She is the charismatic sex guru lauded by Gwyneth Paltrow for offering ‘spiritual enlightenment’ through 15-minute female orgasms but whose multi-million-dollar business empire collapsed amid an FBI probe.
Now, a shocking new Netflix documentary details the incredible rise — and spectacular fall — of Nicole Daedone’s ‘sexual wellness’ company OneTaste, including allegations by former members of coercion and manipulation.
Orgasm Inc: The Story Of OneTaste tells the extraordinary story of how Daedone, 55, whom Paltrow dubbed ‘magnetic’, raked in millions of dollars by training wealthy Silicon Valley ‘nerds’ how to pleasure young, beautiful women through a technique called OM, or orgasmic meditation.
This involved men touching a prone woman intimately for 15 minutes, often in a group setting with dozens of people looking on.
According to the critically acclaimed new show – which includes troubling footage of Daedone describing sexual predators as ‘love bugs’ and telling rape victims to ‘own’ their experience – some followers accused the organisation of ‘verbal, emotional and sexual abuse’.
Yet, incredibly, despite an ongoing FBI investigation, The Mail on Sunday can reveal OneTaste has recently ‘rebranded’ and will launch one-day courses costing £125 in Los Angeles and New York next month – and there are plans to expand into the UK early next year.
Daedone – who vehemently denies all allegations against her – disappeared from public view five years ago.
But last night, in an exclusive interview with this newspaper, she broke her silence to deny running a ‘sex cult’.
Founder: OneTaste was founded in 2004 by Nicole Daedone (above) and promotes wellness through orgasmic meditation. OneTaste is currently not allowed to offer classes while the FBI makes inquiries about its activities, including allegations of ‘sex trafficking, prostitution and violations of labor laws’, a podcast has claimed
‘I had to come back because I had to show that you could go through something this horrific and come back without being bitter,’ she said.
‘I just want to tell the truth. I will be the demonstration of what can happen to a woman when she really claims her sexual power.
‘I want to continue the work of getting OM into the world. It is such a powerful practice and we have a world that is so starved of something that will bring a fundamental connection.’
Daedone and a business partner set up OneTaste in a loft building in San Francisco in 2004 as ‘a way to make orgasm, connection and sensuality sustainable’.
The community quickly grew to about 50 men and women, most in their 20s and early 30s, who would ‘OM’ two or three times a day and would seek to recruit customers to the group’s courses and events. At its height, more than 35,000 people had attended OneTaste events.
The group would give customers ‘OM demonstrations’ where a woman would lie on a bed and be touched by a ‘practitioner’ for 15 minutes.
Prospective OM-ers were offered a menu of increasingly expensive courses and events. An introductory workshop cost £165; a week-long retreat called the ‘urban monk’ programme was £1,700; while those training to become a certified coach were charged £14,000. Meanwhile, the ‘Nicole Daedone Intensive’ course, which offered personal tuition by the group’s founder, cost up to £30,000. Annual membership was £50,000.
At its peak, the company – whose motto was ‘powered by orgasm’ –was reportedly making £10 million a year and had 150 people working for it. It had centres in nine cities, including New York, San Francisco and London.
Gwyneth Paltrow endorsed Nicole Daedone in her Goop podcast. Ms Paltrow disclosed she often recommended Daedone’s book to women ‘who are looking for more desire in their relationships’
A YouTube video of a 2011 Ted Talk by Daedone – entitled Orgasm: The Cure For Hunger In The Western Woman – has been viewed more than two million times.
‘You know I have this vision that some day you will see yoga and meditation and orgasm all on the same bill,’ Daedone said in newly unearthed footage broadcast in the Netflix show.
‘This is how you hit the other dimension that you sense in your body is possible when you are having sex.’
Many joined the group to try to achieve the sexual fulfilment they had been unable to reach before, while others were recovering from trauma or looking for more meaningful connections.
‘I was a software engineer in Silicon Valley. I was pretty successful, except in my personal life,’ former OneTaste member Ken Blackman told Netflix. ‘I was just kind of a walking encyclopaedia of all the ways you could be bad with the opposite sex. I think OneTaste was a place where really what we were doing was increasing human connection and researching human connection. What happens when you are vulnerable with someone? What happens when you are more truthful than you’ve ever been with someone?’
In footage of one demonstration, a bizarre ceremony involving a snake is performed in front of an audience before Daedone is stripped naked.
She is then joined by a man who touches her intimately and onlookers are invited to place their hands on her thigh while she orgasms.
‘I hope you’ve really got a sense tonight of what it’s like to have a woman – a fully trained woman – get off and see the places that she can go,’ Joshua Boshnack, another OneTaste member tells the audience. ‘It’s just unmatched,’ he adds of Daedone, saying there’s nobody else who ‘can do what she does’.
In 2017, Daedone received a huge boost when Khloe Kardashian, who has 279 million Instagram followers, recommended her book Slow Sex: The Art And Craft Of The Female Orgasm.
Orgasm Inc: The Story of OneTaste poster Netflix. Many joined the group to try to achieve the sexual fulfilment they had been unable to reach before, while others were recovering from trauma or looking for more meaningful connections
Ms Kardashian declared: ‘Orgasmic meditation is the key to ultimate satisfaction.’
A year later, Daedone won the ultimate endorsement from America’s booming ‘wellness’ industry: an appearance on Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop podcast.
By then, more than 35,000 people had attended OneTaste events and 16,000 had taken part in classes and workshops.
Introducing her guest, Ms Paltrow disclosed she often recommended Daedone’s book to women ‘who are looking for more desire in their relationships’. ‘Today’s guest is the very magnetic Nicole Daedone,’ she said.
