A Federal Bureau of Investigation flag flies outside the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Photographer: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg)

FBI Is Probing OneTaste, a Sexuality Wellness Company

(Bloomberg) -- The FBI has been making inquiries into OneTaste, a sexuality wellness company, according to three people familiar with the matter. U.S. investigators have asked people connected to OneTaste a range of questions, including whether the company pressured workers into sexual encounters to help close a sale, two of the people said. The company said it never required any employee to engage in a sexual act and that it never used sex for sales.

In recent months, agents from the New York field office of the FBI have sought out and interviewed multiple people associated with OneTaste, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak about the process. A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation declined to comment, citing a policy against confirming or denying the existence of a probe.

A spokeswoman for OneTaste said the company has not heard from the bureau. “We have always complied with the law, and we would cooperate fully if contacted,” the spokeswoman wrote in an emailed statement. “We never asked anyone as part of a sale to have sex with customers—it’s a false and outrageous allegation that insults both us and our customers.”

OneTaste, founded in 2004 by Nicole Daedone in San Francisco, developed and teaches a practice called “orgasmic meditation,” in which a woman’s clitoris is stroked for exactly 15 minutes. The company sells courses and retreats that have cost as much as $36,000 to teach the practice and an underlying philosophy that orgasmic meditation helps men and women learn connection and intimacy.

In June, Bloomberg Businessweek published an investigation in which former OneTaste staff and members alleged that the company had a dark side. For years, the company’s management ordered staff and members to engage in sexual acts with each other and with prospective customers, both for personal enlightenment and to close sales, they said. They also said the company used predatory sales tactics that pushed members to take on credit card debt to pay for courses. In 2015, OneTaste paid an out-of-court settlement to a former employee, who claimed she experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault and labor violations on the job.

OneTaste said the settlement was confidential and denied allegations that it pressured anyone into sex or manipulated people into buying courses. The FBI routinely conducts probes that don’t lead to any allegations of wrongdoing or prosecution, and an inquiry doesn’t mean a law has been broken.

In July, the company’s chief executive officer stepped down and was replaced by co-owner Anjuli Ayer. Last month, OneTaste closed its U.S. offices—in San Francisco, New York City and Los Angeles—and stopped offering in-person courses and retreats globally. The company said it’s now focusing on putting its teachings online to reach a wider audience.

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