OneTaste is a business dedicated to researching and teaching the practices of orgasmic meditation and slow sex. Though it embraces certain tenets based in Eastern philosophy, OneTaste's central focus is female orgasm and sexuality.
OneTaste was founded in San Francisco by Nicole Daedone in 2001. Daedone, whose academic background had been semantics went on to study with teachers of yoga, Kabbalah, and Buddhist meditation, and with Ray Vetterlein, who was in turn inspired by Morehouse. OneTaste originally operated two communal-style "urban retreat" centers, one in San Francisco’s Soma District and the other on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. In 2011, the organization relocated to San Francisco’s Union Square neighborhood where staff members produce media, workshops, weekend retreats, and a coach training program. The organization's stated goal is "to create a clean, well-lit place where sexuality, relationship, and intimacy could be discussed openly and honestly."
Orgasmic meditation or OMing is a term coined by Nicole Daedone to signify a mindfulness practice in which the object of meditation is finger to genital contact. OMing is practiced in pairs, with one practitioner stroking the genitals of the other, and both focusing their attention on the sensation with the stated goal of developing connective resonance between them. Although the practitioners can be of either sex, the focus of orgasmic meditation seems to be on the female orgasm through subtle and deliberate stimulation of the clitoris. Both partners, however, can presumably share in the sensation and fulfillment via a kind of "pleasure by proxy." Proponents state that orgasmic meditation encompasses more than just orgasm and that it encourages greater emotional awareness, connected relationships, and sense of fulfillment. Others describe the sensation as "a heady buzz, mixed with equal parts wooziness and intensity of focus."
In press accounts, orgasmic meditation has been compared to tantric practices. "The idea, similar to Buddhist Tantric sex, is to extend the sensory peak." Daedone has stated in interviews that OMing also borrows from other traditions including yoga, and other forms of meditation, and she describes it as a central element of what she terms the "Slow Sex Movement". She states that OMing brings consciousness to sexuality in the same way that sitting meditation brings consciousness to stillness and yoga brings consciousness to movement. Proponents maintain that the practice leads to more intense and profound orgasms, expands one's capacity to feel pleasure and other sensations, and promotes greater personal awareness and interpersonal connectivity. Others describe more limited effects, such as simply "getting in touch with one's body." Some who have participated in or witnessed the practice report feeling a sense of discomfort or inappropriateness. "I tried with great futility to make the connection between an austere Zen monastery filled with silent monks meditating on emptiness, and what I had just seen."
The practice of orgasmic meditation is done with a partner. One person lies down, unclothed from the waist down, while her partner sits alongside. The one sitting uses his or her index finger to slowly, deliberately stroke the clitoris and genitals of the other. Typically this safe sex practice involves the wearing of gloves. The session lasts for 15 minutes and is timed precisely. Both partners focus their attention on the point of contact or stroke, simply feeling the sensation that is present. If the mind drifts, attention is brought back to the point of contact and immediate sensations. Practitioners of orgasmic meditation maintain that the practice nourishes the limbic system, the part of the brain shared with other mammals and associated with emotion, empathy, and motivation. When the OMing session is over, both partners share their experiences verbally.
OMing requires a partner, and so is distinct from masturbation, for two reasons. First, the voluntary mind must be given a rest, surrendering to the experience rather than seeking to produce the desired sensations. Secondly, the resonance between two partners is essential to the experience of shared sensation. OM is usually practiced separately from sex and often in a location other than the bedroom; as distinct from foreplay, Daedone describes it as a practice "designed to keep a woman on a plateau of sensation." A visiting UK columnist surmised that "OM is a form of recalibration that prepares the body for better, more intense sex."
In The Four Hour Body, a New York Times Best Seller described as "a lab report on more than a decade of diet, exercise, and sexual trials that Tim Ferriss carried out on himself," two chapters are devoted to "The 15 Minute Female Orgasm" in which Ferriss describes his quest to learn to facilitate the experience of orgasm in any woman. After describing his introduction to the practice in a OneTaste coaching session, Ferriss concludes that "this should be required education for every man on the planet." He ascribes the success of the method to the fact that it is presented as a goalless practice and that it decouples orgasm from sex.Jack Canfield, co-editor for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, also states that he and his wife had great success with Orgasmic Meditation. However, he finds that the position prescribed for orgasmic meditation can cause tiring in the lower back, so he develops his own alternative "elbow-brace position" which he diagrams in his book, along with the anatomy of the clitoris and mechanics of stroking.
The New York Times portrays Daedone as leading a self-described "slow sex movement, one that places a near-exclusive emphasis on women’s pleasure — in which love, romance and even flirtation are not required." Daedone draws parallels between slow sex and the Slow Food movement associated with chef Alice Waters. With sex as with food, she says, people can overindulge without getting nourishment, or go from one extreme of consuming mindlessly to the other extreme of self-denial.
