Apr 092014

Sex Positivity, can mean many things to many people.

 To me, being sex- positive means I embrace the notions of pleasure and sexuality in a positive light. I see sex and pleasure as integral parts of the human condition, and not something that we should be ashamed of or feel embarrassed about – even when it causes distress.

  Being sex-positive means not only having an interest in sex, but also educating yourself and others about what sex and pleasure can be. It does not mean forcing one’s opinions upon others nor does it mean casting a judgement on those who disagree as therefore being ”sex negative”. It’s about stepping beyond binary understandings of sex and gender- moving away from ideas around sex that are intrinsically subjugated into dualistic Judao / Christian notions, to more inclusive models of expression that are not dependent upon collective agreement; but rather visceral, mental and emotional liberation and consent.  When we only ever see black and white when it comes to sex, we will always miss the dawning of the rainbow.

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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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Mar 112014

In the West we confuse Beauty with Value, Worthiness and Relevance. Yet unlike these ‘things’, Beauty is fickle, subjective and impermanent. But Passion ( Beauty’s lesser valued counterpart and source of inspiration) is cultivated and refined over a lifetime. Passion sustains us when the pursuit of perfection decays.

When we limit our value to unsustainable ideals we will forever feel empty. Focus your attention on your intention. Where you spend energy, growth happens.

Cultivate your Passion as a pathway to Beauty that nourishes the totality of who you are.

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Mar 102014

Request for in depth interviews –  My Book! Update

Thanks to those who contributed with the initial request for info about my book. Here is phase two!

 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,  celebrating and embracing your sexuality- what ever that may look like for you. The book will cover our relationships –  between the body, mind and emotions and draw on contemporary sex positive theories, practice and personal development as well as some new founded science and techniques to help explore and understand the depths of human sexuality from a layperson’s perspective.


So many people want to know more about sex and sexuality or struggle with different aspects of it. By participating in this interview- you are contributing to helping others unravel the mysteries of their own sexuality and their relationship to it. This is community service in the highest degree!

The first part of the interview is just basic demographics. The following questions are more self- reflective questions about your own personal experiences within yourself. I have chosen open ended questions as each person’s experience of sex is unique. I invite you to include information relevant to the question being asked. At the end of the interview – please include information for me to contact you for further in depth verbal interviewing if you would like to be included. ( this is not necessary)

By filling in this document Individual Interview_ with Cyndi Darnell you acknowledge that the information is for (possible) publication purposes. The information will not be used to identify you without your explicit consent. This means ONLY the information you provide  (with the exception of contact info which will NEVER be disclosed) will be used –  e.g. not your actual name etc unless you want that!

Where possible try to be succinct in your answers. If your story lends itself to further exploration – please indicate at the end if I have permission to contact you further via phone or Skype.

Please complete in Word format and email back to me admin@cyndidarnell.com with BOOK in the subject line. If you cannot use Word – please copy and paste the questions into an email and respond that way.

With Deepest Gratitude



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Feb 242014

Its the intersection between thought and feeling that rattles us so deeply about sex . Not just the acts – but ALL that it is, personal, physical, political, emotional spiritual and beyond. Its this land of the unknown that invites us to examine and be present to the fullness of who we are. But more importantly all that it lets us FEEL. I see, hear and feel people’s struggles with this daily.

On one hand we FEEL the call to embrace it with everything we have and on the other we reject it, favouring logic and reason over the deeper murmurs of the heart and soul.

There will always be ”reasons” (excuses) to keep Eros at bay, being too busy, too tired or too fearful – will always be constants. But what if sexuality were NOT an EITHER / OR situation? What if…………sexuality’s natural home was actually between the many components of our otherwise solid identity? What if sexuality was in fact, a kind of friction caused by the different parts of ourselves brushing against each other as we go through life? What if the very reasons we remain estranged from our deeper callings were in fact at the heart of our eroticism?

Sexuality is the mortar that holds together the bricks of our identity, our persona, our form. To know who we are within, to see it and let it be seen – is to know what binds and keeps us whole.

