A Sudden Rush of WellbeingBY BERNIE
I struggled with depression when I was a young man. I guess you’d say I was a nerd when I was in school; I was very good at math and science, and not as good at sports or handling social interactions. I just felt like I had no instruction manual for how to connect with others, and by the time I got to high school, the sense of shame and inadequacy was overwhelming. I was 16 when my anger and sadness got to be so bad that I was pulled out of school and sent to an inpatient crisis center for troubled adolescents.
That crisis center gave me something I hadn’t had before: real friends. We were locked down together for six months, and we had no choice but to find support from each other. For the first time in my life, I had girls who were friends, and I grew very close to a few of them. Something about the structure of the crisis center helped make that closeness possible. We were aware from the normal high school cliques and cruel social games that had left me so alienated. In the crisis center, we could be authentic, and I experienced real intimacy with my peers for the first time in my life.
As an adult, I spent years trying to recreate the same kind of comfort and closeness I had known in that teen crisis center. I joined countless groups, looking for that kind of intensity and mutual support. I also dated as best I could: I was serially monogamous, but always fell apart as soon as one of my relationships ended. I’d be incapacitated by depression and loneliness for months after each breakup, until I found the strength to drag myself to another group or community where I had a chance to find safety.
I first heard about OM at a cuddle party in Los Angeles. It was my first event after another breakup. I told this guy I met about my situation, and the cycle in which I felt stuck. He got animated, and told me I had to try Orgasmic Meditation. I must have given him a strange look, because he reassured me that it was so much more than I could imagine. “What you’re struggling with, OM will help with that.”
My first OM was amazing. The moment I started to stroke her, I felt and saw her whole body light up. It was stunning. My finger had only been on her clitoris for a moment, and she was responding so powerfully to my touch. Before I could get excited, I sensed a change, and I realized that it felt more like her clitoris was stroking my finger rather than the other way around. It was a new feeling, and I didn’t want it to stop. We had an OM twice that day and had a really good conversation afterwards.
Later, when I got in my car and started to drive home, I felt this sudden rush of wellbeing. It almost felt like I was on a drug, but I was completely sober, just rolling on waves of warmth and happiness. I felt my heart open, and this incredibly intense, pleasurable sensation move through every cell of my body. I was still able to drive just fine, but even the steering wheel beneath my hands began to feel wonderfully warm and good.
I don’t always have such an ecstatic response to OMing. That would be an exaggeration. What is possible over time is that I’m able to connect with people very deeply in a way I never have before. One thing I realized in OM was that my past relationships often failed because they were unbalanced; one person was the receiver and the giver, and there was no real mutuality. Depending on the woman, I’d been one or the other – but never was I able to experience what it was like to both give and receive. In the structure of the OM itself, I found a way to practice that healthy exchange. It was important too, I think, that I first learned how to do this with a woman with whom there was no attraction either way, because it helped me understand that this exchange is about so much more than traditional sexuality.
One of the reasons I was pulled out of high school and sent to a crisis center was I had made it so clear I could not bear how uncomfortable “normal life” was for me. I couldn’t handle challenges. I realize that I repeated that pattern of running away from discomfort again and again in my adult life, and it had been a huge issue in my relationships. OM showed me that every uncomfortable situation is temporary. If your back aches in the nest, it will all be over in 15 minutes; you can bear it that long. If someone is confronting you about something you did, the confrontation will end. You can bear it for that long, I tell myself, it’s just a set of sensations. OM taught me how to give and receive pleasure on a very high level, but it also taught me how to handle challenge and discomfort. That’s a pretty amazing thing to have in your toolkit, and I have it. I am so grateful.