Orgasmic meditation makes mindfulness sexy. But does it work?

For beginners, meditation can be difficult to tackle. What if it was a little…sexier? This is the philosophy behind Orgasmic Meditation, a mindfulness technique that combines meditation and sex to achieve new levels of intimacy and inner peace. Many people around the world have shared their viscerally positive experiences with the practice – yet various controversies surrounding organizations promoting orgasmic meditation, as well as questions about the science behind it, have emerged over the years.

Today, mindfulness, meditation, and sex therapy experts are trying to break through the hype and questionable science to understand how sexual pleasure can be effectively incorporated into meditation practices. That’s what you need to know.

What is Orgasmic Meditation?

If you’re single, it can be difficult to practice traditional Orgasmic Meditation (OM), which is a partnership practice for heterosexual couples — or for women willing to pay for a professional OM instructor.

As the female lies down in her “den”, usually a comfortable space on the floor, the person playing the role of “caresser”, usually a male, wears latex gloves and covers her index finger in lubricant, then proceeds at his pleasure. . Caressing should have a methodology though, as the caresser should massage the upper left quadrant of the clitoris with a firm but gentle up and down motion for about fifteen minutes. Here is a video (definitely NSFW) on how to practice the meditation technique correctly, if you need a visual explainer.

What is crucial here is that the goal of effleurage is not, contrary to what its name might suggest, orgasm. Rather, the goal is to achieve a level of increased pleasure, inner peace, and excitement, in which most people feel happier and more creative. However, moaning throughout the practice is strongly encouraged. It is recommended that OM practitioners share their thoughts and feelings out loud after meditation in order to vocalize their inner world and reflections.

The sharing of sexual desires is at the heart of orgasmic meditation. I participated in an orgasmic meditation course in October 2016 with Light up Britain, the now defunct organization that brought orgasmic meditation to Europe. Its co-founder Kapil Gupta explained the basics of orgasmic meditation and insisted that before embarking on a caress, it is necessary to open up to oneself about our sex life and our desires. What is your deepest desire? How do you feel about that? What is the thing that you love but haven’t had the courage to admit to yourself?

Why Orgasmic Meditation Is For Men, Even If It’s Not

Orgasmic meditation involves stroking the clitoris, and cisgender men aren’t actually touched by their partner or themselves in the process. They don’t kiss, flirt, or even need to undress. But that doesn’t mean they don’t get anything out of the experience.

Some men have reported that orgasmic meditation has changed their views on sex. Like a man said QG, practicing OM helped him realize that sex isn’t about giving so he can get something in return. It helped him learn to expect nothing from sex and enjoy it without the ultimate goal of climaxing. Another man said orgasmic meditation helped him learn to slow down and focus on connecting in the bedroom.

Men also report benefits that have nothing to do with doing it. Some report feeling more energetic after OM. And because of the focus on communication during orgasmic meditation, some have improved their ability to listen to women. In this way, a man even reported that OM had helped his relationship with his mum.

As another person said Health Line“I am not a scientist but I can say that [practicing OM] helped my confidence – it helped my relationships with women. It raised my volume. I felt like I finally understood women and how their bodies and minds worked.

Does orgasmic meditation actually work?

Orgasmic meditation has gained a huge following over the past 15 years. OM practitioners all great benefits to their happiness, tranquility and creativity. But scientific research on the practice is still scarce.

A study 2021 from Thomas Jefferson University seemed promising. In this research, fMRIs showed the difference in brain stimulation in 20 participants during OM practice and at rest. For both the stroker and stroked partner, there was increased connectivity in brain areas such as the frontal lobe, amygdala, and prefrontal cortex—areas of the brain responsible for emotion and cognitive function. “It has shown some efficacy in terms of changes in the brain, which could have positive benefits for certain types of psychological conditions,” explains Jon Aarona New York-based certified mindfulness-based stress reduction teacher, who was not involved in the study.

A 2022 study of 93 orgasmic meditation participants found that OM can also improve the emotional state of participants. Participants’ happiness ratings increased throughout an OM session and anxiety decreased.

