No Need to Hide Anymore
by Lori Passero

There was a long legacy of sexual abuse in my family, and I’m sure I only know the half of it.  I got swept into that storm when I was raped at 14, and the people I loved and needed most didn’t support me.

What made things even more confusing was that although I had gotten this clear impression that sex was secretive and shameful and wrong, I craved it.  I wanted it even after I had been raped.  Everything I read said that an abusive experience like that should kill my libido, but it didn’t.  Quite the opposite. That was difficult to handle as I was growing up. The only way I could make it all work was to lie about it.  

What I didn’t realize for a long time was that all that dishonesty created a need to control things, as well as a fear of trusting anyone else.  Liars always assume they’re being lied to; it makes it hard to trust.  My career is wrapped up in finance, but I am – or I was – incredibly cautious when it came to spending my own money. I was so scared of being reckless that I went to the opposite extreme and developed a well-deserved reputation for stinginess.  What I didn’t realize until I came to OM was that this caution around money was tied to my recklessness around sexuality.  If I couldn’t manage my sexual impulses, I could at least have some vital area of my life where I had total control.

That same caution manifested romantically, too.  I was willing to have sex with lots of people, but I never let any of them in emotionally. I had this adolescent fantasy that the right man would just show up and make his way past all my defenses.  He’d sweep me off my feet without me having to do anything. I stayed out of relationships for 10 years as a result of that caution and that fantasy.

My friends who knew me well could see how stuck I was.  One of those friends had been practicing OM for a little while, and she recommended it. She described it as “100% normal and safe.” 

“Like going to the hair salon?  Like getting your nails done?”  I was skeptical.  My friend insisted that it was just like that: just self-care. “I don’t get it,” I said.  She told me I didn’t have to get it; I just needed to look at the changes that had happened in her life.  I had to admit I had seen a shift.  Maybe, I thought, there’s something to this.

My first OM was with a man who was also OMing for the first time. There was something beautiful in both of us not knowing what was there. I wasn’t intimidated as I might have been if he’d been an experienced stroker. I liked that we were both discovering at the same time.  What I remember was that I felt a heavy pressure, rising from my genitals, swirling up to my belly and into my chest. What I felt most was a sense of awe and gratitude pulsing inside me.  It was wonderful. 

I’ve never had the same experience twice with an OM.  Each one is different.  Recently, I had this one OM where I felt as if my insides had turned to stardust.  I was tingling, and all my nerves were sparkling, shining, and alive. Afterwards, the stroker told me that my face was gleaming and that my coloring had changed – it wasn’t just something I imagined.  Whatever I was feeling was so powerful that it was evident on my outsides.  I love that it changes every time.  It’s like showing up for a present that you get to unwrap differently each time. 

I’d spent a lot of time when I was younger chasing climaxes by myself or with others.  OM taught me the difference between a climax and orgasm.  A climax is a climbing up, up, up, up – and then a sudden explosion and a big drop down. Everything is about this pinnacle moment that lasts only a few seconds.  A climax may feel wonderful and amazing, but so often for me it was either too much or not enough. A climax is like fast food; it tastes so good in the moment, but the pleasure doesn’t last.  Afterwards, you realize you wanted something else, or something more.  Orgasm is different.  An OM isn’t about climax.  It’s about having an experience that permeates into other aspects of my life.  It’s like tapping into an electrical current that powers me through the rest of my day, long after the OM itself is over.  It is personality changing, and in a good way.

I spent years hiding things, ignoring the elephants in the room.  I don’t do that anymore.  Honestly, after being steeped in OM, I can’t do that anymore – the truth just has to come out.  I don’t sweep things under the rug anymore; I tell people what I want and what I think and where I stand.  At the same time, I’m able to let people be who they are without trying to change them or manipulate them.  The more you live into your own truth the more you are accepting of other people’s truths.  OM ends up shifting the dynamic you have with other people, even if they haven’t ever heard of the practice or have any idea what you’re doing in your private life.  They can just sense something has changed for the better.  OM has helped me bring back the parts of me I lost very early on. The gifted, talented, welcoming and passionate person I was as a teen is back, except now she’s a grown woman.

Practicing OM has given me a place to land.  It’s given me a place to heal and grow.  Above all, it’s given me a place where I stop being sneaky.  I can trust and be trusted; I can ask and I can have.  It’s the an extraordinary present I keep giving myself and everyone around me.