An Orgasm in Every Office
October 16, 2013 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Journalist Natasha Tiku (you may remember her from her piece on Business Insider's Pax Dickinson) takes on the cult (?) of Orgasmic Meditation.

Tiku visited the OMXConference, hosted by OneTaste, a Silicon Valley company trying to popularize "the industry of orgasm."
posted by Aubergine (64 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Commodify your coming?
posted by planetesimal at 10:55 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


My mantra is 'Keep private things private'

Two people who are officially together... I have no problem there... Total strangers... Co-workers who aren't getting along... No Thanks...
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:59 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Co-workers who aren't getting along

Works for the Bonobos, might as well try it.

Seriously, this is a mystifying WTF article.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:01 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


For most of the time I was reading it, I thought the article was a po-faced sendup of the kind of trend that has a tendency to emerge from the TED bubble, just taken to a Swift-ian extreme. I think it's real, though.
posted by Aubergine at 11:02 AM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


Didn't we have all this with Wilhelm Reich and Woody Allen? It's like some people are trying to have their own private 60s.
posted by colie at 11:03 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Office wanking?
posted by popcassady at 11:08 AM on October 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I started copying the most WTF quotes out of the article, but then I gave up. This is either the most elaborate troll ever, or a recruiting strategy for Ark B.
posted by Dr Dracator at 11:14 AM on October 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


"If we have employee problems, we're like, let's OM together. Yeah, if two people have a discrepancy, we say: OM together!"

NOPE

NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE
posted by prefpara at 11:14 AM on October 16, 2013 [20 favorites]


I started copying the most WTF quotes out of the article, but then I gave up. This is either the most elaborate troll ever, or a recruiting strategy for Ark B.

Easily the best Gawker article ever. Christ, I would love to post this on Facebook, but how the hell would I explain it to my mother???
posted by KokuRyu at 11:17 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


If Tim Ferriss is mentioned as endorsing any phenomenon, it is immediately safe to LOL derisively and move on.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 11:18 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Business Insider"
posted by zippy at 11:20 AM on October 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


"But finally we got the blessing of Ray Kurzweil that we are officially a technology, and they said it's based on scientific knowledge about physiology and psychology and it goes far beyond insight or a piece of advice.”

“In fact," she said, "I would go even further to say orgasm can do for physical connection what the internet has done for us in terms of virtual connection.”


this can't be real I refuse to live in the universe where this is real.
posted by The Whelk at 11:22 AM on October 16, 2013 [12 favorites]


After that is the "noticing" phase, in which the stroker is supposed to narrate what's being seen, using "non-value" terms

I notice your idea IS NOPE.
posted by prefpara at 11:22 AM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


"But finally we got the blessing of Ray Kurzweil that we are officially a technology..."

Well, if that isn't the Batshit-Insane Stamp of Approval™, I don't know what is.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:24 AM on October 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


I can't, you guys. Why can't ladies just get themselves off in the handicap bathrooms. Why involve a random man. And why a man. Why is this ALSO homophobic. I just don't even.
posted by prefpara at 11:24 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I would go even further to say orgasm can do for physical connection what the internet has done for us in terms of virtual connection.”

YEAH I HEAR THAT MIRIAM IN ACCOUNTS PAYABLE IS OUR OWN LITTLE PITTOCK BUILDING IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 11:26 AM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


*imagines this being applied to her own bandwagon-jumping workplace*





*weeps and vows to join a convent once she stops puking*



tl:dr HELLNOPE
posted by louche mustachio at 11:36 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


This gif = NOT HELPING
posted by louche mustachio at 11:38 AM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


YES. I was thinking that this latest crop of disappointments just hadn't been disappointing enough.

Thank you, Business Insider, for keeping my faith in humanity's capacity for shitty ideation and worse quality control strong.
posted by Slackermagee at 11:41 AM on October 16, 2013


I started copying the most WTF quotes out of the article, but then I gave up. This is either the most elaborate troll ever, or a recruiting strategy for Ark B.

Yeah...this can't be real. That's the reality I choose to live in.
posted by dejah420 at 11:44 AM on October 16, 2013


Is it a porn thing?
posted by colie at 11:50 AM on October 16, 2013


"Business Insider"

...I hardly know 'er!!

Thanks everybody, I'll be here all week!
posted by overeducated_alligator at 11:50 AM on October 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


...a Silicon Valley company trying to popularize "the industry of orgasm."

