Pin It

Sex and Sensuality 

Touchy-feely “researchers” want to build community through the practice of orgasmic meditation — one stroke at a time

Wednesday, Apr 4 2007
The students had already taken off their clothes and slipped into robes when they lined up in two rows facing each other. They stood close in the softly lit room, with seven women on one side and seven men just across from them.

The men would soon practice stroking the women. But first, they had some warm-up exercises to do.

A sultry-voiced, earthy brunette named Shara Ogin introduced the group to the practice of "obnosing," or noticing the obvious, which involves looking at someone and listing off their physical characteristics. A steady hum filled the quiet, yogalike studio as each man gazed at the woman facing him and rattled off his observations. The freckles on a cheek. The shape of an eyebrow. The way a band of color stretched around a woman's pupils.

The exercise helped them practice for later, when the class would shift its focus to obnosing female genitalia.

Then, when it came time for the stroking exercise to begin, each woman stretched out an arm and the man across from her took it and cradled it gently in his own. The sleeves of their robes, whether silky or fuzzy, pink or baby blue, were pushed back to expose the soft bare skin on the inner side of the forearm. The stroke is a key aspect of the practice known as "orgasmic meditation" (or OM), which is designed to help people tap into sensual energy through stimulation of the clitoris. The practice is at the heart of One Taste Urban Retreat Center in SOMA, a shared-living community where the stroking class is being taught.

Orgasmic meditation is devoted to female orgasm — after all, the women are typically the ones being stroked. But the idea is that the "strokers" (who are often men, but may be women, too) are also fulfilled through what community members call "pleasure by proxy," as well as by enjoying the sensations in their bodies as they stroke. There are courses in how to satisfy a woman with hands-on instruction designed to show what she wants, and how to give it to her. One class, for example, is titled "Ten Women Want You to Know: How to Handle a Woman's Pussy."

But for now, it was arms only.

"The men are going to stroke it as you would the clit during an OM," Ogin instructed.

"Like you would a cat!" added Nicole Daedone, who was leading the class.

With forefingers busy stroking, Ogin worked the room, inspecting everyone's technique — although at One Taste they say sensuality is about 80 percent learning to navigate resistance and only 20 percent technique. She urged the men to shut their eyes and feel how much pleasure they could extract from the arm-stroking exercise. Did they want to change the speed? Change the pressure? How much sensation could they feel?

Next, the women were encouraged to share. One felt an opening in her throat. Another felt a quivering. "I feel a warmth in my pussy," yet another woman said.

They don't say "vagina" here. They prefer "pussy" and "cock" because, in the parlance of the people running the place, those words are more "chargey," or full of energy.

This little exercise was just a flavor of what was to come in the nearly 10-hour, $195 introductory workshop at One Taste. Over the next few hours, those attending would watch an orgasmic meditation demonstration and, if they wished, pair up for more hands-on exercises. During the lunch break, they could eat anything they wanted so long as it was fed to them by someone else. The day-long course would literally climax with multiple climaxes — at least for the women.

And no, they weren't faking it.

At One Taste Urban Retreat Center, orgasm is life. One Taste is home to more than 50 "turned on" people who describe themselves as "messengers of orgasm." Community members cook, eat, do yoga, and sleep together. They live together in several buildings in the same neighborhood, with as many as 24 people staying in one of the large bedrooms.

Most pair up as "research partners" to explore sensuality with one another. That can mean simply sharing a bed, making out, having intercourse, or some level of intimacy in between. Research partnerships can last for as short as a week or for more than a year. While some at One Taste are monogamous, many are not. And just because a pair of residents may have broken up as research partners doesn't preclude them from occasionally snuggling and making out on one of the center's comfy vintage couches.

They call this a research community rather than a commune, although communal living is part of the deal. It's not the first sensuality-focused community, but there are a couple of things that set One Taste apart.

For one thing, while it clearly has a pleasure principle, One Taste also emphasizes discipline — one reason that its denizens created what they call an "urban monk" sensual immersion program. The community typically comes together to practice orgasmic meditation three times each weekday, at 7 a.m. (that's the big one where just about everybody goes), 2 p.m., and about 6:45 p.m. The afternoon and evening OMs tend to be a bit smaller, due to work and other obligations. The schedule differs slightly on weekends, with a 7:45 a.m. OM session to allow community members to sleep in.

Then there's the fact that this is a sensuality community focused on building connections to others through stroking the clitoris.

The female-centric nature of One Taste makes sense since it was founded by a woman: 39-year-old Nicole Daedone. She's striking, a dynamic presence whose speech is punctuated by pregnant pauses and plenty of hand gestures. Her chestnut hair normally hangs in perfect waves, and she always seems to have the right amount of makeup on her olive skin.

She gets quoted a lot by others at One Taste. A community member may say, "Nicole says, "Avoidance is buying pain on credit cards with interest'" or "Nicole says, "We should be an open source for sensuality.'"

About The Author

Mary Spicuzza


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment


  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular