The best anniversary gift my husband ever gave me was OM. He discovered it and went to New York City to learn the practice, leaving me the website address. He said, “See what you think. We'll talk about it when I get back.” And when he came home from the class we shared our first OM the evening before our 25th wedding anniversary. It blew me away!
I grew up in a conservative family. My mother had The Talk with me, and there were a few discussions, but there was no focus on female desire or pleasure. I understood that good girls were more focused on doing their duty. And the way intimacy was treated in the messaging I was getting from other parts of society, like church, was, frankly, scary. I was told that pleasure is for the man and that it was my duty as a wife to give it to him. I was warned that men were going to be after whatever they could get, so I had to be careful. I was in danger just because I was female.
Although I didn't completely buy into it, a lot of the fear and shame stuck to me. I was ashamed of masturbating and ashamed of not waiting until marriage and having sex with my college boyfriend. And don’t you know, I dragged all this shame into my marriage.
The first few months of the marriage the connection was great. Kevin tried to get me to see things a different way, and he was always trying to please me. But I was always busy focusing on him, thinking it was my job to help him get off. And then things started tapering off and before I knew it, I was 42 and diagnosed with breast cancer. I went through chemo and radiation therapy and surgery, which put me into menopause, and at that point almost any intimate contact became uncomfortable. A couple years later, I had a total hysterectomy and sex became downright painful. I stopped initiating because I didn't want the pain, and Kevin wasn't initiating because he didn't want to hurt me.
After we started OMing my desire kicked back in. It was almost instantaneous. What a surprise to realize the desire really was there, and what a discovery to realize that I was doing it, not so much for the closeness but for the sensation I was experiencing. I started feeling more lightness in my body, and I felt less dragged down. So much of my l focus, prior to OM, was on who I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to do. And it was a very long journey letting go of all of that. Kevin and I were learning to communicate in a way that we hadn't communicated before. I was holding back on fewer things and so was he. I learned that my two primary love languages are physical touch and quality time, and it became easier for me to ask for touch. Soon I didn't have to ask for it as much because he was automatically giving it to me. This weird energy thing opened up between us and I could feel Kevin’s love for me more and more. Even when he was saying something that I didn't particularly want to hear, I could still feel the love.
As we got deeper into OM, attending various classes, I started examining how I looked at my marriage. I realized I was expecting him to know exactly what I wanted when I wanted it. I was expecting him to do all the initiation. And then there was all that shame. I could barely talk about any intimate issues with my doctor. OM made it normal for me to talk about my desires and it actually felt good to talk about it. I learned how to be able to speak my feelings and how to say no. Within the container of OM, I really started finding my voice to ask for exactly what I wanted. As a result, my connection with Kevin deepened.
I used to be the type of person who went to a party and stood off in the corner somewhere, hoping nobody would approach me, not saying much of anything. Now I'm out in the world coaching and giving speeches to 50 people at a time about sexuality. I'm not the shrinking violet I used to be. Today, connection for me is play and exploration more than anything else. And I have lost friends over the last few years because they are not comfortable with who I have become.
Frankly, I don’t know who I’d be without OM and the things I’ve explored since. Kevin and I had gotten into a pattern of work and volunteering and hobbies. Everything else took priority over our relationship. That all changed with OM. We decided that we were going to start making our relationship a priority again. Sure, we've been through some rather tough conversations, conversations that we wouldn't have been able to have without the internal work that we've both done personally. But we’re more honest with each other, even when it's painful. Fortunately, we have also developed the strategies to deal with things as they come up.
If something hadn't happened, if Kevin hadn’t introduced me to OM and made me look at how I was living my life, nothing would have changed. And I’m so grateful it has. One of the things that finally got me to the point where I wanted to be a coach is seeing so many other couples our age out there, just getting by and not even knowing that something else is possible.
Take it from me, a lot is possible! And I’m so grateful that I can share it.