"The men who come to OneTaste are men who are so sick of having to pretend like they know what they’re doing."
This is the third in a four-part series of interviews I had with Nicole Daedone, who is emerging as the leader of the slow-sex movement and who founded the OneTaste urban retreat center in San Francisco. OneTaste invites men and women to learn about mindful sexuality by participating in workshops, yoga, and (for residents only) controversial "OMing" sessions in which men stroke women to orgasm during daily morning sessions. To read the third part of the interview with Nicole,
TrèsSugar: Why do you think men come to OneTaste? Is it different from why women do?
Nicole Daedone: Everyone is coming to plug into the same thing. But there is a gender differentiation. My experience with most men is that they can sense that the kind of power that they have in our culture is a precarious thing. Because it’s not real, it’s not based on truth. It’s crumbling, right? We’re watching that everywhere, so most of the guys that I see who come in don’t really want to hold the power of sexuality. They don’t want to be the sole holders of this thing.
How we have sexuality set up at this point is a subject-object relationship and so it’s just inaccurate. Guys are thinking, “But I have power” and women are thinking, “But I’m the victim." We know that's not true; we want to find that right true relationship. The men who come to OneTaste are men who are so sick of having to pretend like they know what they’re doing.
TS: Regarding the OMing sessions, how does it help men to unload their sense of having to hold the power, as you put it, when they're touching women and bringing them to orgasm? I'm sure this is very misunderstood!
ND: The primary reason that it’s misunderstood is what I was talking about with the subject-object issue. If you look at it like something is operating on something, like “he is doing something to her,” you miss the point of what’s actually happening. It’s this amazing feedback loop, a kind of surrendering into a field of sexuality. Both people are plugging into something together and playing different roles in it.
TS: In tantric sex, there's an emphasis on eye contact. But in the article about OneTaste in the New York Times, the writer says there's a no eye contact rule. I think that could be misconstrued as something really anonymous and weird.
ND: There's actually no rule that you have to make eye contact. I’m saying, “Look, you don’t have to look into each other’s eyes.” I know that as a woman, I’ve done a lot more eye gazing than I was actually comfortable with and then what I’m doing is that I’m looking at him and wondering if I really look attractive. Then all of a sudden I’m contorting my face to make sure it looks attractive and then I’m no longer focusing on the sensation of no longer focusing on the attraction.
TS: There’s this idea that intimacy might only happen if you’re gazing into somebody’s eyes.
ND: I’ll have this experience with my boyfriend where my back will be to the door and I’ll feel him come into the room. That is such a subtle level of intimacy that we very often miss because we so rely on our visual sense. More what I’m saying is let’s take these things that we overly rely on and sometimes just be willing to not rely on those but not exclude them. I’m not interested in excluding anything, I’m interested in including more.
TS: For some women, male sexuality just feels toxic. I don't think it's inherently so, but perhaps becomes that way.
ND: I think that the reason it becomes toxic is because it doesn’t have counterbalance. I think that we have male sexuality that has grown up like this, and female sexuality that has grown up like this, and so I think it just gets out of balance and wonky.
One of the feminist things we can do today is say, “Hey, wait a minute. I’m responsible for this, I’m not being victimized by this sex that’s coming at me." I deal with these guys trying to find the tiniest spot on a woman’s body after however many years of having a woman not talk to them about their sexuality except to say, “No” or “I don’t like that,” or like “Ewww.” So these guys have as many issues as the women!