I've known about orgasmic meditation for years. Ever since that opus in the New York Times and a subsequent article by someone I worked with at the New York Post, it definitely piqued my interest as something that I might try, probably not, OK maybe, nah too weird, oh, screw it I would definitely do it, when is the next course anyway?
Finally -- this was to be my OMing time in the sun. And I finally signed up.
If you've never read one of the many hot media trend pieces about OM (the hip way to abbreviate orgasmic meditation) -- my favorite is the recent piece on Gawker by the writer who took the course and enjoyed it, while also adequately taking the piss out of the culty aspects of it -- orgasmic meditation is pretty straightforward, with an emphasis on the female orgasm. It is essentially achieved by the stroking of the clitoris, in 15-minute timed and guided partnerings, between strangers. You get to choose your partner. You can say no. Zero hard feelings. (The OM staff points out, "Sometimes you OM with strangers, and that's totally fine and up to the practitioner, but for beginners we definitely suggest the 'know, like and trust' criteria for finding a partner.")
The woman who founded the movement, Nicole Daedone, said that she learned the practice through a master teacher, and then intended to spread the word and the practice. She's been doing it ever since.
"The founder has even given a TED talk!" I told Jane and Emily as an excuse to write about the damned thing.
"Just try not to make it too porny," Emily said.
"Of course not!" I said.
"Uh huh," she said.
Jane just laughed at me.
The movement is not a New York only thing, by the way. It actually started in San Francisco, and now there are OM communities internationally.
But that didn't stop my friend Maya Francis from giving me a rundown on my experience with the assessment by saying: "So in the city that has everything, you can now also order a take-out orgasm?"
Well, not quite. When Maya asked me what happened when my male partner came, I realized that perhaps OMing really isn't as widely known as I thought. No, no, no, I explained. It's only the women who are being, well, er, masturbated -- meditatively. The men are supposed to "receive" the woman's energy, and every man there seemed to be quite satisfied. Their clothes stay fully on.
And for the women, it's only your bottoms that come off, during the 15-minute clinic -- where you are given a 2-minute heads up near the end. As one does.
At the time I arrived for the course in SoHo, I was still fighting off a cold, and I figured I would listen to what they had to say but then duck out before the actual "clinic" portion of the evening. It was the first thing I said when I introduced myself actually.
"I can't actually do this. I mean I'm fighting off a cold, so."
Throughout the night, different women approached me in the bathroom and in the classroom and told me that it was no excuse, if I wanted to do it, I would, right?
"I think you could always make up a ton of different reasons not to do it," one woman said, reading my mind. "I think it's like getting a tattoo. You do it when you're in the moment."
I think that would be the exact wrong time to get a tattoo, but her speech worked. I thought to myself: If I see someone I connect with to ask to be a partner, I'll take the plunge.
Soon after this little orgasmic-meditation-is-like-getting-a-tattoo conversation, there was a kind young man who spoke up in our group and said by way of explaining why he was there: "The last time I had casual sex, I felt empty." He seemed sincere. He seemed thoughtful. He seemed like a good non-pervy OM partner.
The class was led by one man and one woman who told us to indicate if we were ever uncomfortable. "Green" meant we were OK, but to always indicate if we were ever at a yellow level of "discomfort" or red for needing to stop. All I could think about was Michael Buckley's YouTube video where he is watching "Two Girls, One Cup," and as a gay man starts squealing and screaming -- before anything happens -- and the two women appear on screen. Hilarious. That's all I wanted to do. Just keep yelling out "Red" whenever people talked about wanting to find more emotional intimacy or better connection with their partners or asking where the ladies room was located. "RED RED RED RED RED!"
But alas. I stayed silent. I'm a good OM soldier.
We were told to ask what question we had come there to answer. I said that I wanted to see if the entire scenario would feel like a "Daily Show" sketch in the waiting. And in fact, it did. If any "Daily Show" producers are reading this, I can only beg of you as one woman writing one of many many blogs about orgasmic meditation, YOU HAVE TO DO A SEGMENT ON OM. There. That part of this story is done.
