Endless LearningBY DOUG
I've always been good at being friends with women. My feminine side was cultivated by my sisters and a strong mother, so I know how to be sympathetic and respectful to women. But getting beyond friendship became a challenge in my late twenties.
My first relationship began when I was sixteen and lasted eleven years. I'm so glad we had that time together, but we were kids when we started. By the time I was 27, I was in a state of confusion. I didn't know what I was doing with my career, and I was suppressing a lot of my emotional self, which left me depressed. A therapist helped open up some of my feelings, and I didn't know how to handle them. I felt like I had to clear everything out of my life, tear it all down, so I could find who I was. I told my partner I needed time to myself and that I didn't know what my life was going to look like. She was very understanding even though we had been engaged earlier. Now she's married with three kids, and we're still friends.
So there I was at 27, trying to figure out how to be a single adult male for the first time in my life. I had no idea how to explore the sexual side of a relationship. I was going out talking to girls for the first time like a sixteen-year-old, but in a 27-year-old's body. Having been friends with women for so long, I felt protective of them when I saw how guys often behave. Therefore, I felt guilty thinking of women in a way other than friendship. I had a lot of trouble communicating what I wanted. It was confusing for both me and them.
At one point, I was starting to date someone who lived in L.A., when I was living in San Francisco. She said she wanted to hang out, but when I drove down to L.A. to see her, she said, “Why are you here? I didn't mean I wanted to hang out right now.” I realized I had no idea what I was doing.
It was time to look around for something that would help me communicate with women. I've always been open-minded, and if something's a little scary or uncomfortable, it actually attracts me. So when I learned about OM, I was willing to try it.
My first OM was intense, not so much for me as for the strokee. It was easy to connect with her. By the end, she was euphoric, but as her tension released, her hands locked into a clenched position, and she couldn't unlock them. For a moment, she panicked, and then she calmed down and was able to move her fingers. After that she was absolutely glowing. I don't remember anything in particular happening for me, but it was amazing to be part of an experience that was so significant for her. I'd never seen anything like it.
Most strokers talk about OM getting them in touch with all kinds of sensations in their bodies, but that wasn't the case for me. The main part of OM that intrigues me is the connection to the clitoris and getting to know how it is tied into the rest of the woman's body. I liked learning to plug into it in the most direct way and then building an understanding around it. Every time I OMed, I could sense the other person's body more and more, and also how the physical, the mental, and the emotional are linked together. These insights inform me about every part of human behavior, so I can take them into relationships, career, family, everywhere.
There was a contractor I worked with who was brilliant but hard to get along with. People would want his skills, but then they'd decide they couldn't deal with him. I sensed he had a chaotic nature that took over when he was emotional. I decided not to pay attention when he said offensive things because I could see where it was coming from. I didn't react, and I didn't judge him. We had a productive time working together. A couple years later, he called me up and said he was so grateful, he wanted to return the favor by getting me on the executive team at his new job. The position wasn't appropriate for me, but I was gratified to know I had helped him.
My problem about communicating with women was resolved in a way I could never have envisioned. I learned that if I want to get to know a woman, I don't really have to do anything. I just show up and be present. I can pick up on if a woman is attracted me, if she wants something more from me, in nonverbal ways. If I'm interested in her, then I just open up space for her to feel comfortable and secure, however she's feeling, and I stay attentive and just listen. I've never had a situation, from my thirties on, where I had to direct anything. Once in a while, if a woman thought she didn't have the right to make the first move, I'd have to make a tiny movement, a gentle touch or a motion towards a kiss. The more women saw that I could be respectful and attentive, the more they were attracted. A free channel of expression opened up the possibility of spontaneity. Those experiences increased my confidence around connection.
In my thirties, I wasn't focused on getting into a long-term relationship, but now I've been seeing someone for almost four years. She's extremely intelligent, but this is her first relationship. I tend to be the emotional and communicative one. There are some fundamental differences between us that we may never resolve. I don't know where it'll go from day to day. But we're learning all the time.
As I get older, I want to learn all the time anyway. It's all I want to do in life anymore.