There was a period of time in early 2016 where I went on an online dating bender. I was sending an average of 15 to 20 messages a day, if not more. I’ve worked it out, and between March and May, I went on about 15 dates, with 15 different people. None of my potential mates lasted more than 3 days. I was like a time bomb: tick, tick, tick for three days and then everything would self-destruct.
I started asking for feedback from the women that I had dated, and the strongest comments I received, the ones that upset me the most, were that I was too intense. Several of them said that I needed to “dial it down.”
One day, towards the end of my binge, I read in a profile that that the woman practiced a technique called OM. I've always been interested in energetics, so the explanation immediately caught my eye. The transfer of energy between people, the ability to access energy within one’s own body—it all seemed relevant to my situation.
In spite of my sureness that this was for me, I was really, really nervous the first time I had an OM. I struggled to simultaneously keep the clitoral hood back and my finger stroking the one o'clock spot of her clitoris. And I sweated profusely. I didn’t feel much of anything in my body, and when it came time to share our experience through frames, I was too nervous to say much of anything. I don’t think I felt any physical sensation until I had several more OMs.
But I liked it. I knew I liked it. I came to realize that my dates were awkward because neither of us knew what we were doing. You don’t cleanly state your desires, so it can feel like smashing a square peg into a round hole if they don’t match up. It can feel like a hardboiled interrogation. And you’re doing it in a public place.
OM was different. The rules were set from the word go, and everyone knew, if only subconsciously, why they were there.
I began to notice things about myself, about how I work. I began to notice things about other people, things perhaps they couldn’t see clearly themselves. I began to notice the communication that happens at a non-verbal level. I started to notice what all those women had meant by “intense.”
Completely unknowingly, I had been stepping on and trampling the flowers in the feminine garden. Not only was I really bad at noticing any non-verbal cues that a woman was sending me, I would routinely override those cues, just stomp right over them and any other feedback on my way towards what I thought our relationship could be.
Right around my twentieth OM, I began feeling not only my own energy, but my partner’s as well. It was incredibly intense, almost as if my heart was being gently squeezed. Receiving so much felt strange, alien, scary. But necessary and nourishing as well.
What did this mean for me outside of OM? It is still very much a work in progress. A few weeks ago, I found myself in a passionate communication with a lover. In retrospect, it was less communication than a barrage of excited words on my part. It left her feeling overwhelmed, like she didn’t have a voice. Like nothing she would have said would have had any effect on me.
But even though I didn’t notice it at the time, my communication has evolved enough that I knew something was off. And she was able to communicate what it was later on. I realized that I was getting too excited, stacking too many things on top of each other. I was unknowingly creating a lot of pressure in my relationships. In the past? The situation would have blown up. The time bomb would have gone off, and we never would have spoken again. We’re still friends.
I continue to OM regularly. It’s a practice, and I evolve in self-understanding every time I enter the container. And I think perhaps the greatest gift it has given me is that within that container, there is no goal. Goals, climaxes—the idea of what a relationship could and should be—was the driving force of my intensity as a dater. I had somewhere to go, so to speak. But I’m learning that within such a goalless practice as OM, where I focus on the process and the connection instead of the endgame, the pressure is diffused.