OneTaste

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OneTaste
TypePrivate
FounderRobert Kandell and Nicole Daedone
Headquarters
San Francisco, CA
,
US
Number of locations
8 (2016)
Revenue$6.5 M[1] (2014)
Number of employees
28[1] (2014)

OneTaste is a business dedicated to teaching the practices of orgasmic meditation and slow sex. Though it embraces ideas based in Eastern philosophy, OneTaste's central focus is female orgasm [2] through a practice called Orgasmic Meditation.

The organization and its leadership have been accused of cult-like operations, similar to Lafayette Morehouse, which influenced Daedone.[3][4] OneTaste is currently under investigation by the FBI for sex trafficking, prostitution, and violations of labor law.[5][6] In 2018, OneTaste closed all of their U.S. locations and stopped hosting in-person classes.[7]

History[edit]

OneTaste was cofounded in San Francisco by Robert Kandell and Nicole Daedone in 2001. Daedone stated that a "Buddhist Monk" introduced her to orgasmic meditation before she started OneTaste, though she did not name the monk nor the lineage the monk studied under.[8] OneTaste originally operated two communal-style "urban retreat" centers, one in San Francisco's Soma District and another in Lower Manhattan.[9] OneTaste then expanded to Los Angeles and London.[10] They produced media, workshops, weekend retreats, and a coach training program. In 2014, OneTaste was listed as an Inc. 5000 fastest growing company.[11] In 2018, OneTaste closed all of their U.S. locations and stopped hosting in person classes. After the FBI investigation they have rebranded and are operating as The Institute of OM.

Description[edit]

The organization's stated goal is "to create a clean, well-lit place where sexuality, relationship, and intimacy could be discussed openly and honestly."[9] The community is centered around a practice known as Orgasmic Meditation, which is a mindfulness practice in which the object of meditation is finger to genital contact, specifically stimulation of the female clitoris.[12] OM is practiced in pairs, with one practitioner stroking the female's genitals, while both focus their attention on the sensation with the stated goal of developing connective resonance between pairs. Daedone described her own work as "one that places a near-exclusive emphasis on women’s pleasure — in which love, romance and even flirtation are not required."[12] After, both partners discuss their experiences verbally.[12][13] Orgasmic Meditation borrows from other traditions including yoga and meditation.[14] Daedone draws parallels between slow sex and the Slow Food movement associated with chef Alice Waters.[15] With sex as with food, she says, people can overindulge without getting nourishment, or go from one extreme of consuming mindlessly to the other extreme of self-denial.[14]

Proponents state that orgasmic meditation encompasses more than just orgasm and that it encourages greater emotional awareness, connected relationships, and sense of fulfillment.[16] Others describe the sensation as "a heady buzz, mixed with equal parts wooziness and intensity of focus."[13] Practitioners of orgasmic meditation claim the practice nourishes the limbic system, that bit of the mammalian brain for emotion, empathy, and motivation but those claims are unsubstantiated.[15]

Controversy[edit]

OneTaste drew international media attention, controversy, and then an ongoing FBI investigation.[17][18]

Several journalists have compared OneTaste to a cult and pyramid scheme.[19][20][21][22] "As with many a commune before it, the leader of One Taste, Ms. Daedone, is a polarizing personality, whom admirers venerate as a sex diva, although some former members say she has cult like powers over her followers... Much of the community’s tone revolves around Ms. Daedone, a woman of considerable charm, although detractors regard her as a master manipulator."[12] In a New York Times interview, Ms. Daedone insists she does not aspire to guru status, while acknowledging that "there’s a high potential for this to be a cult."[12]

A New York Times article led to several critical blog and opinion columns. A 2013 Gawker article referenced online cult accusations, which documented the reporter's experience at a weekend conference hosted by OneTaste.[23] An article in GoodTimes Weekly, 'The Big OM', refers to "cult allegations" by posters on Yelp.com,[4] as did one on Vice[24] and on Salon.[25] A 2016 episode of the podcast Love + Radio is dedicated to the experience of a woman who had increasingly fraught relations with OneTaste.[26] An article in The Cut stated that "some cult experts have linked Daedone with Victor Baranco," the cult leader who ran Lafayette Morehouse, and also suggest that it may be a pyramid scheme.[3] Similarly, an article in The Frisky described OneTaste as "Landmark Forum for the clitoris."[27] A Refinery 29 article cited the organization's "potentially aggressive sales tactics."[28] Playboy Magazine compared OneTaste to Scientology and Landmark Forum, saying it had a "pyramidal pricing structure". For example, a week-long training with Nicole Daedone was advertised at $36,000. It said: "All I can think about is how easy it is to start a cult. .... the way the volunteers serve the leaders, jumping at their every demand to "get me water” and “move that stool”... the full-court sales pitch from the minute you walk in... I leave early and I'm furious". The author implies she was gaslighted when she disagreed with the leaders. She writes that she was re-traumatized "for weeks" as memories of her past sexual trauma were triggered by a business promising female empowerment but "people probably just want your money."[29]