In an interview with San Francisco's 7x7 magazine, Daedone states that slow sex encompasses orgasmic meditation and mindful sexuality generally. She says that slow sex is not defined by speed or the amount of time spent, but rather these three ingredients: 1) developing attention to what's actually present rather than fixating on a goal, 2) simplicity, a stripping away of extraneous elements down to the level of pure sensation 3) cultivating desire by learning to acknowledge and articulate it.
In 2011, Daedone published Slow Sex: The Art and Craft of the Female Orgasm, described as elevating "the female orgasm to a level of religious and spiritual practice." The book intersperses practical exercises, anecdotes, and more detailed explanation of the characteristics of slow sex. In addition to an expanded description of the three-point definition above, the book charts some of the distinctive characteristics of slow sex, which values feeling good rather over looking good, desire over obligation, attention to sensation rather than fantasizing, and increasing sensation through attention rather than increasing sensation through pressure or speed.
The book begins by proposing that "every woman is orgasmic"—once the male-oriented definition of orgasm as "moment of climax" is expanded to include "the body's ability to receive and respond to pleasure" and even "a source of power, a well from which I could draw the energy I needed to discover who I was and how I wanted to live my life." Many of the staples of mainstream sexual self-help, including vibrators, fantasy and role playing, do not figure into slow sex.
A review in Salon.com explores whether these ideas and practices will appeal only to "alternative circles" or to a larger mainstream audience. Salon notes the demand for "female Viagra," with an estimated market of $2 billion dollars US, and numerous studies that document women's dissatisfaction with sex and low frequency of orgasm. The review concludes "Daedone's philosophy is a refreshing counterpoint to the porny mainstream, but it's certainly hard to picture Middle America embracing orgasmic meditation."
Barry Komisaruk, a neuroscientist at Rutgers University and author of The Science of Orgasm, was interviewed about slow sex for ABC news. Komisaruk characterizes the premises of slow sex as a kind of semantic reshuffling: "What Daedone calls orgasm is what most people would call pleasure and bliss; what most people call orgasm is what Daedone calls climax." However, Dr. Sara Gottfried, author of the book "The Hormone Cure" states "I consider OM a crucial addition to the language of female empowerment and experience. Perhaps most important, OM may be the best treatment available for our stress-crazed lives and overtaxed adrenal glands. It may just be the best possible hormone therapy for women of all ages."
Slow Sex presents a 10 day series of exercises consisting largely of timed 15-minute OM sessions, each with a different theme or focus, along with subsequent sharing of frames or sensations by both partners. The book asserts that the practice of slow sex is not offered as a solution to a problem, or a remedy for the pathologies of low libido or inability to experience orgasm. "Sex is not a problem… The whole paradigm of wrong, is wrong."
SF Weekly published two features on Onetaste, the first in 2007 titled "Sex and Sensuality," which focused on "the practice of orgasmic meditation, one stroke at a time," and a shorter piece in 2009 entitled "The Slow-Sex Movement Picking up Speed". In 2008, the Canadian daily newspaper the Toronto Star included a OneTaste instructor in a survey of teachers offering "a connection between sex and soul."
In March 2009, The New York Times featured OneTaste on the front page of its "Style" section. The article describes the organization as "the latest stop on this sexual underground, weaving together strands of radical individual freedom, Eastern spirituality and feminism." An Indiana University sociology professor who has studied San Francisco’s sexual subcultures, Elizabeth A. Armstrong, is quoted as saying “The notion of a San Francisco sex commune focused on female orgasm is part of a long and rich history of women being public and empowered about their sexuality.”
The article also notes, "as with many a commune before it, the leader of One Taste, Ms. Daedone, is a polarizing personality, whom admirers venerate as a sex diva, although some former members say she has cult like powers over her followers... Much of the community’s tone revolves around Ms. Daedone, a woman of considerable charm, although detractors regard her as a master manipulator." The article mentions two former members by name, Elana Auerbach and her husband Bill Press, who it quotes as having left to pursue a life that was "heart-focused rather than genital-focused". This was corrected in a letter to the editor, where Elana and Bill say they left One Taste because they found it a "manipulative, unhealthy and disempowering" environment. In the New York Times interview, Ms. Daedone insists she does not aspire to guru status, while acknowledging that "there’s a high potential for this to be a cult."
The New York Times article led to several blog and opinion columns. Salon.com ran an essay that referenced the Times piece and discussed the merits of women joining a community dedicated to female orgasm, concluding that "within a mainstream sexual culture defined almost exclusively by dudely desires" that it might be healthy. That same month, William Safire entitled his column on language "Orgasmic," and traced the gradual shift of the word's meaning "from the clinical 'climactic' to the metaphoric 'joyful.'" As his primary example of this shift, he cited the fact that his own paper had "two weeks ago reported at length on 'orgasmic meditation' in San Francisco."
Orgasmic meditation, slow sex and OneTaste were later covered by the New York Post,EnlightenNext, the Huffington Post, the Daily Mail,Time, Nicole Daedone's TEDx. and ABC News Nightline. In November 2012 an article advertising OneTaste sessions in the UK was published in Metro.
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