Sex and Sensuality

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

Despite the support network, she admitted to jealousy — or what they call "scarcity" — especially recently, when a group of new women moved into the community. "All these bitches, man!" Ogin said with a smile, glancing around the cafe where an inordinate amount of attractive women were eating Indian food. "We have so many beautiful women in the community!"

She's had fears that other women will "get off better" during OM sessions, but tries to tell herself that nobody will win when she falls into seeing other women as the competition.

Jealousy and competitiveness come up a lot at One Taste, largely because they try to stay open and honest with each other to avoid pent-up anger or seething resentment, which has hurt other communal living situations. Ganas community in New York was shaken last summer, for example, when a female former commune member who claimed she was pressured to have sex by others there ambushed and shot one of its co-founders, Jeff Gross.

Students warmed up with some pre-OMing touch exercises.
Gabriela Hasbun
Students warmed up with some pre-OMing touch exercises.
Students warmed up with some pre-OMing touch exercises.
Gabriela Hasbun
Students warmed up with some pre-OMing touch exercises.

Ted McIlvenna, president of the San Francisco-based Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, said women getting along with each other has been a challenge in other intentional communities. McIlvenna, 75, said he's never heard of another sensuality community founded by a woman, adding that many communal living situations centered on women have been about denying sexuality — convents, for example — or selling it — like at brothels.

Marissa Bollong, a teacher at One Taste, is definitely not denying her sexuality. A beautifully curvaceous massage therapist with a perfect button nose, she admits to having had hangups around sensuality. That began to change after she attended a naked yoga class at One Taste about a year ago. "Right now I feel like I'm in this crossroad," the 27-year-old said. "I feel like I have a lot of desire, raw desire. I have this desire to have sex, raw sex, and it's burning and it's hot."

In a typical orgasmic meditation session, a woman (the strokee) lies down and the stroker (we'll describe the stroker as a man, but it may be a woman instead) will place his right hand under her buttocks and rest his right thumb at her introitus, or the vaginal hole. The stroker will then take lubricant — One Taste recommends its all-natural One Stroke lube — and place it on the forefinger and middle finger of his left hand. Then with a stroke (also known as a lube stroke) he applies it to her clitoris. He then puts his left forefinger on the upper left-hand quadrant of the strokee's clitoris — which they believe is a spot where thousands of nerve endings are bundled. For the strokee, the upper left-hand quadrant is at about the 1:30 p.m. position on a clock.

Now, not everyone buys this whole upper-left hand quadrant theory. Barry Komisaruk, the senior author of The Science of Orgasm, who's also a psychology professor at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said he hasn't seen scientific studies proving that one side of the clitoris is more responsive than the other. After researching the One Taste Web site, he said he wasn't sure what science would be relevant to their practice. "It was very New Agey," Komisaruk said.

One Taste is considering a science-of-orgasm class to explore the topic — and may satisfy nay-sayers along the way. In the meantime, they're eager to press on with their research.

As the preliminary touching and stroking exercises were wrapping up at the recent introductory 10-hour course, a One Taste community member named Sam was waiting in the back of the room, a few jars of the center's One Stroke lubricant in his hand. Then, as OMing veteran Robert Kandell explained the hands-on details of Orgasmic Meditation, a woman named Jessica lay down on her back on a massage table, and spread her legs, butterfly position. Her bent knees rested on pillows.

A timer is set, and for the next 15 minutes, the stroking is on. Up, down. Up, down. Up, down. Up, down.

After putting on latex gloves, Sam began massaging Jessica's inner thighs and lower stomach. He went in for the lube stroke. "If you follow the inner lips, her clit will pop out," Sam said.

At this point, Kandell told the group that the best position to watch an OM demonstration is sitting with legs open, feet planted on the ground.

"Sam's stroke is small, very deliberate," said Daedone, who informed the group that Sam's thumb was a thumbnail deep in Jessica's introitus.

Jessica was already moaning, trembling, sighing, and shaking.

"I'm going to take her up," Sam said.

"Shorter, faster, lighter," Daedone told him.

The group was encouraged to share their own feelings and ask questions, too. One woman said there were chills across her back. "Contractions in my pussy," another said.

"Now he's bringing her down," Daedone said.

Jessica let out a long "Haaaaaa!" just as someone asked her how she felt. Her "Haaaa!" continued for a while before she told the group, "I feel like my pussy is sucking in air!"

There were more ups and downs along the way, complete with head-bobbing and sighs of pleasure. One woman called out that she felt a spaciousness in her head, but she was nearly drowned out by Jessica's "Haaahaaha!" "Ehhh!" and "Uhh!" At points, her hand was shaking so furiously it kept tapping against her chest.

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