The Softening Of My Heart

BY JESSICA RAYES

I’m 35 years old, and I’ve been OM-ing for five years.

I’d say that the defining characteristics of my life before I found OM were conflict and scarcity.  There was a lot of desperation, and this compulsion to get a whole series of things “checked off my list.”  I dated a lot of addicts and alcoholics.  I always felt judged, and under this tremendous pressure to get married and have babies.   And it just wasn’t happening the way it was happening for my friends.  I felt like I was running a race I didn’t want to run.

There was a lot of self-hatred, honestly.  When I broke up with my addict boyfriend, a guy who wasn’t giving me anything I wanted or needed, I lost a lot of what little social circle I had.  I hated myself. I was difficult and not easy to deal with.

I had hit a bottom, I guess.  I was living at home, and my mom was exasperated with me.  She told me, “Look, do speed dating, I don't care. But get your ass out of the house and start meeting men. Get under somebody else.”  Mom could be brutally direct that way.  I wasn’t sure about speed dating, but I did end up finding an OM class online.

At that first class, I remember a male student sharing that he was feeling very tender and unashamedly emotional. He was soft and raw in front of the whole class, and I thought, well if a man in Philadelphia can do this, maybe I can be emotional in front of a group of strangers. That's the strength I want. And that, more than anything else, is how I decided to try Orgasmic Meditation. 

The problem was that the actual stroking was repulsive to me.  I did not want my clitoris stroked.  I did not want to be seen naked from the waist down.  I didn’t want to be vulnerable like that.  And though I did it, I did not do it with pleasure.  It was an act of sheer will to take off my pants and lie down in my first OM, and nothing that happened in the next 15 minutes made it any easier. 

At the same time, I knew the fact that it was so repulsive to me was an indicator for me that I needed to look at something deeper. It wasn’t that I was a prude. I had studied sexual health in college, worked in STI education, and sold sex toys to supplement my income. I was the one my friends came to for help with their most embarrassing questions.  So, if someone like me gets so angry at having their clitoris stroked, if I’m so revolted by the whole process, then I know enough to know that my healing lies in getting to the bottom of why I’m resisting so hard. I kept going.  And I kept hating every second of it. After months of OMing, I still didn’t want any man touching my genitals.  I didn’t want their ego projecting onto me, and I hated how much I thought they were wrapped up in making me orgasm.  And I kept coming back, even in my hatred.  

It wasn’t until my first OM with a woman stroker that I was able to break through.  It was only with a woman that I could feel in my heart as well as my clitoris that an OM could be a good thing.  As it happened, it took another two years of OMing before I got to the point where I could really be present and enjoy it with a male stroker. I don’t know if many people take that long, but I did, and I’d say if anyone is struggling like I struggled, amazing things can happen if you don’t quit.

I grew softer. All that effort to relax in my OMs began to pay off in ways I couldn’t have imagined.  I went from being abrasive to being diplomatic. I wasn't as angry and defensive with my family. Above all, OM transformed my relationship with my mother.  My mother died less than a year after I began to really connect to the process, and the skills I learned through OMing made my time with my mom in her last seven months so much better.  Our communication was completely changed. I was able at last to see my mom with understanding, and to know she wasn’t the bad guy trying to hurt her.  And I could see the ways in which I had hurt her. 

My mom was secretly behind me every step of the way in Orgasmic Meditation. The funny thing is, she hated that I did it.  She thought it was weird. She never fully stopped wanting me to be “normal,” to just get married and have babies already.  But she also was the one who had pushed me to get myself out there – and that was what had taken me to my first OM event. She knew that, on some level.  Even if she couldn’t accept OM itself, she could see the change it made in me.   After she died, I could feel so deeply how our relationship had been changed by OM. I owe it all to her in a way, and the fact that she hated OM still makes me laugh.

I’m still wild in a way.  I’m in a Rocky Horror cast, and I run around in corsets and fishnets in public.  I do nude modeling. OM gave me these tools to love my body and to try all these other fun and wonderful things to expand myself. I’m not afraid to be vulnerable and get in connection with other people anymore. I don’t feel like a victim any longer. I like who I am, and I feel my desire flowing through me, and I just want to keep exploring it and going where it leads me.