The Power to Cut Through Social Conditioning

BY PATRICIA

As an introvert, I enjoy being alone a lot of the time. However, I recognize the limits of solitude. I have to push myself to find ways of connecting to other people, even though it's not always easy to find a satisfying way to be with people. As a child, I was told I was “too sensitive.” When I cried, I often had the feeling I shouldn't be crying. So, it was easier to be by myself.

During my Catholic childhood, there were parts of the church experience I liked. The incense, for example, and the recitations in Latin. During those times, I didn't have to listen. It gave me a chance to be alone with God. I'm not a practicing Catholic anymore, but church did lead me to a sense of the divine.

Our family had a traditional structure. My dad went off to work, and my mother stayed home, being a housewife and raising three kids. I had a secret fascination with nudist camps, wondering what it felt like to live without clothes. When I was a teenager, my mom told me, “Sex is for men,” no doubt expressing frustration with the passivity instilled by her own upbringing. I knew instinctively that she was wrong, and I was determined to figure out how a woman could enjoy sex.

Because I've always been interested in logic and intellectual pursuits, I came to see myself as having a masculine mind. As the feminist movement was growing, I was trying to figure out what it meant to be “feminine.” When I came across Orgasmic Meditation, it attracted me because it seemed to address these conflicts that had been woven into my life for a long time: the desire for fulfilling connection with people, the idea of pleasure for women, and an understanding of the feminine.

At that point, I was no longer married, and I hadn't been in a serious relationship for five or ten years. I wanted to find a partner, but the online dating world was daunting. I didn't want to spend so much time sorting through people on the Internet. OM offered the chance to meet people like myself who were interested in personal growth and spirituality.

In my first OM, it was amazing to feel someone touching my body in a way that gave me pleasure without my having to do anything.   It was a beautiful experience, and I felt safe because of the container. I could see that people honored and trusted the rules of the container, which made it clear what was required and what wasn't allowed. 

The container created an experience that was so simple and focused, I could thoroughly explore the sensations in my body. I discovered different flavors of energy that I had never known existed. There are natural highs and lows, and a natural high doesn’t have to be a climax. It doesn’t have to go up and up and then burst. It can go up and up and then gently start going down again. There are peaks in the downs as well as the ups. Experiencing this variety has been like discovering a new world.

After the first few OMs, I was able to spend less time in my head and more time noticing what was going on in my body. When I do sitting meditation, if my mind wanders, I keep bringing it back to my breath. In an OM, I bring my attention back to the spot where the finger and the clitoris are touching. That spot is a more compelling focus than my breath, so it's much easier to stay present in OM than in other kinds of meditation. Another difference is that there's another person there with me, so the meditation includes communication. When I notice I'm wanting the stroke to be a bit softer or firmer, I can ask for an adjustment. There's an interaction between my sensation, my desire, and my voice. 

It seems, at first, that the purpose of the adjustment is for me to have a more pleasurable sensation, but really, it's not for anything other than having a better connection. The meditation works best when I'm in my body and I can feel the connection and the energy flowing through me and through the stroker.

OM has provided so many lessons that extrapolate to daily life. I had to learn to make value-neutral adjustments. If I asked the stroker to move his finger slightly to the right, and it didn't feel like the stroke changed at all, sometimes I'd repeat the adjustment with a little irritation in my voice. It was as if I was hurt or mad that the stroker hadn't really listened to me the first time. As I noticed my tendency to judge or blame, I began to train myself to let that pass through me and just make a simple request. If I go to a cafe and ask for a cup of coffee and it doesn't arrive for ten minutes, I'll start to get annoyed. But I can catch myself, go back to neutral, and then politely remind the server I'm still waiting for my coffee. It feels way better.

Asking for OMs can be challenging because of my fear of rejection. But in OM, rejections are made matter-of-factly: just a simple “No, thank you.” It makes it easy to move on and not feel bad about myself. That experience has helped me ask for what I want in other areas of my life, despite my upbringing that taught me the woman should wait until the man asks, whether it's for a date or to correct some problem. Once, when I was traveling, I thought I had been overcharged on my plane ticket. I thought, Oh, well, there was a computer, it's probably right. Then, my OM training kicked in, and I thought I might as well ask, as a way of breaking that ingrained conditioning. I went to the airline service counter, explained the situation to the man, and got my money back. 

OM has the power to cut through our social conditioning on so many levels. Just allowing a person to touch the most sensitive part of my body for fifteen minutes, with no intention of reaching a climax, is a revolutionary step. By safely breaking down barriers, the practice creates a type of connection that I've never experienced in any other relationship, including marriage. It's a shortcut to a deep connection with myself and another person at the same time.