OM as Self-CareBY EVA
When I was seventeen, I discovered a desire for women. At university, I went crazy, meeting lots of women and having a string of monogamous relationships, alternating with periods of being single. I went to lesbian bars, trying to find women I had something in common with, yearning for a strong sense of connection.
Since I was pretty insecure, I used different tactics to initiate intimacy. If I wanted to check out a woman, I would get my best friend, Maureen, to go over and find out a whether she was gay. Then Maureen would say, “My friend fancies you,” and that was how I found my second girlfriend. When I was on my own, I'd approach women with an innocuous question. “What time does the bar close?” “Where's the toilet?” I'd often leave a bar feeling empty and alone at the end of the night.
My job with an Internet company was high-pressure. Being a woman in tech is not easy, and I was eager to climb the ladder, wanting to impress. Often when I went to bars with my friend Jenna, she would end up with women who were slightly better-looking and higher on the career ladder, and I would get her cast-offs. So there was that undercurrent of competitiveness, in both my professional and personal lives, the feeling of not being quite good enough. When I did find someone I thought was more desirable, I'd put her on a pedestal. If I lost my job, or if she met someone who seemed like a better fit, my ego was completely slammed, and the relationship would crash and burn.
When I left England for the U.S., my perspective expanded, as I discovered a whole new world of self-awareness work and met people who had open relationships. An intense partnership with an American woman fell apart, leaving me feeling betrayed and heartbroken. I decided to reroute the pain into self-exploration, to take a timeout and try to change the direction of my life. That's when a friend introduced me to OM.
I had challenged myself to a sex sabbatical. I'd moved away from the lesbian bars and was trying to explore my mind in a different way. OMing has never felt like sex to me. It's a deeper form of mental connection, and most of the people that I've OMed with have been friends.
My first OM was with a woman who had a lot of experience in the practice and made me feel safe and comfortable. During the session I felt a shift in my body, and I was swept up in a wave of emotion that gave me a tremendous sense of release. Afterwards, I was so tired, I went home to have a long nap. When I woke up, I felt great. I realized a lot had been brought up for me to process. The gravitas of the practice resonated with me and made me want to continue.
OMing became a significant form of self-care, helping to reduce my stress level. There's nothing quite like having fifteen minutes of attention entirely focused on my needs. In an OM, I don't have to think about what I'm going to do for the other person, and I don't have to worry if I'm good enough.
In an OM, I could express my thoughts and desires. I could ask the stroker for adjustments to make the stroking feel better, and I let my body respond in a way that felt comfortable, without fear of reproach or the other person wondering what I was doing. I still especially like the grounding steps at the beginning and the end, when the stroker presses on my thighs. It gives me a sense of security and stability, and I feel nurtured.
Sometimes I've taken the role of the stroker, which produces a very different experience. I find it really rewarding. The first time was with a woman who was already a close friend, and OMing helped deepen our connection. She made a lot of adjustments, which were fine for me. I didn't have performance anxiety, although I did want to give her a good experience, not just on my behalf but so she would appreciate OMing, which we had spoken about so much. As the stroker, I stayed in my head initially but later was able to drop into my body to some extent, experiencing my own sensations and connecting to hers.
Early in my practice, I started dating Gale, an experienced OMer who was having many OMs a week with a variety of men. My OM practice became more frequent, but I still stuck to OMing with women. I'm glad I set that boundary and stuck to it.
Gale and I drifted apart when I realized she was more geared towards open relationships. But over time, as I diversified my friendship network, I started exploring open relationships myself. After seven years of that expansion and learning, I've returned to monogamy.
By learning to heighten the sense of connection I experienced in OM, I've also developed deeper connections with people in daily life. When I meet someone, I can cut through the small talk and go straight to an exchange of truth and feeling. I don't have to resort to tricks to initiate intimacy. As I develop more confidence, I attract women who are also confident, strong, and stable. The confidence is like an OM nutrient that helps fill me up.