The Antidote to Trauma is Pleasure

by Nicole Daedone  May 20, 2016
Man and woman in bed

Transcribed from the I OM Talk, recorded live in Los Angeles, January 2016, Reprinted Courtesy of the Living Library.

I once read in a New York Times article, “being human is a traumatic experience.” My definition of trauma is having experiences that are more pressure or speed than the psyche has the capacity to open for. If I throw a ball without completing the throw, all the energy that was supposed to go to throwing stays in my arm, because where there is closure there is buildup.

Peter Levine's work says the antidote to trauma is pleasure. The way to move through trauma is to go back and complete the throw by allowing the flow of pleasure to move where congestion occurs. What's devastating, especially in the arena of sexual trauma, is that the first thing we reject when we experience trauma is pleasure. So the experience I’ve seen is the closure shutting and locking when we go back into the field at too intense a rate. That's why OM is such a beautiful response to trauma; it's intuitive and gentle. There’s nothing I have to do when I lie down but lie down. It’s one of the rare times in my life where I’m ordered not to perform, where all I do is lie there and receive. Oddly, the more I lie there and receive, the more pleasurable it is for my partner because the more it can flow into our bodies. The more my partner strokes me with what’s called a taking touch, the way you touch velvet, not to please the velvet but for the pleasure in your finger, then the more pleasurable it is for me when they’re stroking me.

Both people are to take their own pleasure from the experience and in doing so both people get more pleasure. It's a pretty profound mindset to sink into. All I have to do is lie there. My stroker strokes the upper left-hand quadrant of my clit, the most sensitive spot on a human being’s body, and something profound happens. The warmth on the stroked spot of my clit begins to travel through the whole of my clit, and then to the whole of my pussy, then to my belly and legs, and as that heat moves through my body the congestion begins to be absorbed. It's like melting wax. The lock or cramp is my experience of what trauma is, and as it melts it begins to open my body and my viewpoints.

Have you ever had a toothache and tried to think incredibly pleasurable thoughts? It’s possible but it’s challenging. A lot of us hold an ancient discomfort, we’ll say, and that discomfort can be melted in such a way that not only is it not a discomfort but now it’s working for you. It’s a flow with which you create a virtuous cycle. You begin to create warmth and opening. More warmth and opening create more warm and opening, and then pretty soon the whole body begins to feel warm and open. There was a period at seven years of practicing OM, when I realized there was not a single impediment in any of the flow in my body. Everything was open. At the time I didn’t know what it meant but I thought, “I’m free and I’m a free woman.” Now I know it meant that there was not any idea inside of me that wanted to stop something that felt good in my body. That for me is what the healing of trauma looks like.

So people often say, “Nicole I have too much trauma. I’m frozen and I’m too terrified to do this practice.” A a person who was brought to this practice from what was called trauma, I don’t think I had any option but to do the practice. I made a decision that I wanted to live and anything stuck in my body is not life. Life is motion. When I made that decision I didn’t have any option but to keep going. I’m grateful that I have the practice of OM because it incentivizes me with pleasure. It didn’t incentivize me by making me sit on a sofa and talk about my pain, though I do that, too. It said, “If you meet me then I’ll open you. The more you meet me, the more I’ll open you.” All I had to do was keep showing up to the opening that was available to me.

(Photo Credit: Martien Mulder)