(Bloomberg) -- OneTaste, a sexuality-focused wellness company that teaches a practice called “orgasmic meditation,” is closing all its locations and will no longer host in-person classes or gatherings, the company said.
In June, Bloomberg Businessweek reported on accusations of predatory sales and recruitment practices at the company. OneTaste denied the allegations and said the decision to shut down its centers was unrelated.
After hosting a smattering of final gatherings this weekend, the company’s four locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and London will no longer offer any further courses or events, OneTaste said Friday. The company also cut employees as part of the change, though it declined to say how many were affected or how many remain. Its “focus for the future,” according to a statement, is “to bring the world of Orgasmic Meditation (OM) online for a global audience.”
Orgasmic meditation, which OneTaste developed and trademarked, is a practice where one person, usually a man, strokes a woman’s clitoris with a gloved, lubed fingertip for exactly 15 minutes. OneTaste says the practice, which its members call “OM,” helps women connect differently with their bodies and with their intuition, while teaching men to be more sensitive to a woman’s needs. The company was founded in San Francisco in 2004 and made money by selling classes, coaching programs and retreats about the practice and the spiritual teachings associated with OM.
Former OneTaste members and employees told Bloomberg Businessweek that for years, the company pushed them to ignore their financial, emotional and physical boundaries. Some said they went deep into debt at the encouragement of OneTaste staff, who suggested they take out additional credit cards to pay for expensive courses. They also said OneTaste staff told them to OM with or have sex with each other and with customers, sometimes to help with class sales and sometimes for spiritual growth. In 2015, OneTaste paid an out-of-court settlement to a former worker, who claimed she faced sexual assault, sexual harassment and labor violations at work.
OneTaste denied the allegations and said it has never required any of its staff to engage in a sexual act. It said the settlement was confidential. In July, the company replaced its chief executive officer, Joanna Van Vleck, with one of its owners, Anjuli Ayer. Van Vleck remains employed with the company as its director of outreach.
The company said it will also discontinue classes held at the Land, a retreat property in California’s Anderson Valley that is largely owned by Ayer. “Our mission remains the same, and we’re hard at work to develop our online offerings and to build a better company for our customers and employees,” OneTaste said in a statement on its website.
To contact the author of this story: Ellen Huet in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Milian at email@example.com, Anne Vandermey
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