Orgasmic Meditation

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Video (3min) – On Knowing What to Do

Here’s a short clip from a lecture I gave at OMX 2013 with Yia Vang, titled “Relationship by Design.”
Here, I’m responding to an audience member seeking advice with his girlfriend. (3 min.)

 

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Chocolate Cake and Climax

When I was a kid, my mother would get our favorite cake for our birthday, whatever kind the birthday kid wanted. She’d either make it herself or order one special from the local bakery. My older brother’s favorite was always this one mocha cake. I still remember the flavor. It was a chocolate cake with a mocha frosting, which was a slightly lighter brown than the cake itself and added a twinge of bitter roasted-coffee flavor to the rich sweet chocolate. Most of my “favorites” at the time defaulted to whatever Danny’s favorites happened to be, and this was no exception.

One day, on nobody’s birthday in particular, my mom made a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. It had a sour-cream tartness like really good cheesecake, but this frosting was buttery-smooth. (A top-notch carrot cake or velvet cake will sometimes have a decent cream cheese frosting.) It was the perfect complement to the chocolate cake—even better than the mocha, which suddenly seemed too obvious and monochrome.

This combination became my new favorite. To this day I occasionally seek it out in the local bakeries. It’s hard to get right but when they really nail it, man, there’s nothing quite like it. If someone asks me what my all-time favorite food in the entire universe is I’m likely to say chocolate cake with a good cream cheese frosting.

But I don’t have it very often, in spite of its status as one of my all-time favorite foods.

If I ate too much of it, it would quickly fall off my list of favorites. It’s striking how the amount I want it and the amount of it I want don’t necessarily correspond. It’s a huge desire that gets full quickly.

These days, if my “favorite” food corresponds to what I eat the most, it’s probably a green drink I have every morning. It just makes me feel good, every single day, day after day. I enjoy drinking it and feel good for hours afterwards. (Unlike chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting.) There was a time when pastries and other rich, sweet foods were my primary diet. I was voraciously hungry all the time and ate a huge amount. I had a theory that if I just injected highly nutritious food into my diet, that alone would shift how I feel and how I eat. And that’s what happened. I eat way less cake and get way more pleasure from it since I stopped relying on it for sustenance.

I think climax is the same. There’s nothing wrong with it, but our sense of how much of it we need gets exaggerated by the absence of other kinds of nourishing orgasmic connection.

So let’s distinguish between “not having climax” and “not having climax as a goal.” The value of not having climax as a goal is that you end up having as much or as little climax as your body actually wants and you’re not using it as the measuring stick for how good or successful your experience is. You get to find out what your body’s actual appetite for climax is. And it’s a first step for moving into territory that isn’t even on your radar where you might find your new favorite—maybe even something beyond climax.

What Sets OM Apart (OM part III)

As we’ve said, OM exploits the effects that female orgasm has on women and men. It gives her the direct orgasm she didn’t think was available, and gives him the empathetic orgasm he didn’t know he was hungry for.

OM isn’t the only orgasmic practice—far from it!—but it does have some features that set it apart.

  1. OM is structured, almost ritualistic, which over many repetitions has two effects: it quiets the vigilance center, and it provides cues that the body associates with going into orgasm.
  2. OM uses the optimal combination of a super-dexterous finger stimulating a super-sensitive clitoris.
  3. OM has no interest in reciprocity or symmetry as stand-ins for mutual gratification. OM is unabashedly, unapologetically asymmetrical. If you are not the possessor of a clitoris, then you are the stroker. Exclusively, for an extended period. Allowing OM to fully work its alchemy on each of you before you would ever consider switching roles. Anything involving your genitals is fine and beautiful and fun, and is not OM.
  4. Over time, OM completely upends our notions of service-providing, and even more fundamentally, of what it even means to “give” or “receive.” Each person can be seen as providing something that benefits the other.
  5. OM doesn’t try to be everything. It isn’t a replacement for sex or anything else we already have available to us. OM’s benefits are valuable enough for it to not worry too much about what it isn’t, or what it doesn’t provide.
  6. OM doesn’t let anything attach to it. It has a strong aversion to being used as a bargaining chip or a doorway to something else.

In short, OM is focused on creating conditions conducive to female orgasm and is very protective of those conditions.

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Vibrators and Porn

These two technologies reveal a critical difference between men and women—that may surprise you!

Men’s “machinery” isn’t all that hard to operate. Rub, rub, rub, squirt squirt squirt. Not complicated. A typical adult male has easy access to as much climax as he wants; he doesn’t even need a partner.

Is that a gratifying experience? Well frankly it can definitely feel like something’s missing.

