Nov 242014

Absence of orgasm doesn’t need to be called ‘dysfunction’. The language we use to shame people around sexuality must stop! What’s dysfunctional is our inability to understand the requirements of sex that bring meaning to all of us, not just those who fit a medical definition (made up by clinicians, not sensual pioneers.) – Cyndi Darnell


One of the most frequently asked questions I get from women who come to see me for counselling (a.k.a sex therapy) is about their ability to orgasm.

Orgasm, it seems, is the main outcome or goal so many of us focus on when discussing sex. Linguistically and culturally it’s THE thing we (all of us, not just women) use to determine whether or not sex has been not only satisfactory, but more accurately, worthy of our efforts.

For most of us, we never stop to even consider what good sex is, means, or even feels like. Especially if we’ve never had it. As a result we have little to no frame of reference, so understandably we latch onto a framework provided to us, by – of all people – clinicians in lab coats to decide what ‘good sex’ looks like. In the history of human consciousness, what was once in the realm of mighty cosmic superpowers like Eros, Aphrodite and Pan, has now been superseded by the high priests of the universities whose life blood is determined by the likes of pharmaceutical companies, whose primary function is to tell you whether on not your sex life is normal and worthy. The trouble is that neither entity, divine or clinical is either capable of, nor responsible for, knowing something so fundamentally idiosyncratic as the nature of your own orgasm.

When we conjure up  images of clinicians, few (although some), may find this especially sexy.  So unless you have an erotic bent toward clinical sex and its associations as a means of direct arousal, using a scale of satisfaction created by people who have no idea what you like, and whose economic well-being is determined by corporate interests, seems utterly ludicrous to me. Some would argue it’s a better model than that of our ancestors, but that is neither my point. My point is that whether you’re praying to Eros or Viagra, your focus isn’t on the place where you will find the information you’re looking for; the very machinations of what motivates your decision to have sex in the first place. When you know why you’re doing something, you’re in a much better position to be able to enjoy it (and maybe have an orgasm).

What is Good Sex?

Take a moment to allow yourself to think about GOOD SEX… Go on… really think about it…

Notice these things:

What part of you is most responsive to the thought of good sex?

STOP – take notice

What part of you comes alive when you think of good sex?

STOP – take notice

How about when I change my language and invite you to feel good sex? What happens then?

STOP – take notice




My guess is that at the very least you will need to slow down, and allow yourself to get out of thinking and into more feeling, something that neither Eros nor Viagra alone will be able to do for you.

Now, there certainly are techniques, tips and tricks I can share with you to help you get on your way to super-duper orgasm land, absolutely.

Motivation + awareness + technique = orgasm.


But what happens if you do EVERYTHING I say and you still don’t have an orgasm? Does that mean you are abnormal and unworthy? Does it mean you are defective? Or does that mean you don’t fit into The Big Cheese model of female sexuality, just like most women on the planet? According to a model of ‘sexual dysfunction’, then yes! But according to the dance of sexuality, your body is doing just fine.

Indeed there are endless blogs, articles and  videos online these days dedicated to how to have bigger, longer, stronger, faster more explosive orgasms. But let’s stop and consider this; if many or any of them held absolute bona fide secrets that applied to all women all of the time – wouldn’t we then all be focussed on those very things that all women (allegedly) crave in order to achieve the greatest orgasm of all?

So what are they?

Nobody knows.

Because unlike in clinical manuals or new-age blogs describing (often noteworthy) sexual function, these erotic secrets don’t exist in isolation from the rest of your life.

The truth is, that just because we are women (whatever that even means), it does not mean we are all hardwired the same way for pleasure, sex and orgasm. Nor does it mean what we like in our twenties, we’re going to like in our 30s, 40s and beyond. Our genitals may look and operate similarly, but genitals alone do not good sex make. What distinguishes so-so sex from utterly mind blowing sex is exactly that; our capacity to distinguish, to truly be with the experience of our bodies, allowing our minds to be blown and not distracted by trying to do something that a text book or magazine article tells us we ought.

If you are a woman who struggles with orgasm, let me ask you this:

Why do YOU want to have an orgasm?


Just take a moment to think about that answer. Do not read any more until you have that answer.

One thing I do know for sure is that when I ask women who don’t have orgasms why they want to, they very, very rarely if ever say it’s because they want pleasure. This may come as a surprise to many of you. Remember, I am in the very privileged position of hearing people’s deepest, most intimate erotic secrets day in and day out. For many women, genuine pleasure is rarely even on their radar. More than anything, their reasons are because they want to feel normal or because they feel they are missing out, or because everyone else is having them (apparently), or their partner expects it of them – all of which are answers motivated by fear and shame rather than pleasure.

So if pleasure is not the motivation (which is actually perfectly OK), why then would you torture yourself with the pressure of achieving something exclusively associated with pleasure, when YOUR personal motivation is fear or shame or something more nebulous? It’s like eating gravel in order to satisfy hunger but wondering why you’re perpetually dissatisfied? After all, it’s heavy, mineral-rich and fills you up; on paper it should work, but it’s just not what your body wants.

