The first man I lived with was a lot like my parents. Doug was checking all the boxes, and so I was I. We lived in a house I had bought, and we both had nine-to-five jobs, although I hated mine. He seemed to think our relationship was just fine, but I knew there had to be more. I knew he wasn't the man I was going to marry. The only thing my mother ever told me about sex was that it was overrated. I set out to prove her wrong, but with Doug, I didn't have a clue how to go about it.
When I was a teenager, I used to write stories full of passion, not because I was experiencing passion but so I could imagine what it would be like. My father found my notebook and destroyed it, which infuriated me. I had the same experience with Doug when I started writing erotic stories again. One day I came home to find my notebook open on my desk, with my stories torn out. I wasn't going to be able to explore my passionate side with him. I was living a double life where my internal landscape was different from what was happening outside.
When I read Slow Sex, by the founder of OM, I was intrigued by the idea that a woman could give a man directions during sex, so he could touch her in a way that would increase her sensations. But when I tried it out, telling Doug, “A little more to the left,” or, “A little less pressure,” he got upset. His response was, “Why do you keep asking me for this stuff when I already know what I'm doing?”
The first time I met with people who practiced OM, I chose to go by myself. That encounter was like stepping into an alternate universe. The women were present in their bodies and totally comfortable in their sensuality. They weren't trying to hide themselves in any way. One woman walked over, staring me dead in my eyes, and started a conversation. She was standing so close, I could feel heat and vibration coming off her. It was uncomfortable, in a way that made me curious. The men also had an openness and directness that I was intensely drawn to, even if they didn't look like guys I'd normally be attracted to. I wanted to get to know these people. I told Doug about them, and he was less than enthusiastic.
I found out he was having an affair. When I confronted him, he refused to discuss it with me. If he had responded gracefully, we might have ended up back together, but that’s not what happened.
Soon after, I began to OM. For the first few months, as soon as a session started, my whole face would go numb, and I could barely speak or move my hands. I couldn't feel what was happening below my waist. I was totally focused on doing everything right, so I could have the experience I thought I should be having. Instead of asking my partner to adjust how he was stroking me, I just lay there hoping to climax, so he would feel good about himself. In almost every OM, I would climax, but it wasn't really pleasurable.
One day, there was a shift. I mentally stepped away from the determination to have the kind of ecstatic experience I had heard about. In the next moment, it felt like the stroker was gently pulling a thread out of me. The numbness fell away, replaced by a sensation of warm liquid pouring through my body. I felt a tremendous sense of relief, and from then on, my OMs were transformed. I no longer climaxed in the sessions, yet I could feel the nuances of sensation in my clitoris. If the stroker's finger moved in a particular way, it produced a particular response in my body. I found I loved downstrokes, but upstrokes made me anxious. I learned to experiment, choosing sometimes to be with an uncomfortable sensation and find out what was going to happen. Instead of feeling guilty about not climaxing, I relaxed and enjoyed the experience. I left each session feeling energized and refreshed, not like I needed a nap.
About a year into my practice, I was OMing with Henry, a kind, sweet, older man. There was no physical attraction between us. Something kept telling me to melt into the floor and relax anytime I felt tension. A warm wave swelled up from my genitals. It felt like lying on the beach and being washed over by the tide. I had deep contractions, and I was wet, warm, surrendered to the experience. Henry felt it too. “What was that?” he asked me afterwards. I said, “I don't know, but thanks.” The intensity shook me up, but it was also validation for all my investigation.
As I went deeper into OMing, I realized it really wasn't about sex. The sexual energy brings people into the practice, but if you stick around, you find out that OM is actually an overhaul of your thinking.
Once I was in touch with my physical sensations, I became acutely aware of my likes and dislikes because they registered so clearly in my body. Now it's impossible for me to do things I don't want to do. I refuse to do things are not in alignment with my goals or don't generate the kind of energy I want in my life. It's different than refusing to be uncomfortable, it's more about the connection I've developed with myself and what's true for me. I feel entitled to say, “I don't want to take this job because I know I'm going to quit,” or, “You asked me to do this, but I don't have the energy or the desire.”
While living in a house with other like-minded people, I learned to be open to all my emotions. I didn't have to show up in any particular way. If I was upset, I could be fully upset, even cuss someone out. I could emote in a way that I had never been allowed before. The people around me had gone into such depths within themselves that they were able to receive my feelings without taking anything personally.
When I was no longer afraid to speak or be noticed, I started meeting a lot of new people. The first time I saw Ron, my current partner, I went up to him and said, “I'm gonna give you my number, and you're gonna call me.” If he didn't call me, at least I had taken the chance. I was vulnerable enough to say what I wanted, and I had nothing to lose.
Ron and I have a relationship that's great emotionally. I can be honest when I want to be alone and when I want to be kissed and hugged. Sometimes negotiation has to happen. Other times, I'm not willing to negotiate. I believe in dismantling emotional blocks so can I express myself freely, integrating all the parts of myself to have deeper, more authentic experiences together.
In raising my son, who is three, I want him to be free to have his feelings. He's not always going to get what he wants, but he's allowed free self-expression, as long as he's not causing harm to himself or others. His father is stricter, but that's part of a dad's function. I want my son to be able to scream and cry and go to his room and throw things. I wasn't allowed to have a full spectrum of emotion when I was a child. I want him heaped with love and affection.
OM has been a catalyst for the rest of my healing journey. I'm not deep in the practice anymore, but if it had not been for those experiences, I don't know where I would be now. I learned to stop fitting in and consciously create the life I want. I refuse to make myself smaller just to make other people feel comfortable. Wholeness is my spiritual practice.