A Nutrient That is Regenerative and EverlastingBY CHRISTOPH FRIEDRICH
I grew up in Frankfurt, Germany, and when I was nine years old, my mother discovered that my dad was having an affair, and my parents divorced. My parent’s divorce taught me that following your impulses is “bad” and not following them is “good”.
After they split, my parents have remained enmeshed; my mother could never completely let go. My own relationship with my dad has begun to deepen only in the last five years or so. For most of my life, the relationship was stormy. Now there is more connection between us, mostly due to my growth through OM.
I stayed with my mom after the divorce. I had to encourage her to keep going, remind her that life goes on. I did this on a daily basis, as if it were a full-time job.
In high school, I began to break away from her influence and rebel against the weight of her depression. But I had to repeat two years of high school because my attention was directed either to her depression or to checking out and escaping completely. I had nothing left in the tank for academics.
Theatre was one of the few things that really lit me up. It was a powerful outlet, and, for a while, I wanted to make it my career. I went to theater school in New York City for three years, and for the first time, was out from under my mother’s influence and totally on my own.
In high school, I had begun a pattern of investing a huge amount of myself into my relationships with women. Intimacy became a safe haven that made me feel I could be unfiltered and vulnerable. In fact, I wanted that feeling so much that I would abandon myself in big ways and small to keep having it. So when I started dating someone in New York I followed the same pattern.
I married right after theater school. My wife had never been in a relationship nor had she ever had sex until we started dating. Our sex life was somewhat challenging; she was slow to open up, and I had a lot of hunger and passion but not much ability to control my needs. Five years into our marriage we decided to try having an open marriage. My wife had no problem finding people to sleep with, but I didn’t find it so easy. This was 2012; I didn’t really understand dating apps or how to meet women casually. Within a year, she started dating someone with whom she fell in love and we split up.
I got into a new relationship with a woman who was a stripper, a former escort, and the complete opposite of my wife. We had great, easy sex, but we didn’t connect particularly well emotionally. I coached soccer, but I wasn’t passionate or purposeful. It was as if I were slowly dying inside, all my ideas about how life is meant to be revealing themselves to be empty illusions.
My relationship with the stripper came to a wildly dramatic end that involved her going through my emails and totally invading my privacy in a jealousy-fueled rage. But she did leave me with one everlasting gift: she told me about OM.
By the time I finally made it to an OM class, I was desperate for real connection. People in the class talked about intimacy, sensitivity, consciousness and sexuality in a non-shameful way, while my own experience up to that point had been that most conversations having anything to do with genitals always involved some degree of shame or sensationalism. I was struck by having so many people in one room admitting and talking openly and honestly about wanting real intimacy in their lives. I realized how accessible intimacy could be if I were to organize my life around having it. Rather than doing that, I had been skating along the surface of what was available to me. I sensed that OM could give me access to more intimacy than I could handle, and I wouldn’t have to contort myself, date someone, or be anything but me to have it.
A week later, I had my first OM with someone I’d met in the class. What surprised me the most about the experience were my anxiety and nervousness, and my ability to recognize and be with those feelings. Normally, I wasn’t so aware of my anxiety. In the OM, however, I noticed every part of it: the thoughts that reflected it and the ways my body clenched or tightened because of it. And although it was uncomfortable, I could actually see it and let it be.
After OMs, I felt unleashed and unfiltered, filled with energy, feeling as if all the constraints I normally put on myself were falling away. It was freedom, and I felt immediately dedicated to continuing this liberation.
Sex changed; my body had awakened. All my senses were on fire and attuned to the subtleties of my feelings. I could go slow and savor an experience, feeling less and less need to make something happen, to “have an orgasm” or “give her an orgasm.” All the nuances of sex became extraordinary, and climax became a lot less important.
OM filled me up and fed my hunger in such a beautiful way that I could start to relate differently to women. I no longer look to them only as something to nourish me, distract me, or validate me. I learned to stand up inside myself and parent myself better. I have become less reactive, more understanding. My relationship with my mother has improved to the point where we are no longer enmeshed, nor do I hold her at such a distance as I once did.