by Alex Fender
I grew up in the East Coast, in a loving but very religious Catholic family. I came to California to go to college and fell in love with the west coast lifestyle. I’d come from a background of football and fundamentalism, but I was more open-minded – and more interested in snowboarding or surfing than joining any team sports. I graduated from university just as high tech was taking off, and I settled in San Francisco and started selling software. I’ve been doing that for over 30 years, and I’ve enjoyed a lot of success. I still love this business.
I got married in my early 30s and had two wonderful kids. The problem was that my wife and I had nothing in common. We had no intimacy in any meaningful way. I don’t just mean sexual chemistry was lacking; we were just not able to connect. I don’t blame her, or myself. We were just two people who probably should never have been married.
The divorce was terrible. It just seemed to go on and on. The best way I can describe the divorce that I went through is that it destroyed everything I’d tried so hard to build. It destroyed our joint savings. It destroyed my faith in therapists, mediators, and counselors, because we spent a fortune on them and still couldn’t get along. Nothing we tried seemed to work. It felt like I was falling from the top of a 100-story building, except I was falling through the inside. I’d crash through one floor, and then another, sometimes allowing myself to think that the falling had stopped, and then I’d fall through five more floors, getting more bruised and bloody each time. It felt like it would never end.
I came out of that marriage feeling pretty battered, but also hungry to do better. As beat up as I was, I knew I had to take responsibility for creating better for myself. I couldn’t just blame the mother of my children forever. As a naturally curious person, I figured I could learn how to have happier and more successful relationships if I worked at it. So I started dating, and going to check out various groups, and reading all kinds of books about relationships.
I first read about OM in a book about business. That caught my attention. Here was something that sounded so intensely intimate, and so antithetical to the cautious business culture that I knew. I come from a world where you’re warned not to even compliment a woman on her dress, as you might get in trouble with Human Resources. And here was this book, making the case that OM could make you more successful in the business world. I was intrigued, and I signed up for an introductory group.
I like workshops. I’m a confident guy; I’m good at sharing and being transparent. (I guess all that therapy with my ex-wife was good for something.) The level of honesty in my first OM workshop absolutely blew me away. It was thrilling and amazing to be surrounded by so many people who were willing to take risks and share anything. I like things that push the envelope, and even before I’d gotten close to OMing, I could feel that envelope being pushed.
I was dating someone at the time, and I wanted to OM with her. I didn’t want to OM with anyone else. Amy was very curious, but very adamant that she wouldn’t OM with me. I didn’t give up, nor did I pressure her. Instead, I suggested we take baby steps.
I showed Amy a couple of videos about OM and asked her if we could build a nest together. She was hesitant, so I promised her we wouldn’t do an actual OM. She would keep her clothes on, and I wouldn’t touch her genitals. That reassured her, and she agreed.
I had figured out that OM was more than just stroking the clitoris. It was all the steps and stages, starting with building the nest. As we arranged the nest, I kept reminding Amy that we were just setting things up. We were practicing the practice, not actually doing it. Finally, we got into the OM position together, but with her bottoms still on. I could feel my eagerness coursing through me, but I controlled it. I didn’t want to scare her off.
A week later, we tried again. This time, after some hesitation, she agreed we should try the stroking. After all the preparation, the second my finger touched her clitoris she said, “Stop, it’s too much.” I stopped and held still. I held still for several minutes, and just felt the energy passing between us. Finally, she told me to keep going, just to keep it very, very light. I responded to what she was asking, being careful not to push anything or try to accelerate the process.
After barely a minute she had this intense experience. Over the next few minutes, her body started shaking. It was incredible. I didn’t even think I was doing it correctly! I was ecstatic, and she was blown away.
I thought Amy would want to continue to practice OM, but she has told me later that she couldn’t handle it. It wasn’t that it didn’t feel good for her emotionally and physically. It’s that she felt she didn’t deserve it. She had been going through menopause, and even though she’s 10 years younger than me, she declared that she thought I should find someone younger and fitter. I kept trying to reassure her, but she just wasn’t ready.
My experience with Amy and OM has helped show me what my calling is, though, and that’s been a tremendous breakthrough. I’ve realized that I’m very good at helping people have extreme experiences, only incrementally. I love action sports, like skydiving or mountain biking, but I recognize that many of those things are too much for some people. Lately, I’ve been working on teaching people to surf, and in a new way. I realized that too many people are terrified of being thrown about by huge waves. I’ve started teaching surfing in heated pools, with my student and I both standing waist deep. All we do is push a foam floaty board back and forth. There’s no surfing yet, and for some people, there may never be actual ocean surfing. They may never get out of the pool, just as Amy never OMed again or came to an OM workshop. Instead of judging her or anyone else for their limitations and fears, I focus on making the absolute best of what they are willing to do.
I’ve only OMed with Amy. I’m hardly an expert on the practice. Yet even the little I’ve done has shaped so many things in my life. I’m more of service to the world and to the people around me, including my kids. Instead of looking at life as a series of shoulds, where I know I need to give to someone, now I have this sense that if I am patient, I will find the perfect thing to give.