‘She is a long-time proponent and teacher of a practice called orgasmic meditation, which has been called the yoga of sex. It’s probably not what you think.’
But despite such powerful backing, the wheels of Daedone’s wellness empire had already begun to come off.
In June 2018 an investigation by Bloomberg Businessweek, a financial magazine, claimed that sales staff, working on commission, would spend hours texting and calling people – mostly men – who had attended OneTaste events, pressuring them to sign up for more expensive classes.
Then, in November 2020, the BBC podcast The Orgasm Cult claimed Daedone operated an alleged ‘destructive sex cult’ and broadcast further allegations of sales staff being coerced into having sex with wealthy men to entice them to take courses.
Ruwan Meepagala said he left the group owing $30,000 on his credit cards from classes and sessions
Ms Daedone last night said the podcast was ‘such an incredible distortion and such an overtly-slanted perspective’.
She has filed High Court proceedings against the Corporation for libel, misuse of personal information and breaches of data protection rules and is seeking damages.
‘They weren’t really interested in including other perspectives,’ she said. ‘It was so clear from the very beginning that the intention was for it to be a takedown piece.’
But Netflix’s 90-minute documentary includes further allegations of coercion, manipulation and abuse.
One former member said the group went from ‘utopia to hellhole’ during his time there, while the documentary also features Daedone making disturbing comments about rape.
She is shown on tape saying: ‘If you want to know the real way to deflect rape, it is to turn on 100 per cent because then there’s nothing to rape.’
Daedone is also filmed telling an audience: ‘So you know how we have the T-shirts… “Powered by Orgasm”, this could be our new shirt: “I got raped and all I got was a victim’s story.” ’
She told The Mail on Sunday that the way the footage had been edited meant her remarks had been taken out of context.
She added: ‘My entire life’s work is aimed, first and foremost, to give women the power to recognise their own power in such a way that they have fundamental defence against violation.’
Elana Auerbach, a former OneTaste member, claimed the company’s female staff would often have to join courses because male customers outnumbered women.
‘Whenever there was a course, there were always women from OneTaste because the courses were always male-heavy.
‘So you had to get the women to partner with the men so that all the men could have partners.
The company used to have several buildings in San Francisco, including a cafe, an events space and communal housing known as ‘OM houses’ where between 30-40 staff would live together. Pictured, one of the properties once used as OneTaste dormitories
‘There were ten men and two other women who had signed up. Often, the women didn’t have to pay or had to pay very little to be in courses but we had the guys pay the full amount.’
Daedone said that, although there were initially more male customers on courses, they became gender-balanced by the company’s third year of operations.
The documentary also exposed a process dubbed ‘killing’ during which OneTaste members would be encouraged to insult each other with ‘psychologically brutal’ put-downs. Daedone was shown telling one man ‘you are always going to be a desperate slave to women’ and ‘you are fat’.
Don Marries, Daedone’s ex-husband, said: ‘People were getting hurt, people were getting hurt badly. I saw her [Daedone] starting to take more and more licence.
‘She would just become fascinated with what she could get people to do.’
Daedone defended the practice, saying it was helping people ‘stand in the face of someone pointing out whatever doubts you have about yourself’.
She claimed that during the session featured in the documentary, she stressed to those present that she did not believe the hurtful things she was saying.
The FBI has questioned several former OneTaste members about the organisation’s business and labour practices.
The investigation is believed to be ongoing and no charges have been brought. Daedone last night said she has not been contacted by the FBI, while the FBI declined to comment.
A group of 15 former participants of OneTaste are suing Netflix, alleging in court documents that footage used in the documentary was ‘stolen’ and allegedly distributed by a former videographer for the company.
The documentary’s director, Sarah Gibson, has countered that the video was ‘legally obtained and much was already public and had been distributed by OneTaste themselves, or on YouTube, or in past news reports’.
In 2017 – before Bloomberg’s investigation – Daedone sold her stake in the company and disappeared from public view.
Daedone, who now lives in New York, said she left the company because she was ‘really tired’ and wanted to focus on writing books and researching the science behind OM.
She said: ‘I wrote the books. We did massive science because I was clear that was what was not being understood. We needed a way for people to understand what I was talking about and it would be science. I’ve been busy.’
OneTaste has been rebranded as The Institute of Orgasmic Meditation, with new customers urged to join introductory courses in New York and LA next month.
Unlike previous OM courses, its website states: ‘There will be no practising of orgasmic meditation in the class, only verbal instruction and demonstration.’
Daedone stresses that she no longer has a stake in the company and is not involved in the business. But the MoS has been told she will attend upcoming events.
‘Whatever they need, I will do, but I don’t draw an income or anything like that. I don’t have any business interest whatsoever.’
The controversy and allegations swirling around OneTaste have not, however, dimmed Daedone’s conviction that her concept of seeking inner peace through mind-blowing female orgasms is ‘unstoppable’.
‘The same thing happened with psychedelics, mindfulness and yoga,’ she says. ‘All three of them were viewed as dark, damaging cults with evil hypnotists until they got the science and then all of a sudden it entered the world.
‘I did not expect it to get so big. It was like I was holding the tail of a dragon.
‘If I could do it again, I would go ten times slower with a much clearer way to communicate what we were doing.’
The documentary stressed that thousands have attended OneTaste events and that those interviewed ‘do not claim to represent the experience of all members and attendees’.
OneTaste told the film-makers that all the company’s activities were voluntary and consensual and it did not require or expect anyone to engage in any activity against their will.