Connection is a muscle I strengthen through OMBY HANNAH
I was trapped. I realize now I was trapping myself. Before I found OM, I had a go-to pattern, and it was withdrawal. My ex would boast to others that I had the best poker face he’d ever seen. He took pride in it, and for a long time, I did too. It was a lonely thing – all I wanted was for someone, anyone, to notice that I was struggling. They never did, and so I would stew in resentment for months and years until I’d have an explosion that was entirely disproportionate to what was actually going on at that moment.
I’d been chasing men since I was young. I always wanted that attention. I could be very forward about making the first move, which isn’t the same thing as asking for what I wanted. The pattern got established early and it stayed the same: I let the guys treat me poorly. There was one guy in high school who would hook up with me and then refuse to acknowledge me in public because his friends would tease him about being a “chubby chaser.” That hurt, but I didn’t have the tools to do anything about it.
When I got older, and Tinder became a thing, I kept having these sketchy sexual experiences. I lived in a small town so there were about 6 guys profiles to choose from. The men never seemed to care about me or my pleasure, and I didn't know how to speak up for it or ask for it, much less command it. Even when I did try to ask, I did it in ways that were unclear and apologetic and laced with weird emotional energy. I was setting traps for both the guy and myself, and we both fell into them time and again.
I didn't believe in good men, and that was a self-fulfilling belief system. I didn't believe there were good men, so I didn't see good men. Because I didn’t believe that either of us were capable of better, I continually accepted behaviors. I just assumed that this was what you had to put up with to be in relationship with men. It was like the standard admission price.
Then I briefly gave up on men altogether. I was tired of constantly being rejected, so I decided to reject all men right back. At 20 years old, I had my first relationship with a woman who was twice my age. I didn't think I was into women, but she was the first human in my life who had ever asked me out. She was the first person who ever did nice things for me like open the car door, buy me flowers, pick up dinner. Being with her felt like what I imagined being someone’s girlfriend should feel like, and that was the appealing part for me. We went on to date for five years and get engaged.
My fiancé and I found out about OM at a women’s retreat in the woods. I resonated with the container of the practice, the structure that holds both people. I needed the holding of a container. I was super familiar with being the container, having people cry and holding space for that, but I never really fully let go into what I’m feeling emotionally. And I always thought the way I orgasm is wrong, my legs would have to be straight together and contracted, I couldn’t relax them. I was brought to tears just talking about it. I turned to my partner and asked if she wanted to do this practice together? And she said no. It was heartbreaking. Our relationship continued to deteriorate over the following year until it ended. I didn’t try OM until a year or two after that.
When I did finally OM, the thing that I connected with immediately was the communication cycle where you make adjustments and offers to dial in the stroke. You want to be specific with your adjustment, so that your stroker can deliver and you’re learning to track sensation in your own body. When you say, “I don’t like that,” or “Can you try something different?” you’re putting all the responsibility on your stroker to figure it out. But if you say, “move a little to the left,” and then “can you stroke higher up,” you’re becoming the map for your own self. Two incredible things came from repeating this exercise in every OM: I could name what I actually wanted rather than hint at it, and my partner could hear what I was saying and actually put it into action.
That ability to connect was like a muscle that was completely enervated. OM woke it up and took it to the gym.
I’d spent so long focused on relationships with men. It was in OM that I found my first real and deep friendships with men. OM is about so much more than stroking one part of the body. It’s about reorienting everything, and it reoriented how I saw men and how I saw myself in relationship to them.
A few months into my OM practice, I was a passenger in a taxi and the air conditioning was blowing directly onto me. I was really cold. I asked the driver to turn it down, and they did so instantly. And it hit me what I’d done, and I started bawling, right there in the car. It was the first time I’d said what I was thinking in real time. I didn’t hesitate, I didn’t build up resentment – I asked for what I wanted, and I got it. It was a revelation.
I never had a good relationship with my family. I still struggle with some of them, but OM has completely transformed my relationship with my sister. I always felt judged by her, and I’ve come to see that she felt the same way about me. I was able to tell her I shut down when I feel her starting to judge me. So, we came up with this practice where when either of us is feeling uncertain, we say it out loud: “I’m worried you’re going to judge me.” The other person then declares they’re going into their non-judgmental zone. It’s a clear container we created, and it works. My relationship with her has been steadily deepening into a really beautiful connection.
Many gems have been gleaned from my OM practice; I learned how to tune into my body and express my desire, I had a significant shift in my relationships with men, and a strengthening in the connection with my sister. These weren’t any of the things I came in for; I wanted to orgasm differently, and find a life partner. Neither of those things came from OM but something even greater did. I developed the skills I needed to navigate every aspect of my life.