OneTaste, a wellness company known for its "orgasmic meditation" or OM, is once again back in focus following a BBC podcast. New details about the controversial company — probed by the FBI over sex trafficking, prostitution and violation of labor laws allegations — revealed how former workers felt awful after participating in group pleasuring sessions.
The company's co-founder Nicole Daedone promised that the OM would improve clients' sex lives, treat sexual trauma and help them "reclaim" their sexuality. The practice involved a person — often a man — stroking a woman's clitoris for 15 minutes. According to the company's claims, this helped women connect differently with their bodies while it taught men to be more sensitive to a woman's needs. Daedone reportedly claimed that the OM would grow like yoga or meditation.
In "The Orgasm Cult" podcast, BBC journalist Nastaran Tavakoli-Far described OneTaste as a "sex cult" that had a "messianic leader." "For years there have been rumors that OneTaste is basically a sex cult, complete with a messianic leader who everyone adored and worshiped and who expected full allegiance," Tavakoli-Far said in the podcast.
Tavakoli-Far interviewed several people linked to OneTaste and one former customer who later joined the company said she was diagnosed with PTSD when she left the company.
"I had full-blown PTSD when I left OneTaste. I was very, very scarred and very afraid. I was, for about two years, suffering from nightmares, a deep sense of depression, and loneliness and low self-esteem," the woman said.
OneTaste was featured in actress Gwyneth Paltrow's controversial website Goop. In an interview with the website, Daedone said: "OM changes the way we respond to sensation; it changes our brain. ... And it affects our metabolism, heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and brain chemistry, and brings about a state of extended deep relaxation. ... [It] also shifts our center of intelligence from the cortex system to the limbic system—which allows us to feel things like intimacy and empathy, and which has a flexible capacity—expanding our appetite for connection."
The FBI launched a probe on OneTaste, after Bloomberg reported in 2018 that former employees were pressured into having sex with potential clients so that they purchase expensive programs. The report also added that the company's sales methods were predatory and risked putting people in debt. While OneTaste denied any wrongdoing, it has stopped taking classes, pending the probe.