The New Yorker, Life Hackers, and Peet's Coffee

by Ken Blackman  Sep 8, 2011

This week, OM was mentioned in a profile of author Timothy Ferriss in The New Yorker magazine. (Ferriss refers to it as “The 15-minute orgasm”.) The practice of Orgasmic Meditation – which has become an icon of the “Slow Sex Movement” – has been quietly attracting followers since 2004, the year OneTaste founders Nicole Daedone and Robert Kandell opened their original Center. National and international exposure first arrived in 2009 with a succession of articles, television segments and interviews featured in over a dozen major media outlets, a trend that continues to accelerate.nnJournalists like to point out how “fitting” it is that OM got its start in San Francisco. I think this is only a partial truth. While it is true that my job title tends to draw surprisingly un-surprised reactions from people in this city, it’s equally true that OneTaste’s newfound fame is fueled by a much broader wave of recent interest in female orgasm. Articles on the topic abound in both popular media and medical research journals. The movie Hysteria, due out this fall, deals with the lost art of doctors stroking their female patients’ genitals to paroxysm (an extremely popular medical treatment in the Victorian age). In this context, OM practitioners are like holders of the flame in a world of candles waiting to be lit.nnSo it’s fitting that OM began in San Francisco in the same way that it’s fitting that Peet’s Coffee began as a small coffee shop in Berkeley, CA, with a fanatical following of locals and a then-revolutionary idea of roasting and brewing a superior cup of coffee. (I grew up in Berkeley and remember going there with my father. Patrons were invited to bring in their own coffee mug, of any kind, to get filled – an only-in-Berkeley practice that, sadly but not surprisingly, did not survive the company’s explosive growth in the 1980’s.)nnEach successive wave of media attention brings through our doors a new wave of people, all hungry for a kind of deep, gratifying connection that is missing from their lives, and an opportunity for us to learn how to translate OM to the language of a new demographic. ABC News, Nightline and Time bring in one crowd; Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health, another.nnBy far the most visible group of early OM adopters are the readers of Tim Ferriss’s latest book, The 4-hour Body. Incessant life-hackers, they carry the grand tradition of tinkering into an era when the miracles of technology allow us to tinker not just with our machines and dwellings but with our bodies and brains as well. Ferriss is the their patron saint. Because of his broad appeal, and because his chapter on Orgasmic Meditation is arguably the most talked about, we speak to a lot of them.nnOM’s most recent media mention appears in the New Yorker profile on Ferriss, and it is to readers of that magazine that this blog is addressed. First of all, welcome. Given the context of your introduction to the topic, a little orientation might be in order.nn“The 15-minute Orgasm” is the life hacker’s phrase for Orgasmic Meditation. Upon deeper inspection, it turns out that the two terms aren’t entirely synonymous, although the differences lie not so much in the act referred to as in the mindset of the speaker. Yes, you can use a dime as a screwdriver in a pinch, but that’s missing the fact that if you collect enough of them, you can buy a house. So, since we have you, there are a few things we’d like you to know about OM.nnHistory. The value to men and women of stroking women’s genitals has been widely known since the time of Hippocrates and appears throughout the medical literature since that time. It has been less than 100 years since the practice has fallen from favor. Why was it dropped? Because we’ve learned enough about female sexuality that it’s become impossible to plausibly deny the true nature of the practice. OM differs from “pelvic massage” in that it doesn’t treat normal female sexual response as a medical condition requiring treatment.nnOrgasm vs. climax. Another two terms that, it turns out, are not synonymous, although most people think of the latter when they hear the former. The current popular obsession with female climax seems a bit misguided to regular practitioners of OM. With regular practice, climax becomes increasingly easy but increasingly irrelevant, and orgasm – that involuntary state, with all of its intensely pleasurable sensations – expands past the relatively brief sneeze that is climax.nnPractice. Much research has gone into making the act of Orgasmic Meditation, and its instruction, as simple as possible while retaining all the essential components. Mastery is a different matter. Based on the experience of long-time practitioners, there is no known point beyond which there is nothing more to learn, or nothing more to be gained, from continued practice. It keeps getting better. I am in my 13th year as a stroker. I can attest both that I have attained a level of confidence far beyond what I thought would ever be available to me; and, that new horizons continue to open for me.nnThe stroker role. This may be the most paradoxical part of OM. Men are generally more willing to say yes to OM than women expect, especially given that the focus is exclusively on her genitals, not his. When asked, a man will likely attribute this to his eagerness to give his woman pleasure, while a woman will assume there’s a hidden cost. However, once he’s been OMing for long enough that he’s no longer sweating the technical details or worried about performance, something takes place that neither of them expected: he actually starts to enjoy OM himself. Not vicariously, for the pleasure he’s giving her; not for all of the side benefits of a having a woman who’s getting stroked regularly (substantial though they may be); and not for the potential ego boost one might get from being a great stroker. He actually starts to feel something in his body from being in direct physical contact with a woman in orgasm that... feels good. There’s no other way to say it. It’s different from sex but pleasurable in and of itself. He begins to look forward to it, misses it when they miss a session, and such.nnGrowing ubiquity. In the article, Tim Ferriss took on something of an apologetic tone when the subject came up, advising readers not to try to OM with a partner on a first date. In truth, it’s less weird than he implies, in two ways. First, an offer to OM, properly explained, is an easier sell than sex, especially if you’re a guy. And second, the number of practitioners is growing rapidly. OM is a well-defined, easy-to-understand, reliably enjoyable activity in a way that sex is not. It might behoove you to learn the basics, lest you be taken off-guard by an invitation to OM from some attractive gent or lady who catches your fancy.nn(Worth noting here that in the same New Yorker article Jack Canfield, the co-editor of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series, gives a hearty thumbs-up to the practice.)nnBi-coastal. Finally, many of you may not know that we're stationed right in your back yard. OneTaste has had a presence in Manhattan for years. So as much as we’d be thrilled to have you come to SF – and would gladly serve you coffee in your own mug – the trip is not necessary to get personalized OM instruction. You need only express interest. Here – allow us to demonstrate:nn“Would you like to OM?”nnSee? That easy.