Orgasmic meditation is the kind of practice that could only have begun in San Francisco. Half new-age sex therapy and half yoga-ish meditation, OMing, as it's called by practitioners, is focused entirely on female orgasm without the confines of traditional sexuality. OMers don their latex gloves, grab the lube, set the timer and go to work on their partners. The goal isn't orgasm, though, and after fifteen minutes, the OM is over and both parties go on with the rest of their days.
Forget any techniques, vibrators, or other toys you might have picked up along the way. OMers say it's about focus on stroking one specific part of the clitoris repeatedly for exactly fifteen minutes. The position of stroker and stroke-ee is always the same for every OM, and OMing is always done on top of the same configuration of yoga mats, blanket and pillows that they call a nest.
And once the alarm buzzes, that's it. Afterwards there's no foreplay, no sex, and no feeling of obligation. It's just about both parties focusing on the act of one giving pleasure to the other. The emphasis on structure and repetition seems just as much as the emphasis on pleasure
So why only 15 minutes? One of the keys to OMing in in the time limit; it takes all the pressure to climax off the stroke-ee. This way, the climax becomes almost incidental. She might get off, or she might not. But either way, it's not about that, says the practice's founder, Nicole Daedone, in a TED talk in San Francisco.
Daedone, with all the zeal of a spiritual leader, says it's about the connection between both people, who both become so wrapped up in the practice, as all their attention is focused on one tiny repetitive motion, allowing both to connect on a higher level. She argues that our current notion of orgasm gets in the way of actual pleasure, calling it “that fleeting moment of climax that seems to take the rest of the act hostage.”
This idea isn't new: many modern sexologists have pointed to taking climax or penetrative sex out of the mix as a way of, ironically, getting more pleasure out of sex. Less pressure and fewer expectations, they say, can often mean better sex. Otherwise, some spend so much time worrying about pleasure and orgasm that, in the end, they don't get to experience either.
OM training also emphasizes consent and agency: OMers are taught to always check in with their partners, to vocalize what they're going to do, and to speak up about their needs and wants. In a culture that does a terrible job of teaching people these basic skills, this is welcome advice.
Daedone's company, OneTaste, certainly does not give this advice away for free: a beginner's class, communication course or a play class will run you about $200. Master classes, retreat-style immersion classes and the Coaching Class cost between $4,000 - $15,000. The practice is neatly packaged and built to be marketed: “Deliberate and structured with repeatable results” is the mantra that is all over OneTaste's website and marketing materials.
The marketing can get a little heavy on the pseudo-spirituality. One $8000 retreat is advertised as the opportunity to "join Nicole Daedone for a journey into the 4th dimension. For 5 days, let go of what you know of a 3rd dimensional life and immerse in the magical world of orgasm alchemy."
Accurate notions of physics aside, OneTaste clearly caters to a very specific audience.
Orgasmic Meditation focuses entirely on female pleasure, and is unabashedly oriented towards straight people. Daedone writes in her book, Slow Sex, that OM is “a way that any man can bring out the orgasm in any woman, in just fifteen minutes.” Every how-to video and informational website points to him as the giver and her as the receiver of pleasure.
But Daedone has set out to solve a problem, what she calls the “western woman's mantra.”
“I work too hard. I eat to much. I diet too much. I drink too much. I shop too much. I give too much. And still, there's this sense of hunger that I can't touch,” she explains to the audience at the San Francisco TED talk.
And orgasm, she says, can cure this.
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