Tango & Orgasmic Meditation
by Michael Caditz Apr 1, 2015
As a tango dancer for more than a decade (admittedly on-again, off-again), something struck me as familiar when a dear friend introduced me to Orgasmic Meditation, developed by an organization called OneTaste.
I couldn’t quite pinpoint what was familiar: After all, on the face of it, what could a rather formal dress-up social activity like tango dancing have in common with a couple sitting on the floor, one person partially clothed getting her genitals stroked for precisely fifteen minutes? I admit it took me another year of tango on Thursdays and Saturdays, and OM on Tuesdays and Sundays, to finally gain an understanding of the profound commonality that lies beneath the starkly different forms.
I’ve decided to share my insights, with the following disclaimer: My writing background is not creative, but rather research and argumentative essays. So, in a logical and empirical fashion, here’s my analysis of the commonalities between Argentine tango and OM.
Partnered practice within a group
Both tango and OM require two people to participate. In tango there is a “lead,” normally a man, and a “follow,” normally a woman. OM requires a “stroker,” who could be a man or woman, and a “strokee”—a woman. In either practice the couple might practice alone, however normally in tango, and optionally in OM, the room is filled with multiple couples.
Tango and OM each have an agreed framework of rules and protocols. The experience, intensity, and benefits of the practices are made possible by the containers which hold them. Tango specifies that the man is the “lead”; the dance begins with a request from the lead; there is a correct handhold; it is agreed that certain actions by the lead dictate a particular response (e.g. the lead stepping “outside” of the follow’s legs during a promenade, then stopping, requires the follow to step into “cruzada”); dances come in sets of three during which excusing oneself is considered rude.
OM is timed at precisely fifteen minutes. It has three stages: Initial grounding, stroking, and finally a sharing of frames (a brief verbalization of physical sensations). OM specifies the body positions of each partner, and has specific rules about how and where specifically on the anatomy the stroking is done.
Circle of energy
Although each partner has a different role, in neither practice is one “doing something” to the other. Each partner’s role and participation is equally important in the experience of the practice.
The tango lead assumes an immense amount of responsibility for not only his own dancing, but he must also be acutely aware of his follow’s experience at all times. This includes knowing where her weight is, where it is possible for her to step next, and when to give her time and space to embellish her dancing (the ability to demonstrate her own talents is crucial to the follow). Thus tango involves, literally and figuratively, a “dance” between the energies and needs of each partner. ￼ In OM, the strokee, though she appears to be physically passive, is responsible for verbally communicating requests for “adjustments.” She is also encouraged to remain energetically present, and to focus on physical sensation rather than intellectual thoughts, stories, or judgments. The stroker is responsible to check in with the strokee and make “offers” if he senses an adjustment is in order. To the extent both partners are present in this way, a “circle of energy” is created.
Both practices require a focused and intense connection between partners. Unlike social chitchat, focus is maintained on the other partner and the practice at hand.
It is considered a breach of protocol to engage in small talk during a tango dance i, especially if it’s a third party invading the coupled container. It is uncommon to witness much talk at all amongst dancers on the floor. Tango partners sometimes even dance with eyes closed (although that is not considered a desirable practice by many instructors).
Similarly, it is taught that during an OM the focus should be on physical sensation, and that conversation be limited to specific requests for physical adjustment by the strokee, or offers for same by the stroker.
Each practice, tango and OM, focus highly on the physical experience.
As stated earlier, silence is commonplace in a tango dance. Each partner is acutely aware of his and her body placements in relation to the partner, the dance floor, and others in the room. Seasoned dancers experience an increasing ease with their bodies—steps become unconscious as the body relaxes into the movements.
Likewise in OM, the logistical steps and protocols of the container are eventually followed without much thought: The experience is felt in the body—the relaxation of the shoulders, the grounding of the perineum, the point of connection between the stroker’s finger and the strokee’s clitoris. ￼
Promotion of wellbeing
The Argentine tango and Orgasmic Meditation can be compared as meditative experiences which promote various types of wellbeing.
Tango is compared to “mindfulness meditation” in its ability to treat depression and in stress management, and is claimed to lead to a “higher level of overall contentment and energy” and “naturally improve your well-being”.
OneTaste suggests that “Orgasm” is “capable of increasing your vitality, confidence, energy, intimacy, and more.”
A community experience
Unlike “drop-in” activities like visiting bars or nightclubs, both tango and OM have a learning curve to acquire basic skills. Time and money investments are required for a period of time, after which students become accepted into a community and gain legitimacy.
In the case of OM, OneTaste actually provides a virtual “OM Badge,” a symbol that one has completed a basic course in OM and is entitled to join the “OM Hub,” a social networking site. Tango has no such formal requirement, but participants generally attend beginning classes for a time before attending “milongas” (social dances).
Perhaps because of the initial commitment required, tango and OM tend to attract and retain those interested enough to make that commitment. Many participants in each practice attend events on a daily or weekly basis, and connections with the other regulars may become their primary social identity and social life.
There are many dance forms, of which Argentine tango characteristically evokes connection, attention, and intensity between partners. Likewise, there are many ways to access “orgasm,” and Orgasmic Meditation as developed by OneTaste is a unique and particularly effective method of experiencing deep sensation and wellbeing.
I venture to guess that since tango dancers and OMers have already learned many of the core principles common to each practice, they might be uniquely pre- qualified to venture into the other world and discover familiar value.