I thought that industry was already in the San Fernando Valley.
posted by TedW at 11:54 AM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Psh, it's like so 2011. Get back to me when you have an original idea. If you want to see how it would play out in one scenario, just read Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt.
posted by mattbucher at 12:08 PM on October 16, 2013


My workplace is already a big enough source of shame, fear, and regret. Let's not bring masturbation into it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:13 PM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


In my Airbnb, I turned off all the lights, huddled under a blanket, ordered chicken soup on Seamless, and trolled Netflix for a romcom.

This one got me. Uncontrollable laughter, which is like ⅛Orgasm right?
posted by carsonb at 12:20 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


you guys are missing the most important part of the article - HENDRIX PLAYED WITH THE DEAD???!!!!
posted by pyramid termite at 12:22 PM on October 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


In every orifice? Oh, 'office'.
posted by moorooka at 12:23 PM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Paging Dr. Spitzvogel and Dr. Bender to the occupational therapy suite...
posted by not_on_display at 12:25 PM on October 16, 2013


If you want to see how it would play out in one scenario, just read Lightning Rods by Helen DeWitt.

Actually, reading all the way to the end, this article reminded me of The Magus in an odd way.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 12:26 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


and then it goes on to say that OM shouldn't be used as foreplay? - you know, i was kind of down with the question, "but what about the men?", but i'm starting to seriously wonder if anyone gets anything out of this but confusion and frustration

the author doesn't sound like she was at all comfortable with this
posted by pyramid termite at 12:40 PM on October 16, 2013


Overthinking flicking the bean.
posted by dortmunder at 12:50 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Shocking revelations:
Orgasms make you feel good, and they're even better if you involve other people, producing a feeling of connection with that person (or people).
If you don't already have an intimate relationship with those other people, you should have clear limits and consent, and you'll probably have unpleasant feelings afterward, especially the first few times.
posted by Tool of the Conspiracy at 12:53 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Could not fap to that article.
posted by orme at 1:00 PM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


I once had a very weird experience at a cafe in SF where a stranger, a woman, came up to me and friend at a common table, started chatting with us, and then asked us if we knew about the orgasmic potential of women and wanted to come to a free session where we could watch women orgasm, and then later pay for this therapy. She claimed she was part of this movement.

It felt scammy and manipulative (!), like I had just been accosted by a used car salesperson.
posted by zippy at 1:14 PM on October 16, 2013


The article leaves out the part later where HR and legal counsel ask you to "point to the places on the doll where it happened."
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 1:17 PM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


"The partner—the stroker, typically a man—remains fully dressed. The lights stay on. Over the course of 15 minutes, timed, the partner rubs the upper left quadrant of the woman's clitoris, and she surrenders to involuntary sensation."

The first 14:45 is spent searching.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:25 PM on October 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


"In my Airbnb, I turned off all the lights, huddled under a blanket, ordered chicken soup on Seamless, and trolled Netflix for a romcom."

This one got me. Uncontrollable laughter, which is like ⅛Orgasm right?


I thought that was the best line in the whole thing.
posted by jkolko at 1:28 PM on October 16, 2013


"In my Airbnb, I turned off all the lights, huddled under a blanket, ordered chicken soup on Seamless, and trolled Netflix for a romcom."

This one got me. Uncontrollable laughter, which is like ⅛Orgasm right?


I thought that was the best line in the whole thing.


Yeah, laying in a fetal position in the dark, eating food you ordered off the internet and watching crappy movies is EVEN BETTER than going to an orgasm cult retreat!

A friend of mine recently mentioned OneTaste to me and my gut reaction after taking one brief look at their website was, "Wow, an orgasm cult?!"

Glad to know the gut continues to be spot on.
posted by ReeMonster at 1:37 PM on October 16, 2013


Paging Bad Brains.
posted by lumpenprole at 1:50 PM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


For any of you wondering if this is a joke, I can assure you it is not. I've met a few people here in the bay area in passing who have been into it and my immediate reaction to hearing them talk about it was cult. They come across as super doe-eyed, brainwashy people with all this weird jargon combined with pseudo-spiritual hippie stuff. Once they start talking about it, you can't stop them (and they really, really want to talk about it).

