I was raised in a fairly religious family. I don’t believe it’s necessarily true of every religious family, but we were very shut down when it came to expressing feelings. Our private lives were something that was never talked about, except with an air of shame. I grew up feeling bad about myself as a result. Trying to heal from my upbringing, was my big quest in my 20s.
I loved that I had grown up in a religious family in one sense, because we had this reverence for the spiritual. I knew that whatever form my journey took, it would have to be rooted in the transcendent. I took that very seriously. At one point, I went to India for a year, traveling between meditation centers and practicing serious, long-term, silent meditation. These were amazing experiences, and I was fortunate to have them. At the same time, they didn’t solve the problem. I wasn’t going to become a monk and live in India; I needed to find a practice that could help me live happily and authentically in the world, rather than withdraw from it.
I found OM not long after I came back to the States. I was on a long road trip, and I had downloaded several audiobooks for the drive. It must have been fate, as I don’t remember which books I chose, but suddenly, I was listening to this remarkable woman describe “slow sex” and Orgasmic Meditation. It all made so much sense to me, and I thought, I need to find out more about this. Yet when I got to my destination, I forgot about the audiobook and OM. It would be several years before it all came back to me, when a friend mentioned OM in passing. I knew I needed to sign up for the first workshop I could.
I was very nervous for my first OM, but I was determined. I had learned a long time ago that good things lie on the other side of fear. In my first OM I was too nervous and shy to let myself go completely, but I didn’t feel disappointed. I felt nurtured and safe. I knew that was a good baseline for more: if I can get to the place where things feel safe, good things will eventually, inevitably, happen.
A huge issue for me was getting to the point where I could give adjustments. This was such a block – I hated asking anyone for anything I wanted or needed, but it was difficult to have a connected experience without asking for what I specifically needed. I was stuck; I was hoping that an experienced stroker would just intuit what to do without my having to say anything. That didn’t happen.
One day, in an OM, my coach’s words came to me. She had been encouraging me to ask for what I needed. “Tell him what you want, Amanda; tell him what you want.” She had kept repeating herself, and I remember for a second, I felt this flash of white-hot anger. There’s nothing wrong with me! Don’t interfere with my process! I felt those thoughts, and recognized that the coach was right, I needed to break through. And a second later, the words came. I asked my stroker to make a small change, and he did instantly, and then I felt this pleasure and relief suffuse my whole being. It was both that easy, and that difficult. What a relief to not have to hope a man would read my mind!
So much of what is liberating about OM for me is about what is said out loud. I needed to get to the point where I could verbalize adjustments, but I also needed to hear things from others. I vividly remember this time when my stroker described my genitals. He was so detailed and thoughtful about it, and I felt an initial wave of anxiety (why is he staring at me so closely?) followed by this relief and gratitude. He sees me. He notices me, not just a set of random genitals, but me. I think we all worry that we’re interchangeable with each other, and that people (especially men) don’t take time to notice what makes each of us unique. We all want to know how we’re different from other people; we all want our particulars to be observed. This man gave me that gift, and it’s a reminder of why the “noticing” step of the OM is so vital and so healing.
Thanks to OM, I’ve become a certified counselor, with a specific focus in my work on what was so difficult for me: helping women ask for what they want. OM is all about breaking through your own fears: asking for the OM itself, asking for an adjustment, and so on. Even when you are sure the answer will be yes, or that the adjustment will be well-received, you can still be so frightened to ask. There’s so much programming to overcome, but if you can break through, you’ll feel such incredible transformation. Not just in the bedroom, but in every aspect of your life. No one is coming to rescue you and give you what you want; you have to ask for it. And we can all find what we need to ask.
Repression is the source of so much shame in the world. I saw the damage that shame did in my own family. I see how that repression can cause harm in countless ways, like addiction and loneliness and violence. If we can help people make peace with themselves and face their deepest insecurities, we can transform more than people’s intimate lives. We can help all of society have fewer issues, a little more confidence, and a lot more harmony.