conditioning and trauma and expectations of what I am supposed to be and do, and rebuild it according to desire. Eventually, I had found the desire to know my body.
Orgasmic Meditation (OM) is a partnered sexuality practice where the stroker, typically a man, strokes the woman’s clitoris for 15 minutes, on the 1 o’clock spot, with gloves and lube. Yes, you read it right. The practice is about the woman learning to receive pleasure and feel her life force coursing through her body. It is equally designed for the man to learn to feel and connect to her without judgment or expectation. It’s vulnerable and confronting, and it’s a potent path to shedding shame and connecting to your own sexuality with the help of another human being, regardless whether you are a man or a woman.
It is a simple practice with profound impact.
Like with each small drop of food, I brought my body back from deep starvation with every 15-minute OM. With each connection with the stroker, I opened up to the vulnerability of showing the parts of me I was deeply ashamed about. With each request, I learned to ask for what I want with confidence. With each stroke, I opened up the flow of my sexual energy and orgasm.
First and foremost, OM has been about me and my pleasure and my sensation and my body. It’s been about showing up as I am, vulnerably, open to receiving pleasure, receiving my stroker and making adjustments to help him get on the spot.
Second, OM is about the incontrovertible fact that we need each other in the world. Not to live co-dependently, but inter-dependently. Connection is what all human beings crave, and it is one of the things that makes us come alive. We cannot do it alone.
And connection is what I had been missing in living a lonely, isolated existence behind the mask of “I have it all under control”. OM is about the ability to self-actualize and show up fully – in all my messiness and vulnerability and shame as well as in all my bigness and light – in the presence and in connection with another human being. And to stay present and conscious when it gets tough to work through it and build your resilience muscles. You cannot OM alone, as connection between the partners is what gives the practice its potency and healing power.
OM became my safe playground to open up and experiment with my sexual energy – without any expectations of traditional sexual relations, such as to perform in any way, marry my partner, do anything in return. In an OM, I am the center of 15 minutes of undivided attention and connection, and it’s all about me being me. OM became the nutrient that I had been missing - the essential food for being a woman.
Recovering your body from sexual deprivation or withdrawal is a process that requires safety, simplicity and practice, which make OM an ideal starting point.
- Safety: OM in itself has a strong container: a timer, gloves and lube, the nest, and strict agreements between partners – which separate it from regular sex and remove the anxiety that goes with it. This container creates a safe space for the woman to open up and relax into her body and her orgasm.
- Goallessness: There is no goal to OM other than to be present with what is arising in your body with each stroke. There is no reciprocity involved. The stroker strokes, the strokee gets stroked. The lack of reciprocity breaks down the pressures that come with traditional conditioning around sex, especially for women (“sex is for him; I need to get him off for him to feel good about himself; he’ll expect something else from me”). Goallessness takes performance out of the picture for both men and women, leaving them to connect with each other, not get each other off.
- OM as practice. Like with patients of famine and deep deprivation, slow and steady nourishment is key to bringing people back to health. It is the same with sexual deprivation. As OM is a practice that is best done daily, you get to reintroduce your body to sexual touch in small dozes, and in the process open up to the vulnerability of sexual connection at a safe pace. With OM, you build up the body’s capacity to hold sexual energy, sensation and the emotions that go with it without setting yourself back to past shame or traumas of traditional sex.
After two years of OMing and allowing my body to first wake up and the learn to express itself as it naturally wants to, I look to my body as a guide to the rest of my life.
While I started OMing to “fix” my sex life, little did I foresee that how I showed up in my sex life was also how I showed up in the rest of my life.
OM is an antithesis to anything I learned in life, school and business – and it dramatically changed my life. Through OM, I learned to get out of my head and into my body. I learned to let go of the belief that I needed to do something or earn the right to receive attention. I let go of the idea that I can control what’s ahead and “make it happen”, which for me, the quintessential over-achiever, was hard to swallow. I learned to embrace uncertainty and play with what is, which was vulnerable and scary. Instead of “figuring things out,” I learned to navigate the world by sensation and feel, through my body and intuition.
I had no idea how powerful this was going to be. I had no idea that 15 minutes of a man stroking my clitoris would change the way I saw myself in the world. How it would break down barriers between me and others. How it would nourish not only my body, but also my soul. How it would nourishing my woman.