I had no idea what I was getting into. OK that's a lie...I had an idea. I knew that we —myself and the guy I was dating at the time — were going to something called a "Turn On" event led by One Taste. I also knew this event was an intro to an Orgasmic Meditation (OM) practice. The event was held inside a sketchy building in China Town and, in classic New York City fashion, the building also housed a Chipotle and a Pilates studio. I was expecting a room of weirdos and fetishists.
I was surprised to see "normal" people as young 20 and as seasoned as mid-50s. There were a few couples, a few people of color, but mostly single, white, men and women.
A woman with red hair and glasses proudly rocked a dress with no bra as she welcomed everyone. She kicked off the hour-long event by discussing what OM-ing is:
"A partner strokes a woman's clitoris for 15 minutes with no goal other than to feel, connect, and be present. With practice, you develop a larger state of consciousness, have better intimacy, and stronger connections".
After this clinical explanation, the host with perfectly erect nipples continued to describe OM-ing as "stroking pussy". I consider myself to be pretty damn vulgar, but her throwing around the "P" word made me a bit uncomfortable at first. After the intro was done, they let us know that we will not be partaking in that part (the um..."stroking pussy" part) of the practice in that particular event. That part actually took more time, more money, and more classes to get to. We spent the remaining hour going around the room as the 15 attendees took turns answering a series of questions.
What's your name? Tawny
Why are you here? To learn
What does your orgasm taste like? I have no idea.
Think about it. This question is designed to get you to think big. What does your orgasm taste like? Glitter
How is your sex life? Great, but I don't trust anyone enough to give me an orgasm.
After saying that out loud, I felt completely exposed. More exposed than I felt in Naked Yoga.
I was surprised to hear some other people's self-introductions. One woman in particular went on and on about how much she "loves cock" and "can't get enough." An attractive young couple shared that they came to this event to help them work on their communication. Another woman, wearing a dress, sat with her legs open the entire time. I couldn't look away. I was simultaneously turned on and turned off. Again, my "vulgarity" was laughing at me and making me wonder if I'm actually a prude. But a prude wouldn't go to an event like this, would she?
The next portion was called The Hot Seat. People volunteered to sit in the front of the room and anyone could ask them questions. After my date raised my hand for me, I said "Fuck it" and went up to the chair. I sat there with 15 sets of eyes staring at me. I was literally on display. Then the random questions came.
How often is "fuck it" your motivator for doing something? Ummm...a lot.
Do you know what turns you on? Yes
What turns you on? I like having my nipples played with.
How does it feel saying that in front of a room of strangers? Surprisingly chill.
Do you feel understood? No.
Do you communicate how you truly feel? No.
These simple questions made me realize how little I knew about myself, especially my sexual desires. It takes a lot to make me feel uncomfortable. A lot. And the first half of this experience was extremely uncomfortable. My heart was racing, my palms were sweaty, and part of me wanted to get up and walk out. Though I'm far from being a virgin, being comfortable with my sexuality is still unchartered territory. Personally, I can only orgasm from self-stimulation when I'm completely alone. My orgasm and I are stuck in a frustrating limbo.
As the hour came to an end, we had the opportunity to give honest feedback to someone in the room. This feedback ranged from complimentary to inquisition to a piece of constructive criticism. I chose the latter option so I could address the woman in the dress who didn't cross her legs. I told her how I was initially distracted by how she carried herself. I also told her how throughout the night, after hearing her speak, I saw she was just a person, too. I apologized for passing judgment on her. She smiled and said "Thank you."
Before we all dispersed, we were encouraged to sign up for upcoming workshops that range from $150 to $500. You can even sign up to become a coach for $6,500. My date and I respectively declined all offers, then went out for overpriced Chinese food to talk about what the hell just happened. I never went back to One Taste. Partly because I'm no longer seeing the guy I went with, and partly because I don't know if I want my first orgasm with someone else to be in front of a group of strangers. To be honest, I'm still intrigued by the workshops. Or maybe I'm just intrigued by the possibility of having an orgasm with someone else in the room.