The Distinction Between Obligation and Desire
by Melody

When I discovered that my husband was having an affair, he was unapologetic. He spent the next 18 months going back and forth between me and his lover before finally moving out for good. It was during that time, in the extended death throes of my six-year marriage, that I found out about Orgasmic Meditation.

I knew I wanted to try the practice the moment I heard it described. I wanted someone to describe my genitals in value-neutral terms. I wanted to see myself differently. I wanted to develop a better relationship with my body. I wanted to feel that my genitals were beautiful, wanted to love and accept a part of myself that I had always regarded as a problem. OM sounded like it would create the space for me to enjoy my genitals, rather than treating them as a receptacle for a man. But I didn’t have the courage to ask anyone to try it. I also didn’t believe that any man would be willing to put that kind of attention on me. I signed up to receive emails about the practice and continued with my life. 

I grew up in a Christian environment and felt a lot of shame and embarrassment about my body. I thought of my body as evil because it was tempting to men, and I would cover it up most of the time. I had been taught to say no if a guy touched me, unless I was married, but even then my body had been programmed away from touch. All these boundaries around my body were imposed by someone else, I hadn't consciously chosen any of them but they ran my life.

Even after we got married, touch continued to feel wrong with my husband. I didn’t know how to embrace pleasure. Everything felt naughty and dirty. The result was that I didn’t advance sexually as quickly as he wanted. This was a source of disconnection between us. Sex, for me, was mostly about ensuring that his needs were taken care of. I would do it just to please him. I wouldn’t even complain if it hurt most of the time. I simply waited for it to be over. Though I don’t think our sex life was solely responsible for the demise of our marriage, it certainly played a part. 

It took me a while to heal from separation and divorce, but some things had shifted inside when I met Frederic in September 2015. I liked him and decided that we should start dating. It felt like the first time that I was the one doing the choosing. In the past, a man would choose me, and I would grow to love him. This was different.

When he moved to Vietnam for work and ours became a long-distance relationship, I finally felt like I had had enough. I decided I was willing to try Orgasmic Meditation. It had been almost three years since I’d first heard about the practice, and the desire had never left me. I thought to myself, ‘I cannot wait any longer.’ I searched online for events in Paris, where I was living, and learned to OM.

In my first OM, I remember feeling a lot right away. Although I had been nervous about taking off my trousers, once I got in the nest, I relaxed and allowed myself to feel every stroke. I felt like everything was taken care of by my OM partner, and I trusted him as a result. Afterwards, I couldn’t come up with a frame—a description of a moment of sensation from the OM—because it felt like I had been immersed in a world of sensation. I had no words to describe it at the time. We had two OMs on that first occasion, and I felt ashamed when I climaxed during the second one. I saw OM as a spiritual practice, and I wasn’t sure how climax fit into the picture.

About a month later, I had this experience in an OM where it felt like my genitals dropped and opened, followed a few minutes later by a complete release of the muscles in my body. I felt more relaxed, grounded, and open than I had ever felt before. I couldn’t believe that I had been holding myself together so tightly. The release had been unmistakable; it felt so big, so powerful. I began to notice that I felt happier and brighter energetically.

OM made it possible for me to enjoy being a woman. Before I started the practice, nothing in my life made me feel like being a woman was a good thing. I had never worn pink. I had never carried a purse. I had never known how to be close with other women. I felt powerless in my relationships. But in a nest, feeling pleasure and getting attention, it felt good to be a woman.

Learning how to make adjustments in my OMs showed me how to communicate my needs and wants. This felt like the dissolution of yet another big block. One of my favorite OM memories is of practicing with a stroker who went the extra mile to make sure that his nest was the most comfortable place ever. The thick yoga mat and extra soft and warm blanket made me feel like royalty.

When Frederic returned from Vietnam for his first visit, I was disappointed that he showed no interest in OM. I tried to show him some videos and share with him the difference it could make to our relationship, but he told me he didn’t think we needed it. Rather than back down—which is what the old me would have done, just let the man lead—I stayed in the conversation and held my desire.

When I made the decision to walk away from the relationship, it was informed by a clear distinction I had learned from my OM practice—the difference between obligation and desire. OM showed me that I no longer have to make my life decisions just to please other people. I know that my desires matter now, and I will never ever forget that.