No Shame in Expressing DesireBY KEVIN KELEHER
I was raised, along with my sister, to be a spiritual seeker and find my own path. But even though I didn’t grow up with religion, my parents did. My mom was raised as a Southern Baptist and my dad, an Irish Catholic—and both were not served well by their religions. While they did not intentionally pass down their beliefs to me, in some ways I absorbed that sense of Catholic or Christian oppression.
As a result of that, I didn't know how to properly express my desires as a child. I would fill myself with thoughts that I never spoke or acted upon, because I didn't know how to express them in a healthy, safe way, or how to be vulnerable.
I also felt like I had too much desire. Even though a close female friend told me later that almost every girl in school had a crush on me at one point, I didn’t know at the time if there would be mutual desire. I didn’t know how to find healthy connections with people.
When I was 13, I experienced trauma when the first girl I ever kissed cheated on me with a friend while I was in Florida for a week with my family. I had this expectation in my mind that she was not going to be with anyone else. But we hadn't communicated those boundaries. So, I felt betrayed by the feminine—and as an adult, the pain of that stayed with me and even manifested as an injury in my left arm and shoulder.
They say the left side is the feminine side of the body, and the back can represent a backstabbing experience. The shoulder corresponds with the heart chakra. And so, “feminine betrayal of the heart" was what the language of my body was telling me.
It wasn’t until I discovered OM years later that I developed the body awareness to connect the physical pain in my left arm and shoulder with that trauma—and was subsequently able to heal it on the level of mind, body, and spirit.
I found out about OM on social media and was interested in it right away. I’m a meditator and an orgasm-er, so putting the two together sounded like a cool idea. My first OM was with a girl I was seeing at the time. Together we watched some videos on how to OM, and then we tried it for ourselves when the time felt right.
We had canceled plans to do it twice before because she hadn’t felt ready, and I didn’t want to pressure her. When we finally OMed, it was empowering to feel a lot of energetic sensation in my body, in connection with the stroking. I was able to hold that sensation and stay focused, and the experience was deeply connecting and beautiful. I liked taking space after to ground back into our bodies and have our own integration of the OM before continuing our evening.
I’ve OMed many times since with many different partners. One of my favorite things about the practice is being energetically connected with someone and being able to ride the waves of orgasm up and down, following the upstrokes and downstrokes.
To be clear, when I say “orgasm,” I’m not referring to climax. Something that I learned through OM is that we misuse the word orgasm. It’s really about human lifeforce energy. It’s in us all the time: We’re constantly in a state of orgasm. It's a matter of how tuned into that energetic flow we are, how sensational it is, and what part of the wave we're in.
Through the stroking practice of OM, the metaphor of orgasm for all of life is very powerful. Doing upstrokes, you feel the excitement of the energy rise. It gets more sensational and builds in an activated, upward momentum. The downstrokes feel more nourishing and fulfilling and luxurious and restful. We need both upstrokes and downstrokes to feel balanced.
Tuning in to that orgasmic wave of sensation has helped me relate to the energetic states of being that we’re in on a day-to-day basis. Whether I'm having an up moment or a down moment, I can feel in my body how it responds to my circumstances, experiences, and environments.
The OM practice has helped me to tune into my desires and become much more aligned with them. In turn, I am able to express my desires in a healthier way. In my current relationship I express my desires, both sexually and outside the bedroom, more than I ever have before. The OM practice has helped us, because it offers a clean, clear, safe container.
My partner and I are now drafting a relationship agreement together so we can have clearly articulated boundaries about what is okay and what is not in our relationship. That's where the lesson of OM is coming full circle for me. I can take what I learned from my trauma at 13 years old, and from feeling it in my body as sensation. And now, with my girlfriend, I can work together to create clearly articulated agreements and parameters that we both know how to play within so that we don't hurt each other.
Just like with an OM practice, surrender is key. It’s about surrendering to the process and surrendering, ultimately, to connection itself.