I once had a very weird experience at a cafe in SF where a stranger, a woman, came up to me and friend at a common table, started chatting with us, and then asked us if we knew about the orgasmic potential of women and wanted to come to a free session where we could watch women orgasm, and then later pay for this therapy. She claimed she was part of this movement.

If you browse the dating sites for the SF area there seem to be a substantial number of their members on it using it for recruiting. They all seem to be along the lines of "I just moved here from the midwest and found my calling at onetaste!!" then the rest of their profile consists of the same link to the same TED talk by the founder and a lot of thinly veiled looking-for-casual-sex-oh-wait-I-mean-come-to-a-meeting. It's super creepy.
posted by bradbane at 1:50 PM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


How does the ridiculous heteronormativity fly in San Francisco, of all places?
posted by dilaudid at 1:59 PM on October 16, 2013


Yeah, I felt like involving dudes was really unnecessary. I'd be way more likely to join a weird orgasm cult if it was all women; it'd feel safer, somehow. The whole "OM together!" thing in offices is problematic on many levels, obviously, but it seems rather limited if it can only solve m/f problems.

There's a sort of coerciveness I felt too-- it seems like a bad thing that no one used their red cards because if no one is saying they're uncomfortable it might mean no one feels safe being the killjoy in the room of moaning women. The crying women outside didn't help with this perception for me, though that could just have been usual post-orgasm Feels.
posted by NoraReed at 2:09 PM on October 16, 2013


What a delicious article.

There's a gay male equivalent of this, The Body Electric, a sort of mild tantra + gay sex therapy thing. It always seemed a bit goofy to me but it made some friends of mine happy. And taught them some interesting skills...
posted by Nelson at 2:26 PM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


For any of you wondering if this is a joke, I can assure you it is not. I've met a few people here in the bay area in passing who have been into it and my immediate reaction to hearing them talk about it was cult. They come across as super doe-eyed, brainwashy people with all this weird jargon combined with pseudo-spiritual hippie stuff. Once they start talking about it, you can't stop them (and they really, really want to talk about it).

I can think of worse company bonding rituals.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:28 PM on October 16, 2013


I can think of worse company bonding rituals.

Really? I can't think of anything worse that doesn't involve grievous bodily injury. I mean, with the obligations power dynamics that come with employment it would basically be corporate "rape camp" retreat.
posted by ennui.bz at 2:47 PM on October 16, 2013 [15 favorites]


Yes, using this in a professional setting is just an egregiously bad idea.

Re: heteronormativity, the showpiece demonstration in the article was woman on woman, and I counted two other such occurrences.

I just can't believe they named their clit cult "OneTaste".
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 3:26 PM on October 16, 2013


Overthinking flicking the bean.

These people seem to be underthinking it. Severely.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 4:02 PM on October 16, 2013


How does the ridiculous heteronormativity fly in San Francisco, of all places?

<embed src="soundfile.mid" autostart="true" autoplay="true" loop="true" volume="100%">
posted by zippy at 4:12 PM on October 16, 2013


If this were mutual masturbation while people talked it out and visualized their grievance dissolving, I'd be onboard. But dudes fingerbanging female coworkers as a sanctioned means of clearing the air is just fucked up and is self-evident that it is fucked up.
posted by planetesimal at 4:30 PM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't know why so many workplaces are desperate to have workers be vulnerable/act like we're family or good buddies.

Work is work. I don't care about Nerf guns, office parties, lipsync videos and all the other superfluous stuff. As someone who is extremely liberal, one of the youngest and one of the few minorities at work, I don't want people looking at me with EVEN MORE curiosity. I resist pressure to participate in things that are completely alien/irrelevant to me, like golf outings and video sketches. Not to mention what stereotypical crap will come out of their mouths...


I go to work so I can exchange my talents for money. I want to treat others well and expect the same from them. I have made 3-4 actual friends from work since working from the age of 17. That's about a 1% or something success rate of people I hung with outside of work regularly.

The idea of adding my sexuality to the mix... NO. Most of the businesses I've worked for, as contractor and employee, have a hard time treating people with basic manners, paying them well and communicating clearly.

This is not an overreaction. Many bosses read about a new fad and then implement it poorly and cheaply. At best they would fumble around in the dark with OM. Just you wait....
posted by Freecola at 5:06 PM on October 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


^ this.

