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How to Be a Man

by Jens

When I was young and in school, I adapted to the need to hide my feelings by becoming the class clown, able to dissipate any emotional intensity by making a joke. If I felt bullies were coming my way, I would make fun of them or deflect the attention by ridiculing somebody else. This arrogance followed me into college and then into a job with an L.A. talent agency, where sarcasm helped me fit right in. I developed a knack for shaming other employees when they asked me questions that could easily be answered online since I wasn’t supposed to let them “waste my time.” 

My life changed when I fell in love. Despite the happiness this relationship brought me, I didn’t have the skills to relate in the mature way my girlfriend was looking for. After two years, I was the one who initiated the split, but I was devastated. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had broken this woman’s heart and needed to take responsibility for what had gone wrong. By now, I was thirty years old and ready to grow into an adult who could handle things that came my way rather than make fun of them and hide.

I lost interest in Hollywood and office politics. After quitting my job, I went to Peru to work with ayahuasca, which pulled a lot of the masks off. I fell in love with myself and realized I could go through any experience and still be myself. I could try all kinds of things that I would previously have made me say, “Oh, I could never do that.” It became clear that I didn’t want to work in the corporate environment. I wanted to find work I was passionate about and people who were present with what was happening around them. 

Discovering OM

Then, I started dating Amelia, who had an active OM practice. If we were going to be in a relationship, I had to try OMing. When she introduced me to a group of people who also practiced OM, I thought they were strange. In fact, I decided they were weirdos, but later that day, I realized I was projecting my own sense of shame around sexuality onto them. By the end of the day, I realized they were my people. I had a sense of belonging.

I walked into my first OM feeling 100% nervous. I was convinced I was going to do it wrong. I tore at least three vinyl gloves while trying to put them on. For thirteen minutes, I did a strict alternation of upstroke and downstroke, and then the two final minutes of downstrokes, like a worker punching the clock. But when it came to sharing a frame at the end, where we were each meant to share a sensation from the OM, the strokee gave an eloquent description of a symphonic Fantasia experience. Then it was my turn. “I didn’t feel anything,” I said. “Just that my back was tight.” 

Deepening Sensations

“That’s also a sensation happening in your body,” she pointed out. By giving me permission to use that detail, she made me realize I had actually felt all sorts of sensations. I’d been told OM was a practice, and it came to me that if I kept practicing, I'd learn to understand and experience OMing in more depth. 

After a while, I found myself opening up to all kinds of sensations, from heat and discomfort to visual phenomena. Sometimes, my vision gets fuzzy, and I see an aura of color, which changes to a different color as the energy of the OM shifts. It also became easier to find the spot of most sensation on the clitoris as I gained an understanding of pressure and pacing. I learned to build intensity with upstrokes and create a valley with downstrokes. 

Ego and Adjustment

Once, while I was OMing with a woman who was OMing for the first time, I had a moment where I was thinking, "Wow, I am quite good at this." Just then, she asked for an adjustment in how I was stroking. It was so perfect, my male ego coming out, wanting to be recognized, and the feminine bringing me back to earth, saying, "Let’s not pat ourselves on the back. Let’s just keep stroking."

Receiving adjustments was hard on my ego. It took me a long time to get over the sense that being asked for a change meant I was doing it wrong and I was stupid or bad and should just give up. Once I accepted that adjustments helped me stroke better, I could transfer that understanding to the rest of my life. Remarks from friends and family became less like criticisms and more like useful feedback. 

Adjustments helped me refine the towel stroke, one of my favorite parts of an OM. I assumed it was my job to get all the lube off the strokee’s genitals after an OM, and I'm sure the amount of pressure I applied did not feel good. I had to be taught that the touch of the towel is also meant to be pleasurable and help bring her down gradually from the stroking. It became a challenge to move slowly and deliberately.

Embracing Goallessness

That ability to slow down rehabilitated my sex life. Years of watching porn had desensitized me to ordinary arousal. Then, when I did get up the nerve to be with a woman, anxiety made me rush to a conclusion because I was sure it was going to fail. OMing got me into my body as I began to recognize the sensations I was having. When I learned the brilliance of slowing down and staying present, it turned out I wasn’t actually broken at all.

The goallessness of OM is a brilliant gift, allowing me to be there enjoying myself instead of gripping or pulling for something else. The same goallessness applies to everyday life. Amelia’s joy is so expressive and infectious that anything I do for her becomes significantly rewarding. We moved to Vancouver so she could shoot a television show. Previously, I would have assumed I had to stay and work rather than agreeing to go along and support her. The experience has been pleasurable for both of us. I've learned how incredible life led by desire is.

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