I also confessed that I hadn't been able to have an orgasm in a while, I was afraid my wrist was broken (it's not; I got the x-rays), I was feeling sick and I asked for a glass of water. They had people there to bring you water. Nice perk. I recommend this for every class. Always have a group of 5 or 6 men and women just lying in wait, rocking "Powered by orgasm" t-shirts, at the ready to bring you nice refreshing glasses of water. Ahhh.
It wasn't too long before the female instructor's pants were off, as we all gathered good seats to best witness the stroking by our teacher, who used to work as an Apple Genius in San Francisco.
We were told to call out emotions that we were feeling. Appropriate examples, to keep you in the moment, included: "I feel butterflies in my stomach." "I feel hot." "I feel short of breath." "I feel tingly."
My brain raced. All I could think of is how much trouble I would get in if I heckled her orgasm.
"Why does she get all the attention?"
"Do you guys think I'm pretty?"
"Do you think my father will notice me now?"
"Does anyone else feel like pizza?"
"I wish Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke could see this! Sorry, better topical reference anyone? Anyone?"
Instead my eyes met with a distractingly good looking young man in the class who I wanted very much to have sex with right there on the official clinical OM table and who I knew I should definitely not OM with.
We were then told that when you are asking for an OM session it is better to just do it straightforward. Not like, "Hey want to massage each other, drink some wine and then maybe OM?" Nope. Just get straight to it.
I have to say this is terrific advice for anything in life. Asking for a job. Asking for an interview. Asking for a raise. Get to it. Just like you would an orgasm.
Before we started our 15-minute OM (it is always timed, and there was a group of about a 26 people, all partnered up on various "nests" made up of pillows that the men had brought ahead of time in suitcases), the women took their bottoms off (but tops stayed on). As far as I could tell, there were no roving eyes. But I did accidentally see another woman's vagina, so I'm sure that it happens fairly often. So it's like the subway.
But there is zero skin-to-skin contact. The man has a plastic glove on the entire time.
Before our OMing, our partner was told to tell us something in a non-judgmental way about what they saw when they looked at us, with no pants on. My partner said he saw "coral." I told this to a friend who misunderstood and thought he was comparing my privates to a coral reef or something, which would have been amazing, but no.
Of course he could have said:
"I see the gaping hole in your soul, Mandy, and I'm sorry but OM just isn't going to be enough."
"Sadness. Just pure sadness and a hint of pink."
"Is there supposed to be a Monopoly hotel down there?"
To his credit, "coral" was the perfect non-judgmental thing to say, which is because I chose the perfect lovely partner.
You then say "thank you" to your partner's value-less statement, and that's exactly what I did. Instead of saying:
"I love you, too."
"Yes, I will marry you.""I'm pregnant."
Nope. I just said "thank you" and smiled. Then, we proceeded.
Around me, you could hear tiny little moans of pleasure from the women, all of whom were various ages levels, but mostly in their 20s and 30s. The men ranged from 20s to 30s to a couple of dudes in their 60s. Yeah.
I felt pretty prude-ish with the noise level, so I practiced my little quiet make no noise strategy, and didn't make a peep. Well, maybe one peep. But it felt incredible.
Honestly, my awesome partner actually brought me to a level of pleasure that took me far beyond what I had felt in quite some time. He OMed me well. I felt completely out of my head. There was no porn highlights reel that I was reviewing in my head. No jokes. No thoughts of things to do or men that I'm seeing or might see or have ever seen in my life or just how proud my family will be when I post this article on Facebook. Nope, no inappropriate things to say even wandered through my head. All I thought was:
Truly, it was a great experience. Of course, I'm not sure if I'll make it a practice, as the OMers tend to get into it fairly religiously. Some even live together, just OMing the days away.
I gave my partner a hug. And a puff off my electronic cigarette.
And I will say this: I floated on home, with not a single wisecrack in my head. Just bliss.
Oh, and then I did get that pizza.