by Andy Garcia
About five years ago, a classmate of mine who lives in the Bay Area dated someone who practiced Orgasmic Meditation. After he described the practice to me, I watched a video online and signed up for a class. I didn’t think it was possible to enter a meditative state by goallessly stroking a woman's genitals for fifteen minutes. I took the class as a challenge, because I like to debunk things that seem unreal.
My first OM was hyperreal. There was a tremendous amount of electricity and a burning in my chest; my heart felt ready to take flight and my body was sweating. For the first time in my life, I could feel every part of my body, from my toes to the hair on my head, without being under the influence of a substance.
My relationships before OM were shallow in a frat-boy sort of way. I was in the military for five years, so beer, bars, and chasing women were my goals. I had no understanding of empathy with either men or women.
OM completely changed all that. I learned to feel and understand my feelings and be able to describe them. Previously, they seemed immune to language. I became closer to other people and began to treat the men in my life as I would a male family member.
My relationships with women were where I saw the biggest shift. Before OM, I played roles with women that the culture had taught me to play. I had a very hard time with intimacy, and I used women as a yardstick to measure my own worth.
For example, with sex -- OM helped me learn to slow down, feel myself and my partner, and seek a state of flow. All this has created so much more connection. I began to feel deeply connected to all my partners, and physical intimacy became heartfelt, deep, and rich. It's hard to overstate how grateful I am for how much better things are now.
As for my relationship with my body: before OM, I had no idea such a thing existed. My body did what I told it to do. If it was disobedient, that meant I had to push it harder. After OM, the beautiful thing was that I could actually feel when my body felt discomfort, when it was sated, or when it was in need. It was as if my body had developed a voice.
I grew up poor, with a single mom who raised me, my brother, and my sister. I'm first-generation Mexican, so machismo is part of my source code. My uncles taught me that you have a wife and lovers on the side, that this is your right as a man. Church on Sunday, confession on Wednesday, and the women stayed at home to cook and clean. Although my mom contradicted some of this by telling me to respect women, even she believed that a man should earn more, get respect from his wife and family, and show little emotion. The military only amplified this line of thought.
Living as if this were the fifties instead of the twenty-first century did not serve me well. OM showed me that I can have deep, meaningful connections with women, as equals. More than that, it demonstrated why that sort of connection was always the best choice.
I remember, before OM, being on a Tinder date that was like a rushed job interview. Date quiz regarding job, school and provenance? Check. Nervous phone checking? Check. Worrying that she wouldn’t come over, even though she knew the bar was near my house? Check. At a certain point, she just said, "I'm going to go now." I felt like a failure.
Compare that with a more recent date, during which I just breathed and slowed down whenever I felt my body become anxious. I had no expectations. I asked her questions from a place of real curiosity. I saw her light up when we talked about art, which was part of her job. As we spoke her eyes got brighter and she softened. This, in turn, made my body relax. As I had no place to get to, I was able to be fully present.
If there’s anything I'd want to make sure people knew about the practice, it would be that we all have to learn how to deal with the sensations in our bodies, especially when in high consequence situations. The practice taught me how to let that energy run through me, like water moving. Learning this skill healed something that I had no idea was broken. To be able to feel and work with my body, to just sit with it, is an incredible gift.