But this evidence in favor of orgasmic meditation is thin, and not all experts agree. Some, like Aaron, consider more traditional forms of meditation to be more beneficial than OM. “Mindfulness meditation practices, which have been around for over 2,500 years and have been scientifically studied for the past 40 years, have been shown to be effective in dealing with many different emotional and physical challenges,” says Aaron. “Certainly to a much greater extent than what OM seem to be offering.”

For example, Aaron notes, studies have proven that Simple mindfulness meditation techniques, such as mindfulness-based stress reduction, can reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. A review of nine clinical trials in JAMA Psychiatry in 2016 suggests that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can reduce depression relapse rates for up to 60 weeks. Another study showed that people who did an eight-week mindfulness practice had significantly more flu antibodies than their peers who did not. And one study 2017 showed that meditation can help older people increase their attention.

Some experts take a strong stand against orgasmic meditation. “It’s not meditation. It has no roots in classical or modern practices like biofeedback or mindfulness,” says Tom Ingegno, CADMa Baltimore-based acupuncturist with a doctorate in acupuncture and Chinese medicine.

More importantly, some practitioners have described the world of orgasmic meditation as a kind of sex cult. A presentation published by Bloomberg journalist Ellen Huet from 2018, detailed stories of “sex bondage and five-figure debt” linked to OneTaste, the leading organization promoting orgasmic meditation in the United States, now renamed the Institute of OM.

So while there are no identified downsides to trying orgasmic meditation with someone you trust, trying it with an organization set up to promote the practice is a different story. “There’s a big difference between experimenting with a trusted partner and the setup that OM organizations promote,” Ingegno says. “Unfortunately, women report abuse and rape, which has no place in meditation or spiritual practices.” Several court case are on hold for various sexual misconduct issues, he notes, and this has made it increasingly difficult for specialists in the field of meditation and sex therapy to take orgasmic meditation seriously. The OM Institute has not commented on these allegations.

How to Practice “Real” Erotic Meditation

All the controversy surrounding orgasmic meditation doesn’t mean there isn’t a form of erotic meditation that can be beneficial once you’ve cleared the mess, Ingegno says. After all, the OM technique itself is relatively simple, and if performed with the right partner, it can lead to orgasm and the release of neurotransmitters that leave a person calm and happy – feelings that people crave. often in meditation.

“Sexual arousal can flood the brain with feel-good neurotransmitters. This can help people bond, relieve stress, regulate the immune system, relieve pain, and sleep better,” says Ingegno.

Personally, he sees no way to add sexual pleasure to traditional meditation – and there’s no guarantee it’s any more mindful than just having sex – but there’s certainly some overlap between sexual arousal and meditation.

sex therapist Holly Richmond, Ph.D., agrees – warnings about OM organizations aside. “Do I think the practice of bringing the mind and body together erotically can be powerful and make the meditation even more powerful and the benefits more effective for some people? Absolutely,” she says. combining non-judgmental presence and erotic genital touch, I think it can be incredibly powerful.”

But that doesn’t have to be the configuration designed by OneTaste, for example. When Richmond works with clients, she incorporates a range of erotic practices, whether it’s freehand masturbation, toy use, or something else entirely. These practices don’t need to involve another person or “stroker” – in her view, the way OM has been popularized can be a bit patriarchal and reductive of women’s agency. “Erotic meditation is so much better when it’s something we can do to empower ourselves,” she says.

Richmond likes to think of including arousal in meditation as a practice of wholeness. Not in the moral sense, but in the physical sense, where body and mind are on the same level. She has clients who practice some kind of personal pleasure with their meditation every day, and others who only occasionally decide to incorporate eroticism into their meditative practice.

“So, yeah, I prescribe a version of OM, but I don’t call it that,” Richmond says. “I think [meditation] could be profoundly better incorporating sexual pleasure. When we focus on this intention and are in our body, and then touch this most sensitive part of our body, it can be a spiritual, ecstatic and transcendent act.

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