Busting Through The Bullshit

As far as I am concerned, it’s not women’s fault that such a cycle of thinking tends to dominate the minds of Western women. It a combination of a lack of understanding of, and respect for, the diversity of sex – not just by regular folks, but also those who decide what’s normal and abnormal. Shame and fear are very powerful motivators that keeps us in our place (and dependent upon clinicians for answers) but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Sad but true, the concept of sexual dysfunctions has been largely created in labs and universities and perpetuated by media across the world; not in bedrooms, beaches, hotel rooms or parks where much more sex generally occurs! Even the mere concept of function vs dysfunction implies a standard of performance rather than the very urges that drive sex in the first place, including pleasure, shame, guilt, fear, money, obligation, boredom and revenge[1]. Unless you are a sex professional where you are paid to perform sex , why on Earth would we use a scale based solely in performance to measure satisfaction, when in actual fact it is satisfaction we seek? Our scales and our objectives are deeply misaligned.

When you’re motivated by anything other than pleasure (which is OK, remember?) and wondering why you’re struggling with orgasm, you may have found your answer right there. No pills or lab coats required. And this my readers, is where we are rather complex and nuanced creatures. Regardless of our gender, we are not necessarily all the same, but all of value regardless of difference. It’s fundamentally important that you understand your own motivations around sex in order to get the most out of it.  When we learn to better understand ourselves through recognising our needs and emotions and how they motivate us, we’re in a better position to get and maintain the kind of sex we want, which may or may not involve abundant orgasms.

While we keep racing madly looking for a cure to the ‘sex problems’ women have, we are missing the answer that is so obviously in front of us.


[1] Meston. Cindy. Why Women Have Sex. St Martin’s Press. 2009. New York.


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Nov 182014

You just have to read this one to believe it! Click on the link for access.Mamamia-Logo

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 November 18, 2014  anxiety, Australians, communication, feelings / emotions, feminism, genitals, intimacy, sex education Tagged with: ,  Comments Off
Nov 102014

Daily-Life-Logo-TN-200x133Cyndi talks with Jenna Price from Daily Life about ways to tackle the orgasm gap found to be affecting Australian women. Click the Daily Life logo image or here to be taken directly to the story.

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Aug 222014


Cyndi Darnell – 6ix Perth_with John Burgess (21-08-14) Cyndi talks to John ”Burgo” Burgess on 6ix in Perth about things we can do to help kids feel more comfortable about sex and pleasure. Recorded 21st August 2014.

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Jun 262014

Cyndi chats with Jon Faine on Revolutions ABC 774 about changing attitudes to sex and relationships. Recorded June 18. 2014. Click image for audio.774

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Jun 262014

For new mothers, sex can be the last thing on their minds. It’s about honoring what the body needs. Click image for link to articleessential baby

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May 162014

Cyndi talks with Dani and Amanda Lambros on Open Your Mind 92.9 in Perth, about May being Masturbation Month. Benefits of masturbation and why it’s great! Recorded May 12. 2014.

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 May 16, 2014  adult, anal sex, genitals, health, masturbation, sex education, sex positive Tagged with: ,  Comments Off
Apr 082014

The AgeHow do I know if my partner is REALLY enjoying sex with me? Cyndi talks with  sex columnist Maureen Mathews from ”About Last Night”. March 23rd. 2014. Click image for full story

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Jan 142014

Hi folks

I am seeking your stories for my book.

How do YOU manage to work towards maintaining a sex positive life in a sex negative culture? What kinds of things do you do to help you on the days you feel the struggle harder than others. How do YOU manage the feelings / thoughts and difficulties that arise in living a sexually whole life?
I am asking you to send me BRIEF emails- brief being less than 150 words.

Please include (if you want):
*your nom de plume
*preferred gender ID

*any other relevant info

By doing so you are allowing me to read this info and for it to be ”potentially” included in my book under your pen name ( not your actual name)

please email

 The book is about the struggles we face with sex and sexuality and what’s really at the heart of them. Sometimes its not quite what we are lead to believe it is- and I am constructing a book that explains and explores ways of living with and embracing your sexuality- what ever that may look like for you. The book will cover the relationships between the body, mind and emotions of contemporary sex positive theory, practice and personal development.

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Oct 152013

With porn being a hotly debated topic among teens and adults alike- Cyndi joins forces with educational and feminist pornograhers to discuss the relevance of porn as an educational / pleasure enhancing medium. Click on the image for full story

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 October 15, 2013  adult, feelings / emotions, genitals, health, kink / rough sex, men, parents, pleasure, sex, sex education, women Tagged with: ,  Comments Off
Oct 152012

Cyndi Talks with Dean & Andrew from Hide & Seek on JOY94.9 about Sex, Men and their Willies


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 October 15, 2012  adult, anal sex, genitals, men, pleasure, podcast, sex, sex education, shame, wellbeing Tagged with: ,  Comments Off
Sep 272012

Dear Cyndi

I view the use of condoms as a necessary evil, but I have been wondering recently whether the fear I have of contracting an STI is far higher than the actual risk. All the statistics that I can access relate to specific high risk segments of the population, and I view myself in about as low a risk category as I can imagine: middle aged, middle class, long term married, straight, non-drug user, Caucasian. When my wife and I play with others in the same category, is our insistence on the use of condoms actually ridiculous ?



