When Yoga Isn't Enough, Do You Need Orgasmic Meditation?

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The word "OM" may have spiritual meaning for you, and it’s likely a key part of your yoga practice. But you probably didn't associate it with orgasms—until now. 

Enter OneTaste, the San Francisco company behind orgasmic meditation (OM) founded in 2004 by Zen Buddhist Nicole Daedone.

So, What Is Orgasmic Meditation?

Orgasmic meditation is a wellness practice where for 15 minutes a partner strokes a woman’s clitoris with no goal other than for both people to be present moment to moment, explains OneTaste President Maya Block. “Just like meditation is about goalless attention on the present moment and the breath, OMing is also a mindfulness practice that focuses on the sensations of body," Block explains. "What you practice when you OM is learning how to let go with every single stroke. You can have an OM where the whole experience of is like those places you go in meditation where you feel completely clear in your head, all of the monkey mind goes away, and you feel completely open and present."

Other purported benefits include increasing your capacity for intimacy, empathy, and sensitivity; reducing stress; and helping you create a deeper connection with yourself, your body, and your partner. “As you sensitize more and open parts of yourself, you have more access to your desire in everything, and a more felt sense of what you want," Block adds.

But before you start wondering how this seemingly kooky sexual practice got mixed up with meditation, take a deep breath and consider the facts. When you sign up for a OneTaste class, coaches simply demonstrate the practice. If you wish to practice OMing, you do so privately on your own time, either with your romantic partner, or a partner you meet within the OneTaste community. Gloves are recommended, even for married partners. And despite the title of the practice, having an orgasm is not the goal here, technically speaking.

See also The Meditation You Need to Try Before You Have Sex Tonight

Redefining the Orgasm

“We are redefining orgasm," Block says. "Our concept of orgasm is very outdated, goal-oriented, and static. The obsession our culture has with climax creates a pathology that doesn’t exist. Every woman is orgasmic. They’ve medicalized women who can’t climax or who don’t climax the way they think they should, when our definition is if your body is not going there, that might be not how your body is supposed to react. Disappointment happens when we are pressuring ourselves with some expectation that we should be getting somewhere. The next thought is, ‘Something wrong with me.’"

Although OneTaste doesn’t discourage climaxing—“It can be totally amazing if it happens,” Block says—OMing is less about climax and more about experiencing what OneTaste refers to as “the orgasm state.”

“Climax is a few seconds of physical experience, whereas the state of orgasm is continuous—more akin to an optimal state of consciousness brought about from the activation of the sex impulse,” she explains. “It’s that feeling of being so completely absorbed in an experience that there is no psychic chatter, no being ‘stuck in your head’; a falling away of the ego. When this happens, our sense of limitations falls away as well. In the orgasm state, we feel totally present and connected, as if a deeper intuitive sense has awakened. The state occurs both in the practice of OM itself, and it has cumulative positive effects that carry over into everyday life.”

Even though OneTaste has been around for more than a decade, it’s attracting newfound attention, thanks to Nicole Prause, Ph.D., one of the leading sex researchers in the world. Prause is conducting the first IRB-approved clinical trials of partnered stimulation in the U.S, which aim to demonstrate what happens in the brains and bodies of both partners during the orgasm state. The results are expected to be published in March 2018. Block hopes this study will validate the efficacy of the methodology of OM. 

See also 10 Ways Yoga Leads to Better Sex

What’s in It for the Guys?

Unlike meditation and other yoga and wellness practices, you can't OM alone. “You always have to have a partner, and part of that is because it’s a meditation in connection," Block explains.

The stroker can be male or female, but you need to have a clitoris in order to be stroked. Yet Block says the practice is as much for men as it is for women,and that plenty of men sign up for the class, even without partners.

“Men so deeply want to understand connection,” Block says. “Culturally it’s the thing they’ve been the most blocked from; they’re told to not feel, to man up. For some people the deeper thing is what opens in the man as he’s stroking—the ability to have empathy, and connection to his emotions and feelings. Women are conditioned to temper their sexuality, and men are conditioned to temper their emotions and emotional receptivity. Our lifelong work is to break through these areas of conditioning. When a man is practicing, the only thing he is doing is feeling. He is not looking at [his OM partner] for performance. The only thing that can guide him is his ability to feel in each moment where there’s the most resonance. How do you stroke with right resonance to have it be on the right spot and create the most connection?"

What It's Really Like—Orgasmic Meditators Open Up

Aimee Batuski, a 25-year-old life coach from Los Angeles, says she first learned about OMing from a YouTube video, and she was “totally disturbed, disgusted, and terrified.” “I never wanted anything to do with it,” she recalls. Two years later, two trusted girlfriends recommended the practice in the same week, so even though it “freaked her out,” Batuski signed up for a OneTaste intro class in Los Angeles a little over a year ago.

“I thought it was really powerful and beautiful,” says Batuski, who ended up signing up for OneTaste’s 6-month coaching program that same day. "I didn’t have a romantic partner when I went. I was very scared to do OM—even after the intro class, I did not do the experience for two months. I was traveling in New York, and I connected with some people in the OneTaste community. I OMed with somebody who had been OMing for 2–3 years. Now I OM with whomever I feel comfortable with, if I like their vibe and feel I can trust them, and they take the practice seriously."

Like Block, Batuski maintains that OMing is very different from having sex. “I wouldn’t have sex with most of my OM partners. You don’t need to have the same attraction—the purpose is to feel and go into a meditative state. I’ve OMed with gay men, with women…it’s the practice, connection, and meditation—it’s not about sexuality. The person being stroked is being trained to feel rather than be in her head. The person stroking has his or her full attention on one part of another person’s body and one point of connection. You’re so clear and connected that everything else falls away. It’s the best focus-training practice that exists, in my opinion."

Hugh Brockington, 32, an OMer of about a year and a half who lives in Los Angeles, says OMing has improved his intuition, his relationships, his business, and his sex life, too. "My experience with OM, as a male, has been that of wake up. I’ve noticed that I don’t take things personally so much anymore, that my intuition has increased, and that I've awakened a whole new aspect of my sexuality [that I had] never experienced," the health coach, fitness trainer, and singer/performer tells YJ. "Before OM, I had never had sex with a woman; I automatically assumed I was only sexually attracted to men and [had] played out my life in only that space. I had a belief that no woman would want to experiment/play with me. Through OM, I got to step through a portal that was safe and effective in allowing me to overcome my mental blocks. I've [opened my sex life] to women and in the process, my sex with men and all over has been explosive, powerful, and fun."

Ultimately, OMing is really about connection, Batuski says. "It translates into conversations with family, friends, your boss, your sex life, your relationships. The way [people who OM] can listen and connect is night and day from people who don’t OM."

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See also 4 Poses to Deepen Intimacy and Strengthen Relationships