If I had to make a choice, I'd rather have a random guy rubbing me than a coworker. The former option makes me kinda uncomfortable , the latter invokes gagging. Helllll no. I would red card that shit before even unbuttoning pants.
posted by Fig at 5:46 PM on October 16, 2013


Oxytocin is available in a bottle. I figure it is only a matter of time until it is integrated into team building exercises.
posted by miyabo at 5:55 PM on October 16, 2013


I over the course of reading the article I saw the word "Landmark". That was all I needed to see. Ugh.
posted by droplet at 6:21 PM on October 16, 2013


...riiiiiight. OK, I'm going back to the cockroach farm thread. There's less of a squick factor there.
posted by happyroach at 6:33 PM on October 16, 2013


Well, you would say that.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 10:39 PM on October 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't understand why this can't be accomplished solo, with a good vibrator.
posted by desuetude at 11:06 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I over the course of reading the article I saw the word "Landmark". That was all I needed to see. Ugh.

The author talked to one person who had been to the Landmark Forum. Your dedication to dismissing things for the most trivial reasons is notable, at least.
posted by wemayfreeze at 3:06 AM on October 17, 2013


Oh, and I should also say that before this post, I was not, in fact, familiar with Pax Dickinson, and I kind of wish I still was not.

If you feel the need to vomit, check out this interview with him. What a completely clueless douche.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:25 AM on October 17, 2013


Having been in relationships and communities that overly idealized sexual headspace and openness, (at the cost of my personal equilibrium and limits), I find stuff like this creepy as heck. Orgasms and sexual headspace is good, treating either as a psychological, moral, or political litmus test isn't.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 8:20 AM on October 17, 2013


I know people in San Francisco who have been on the periphery of OneTaste in various ways, and I think I've actually been at a workshop with someone mentioned in this article. The thing is that it's best understood in the context of what insiders call "transformational work," which is pretty much the modern incarnation of the New Age movement from the 60s and 70s. It's never been my cup of tea, personally, but I've found most of the people involved to be pretty sincere at some fundamental level and basically interested in making themselves into better people. (At least, the people attending these things as participants; I've never felt quite as sanguine about the people leading the workshops, but I'm a paranoid person who resents authority.)

The thing that squicks me out the most about this kind of thing is the unseemly, to my mind, mixture of spirituality and naked commercialism; most of the associated life coaching circles that intersect with this stuff have economic models that remind me strongly of pyramid schemes. There also is a hefty dose of heteronormativity and a bias toward vanilla sex involved in these things which does seem weirdly out of place in the larger milieu of Bay Area sexual culture, as someone noted above.

I tend to file this away under "your kink is not my kink, and that's ok." I also doubt very strongly that anyone involved in OneTaste seriously thinks that having an "MO experience" with your co-workers, when you don't work at OneTaste, would be a good idea. I mean, it seems like their whole workshop is all about setting up the right context for the act.
posted by whir at 8:49 AM on October 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can someone check whether Dov Charney is on the board?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:11 AM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing is that it's best understood in the context of what insiders call "transformational work," which is pretty much the modern incarnation of the New Age movement from the 60s and 70s. It's never been my cup of tea, personally, but I've found most of the people involved to be pretty sincere at some fundamental level and basically interested in making themselves into better people.

Yeah, I always feel a little... weird? guilty? about critiquing these sorts of things (and I DO think the comparisons to Landmark are apt), because I know an amazing and sincere guy who is always on the hunt for a way to "fix" his life at fundamental levels, sometimes in ways that I think are healthy and sometimes in ways that seem like scams, and WTF why is it my job to judge whichever way he is trying most recently?

But on the other hand, "we're trying to HELP people" can also mask a lot of creepy shit. Contrary to their stated purpose to develop a new narrative of female sexuality, the seemingly-rigid gender roles actually reads as a very retrogressive to me - if this is supposed to be orgasmic feelings without the actual sexual desire, why is it overwhelmingly men administering meditative pleasure to ladies? Wouldn't men benefit from being the receiver and women from being the "stroker?" Shouldn't it be just as effective no matter the gender or sexual orientation of the stroker? Or what about mutual masturbation in the presence of the person you're trying to connect with? I don't question the idea that sex in all its incarnations can be pleasurable and can short-circuit various fucked up mental processes, but when the structure they're selling to do this is so rigid I start to get skeeved out.
posted by muddgirl at 9:17 AM on October 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Say what you will about their office but their make employees sure are committed to the office Movember contest.
posted by humanfont at 3:16 PM on October 17, 2013


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