Our Bodies are Always in ConversationBY RICK MASTERSON
When I look at where I was when I was younger, and where I am now, I’m stunned by the transformation that OM has brought to my life.
I spent so many years thinking of myself as a victim, in many ways. A lot of that victim consciousness was wrapped up in resentment towards women. From the time I was a kid, I had felt not quite good enough. I got crushes on girls and wanted to get close to them, and I would get pushed away. Sometimes I’d be teased and laughed at. I got the message that I wasn’t worthy, and I internalized it. For a long time, I was angry at women – I just assumed it was so easy for them and so difficult for men like me. I know a lot of men never get out of resenting women. They become brittle and angry. I didn’t want that to be me. I wanted connection more than I wanted whatever high it is that some people get from nurturing a resentment. I don’t think that makes me better than other men, but I’m glad I didn’t give up on women, or on myself.
OM wasn’t my first stop on the journey. I got certified as a massage therapist, and then started offering massages. That worked pretty well for a while, and then one day I had this client who literally got angry with me during the massage. She sat up, got dressed, and told me off. I had had this sense that I was good at what I did, but in no uncertain terms she let me know otherwise. “You’re doing it too hard. I don’t think you have any idea what you’re doing.” She walked out. That was hard to hear, but it was the awakening I needed. I’m missing something, I realized – and that’s what led me to OM.
I came to OM hoping to learn a technique. I did learn some technical skills, but I also realized what I had been missing for so long: I wasn’t really listening to women and responding to them. I was trying to perform better on them. That’s not the same as listening.
My part involves noticing what her body is doing. I’m not here to do something to her body. I’m here to interact with her responses, stage by stage. I’ve found that most women don’t hear that from their partners very often. They’re used to men doing whatever is on their own agenda rather than listening. A lot of men think they’re listening; they start to notice a woman getting aroused, and they see or feel her clitoris swelling, and they think that’s a cue to press on towards making her orgasm as quickly as possible. In some sense, that is responding to a woman – but it’s still all driven by the man’s agenda. A woman’s body is in conversation with a man’s during an OM, and it’s his job to listen and be ready to be surprised. The more you think you know, the less you do.
I’m still working in massage. A few years ago, I was working with a woman who came to me very depressed. She was actually suicidal. She had no pleasure in her life. She spent all her time working for others, trying to make other people happy. Her people-pleasing had worn her out to the point that life seemed worthless. It was her husband who had sensed she needed something different. Session by session, we worked on her body. Session by session, I listened to what her body was saying. And she had this incredible transformation. Friends asked her if she’d had plastic surgery, she looked so different – but it was all a result of the work we did to let enjoyment back into her life. I wasn’t OMing with her, but OM informed everything I did with her.
One other thing about this woman. She’d been hung up on this other man for years. He was the one whom she thought she should have married instead of her husband. They weren’t having an affair, but she was obsessed with him. They still talked all the time, and that relationship was sapping the energy that should have been going into her marriage. Through our work together, and by letting her own body receive pleasure, she realized that she needed to move on, and redirect herself back to her husband. I played a part in that and it gives me so much fulfillment to acknowledge that, but it’s not something I did alone. I just used the tools I had been taught.
I said earlier that I had grown up thinking women were so lucky, because they could get attention and sex any time they liked. I’ve learned that isn’t true. Very few of us are getting as much as we want. So many people are hungry, unheard, and untouched in a meaningful way. OM gave me a practice to see that, to let go of my own resentment, and to experience pleasure with other people. I can’t imagine where I’d be without it.