by Natalie Morgan
Although I was born into a female body, I lived as a male from the age of thirteen to my early twenties. To me, the feminine seemed to be an inherently violated state of being. Any pleasure I derived from my genitals I associated with fear and contempt. Masculine desires felt safer and more affirming. I came to believe I would never have an enjoyable sex life if I didn't possess a male organ. Getting one would require an expensive and delicate surgery, which, even if it were possible, still would not allow me to ejaculate.
At a hippie summer camp, a teenager told me it would be fifty years before a surgery would be developed to allow me to have that experience. It was infuriating. Our culture makes a big deal about sexuality, and I felt I would never have a normal sex life. It seemed so much of the world was not for me
After high school, I fell into a particular subculture of the trans community that was supportive in many ways but damaging in others. People were pushing BDSM narratives as the norm, although I had a bad experience with it. I watched people get involved with a variety of lifestyles, hoping these dynamics would bring them liberation but actually getting more entangled and confused. Many of my relationships involved emotional manipulation from people who had similar trauma to mine, which caused me to reverberate with the same trauma. In desperation, I decided to explore deeper and try to figure out how to have healthier relationships.
Eventually I de-transitioned, returning to a female identity. It wasn't easy, since in my community, I would get attacked and harassed if I claimed to be biologically female. I was told that I had been changed by my experience living as a male. In addition to the emotional effects, what if I had medically altered myself to a degree where I could never be seen as female again? I was struggling with fear and conflict when I discovered OM, a year after de-transitioning.
OM attracted me because it's a meditative practice. I thought it would be good to slow down and get back to the basics of how my body worked. I'd had a lot of traumatic experiences involving my genitals, and the gentleness of OM was reassuring.
The big question for me, in my first OM, was whether the stroker would have a radically different experience with me than he generally had with other women. In the OM space, the rules and steps of the container allowed me to be half-naked and still feel safe having a cis-gendered man see and touch the most intimate part of my body. In the noticing step, he told me exactly what he saw when he looked at my genitals, confirming that the people who had harassed me were wrong. I could still be female.
During the stroking, I had a lot of sensation in my body. I started to allow myself to feel pleasure and own my power as a person who can direct the experience, but I was also fighting my fears. After a few sessions, I no longer felt afraid that I had lost my femininity, at least during OMing, although I still had to cope with it while dating. With each OM, I was becoming more tuned in to the feelings in my body and learning to make adjustments by telling my OM partner how to make the stroke feel better. Awareness of what turned me on during OMing translated into helping me sense what was right for me in other areas of my life. I was able to feel my turn-on as a guiding force.
I had a relationship recently where the other person was saying my trauma symptoms were a sign that I was inherently submissive. It was not an okay way to view the world, to say the least. At first I just nodded my head, going along with their observations. But I listened to my body and noticed there was no turn-on happening. I used to be trapped in the role of trying to validate other people, but in that moment I felt no turn-on, I realized I didn't have to let this person impose their ideas on me. Ordinarily it would have taken me two weeks to act on that understanding, but instead it only took me two seconds to say, “Actually, no, you're wrong.”
OM has been good medicine for me.