When I was 18, I fell in love and got my heart broken. I don't know if you'd call this trauma because it was not a thing that was done to me. We were in love and then she left for college. I was really heartbroken and felt rejected. That's when I first started to experience depression and anxiety, which proceeded to get worse and worse over the next two years.
Subsequent relationships were perfunctory, like I was going through the routine motions with little interest or care. I’d spend more and more time with a woman and eventually it was like, “Oh, I guess we're dating now.” And then we’d spend more time together and then, “Oh, I guess we're boyfriend and girlfriend now.” I didn't know what it meant to be a good boyfriend other than to be very loving, which I already am. I have a big bear heart and love has always basically been my baseline. But I didn't understand how to be attentive to a woman’s desires or her feelings.
I had a lot of doubts and other kinds of feelings that I didn't share in my relationships. Eventually when I would break up with the person it always felt like it came out of nowhere. Afterwards, I didn't stay friends with any of my exes, ever.
My first introduction to OM was an article in a magazine. I was immediately intrigued about the practice and the community. For many years I had been trying to find ways to gain more experience with women, and OM seemed to be a practice that would deepen intimacy and concentration and provide other really healthy benefits. I’d recently started meditating, shifting my religious philosophy from monotheistic Judaism to a more Buddhist thought system, and this, I think, primed me to get a lot out of the OM experience.
Frankly, it was amazing to hear about a practice that didn't require all the usual protocols of meeting someone - buying a woman a drink or taking her out to dinner. And I was totally cool with the idea that the man would just stroke, and the woman would be stroked. It made total sense to me and was the kind of experience that I wanted. I wasn’t in it to experience more pleasure. I wanted to get more skillful. So the practice seemed really compelling and rather mind blowing.
My first OM was unlike any other experience I'd had to that point. It was very direct. I remember feeling nervous and uncomfortable in my body because the posture is a little bit uncomfortable. I also wasn’t sure if anything was happening. I was looking and listening for some kind of expression from my partner that would let me know I was doing a good job and that it was feeling good to her. And I remember there wasn't a lot of that and so I was sort of confused and confronted. I did feel a little zing of electricity on my finger, though.
After the OM was over, she had a big smile on her face and we shared our experiences and I remember feeling a lot of energy in my body. Just walking out onto the streets of San Francisco I felt alive and bright.
The most impactful thing about OM has been learning to listen and feel with my body. I started to be able to intuit what was happening in the experience and that would guide my stroking.
There's a feeling when you're on “the spot” and you know it. There's a feeling of deep connection with the other person. It’s an undeniable and compelling feeling. I remember, early on, I would get so excited about being on the spot that my inclination would be to stroke harder and faster. But then it didn't last very long, so I learned to change my stroke to slower and lighter, but while paying even closer attention. When I did that, I would feel fully saturated by the experience. Soaked in enjoyment.
Leaning into my intuition has given me a lot of confidence—and not just in an OM. And that has helped me with women more than any other thing. I no longer accidentally find myself in a relationship that I have no desire to be in. When I'm dating somebody, I have clear conversations about what I'm looking for, and ask about what they're looking for and what they want. I’m comfortable getting into some of my past history, and it's been really nice. Even when a relationship doesn't work out, I've managed to stay friends with a lot of women because I've been able to be really honest and forthright about everything. And that I attribute to my time spent with other OM practitioners.
The practice itself is a nervous system reset. I used to drink a lot and smoke a lot of pot. I don't do those things anymore. I have healthier ways of managing how I feel. I do yoga. I meditate. And beyond that, OM has become a practice for me that I can use to regulate my stress levels.
OM has brought me closer to other people and I have greater intimacy and ability to read where they’re at. For example, recently a friend of mine was feeling uncomfortable in a group of people, and there was this funny moment where he said, “Hey, dude, let's go get some snacks.” I knew it wasn’t about snacks. I knew he was uncomfortable, and I could sense he was missing his wife who had been out of the country for several months. Despite his reticence, I got to share a comforting moment with him in a man-to-man conversation. And it was a really nice thing to be able to do that for and with him and feel that closeness.
It’s taken some years doing the practice, but I genuinely feel like the healing process is complete. I can never go back to being broken again. I can never go back to being incompetent and heartbroken. I feel reborn.