Every Monday, the Center features a Word Of The Week (WOTW) to educate and promote an understanding of terms used regarding sex, sexuality, and gender—as well as to share some saucy and helpful tips about how to enhance and explore your sexual life!
This week we’re looking at the relatively new sex trend of: Orgasmic Meditation! So, get ready to show us your “om” face!
[NOTE: And there, that was the one insensitive pun joke you can expect from me in this post.]
Known simply as “OM”, or “OM’ing”, not to be confused with the spiritual “om” chant of Buddhist meditation, Orgasmic Meditation is a (unfortunately cisnormative and heteronormative) couple’s activity that you can learn how to do at a Intro to Orgasmic Meditation workshop for the low price of $195… or by watching a completely free YouTube video.
So, what the hell is it?
Well, the company who leads these workshops, One Taste, describes Orgasmic Meditation as a “15-minute, partnered consciousness practice where a stroker strokes the clitoris of a strokee for 15 minutes with no goal other than to feel sensation.”
That means there’s no pressure for reciprocation, no expectation of experiencing an orgasm, and no ambition to get the other person off.
It’s literally just good ol’ fashioned clit rubbing that can either be done in the privacy of your own home, or in group settings called OM Circles.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: “isn’t that just, you know, giving your partner a ‘helping hand’?”
And you know what, you wouldn’t be entirely wrong in that assumption. However, those who practice OM’ing strongly insist that this is NOT just a handjob; rather that it is a therapeutic massage for your vagina.
Further, while it is designed to be a partnered activity, you do not need to be in a relationship in order to OM. The practice can be done with a spouse, lover, partner, friend, roommate, coworker, neighbor, or anybody that you trust.
If none of those are options to you, don’t worry! There’s apparently a very large community around OM’ing and many individuals connect with others at workshops or online to arrange home visits, should that be something you are comfortable with.
Okay, so what have people been saying about it?
All sorts of stuff! Rose Surnow of Elle Magazine recently wrote about her three-years of experience with OM’ing and gave the practice a pretty glowing review:
“Since I started OM’ing, I enjoy sex more, I’m more confident, and I’m way more comfortable with men. But, most importantly, I’ve let go of my sexual shame. Now, when I tell guys I don’t climax (or haven’t yet—still hoping!) I’m not saying it between tears like I used to. I’m talking about it casually, NBD-style. I’m writing about it for you right now to make a point: We have to stop feeling bad about the things we’re convinced we are lacking. Whatever we are is enough. No one is “normal.” I am so done tormenting myself for being myself.”
Rachel Krantz of Bustle listed off seven glowing reasons why she loved OM’ing and concluded that it was one of the best things that she has ever done for herself:
“I haven’t looked at sex the same way since, and I would highly recommend orgasmic meditation to anyone who wants to explore orgasm and redefine pleasure for themselves. Even if you don’t adopt the practice regularly, it will probably end up changing the way you think about receiving pleasure and remind you just how complicated and powerful your clitoris is. At least, that’s what it did for me.”
Not everyone loves OM’ing though. Hannah Hodson of Autostraddle seemed to get a kick out of the whole thing but ultimately found it to be very clinical and not nearly as profound an experience as others purport it to be. She also felt that some of the atmosphere at the workshops and OM circles were a little… uncomfortable:
“At this point, I’m pretty convinced that this isn’t a cult. Well, I don’t know, it might be. But if it is, it’s a cult full of the happiest, most well adjusted and totally open-minded folks with healthy relationships, who also all have impeccable, kind of off-putting, cultish eye contact. Like, I’m pretty sure none of them were blinking.”
On the complete other end, Aurora Wells of New York Mag found some of One Taste’s philosophies to be off putting and her initial OM experience to be underwhelming. Overall, she concludes that the activity likely takes practice but she’s not going to ditch her Hitachi Wand any time soon:
“I’d love to report epic orgasmic enlightenment. But it just felt like someone stroking my clitoris for fifteen minutes. Someone who, unlike my hapless masseur, had the tender touch of a vaginal veteran; the experience certainly wasn’t unpleasant, if somewhat strange and clinical.”
Wait, so, is this just for straight couples and people with clits?
Disappointingly, almost everything we came across about Orgasmic Meditation was phrased in a way that suggests OM’ing is intended to be between a cis woman without pants on and a fully-clothed cis man. In fact, most resources, videos, guides, speeches, and experience write-ups are extremely cisnormative and heteronormative. Bummer.
However, we don’t think that you need to have any specific gender identity present OR a clit in order to OM! If you and/or your partner has a penis, why not try stimulating the frenulum or doing a little muffing for 15-minutes? The possibilities are endless and OM’ing can easily be adapted for people who are trans, genderqueer, non-binary, gender fluid, gay, lesbian, pansexual, queer, or any other gender identity or sexual orientation. It’ll just take a little thinking outside of the box!
While OM’ing is an increasingly popular activity for many cis women, here’s hoping the practice eventually allows for more explicitly inclusive spaces out there. In the meantime, we encourage you to MAKE those spaces for yourself if you are interested in trying it out!