Now we used to think that women’s machinery was much harder to operate. That’s not true. But it certainly is different from men’s. They may not have quite as easy access to climax as men but they certainly have easy access to willing partners — if a partner were all that was needed. A typical adult woman can, in about 30 seconds or less, manifest a man willing to have sex with her.

Is that a gratifying experience? Well frankly it can definitely feel like something’s missing. Women can quickly find themselves in situations where they’re producing more pleasurable sensation in their partner’s body than what they’re experiencing in their own.

(This can be seen in everything from the so-called “orgasm gap” between men and women, to the predominance of women in the sex trade, to the fact that women are more likely to moan during their partner’s orgasm—to accelerate and enhance it—than during their own.)

It’s revealing to notice how men and women turn to technology in search of their respective missing ingredient. The technology women turn to most commonly is a vibrator. And the most common technology men turn to is is porn.

Think about that.

What these women are seeking out is proper clitoral stimulation.

And men are hungry for and seeking out exposure to other aroused human beings, other human beings in a state of sexual pleasure.

Put a different way, men have easy access to direct somatic pleasure, but what they crave, the vital nutrient they hunger for, is what we can call empathetic pleasure.

Whereas women have as much empathetic pleasure as they could possibly want, they have it coming out of their ears. And their sex lives with men often default to that, ie, vicarious enjoyment. Their missing ingredient, their vital nutrient, is direct, visceral bodily pleasure. That’s what’s harder for them to come by.

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Orgasm and Climax

Let’s start with a concrete description of “female orgasm.” We have an intuitive sense of what orgasm is, and an inkling that it’s different in women than in men. So let’s begin with how men’s bodies respond, because it tends to be pretty consistent:

  • First, there’s a spike in sensation.
  • Then there’s what’s called the point-of-no-return. That’s where you know you’re going to go over the edge, but before you actually do. So there’s this period of time where you’re in this involuntary, out-of-control state, with intense sensation.
  • Then there’s ejaculation, there’s contractions, etc.
  • And then a rapid loss of interest in continuing, loss of engorgement, a general feeling of done-ness, etc.
  • Then possibly hyper-sensitivity, and a recovery period before your genitals are back in action.

So let’s call this climax.

Many women experience climax—some readily, some under certain conditions. But a much higher percentage of women experience the major components of orgasm—certainly the same intensity of sensation, the contractions, activation of the involuntary musculature, going into an out-of-control state, etc.—but in a more extended, rounded way, without that spiky, sneeze-like quality, or the feeling of passing through a one-way door. This kind of orgasm can continue for long periods, come and go in waves, etc. The endpoint isn’t necessarily marked by climax but by feeling totally gratified.

As far as we know, most if not all women are capable of experiencing orgasm. And recent studies of Theta waves in the brain have led some researchers to conclude that a woman’s orgasmic experience is up to ten times the intensity of a man’s.

So if we define orgasm in terms of how women’s bodies actually work, we find that it’s broader, longer in duration, more intense, more continuous, and actually easier to achieve than the climax that we’re familiar with from men’s experience.

By far the most common and most effective route to female orgasm is direct stimulation of the clitoris. Given the proper stimulation, all women are capable of experiencing orgasm, from the first stroke to the last.

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Ignition

 

They gather outside the locked, guarded door. There is an eager, impatient mulling. There’s chatter; and watches checked too often, as if time were an unruly child in need of constant monitoring; and a gentle press into each others’ personal space, forcing unintentional body contact. Apparently the waiting, the anticipation, the nervousness, weren’t irritating enough already.

The doors open and people pour in. The Coaches do their best to keep the crowd orderly and in sequence, but a certain tumesced chaos ensues anyway as people attempt to keep track of their partner, their supplies, their nest, their personal belongings, and wrangle all of these into one location.

Finally everyone is in place. Maybe there’s a straggler or two still getting ready but the Coaches step in to make sure they’re quiet and unobtrusive. The Instructor takes the mic and guides the pairs into position, then into connection.

At this point something happens that very few people get to experience. Even the OMers themselves won’t catch it; their attention (if it isn’t on their cramped leg or their performance anxiety or their violated propriety) is on their partner and the business at hand. It’s something only the Instructors and Coaches, those few who are allowed to be in the room but aren’t actively participating in the OM, will notice.

The room settles and quiets, a temple of sitting meditators. In this silence, index fingers make their way to clits. I feel it even if I’m not looking. A minute or two of settling in, finding the resonant stroke.

And then there’s a moment when ignition kicks in.

It’s a distinctive hum, but soundless. Nothing has changed, the room is as still as it was. No one has shifted their body or moaned or sighed to announce the event; there are no tells. But something palpable has happened, the room no longer feels as quiet as it is. The lighting has changed… but not.

