The 7 a.m. session at the OneTaste Urban Retreat in San Francisco is not your average yoga class. At OneTaste, 15 minutes of yoga is just the warm up. Then there's 15 minutes of quiet meditation -- also a warm up, heightening all the senses for a most unusual finale.
When the final bell sounds, the class members pair off. Gloves go on the men, and pants come off the women. And, soon, the studio erupts in female ecstasy for another 15 minutes.
At OneTaste, they call this "the 3-fold practice": yoga, meditation and orgasmic meditation -- OM'ing for short. At OneTaste, they do this at least once every single day.
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"It's focused on this stroke, this stroke, this stroke. In the same way, if you're doing sitting meditation, you focus on this breath, this breath, this breath," said OneTaste founder Nicole Daedone.
"There's a reason why we discovered that 15 minutes of OMing is good," Daedone said. "And that 15 minutes of OMing with yoga and meditation on either side is better. So it took a long time to discover that."
For an outsider, it is uncomfortable to watch. But the participants seem to enjoy sharing and afterward, they sit in a circle and talk about it.
"There was a feeling of a burst of citrus orange, bright, like all of the sunlight was in it," said one man.
"Oh, it's the best way to start a Monday," said another woman. "I'll be so much kinder and more present with my co-workers."
The growing popularity of OneTaste is just one of many examples of how women seem to be reaching new sexual heights, with products and services aimed primarily at them. Perhaps it's the cultural influence of Carrie Bradshaw and her posse. Perhaps the success of HBO's "Sex and the City" spoke to a deeper cultural change for women. But sex sells, and increasingly sex sells to women.
Sexually speaking, women seem to have come into their own. The sexual revolution may have started 40 years ago with women burning their bras, but feminism has hit a whole new level: one out of three consumers of online porn is a woman, according to the Internet Filter Review, a Web site that tracks porn consumption.
Triple-X movies are no longer dominated by the Y chromosome. Porn is now often made with a woman's touch.
"Women generally want to know why two people are having sex," said Nica Noelle, a top porn director. "They want to know what the relationship is between those two people. ... They want to feel that it's a relationship that matters to both of the characters. And that the sex is passionate and intimate. And none of those things were really being portrayed in the porn that was out there."
Old school porn tends to cut straight to the chase. In the stereotypical scenario, the "pizza guy" arrives on the scene, and the plot falls to the wayside. Former porn star Candida Royalle wasn't inclined to watch the kind of movies she starred in 25 years ago.
"There's no foreplay to speak of and there's just no buildup. There's no real communication, tenderness," she said. "It's just very direct. We're here for sex, and we're going to have sex, and it's really hardcore gymnastics, and mechanical."
Royalle not only wanted to create something different, but she was among the first to sense how videotape, and the Internet would change the porn industry. Seedy peep shows would become a thing of the past. Now it's safe, and sanitary, for women to watch at home.