The book Sensation by Isabel Losada ends with a "Warning" about "'hard sell" techniques... 'One Taste' (like many businesses) offer a wide range of courses which are outside the price range of most bank accounts. I'll say it again. Please don't spend money that you don't have."[30]

In 2015, a former employee received a 6-figure settlement for sexual assault and harassment.[31] Around universities, students are drawn to free OneTaste events with ad boards such as "Tired of Swiping Left? Let’s Talk Real Intimacy!" or "You Do Yoga. You Meditate. Now try #OrgasmicMeditation". A year-long, $60,000 premium membership is sold by the company since 2014.[31] OneTaste teaches their members that money is just an emotional obstacle, which led some of them down to thousands of dollars in credit card debts.[31] In June 2018, Bloomberg Businessweek published an article chronicling recent training changes and that was critical of how the company treated its employees and consultants, often pressuring them to take expensive courses, programs, and retreats that drove them into debt. Former members of the organization testifying about their experience at OneTaste said it "resembled a kind of prostitution ring", where managers frequently ordered staffers to engage in sexual relations with customers.

After the Bloomberg article, the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened a probe into OneTaste for prostitution, sex trafficking, and violations of labor law.[32]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "OneTaste - San Francisco, CA". Inc.com. 2015. Retrieved February 29, 2016. Inc. 5000 #537 2015
  2. ^ Tracy Clark-Flory. "All hail the female orgasm". Salon.com. Retrieved March 20, 2009.
  3. ^ a b "Techies Predictably Eat Up Orgasmic Meditation Lifestyle". The Cut. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "The Big OM - Good Times Santa Cruz". goodtimes.sc. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  5. ^ "FBI Is Probing OneTaste, a Sexuality Wellness Company". Bloomberg.com. November 13, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  6. ^ "'Orgasmic Meditation' 'Cult' OneTaste Under FBI Investigation For Prostitution Claims". OK Magazine. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  7. ^ "OneTaste Stops 'Orgasmic Meditation' Classes, U.S. Locations Set to Close". BloombergQuint. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  8. ^ Weiss, Suzannah (August 23, 2016). "Can You Orgasm Your Way to Enlightenment?". Complex. Retrieved March 8, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "The OneTaste.us website". OneTaste. Retrieved February 4, 2011.
  10. ^ News, Bloomberg (October 19, 2018). "OneTaste Stops 'Orgasmic Meditation' Classes, All Locations Set to Close - BNN Bloomberg". BNN. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  11. ^ "OneTaste - San Francisco, CA". Inc.com. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  12. ^ a b c d e Authors Patricia Leigh Brown and Carol Pogash (March 15, 2009). "The Pleasure Principle". Published by The New York Times Published March 15, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  13. ^ a b Justin Silverman (March 31, 2009). "ORGASMIC MEDITATION COMES TO NYC". The New York Post. Retrieved April 14, 2009.
  14. ^ a b Cometto, Maria Teresa (April 20, 2008), "Vuoi fare OMing con me?", Grazia, pp. 93–94
  15. ^ a b Mary Spicuzza (April 4, 2007). "Sex and Sensuality". San Francisco Weekly. Retrieved April 14, 2009.
  16. ^ Daphne Gordon (May 6, 2008), "More to sex than intercourse", The Toronto Star, retrieved September 21, 2009
  17. ^ "FBI Investigates 'Orgasmic Meditation' Company OneTaste: Report". The Daily Beast. November 14, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  18. ^ "'Orgasmic Meditation' 'Cult' OneTaste Under FBI Investigation For Prostitution Claims". OK Magazine. Retrieved April 24, 2021.
  19. ^ "GT Weekly". Retrieved May 13, 2015.
  20. ^ "Brown NYT". Retrieved May 13, 2015.
  21. ^ "The Frisky". Retrieved May 13, 2015.
  22. ^ "The pleasure principle | The Sunday Times". www.thesundaytimes.co.uk. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  23. ^ Tiku, Nitasha. "My Life With the Thrill-Clit Cult".
  24. ^ "Orgasmic Meditation Is a Whole New Way to Stroke Pussy". Vice. October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  25. ^ "The sexy new fad for mindful living: Orgasmic meditation". Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  26. ^ "Upper Left | Love + Radio | Listen with headphones on". loveandradio.org. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  27. ^ "7 Things To Know About Orgasmic Meditation". The Frisky. October 17, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  28. ^ "Orgasmic Meditation Cult - OneTaste, Public Sex". Retrieved October 10, 2017.
  29. ^ "The Cost of Healing: What Everyone Ignores About Orgasmic Meditation". Playboy. March 24, 2017. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
  30. ^ Isabel, Losada (2017). Sensation : adventures in sex, love and laughter. London, UK. p. 313. ISBN 978-1786780935. OCLC 970027456.
  31. ^ a b c Ellen Huet (June 18, 2018). "The Dark Side of the Orgasmic Meditation Company". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved August 28, 2019.
  32. ^ Rosenberg, Rebecca (November 20, 2020). "A look inside a bizarre and controversial 'orgasmic meditation' program for women". New York Post. Retrieved December 17, 2020.

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