Healing My Deepest Shame & TraumaBY HELEN
OM is about so much more than sex. I need to start by mentioning sex, though, because I came to this practice in need of so much healing in this area of my life. I’m 41 now, and I came to OM a few years ago – after nearly 20 years of living in a woman’s body, experiencing objectification, contempt, catcalls and so many other hurtful things. We accept that people who have been raped deal with severe trauma, but so many other people (not just women) carry the hurts from less extreme forms of abuse. By the time I was in my 30s, I felt like I’d been carrying these wounds most of my life. I was exhausted.
In our culture, we teach people that the only way to get sexual healing is through having sex. That never seemed to work for me. Instead of healing, I experienced trauma over and over again, ranging from the severe to the simply depressing. Sex brought up all of these feelings for me, but I could never find someone with whom to process through those feelings safely.
When I first heard about OM, I certainly did not think it would be the practice and the process that would bring about my healing. I live in San Francisco, and I learned about OM when a good friend’s mother came to stay with me while she was taking some advanced workshops in the city. What she described sounded appalling and invasive, and I wanted no part of it. I did watch one video online, and it just seemed weird to me. Maybe it was others’ cup of tea; it wasn’t mine.
It would be two years before I changed my mind. And when I did go to an OM workshop, I wasn’t looking to change my life. The reason I went was to meet men. I share this because I think it’s important we make it clear that there are no “wrong reasons” to show up to OM!
I did meet a man during my first workshop. We didn’t have sexual chemistry, but I felt comfortable and relaxed with him, and I could tell he felt the same with me. I had my first OM with him, and from the time I crawled into the nest, thought it was just about the most fascinating thing I’d ever encountered. My reaction was worlds away from how I’d responded when my friend’s mom had described it to me two years earlier. I wasn’t appalled, I was intrigued – and more remarkably for me, given all my anxieties and suspicions around anything sexual, I was relaxed.
In the rest of the world, when a woman has her genitals touched, it’s in either a clinical or a sexual situation. In the doctor’s office, you have to distract yourself and think of something else; for me, during sex, I’d be hyper-aware that it wasn’t ever exactly the way I wanted it to be. OM shifted all that. I could say stop when I wanted. I could say “more,” and I would get more. I could ask for any change I liked and be sure I would get it. This might not seem revolutionary to some people, but to me it was a complete revelation.
Before OM, I was very big on trying new things. You name it, if I wanted to do it, I did it. I’ve had this big, amazing life, and I’ve had so many incredibly interesting experiences. What I realized after OM was how passive I was during those experiences themselves. I might go skydiving, for example, and enjoy it – but it never occurred to me that I could change the experience of skydiving. Whatever happened when I jumped out of the airplane was supposed to happen the way it happened. OM showed me that I could start going deeper and start developing a sense of what I wanted. It did more, giving me a tool for helping me to ask for whatever it was I wanted. I can enter into something, and leave just as quickly, and I don’t have to endure anything in uncomfortable silence any longer.
I’ve done a lot of therapy over the years, as well as other healing modalities. Don’t get me wrong, they’re all great and valuable. But OM takes healing to the next level. It provided healing for my deepest shame and trauma, and it did in a way that incorporated my whole body. I couldn’t talk my way through this. It’s like the difference between telling someone your neck hurts and going to the chiropractor for actual relief. That’s what OM is like – an extremely safe, nurturing, enduringly-healing chiropractic visit.
I have this wonderful partner I met through OM. Until this man and this practice, I’d never been able to say, “I’d rather not have sex, but can we just fool around?” My partner only wants to do the things I want to do, and he understands on a deep level that both of us truly when we only do what I want to do. I cannot begin to describe how healing that is for me. I know I’m not alone in that.