As a proud partner for the inaugural Sugar & Spice Festival that’s happening this 1-15 August 2020, we are bringing you this series of interviews with presenters so that you get to know them better and their workshops.
Today, we have Oliver James Damian, an experience curator, who is delivering the ‘Orgasmic Meditation: A Path to Living in the Erotic’ workshop at the festival. We ask him some questions about the workshops and his background. Please enjoy and sign up for his workshops!
Q: How did you get involved with the practice of Orgasmic Meditation?
Back in 2014, I was a lawyer working my way up the ladder in a premier corporate law firm in Sydney when I hit the wall of a meaning crisis. I thought to achieve everything I’ve achieved up to that time would make me feel fulfilled or at least satisfied. Instead, I felt empty and unhappy. I had this deep hunger in me that not even religiously going to the gym, doing yoga, mindfulness, and meditation could satiate. The feeling of meaninglessness got so overwhelming that it drove me to I quit everything in Sydney and try to see if I could rebuild a new life in London.
I was couch surfing at a friend’s place in Muswell Hill when one night she said, “Guess what I and my boyfriend did today?” She then proceeded to describe to me her first experience of Orgasmic Meditation (OM). At first, I was incredulous but curiosity got the better of me. I searched whatever I could find about the practice until I finally decided to meet the people in the London OM community. I had brunch with them and they told me that I just missed Nicole Daedone, the founder of the practice, doing the “Intro to OM Training” in London but she will be teaching in Paris on the coming weekend. So I went to Paris that weekend and learned OM.
Since then, I haven’t stopped OMing. I’ve OMed in Paris, London, The Hague, Amsterdam, LA, San Francisco, New York, and I continue to have a regular OM here in Sydney. I also completed the OM Coaching Program in LA back in 2016. Suffice to say, OM had given me a path to be alive with that insatiable hunger that hit a crescendo back in 2014.
Q: What expectations should participants have for your workshop? Is it meant for women or men?
OM is a partnered practice where a stroker (man or woman) strokes the clitoris of a strokee for 15 minutes with no goal other than to feel what arises in the bodies of the stroker and strokee at each moment of the practice. For Sugar & Spice, those interested to attend would be invited to watch a video prior to the workshop where I talk about my OM story, some principles and philosophy behind the practice, and a demonstration of the OM practice between me and an experienced strokee. During the live Zoom workshop on Monday, I would be in conversation with the participants. Depending on what arises out of the conversations, I can teach a step-by-step break down of the OM practice, do some exercises that provides a feel of the OM practice, answer questions participants may have, or a combination of these. Like the OM practice itself, the workshop would not have a pre-defined goal other than what arises between me as a presenter and the attendees present for the experience.
Q: What is sexual health and wellness to you? How would you define it in your terms?
To me, sexuality is a cornucopia of possible expressions of my desires vis-a-vis myself, another person, a group of people, fantasies or nature. For me, it is inextricably intertwined with poetry, art, and awareness. I feel sexually healthy when I’m curious, open, surrendered and genuinely surprised by what’s happening. I have experimented with domination, submission, fetishes, role play, psychedelics, eco love, grief, death, Eros and Thanatos. I have derived great pleasure and gained penetrating insights from partaking in these various endeavours. Desire, that which underpins sexuality, for me is none other than life force itself.
Q: Your website shows your involvement in other projects such as creative ageing, conscious travel, architecture design among other things. How do you handle these diverse interests?
I guess the common theme amongst these various pursuits is the practice of design. There are complex things that are born from nature – natural. There are complicated things engineered by humans – synthetic. For me, my practice of design bridges the natural and synthetic. In the same way that I use the strict protocols of the container of a voluntary practice to engage my involuntary and surrender in my OM practice; in my design practice, I use what humans have learned in terms of making things – that is to fabricate objects and to then interface these with nature and play with the natural. Design to me is a bridging of Homo Faber and Homo Ludens.
Q: You describe yourself as an “experience curator” and constantly talk about “transcending”. How would you explain these terms to readers who want to understand what you mean?
Experience Curator simply means I prefer to collect experiences over objects. Since I have been collecting these experiences for a while, I am able to curate experiences for others based on who they are and what feelings are alive in them at particular moments.
When I see a flower, there’s something, a beauty in a flower that goes beyond, transcends its stem, petals, colours, its DNA, molecules, and all its physical aspects. This ‘something more’ would not be there without the physical form of the flower but at the same time, the totality of the flower’s physicality is not enough to cover the field of its is-ness. I could dissect the flower down to its atoms, maybe even its quarks, but this would not allow me to get at the bottom of the beauty I see in it. There’s something more. And every time I look at a flower, an act I’ve done countless times since childhood, there’s always something new, something I’ve never seen before. I suspect this has something to do with the act of relating, a relating between mysterious yet at the same time mundane beings.
I find that this poem(see above video) I wrote aptly describes the feelings I get when contemplating transcendence.
If you’re interested to attend Oliver’s or other presenters’ workshops, please go to www.sugarandspice.asia to get your festival pass!
Images: Oliver James Damian