I experience it as a syrupy feeling in my throat; a gentle, velvety electrical current caressing the small of my back. It has the feeling of a cat purring contentedly at the foot of the bed, eyes closed. It’s more felt than heard. It’s a wispy vapor arising from the dewy ground at dawn. It fills the room but it isn’t in the room, it’s a resonance between all our bodies.

One of the Coaches looks over at me and nods. If the strokes prior to this were like trying to turn over an engine that won’t seem to catch, now the engine is humming smoothly at idle and ready to drive. All the Coaches in the room feel it. (That sensitivity is part of being an OM Coach.)

Whether, and when, and to what degree this moment happens in an OM correlates with the experience level of the participants. For example, in morning practice in the final months of the Coaching Program, the students file in quietly, get into position, begin the OM together, and within seconds there’s ignition. In a private OM Training session with first-time practitioners, on the other hand, the whole OM will turn on a single stroke where all three of us, the clients and their trainer, feel the spark at the same time. After that stroke, whenever it happens, they know. With real-time corroboration the experience is incontrovertible. Now we have a reference for conversation, and they have a guidepost, a landmark, that will serve their practice more than any amount of technique.

I stand quietly in a room full of occupied nests. Liquid warmth pours into my body cavity, gradually rising from the base of my spine up to the back of my head.

Over the course of this group OM the feeling will wax and wane, changing flavors and colors, soaring and dipping, before finally coming in for a landing at ground level at the 15-minute mark. But the moment when the ignition first kicks in holds special meaning for me. It has been so revealing, so instructive to me. Because in that moment, nothing else has changed, save the unmistakable presence of that one thing. It becomes discernable, distinct. It’s no different than what I’ve felt countless times in sex, in OMs, in make-outs; but the role of OM Instructor has given me the unique opportunity to get to know it, to taste it, to experience it separate from the act that fosters it. I’d only been unconsciously aware of it as a participant, not knowing that was the thing I was actually there for. (Or, at times, hoping for.)

Orgasm researchers have recently been pondering the difference between what they call erotic touch vs. prosaic touch. What makes some touch arousing? Not all contact is—even genital contact can be utterly flat; as uneventful as grabbing a door knob. (I remember as a youngster wondering if my sister got stimulated inserting a tampon. “Not even a little bit???”) At the other extreme, simply holding hands or the slightest brush of the arm can produce feelings of ecstasy. (I have a vivid memory of this too—the intensity of pleasure of my first time holding hands with a girl.) “Erogenous zones” don’t really exist the way we thought. As an adult, once I learned that my stroking fingertip, my hands, my whole body could feel as good as my cock—could feel like my cock—my sex life changed, it became a whole-body experience. And not just in the bedroom. My partner and I could stand next to each other in the museum and have sex with each other, without anyone knowing. Researchers are dying to understand this—to know what factors determine what has body contact sometimes feel like sex, what imbues it with ignition.

Here’s what I’ve noticed.

  1. Ignition is a body state; the sensation is distinguishable from the act and contributes to it.
  2. A lot of what we do feels good because of the ignition. (And that’s why we’re doing it.)
  3. It can be clicked on by physical contact—but not necessarily!—or by other things. Flirting, romance novels, porn and Tango are all attempts to access ignition.
  4. The most potent trigger of ignition is another person’s ignition. (“Empathetic orgasm“)
  5. The primary thing that takes place in an OM is a feedback loop of shared ignition.
  6. Ignition is always a decision. Just as no stimulus is guaranteed, no stimulus is necessary.
  7. The ignition matters more than the act. Once we realize this we seek it everywhere.

I‘m setting my stuff down in her room as she changes out of her work clothes. We both had a long, full, busy day. Surely tonight will be the night we’re out cold the minute our heads hit the pillow. This has yet to happen, mind you. I’ve been wondering when it will. It has to eventually. (Right?) Well, here we are. We’re both out of juice and exhausted. It still feels good to be together. What will it be like, what will happen? Will one of us wake up buzzing in the middle of the night and rouse the other? Will our morning activities be delayed as we play catch-up? In any case, I must say it’s been one hellova run. This will be a new experience for us, just going to sleep.

In bed, our bodies come into contact and that quiet hum kicks in.

It’s like a gentle electrical flow of current running between us. We’re not doing anything. There’s no effort. My body is slowly being recharged… but so is hers: the contact is generative, not zero-sum. Gradually I start to feel more awake, more alert, more energized physically. Caffeinated. Except clear, and on, rather than wired. If it can be said that our effect on each other is chemical, it’s a chemistry that is not diluted with time or length-of-exposure. And this run is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.