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Former members of an 'orgasm cult' say leaders encouraged them to have sex to settle arguments and heal from trauma


Ex-members of an organization that has been called an "orgasm cult" say its founder and other leaders told them partnered sexual touching could help them heal from trauma or settle work arguments, according to a new Netflix documentary. The founder, Nicole Daedone, is only shown in old footage because she didn't participate in the documentary.

She told Insider the film is an inaccurate portrayal of her company OneTaste.

Daedone founded OneTaste in San Francisco in 2001, and centered the company around a practice she calls "orgasmic meditation."

On November 5, Netflix released a documentary called "Orgasm Inc: The Story of OneTaste," which includes footage of the company's orgasmic meditation (OM) demonstrations, lectures from Daedone and other organization leaders to members, and new interviews with former members.

The documentary also explores the aftermath of a 2018 investigation of OneTaste from Bloomberg reporter Ellen Huet.

Orgasmic meditation is a partnered practice intended to help people to boost connection to themselves and others, much like other types of meditation and yoga, Daedone said in clips from her 2011 TEDxSF talk shown in the film. One partner places their finger on the upper left part of the other's clitoris and lightly strokes there for 15 minutes. During this time, the partner receiving the touch is supposed to only focus on their pleasure.

Some female ex-members who were interviewed in the film said they now recognize they were victims of psychological manipulation, which pushed them to have sex they wouldn't have otherwise had. 

Daedone told Insider that OM isn't sex, but a practice that allows a person to enter a "mystical state" where they can heal. She said she only draws from her life when talking about the benefits of OM, and that it's a descriptive practice, not a prescriptive one.

"I speak to my own experience and pretty much everything I do. I you really see me teaching it isn't teaching at all. I just talk about my experience," Daedone told Insider.

Some former OneTaste members said they felt pressured into sex

Ex-member Audrey Wright lived and worked at OneTaste for four years. The experience helped her become more relaxed, social, and comfortable receiving attention from men, she said in the film. But she also said she felt like she had no choice but to OM in certain situations to achieve more at the company.

She said Daedone made orgasmic meditation a sort of cure-all. She and other coaches would tell members to OM together if they were arguing over a work matter, or needed to heal from trauma like sexual abuse, she said in the documentary.

In response, Daedone told Insider she doesn't "have a prescription for anyone."

"I just have, 'These are the things that tend to create a practice that may or may not work for you.' It's such a charged arena that I would never say somebody should or shouldn't do anything," she said.

Wright did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Elana Auerbach, another former OneTaste member, said Daedone would use mind games to get members to agree to OM. Auerbach recalled one time where Daedone asked her about her desires in front of a group of members, so she started to list off her wishes for community and connection, and then to have a baby. But Daedone kept pressing, and so she said she wanted to do an OM demonstration, Auerbach said in the film.

"If you said something she didn't like, she called it a lie or, 'That's not the end of your desire.' If you had any doubt, she knew how to increase that doubt until what she told you was true became what you believed," Auerbach said.

Auerbach did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Daedone told Insider her this interaction with Auerbach happened 20 years ago and outside of OneTaste, when they were living together. She also said it's her job to get to the bottom of people's desires.

"That being said, I'm a free woman. I want every woman on the planet to be free. The very last thing I would ever want to do is impose my ideas on her desire," Daedone said.

Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider's parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.