People Pleasing to Courage
by Adrian Johnson

I initially had a lot of resistance about OM. A woman I’d started dating knew the practice, and I knew that she was interested in it. If I wanted to carry on dating her, I knew I should try it. She was my first stroker, and I felt a lot of the old “performance” part of myself come up the first time. She knew I had anxiety over making noise and being too loud so she said in a cheeky way, “I tell you what, you’re not allowed to make any noise during this OM.” When she said that, I remember relief flooding my body. I remember feeling a lot of electricity course through me. There were a few moments of being able to drop into my body. During that OM, I had the first experience in my life of whatever came up being okay.

So much of my experience with the practice has been around relationships and sex. Before OM, climax was the only outcome I cared about. It was all very goal oriented. In OM, everything you experience is value neutral. So instead of, “That was a cracking OM,” it’s “No, that was an OM.” If it’s a whisper of electricity or a lightning bolt, there’s no bad or good. So it’s a level playing field of all sensation. My orgasm can be really soft and quiet and slow, but it’s still there. And it’s still important. Whatever I feel is perfect no matter what, so I can transfer that into my life. Whatever I’m feeling in my life is perfect and okay because it would be in an OM.

With clear, concise, descriptive communication, I can relax. There’s a lot more honesty in my relationships. I’m fortunate enough that my wife has leaned the practice. So I can trust that she will always be honest with me, rather than her lying in the moment, which would have me mistrust her in the long run. My partner won’t say things to make me feel better. She’ll say, “You have a pimple on your face. On your right cheek.”

I used to put a lot of expectation on the people I was dating to know exactly what I needed, without taking the responsibility of communicating it. I was in a long-term relationship with a woman before OM, and she was very reticent with affection. I felt very hungry for connection all the time and very hungry for a certain kind of attention. But I didn’t know how to ask for what I wanted. 

I’ve always wanted to be the “nice person.” Like, “I’ll be your best friend, and I’ll never say anything that might go against the grain of what you’re feeling.” Now I’ve finally found my backbone. I looked at all the places I was compromising who I was to make other people feel good about themselves. My Aries personality finally has a place to shine: I can be as blunt as I want, and I don’t feel guilty anymore! I have a lot of courage now to say the hard things to my finds and family. I’m from a conservative family in Texas. Growing up it was all about romantic movies and “love is forever” and “find the one, and marry him.”

I love the noticing stage where your stroker notices something about your genitals and reports it in a value-neutral way.  Instead of saying, “You have the most beautiful labia,” your stroker says “Your inner labia are a dark purple and are folded to the right.” There’s no room for misinterpretation. I’m a people-pleaser, but I can also feel what’s going on underneath communication a lot of times. If what I’m feeling doesn’t match what someone is saying, it makes me feel crazy.

I’m also a stroker. To be a stroker is to be able to let go of any value you place on being a “good lover.” As that transfers into life, you might think you’re a good listener but actually you’re just waiting to talk.

My ego is— was, and still can be, incredibly centered around, “I’m hot shit, and I know what I’m doing.” But the reality is that women are such different creatures. I could think I know how to please a woman, whereas in reality they all want different things. And if one thing works on one day, it won’t work on another. So I have to drop my ego and go with the sensation I feel through my body and my strokee’s body.

As a stroker, a man or a woman, the way to do it right is actually just to feel what’s going on and have precise, pristine attention. I take that attention into my work with clients who have disabilities. The other week, a young woman with autism was crying and yelling at me in a store. As a stroker, I’ve learned to forget my ego and listen to the thing being communicated. Here, she’s telling me to shut up and telling me to leave, but then... Oh, she’s cold.  She doesn’t have a jacket on. Let me see if putting this jacket on helps this situation. And then she’s quieting down because her needs are being met. OM helps me discern what’s going on underneath it all.