A controversial wellness community known for its practice of ‘orgasmic meditation.’

Founder: Nicole Daedone
Founded: 2004
Location: United States (originally San Francisco, California)
Other Names: OneTaste Urban Retreat Center, OneTaste Inc.

OneTaste, founded in 2004 by Nicole Daedone, is a company that has stirred considerable controversy and interest. Positioned as a wellness and education company with a focus on sexuality, particularly through practices like ‘orgasmic meditation’, OneTaste aimed to offer paths to greater personal empowerment and intimacy. However, the company’s operations and practices have come under intense scrutiny over allegations ranging from exploitation to constituting a forced labor scheme.

The core practice of OneTaste, orgasmic meditation, combines mindfulness with sexuality. Participants, often in pairs, engage in a ritualized, structured practice where a stroker (usually male) focuses on the clitoris of a strokee (usually female) for 15 minutes with no goal other than to be present in the experience. This practice drew from various sources, including Eastern philosophy and modern therapeutic techniques, aiming to redefine sexual interaction and intimacy and is framed not just as a sexual act but as a form of meditative therapy, aiming to create emotional, psychological, and spiritual wellness.

Despite its proclaimed benefits, OneTaste has been criticized for its aggressive marketing tactics, high-priced courses, and membership programs that led some participants into significant debt. Reports and testimonies from former employees and members describe a culture of pressure to engage in sexual activities and financial exploitation, with promises of spiritual and personal breakthroughs in exchange for steep financial commitments. In particular, a Bloomberg Businessweek article from June 2018 highlighted these practices, leading to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) probe into allegations of prostitution, sex trafficking, and labor law violations.

The legal challenges for OneTaste escalated in June 2023, when Nicole Daedone and former head of sales Rachel Cherwitz were indicted on charges of forced labor. The indictment alleges a years-long scheme where members were coerced into labor through economic, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse. The leaders of OneTaste are accused of exploiting members’ past traumas and vulnerabilities to bind them to the company, often resulting in significant personal and financial dependency.

Media attention, including a Netflix documentary titled “Orgasm Inc: The Story of OneTaste,” has further highlighted the organization’s practices and the experiences of those involved. This documentary, along with various investigative reports, has contributed to a broader discussion about the intersections of wellness, sexuality, and exploitation.

In response to the controversies, OneTaste has at various times sought to rebrand and modify its public image. The organization has emphasized consent, personal agency, and the therapeutic nature of its practices in its public communications. However, the effectiveness and sincerity of these efforts have been questioned by critics and former members.

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