Dear Keith,

 This is indeed an excellent question, and one which does truly deserve a lengthy answer. The short answer re: using condoms with non fluid bonded ( i.e non-monogamous / tested / 100% aware of health status) type partners is YES YOU SHOULD!

Why? Here we go.

While you and your wife are aware of your STI status ( i.e I assume you have STI tests every few months or so depending upon  the frequency with which you have multiple partners, as this is the ONLY way to be sure of your status) your play partners may not. Do you discuss this with them? Are they willing to discuss their sexual health with you?  If not, why not?  is my next question. Being middle class etc does not make you immune. If anything , certain infections ( HPV (warts) & Chlamydia) are rife among the over 40s heterosexuals as after years of marriage or monogamy, many are out on the dating scene again and have forgotten  (or never learned) the safer sex info they (should have) got as teens. Being middle aged does not give you a ring of protection!

I see that you and your wife are insistent on condoms and that is great! The truth is, it will only take one interlude ( from one of the group) with one infected person (outside the group) to spread an infection to the entire posse, including yourself and your partner. Conditions such as HPV and Chlamydia are EXTREMELY common and can cause serious complications (including death) especially for women if left untreated and / or undiagnosed. The big trouble with conditions such as these is they often have no or few symptoms and are highly contagious. No amount of wishing or trusting will make them go away!

The good news is that these conditions ARE also very treatable, but require medical intervention and pharmaceuticals, which really can be avoided by taking precautions such as using condoms.

Ideally, if your posse are an honest and tight knit bunch, you can continue to play together in the way you are accustomed, provided you all have regular STI tests. We have excellent sexual health resource teams in major cities across the country. There is absolutely no excuse in this day and age for being blasé about sexual health. Its laziness and just unacceptable!

More info on STIs can be found here

Enjoy and play safe!


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Feb 122012


There has been an astounding response to the podcast on female anatomy and arousal that I recorded with Catherine Deveny. The response, particularly from men, has been one of praise  for not only having the discussion publicly, but also making it educational and entertaining. Thanks to everyone who has listened so far.

Sex education is paramount regardless of our age and for as long as I am who I am, I will never tire of teaching and learning about sex and sexuality.  The taboos surrounding the alleged mystery of women’s sexuality really do nothing for creating a deeper sense of connection between women and those who love them.  While many women may feel they tend to operate from a different place to men in terms of sexual communication and sexual response, the difference is hardly mysterious! It’s just DIFFERENT, and often from woman to woman, it is different.  While the medical professions have previously and to a large extent still do, use conventional male sexual response as the gauge against which all NORMAL sexuality is measured, the only MYSTERY I can see is why genuine discussions about what is sexually arousing to anyone, regardless of their genitals,  is just not discussed enough! TALK ABOUT SEX FOLKS! Here is my call to arms!

Regardless of your orientation, you are in charge of and responsible for enabling your own arousal, pleasure and sexual awakening. If this sounds daunting or somehow contradictory, remember that your body is the vehicle through which you experience everything on this planet. No one can tell you that Brussel Sprouts are great if, to your tongue, they are just downright disgusting! (Having said that, maybe they were just not prepared the right way!……………….  I’ll leave you to ponder that.)

Even your ability to love, be loved and share pleasure is determined by your capacity to allow pleasure into your life. For example, slaving away on a blow job (and I use this term as a non-gender specific word for oral sex) just isn’t going to cut it  if you’re heart is not in it, or the person you’re devouring is not truly able to receive, or actually, just really doesn’t like blow jobs………………..( yes those folks DO exist )………………… no matter how carefully the sprouts have been prepared.

In life and blow jobs, motivation is everything.

Taking the time to explore your own body is a wonderful pathway to being able to share your body with your partner/s, regardless of the kind of genitals between your legs. Setting aside time to really play with yourself or your lover  just for enjoyment, without the goal of orgasm in mind, can be one of the most enticing, intimate and satisfying sex sessions you could ever have.


Let me know how you go!

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Feb 102012

Hello again,


In news just in, our PODCAST had over 1800 hits overnight!

What a fabulous effort pleasure enthusiasts!

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 February 10, 2012  adult, Blog, genitals, intimacy, men, My Blog, pleasure, podcast, practice, sex, sex education, women Comments Off
Jan 132012

Wow. What an exhilarating day! Talk about PLEASURE overload.

Pleasure of course can  be sourced from a squillion locations both internally and externally, and today mine came in the form of the GLORIOUS Catherine Deveny AND everyone of you who popped by my site and followed me on Facebook and Twitter leaving your comments of praise and encouragement!

By 7pm this evening, our podcast on vaginas and some of their workings had had over 1000 hits which really screams that there are a whole lotta folk TRULY interested in genuine, intelligent conversations about sex and sexuality and its function in our lives.

I am just thrilled at the response from the listeners. I love your comments and your questions. Keep ‘em coming.


With pleasure




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 January 13, 2012  adult, Blog, genitals, My Blog, pleasure, podcast, practice, sex, sex education, women Comments Off