I've Become More Comfortable With Other People's SexualityBY JOHN
Upstairs at my friend Sally's house, we were playing doctor. I was ten years old. I had heard about the difference between boys and girls, but I'd never actually seen what a girl had between her legs. Sexual desire was nowhere in my thought. I was just curious. I lifted the hem of her skirt so I could peek inside her panties. She jumped up and ran downstairs to get her mother.
When they walked in the room, Sally pointed at me and said, “He did it.” Her mother glared at me, and I realized I must have done something wrong. I held my breath, waiting for a tongue-lashing. Instead, to my horror, she turned to Sally and beat the living daylights out of her, while I stood there watching. My Catholic upbringing had already generated guilt about sin and sex, and I now had an extra heap of shame to carry into adulthood.
Still I managed to marry and father two children. I loved being a dad, living for someone else and becoming less self-centered. I liked golfing, but one day, when my first kid was six months old, I was on the golf course, and it suddenly occurred to me I could be spending time with my daughter. I said, “You know what? I don't need this. When she doesn't want to hang out with me any more, I'll go back to golf.”
I worked as a dentist, which I'd decided I was going to do when my second-grade teacher asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Whenever I set my mind to something, I complete it. My practice and my family were my whole life. Then, after eighteen years of marriage, my relationship fell apart. We tried to work it through, but my wife had an affair. We went through therapy, and she decided she wanted to leave. I tried really hard not to have a breakup, but she couldn't get through it. Finally I gave up, and we divorced.
I fell into depression. I was out there just floating around, looking for something, but I didn't know what. I went camping and joined several meetup groups. One day I read about OM. At first, I wasn't sure it was real, but I was intrigued. On some level, I must have sensed that I was repressed and needed to find a way to open up and be comfortable with my sexuality. I decided to try it out.
It took me a long time to get up the nerve to ask someone to OM, but luckily, when I met with people who were OMing, someone asked me. The first time, I was sweating and nervous, trying to focus on doing the technique right. After a few OMs, I started to ask myself why I was so uncomfortable in the sessions. It came to me that I was coming up against religious guilt and that traumatic experience at the age of ten.
The noticing step was particularly hard for me. Before the stroking begins, the stroker looks at the strokee's genitals and describes them in a neutral way, without placing any value judgment on what he sees. That's pretty similar to what I was doing as a little boy. I had no perverted thoughts, I just wanted to see what was underneath the panties that was so different from my own body. In the noticing step of OM, I had a hard time even saying anything. Then I made the connection between my discomfort and the traumatic memory, and I was able to work through it.
OM's goallessness had a big effect on me. I've always been good at setting a goal and sticking to it, and here was a practice that was about being present in the moment and feeling sensations, instead of trying to make something happen. I learned to let go and appreciate each moment.
Now I'm taking a break from dentistry. I'm traveling a lot, deciding by intuition where to go. I'm getting pleasure out of life. I still have a lot of connections in the dental field, and I used to teach. I may go back to it, since I do enjoy my profession. For now, it's on the back burner.
Another change is that I'm no longer homophobic. At the moment, I'm traveling with two women and a trans man. I've become more comfortable with other people's sexuality, whatever it may be, as well as with my own.
For so many years, I was repressed, but OM has helped me resolve a lot of guilt and shame. OM is a great method to break down barriers within yourself and help you understand yourself. It's truly liberating.