Removing the Shame From Hunger


After I split from my husband of nine years, I went into hibernation. My niece would visit and say, “Auntie Jocelyn, why are you so sleepy?” I knew I needed to do something. 

I was impressed with my first OM class. We were asked, “what’s the flavor of your intimacy?” Mine is dark gooey chocolate brownies with rich cream and a cherry on top (at the time it was more of a Jacob’s cracker -- dry and bland and nothing). 

My ex-husband is an amazing person, but we didn’t have what it would have taken to make it as a couple. I’ve always been one of those people who would rather hurt my own feelings than hurt anyone else’s. It was confronting for me to say that I had more passion and desire than he seemed to want to match. When I was five, my parents sent me to a child psychologist because I was rubbing myself up against the sofa and things. The psychologist asked me to draw how I felt, and I drew fireworks. So from an early age the idea was that this is wrong and you should feel shame. 

When I had my first OM, it didn’t feel sexual in the way I thought it would. The container gave a clear, defined boundary; my vigilance dropped. There was no sense of pressure to have it go a certain way or to do it again with the same person.

In my first couple of OMs, I wasn’t able to give any adjustments. It was as if my voice was frozen. But that cleared quickly and then I could give direction. This helped me learn to ask for what it is that I want and not worry whether that’s a good or bad thing for the other person.

I very soon had a greater sense of confidence and belief in myself. There was a sense of expression everywhere. In a meeting at work, if someone cut in, I’d say, “Actually, this is what I meant.” And we’d clear it up rather than them thinking I’d said something that I hadn’t said at all. 

I think I stayed with my husband for so long because he was a bit of a caretaker. I chose him because he was the person I needed to nurture and nourish me. My parents didn’t set me any boundaries when I was a kid. They didn’t teach me how to stick up for myself and say no because they said yes to everything. They said yes to a tattoo at 15, said yes if I said I didn’t want to go to school. It seemed great, but it was a disturbing boundarylessness. And then if something went wrong, I’d fall into a crazy state of despair. I didn’t have a backbone. At university, I struggled with the workload so I just stopped doing the work. I had a nervous breakdown.

The feelings I get in some of my OMs translate into how I deal with life when it’s not running smoothly. I recently did three OMs in a row. The third one was like nuzzling my face in a warm blanket or being wrapped in the inside of a teddy bear. It was easy for the stroker to find the spot. But OM is not just about feeling good. One OM gave me a kind of underlying jarring sensation in my body. But I went with it. And the next one was bland. The sensations came and went. They’re not all full of fireworks, but that’s okay.

In the same way, when things happen that would have upset me before or I’d have tried to resist them, I now lean in. I give myself approval to feel the upset and it passes more quickly than I thought it would. It flows through me and it doesn’t get stuck as it does when I try to block it or squash it down.