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Feb 222014

Dear Cyndi,

I am writing because I have been struggling for many years with my sexuality. I have had several sexual experiences, but most of the time I end up feeling like sex has no meaning or purpose for me. I feel like everyone else is having great sex all the time- and I am just missing out. Is it just me?  I just don’t get it.


Dear Carolyn,

 It really sounds as if you are at the end of your rope with your sexuality. The good news is you are not alone and what you are experiencing and feeling is very common – especially among women. In my practice I meet a lot of women for whom sexuality feels like sex is something that happens TO them- rather than something they create or participate in.  A lot of women just ‘’zone out’’ during sex – and they don’t even realise they are doing it. No wonder they feel nothing, experience nothing and sex leaves them feeling cold!

The reasons this happens can be complex but in many cases the antidote  boils down to just one simple thing  – The women who prioritise the worthiness of their sexuality have a better time in bed. Thats all! There are no magic secrets, magic potions or magic pills that can change this for you – but what CAN create the change you need – is a little C.I.C. Curiosity, Investigation  & Courage.

Curiosity is fundamental. Seems simple enough – but when was the last time you embraced sex with the curiosity that children use to approach play time? Sex is playtime for grown-ups. It deserves the benefit of open curiousity.

Investigation means having a genuine interest to enquire more deeply into yourself and what turns you on and what drives your desires.

Courage means being able to step fully into experiencing your erotic potential- and leaving behind the fear and judgement that for so many of us , keeps us from the freedom & passion we so deeply crave.

Do you have the C.I.C you need? Need a hand with C.I.C?

 For a lot of women sex is an area fraught with danger. Women from a young age are taught to protect their sexuality while men are taught to flaunt it and embrace it. While for guys that can be pushed to the extreme and they feel they need to be constantly ON in order to be a fully charged sexual man- women can feel that they need to hide their sexuality, to keep it safe or maintain a veil of mystery.

The result in both cases is that they keep themselves from their worthiness – and from their full erotic potential.

People of many genders deeply struggle with sexuality.  The truth is you are not alone and it’s not your fault. But often we can feel really alone in this because the way sexuality is treated in our society is about a series of acquisitions ( how many, how much and how fast) rather than valued for the experience it provides and the opportunities for reverence and connection. Beacuse we don’t have enough meaningful discussions about sex in our day-to-day lives, we  are left feeling isolated and as if there is something wrong with US – rather than the messages we get about sex from the world we live in.

Work on your C.I.C and see how you go. Embrace the fullness. Enjoy the Ride.

Find out more about developing your C.I.C

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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 admin@cyndidarnell.com

 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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Dec 072013


Hi Cyndi,
I am 23 years old and I’m facing a difficult moment sexually because I have lost my libido. I have no interest in sex and the worst is that I don’t enjoy it anymore. What are some ways I can get my libido back? (Ps: I’ve been on the pill for a couple years now and my libido has decreased gradually since I started being sexually active)

Dear Elaine
Libido and desire are two words often associated with women’s sexuality. Increasingly there is more and more attention being paid to what is referred to as low desire or low libido. While in some cases there are a variety of pharmacological treatments for ‘’low desire’’ – they are not always the best option, nor the most relevant option. AND- there is no guarantee that they will actually work.


Women (and men) of all ages and orientations experience shifts in their levels of desire. This is normal. It’s not unusual for many life factors including stress, relationship problems, The Pill, time management and family issues to affect the way we experience sexuality. Changes in libido are natural and to be expected. But when desire wanes for an extended period of time ( and that is to be defined by the person themselves- not a statistic) it may be time to inquire further as to what issues might need to be addressed.


For many people it’s the absence of opportunities to discuss sexuality that is at the root of ongoing desire issues. Increasing pressure to perform and have ‘a lot’ of sex can sometimes be part of the problem. Many people confuse the frequency of sex with the quality of sex. Having a lot of sex – doesn’t necessarily mean it will be good- and sometimes just meeting a criteria of what’s expected, rather than what is desired, can contribute to feeling our libido isn’t quite on target.


While The Pill and all other hormonally-based contraceptives can and do have an effect of decreasing libido, for some women it’s  a necessary part of adult life and one they are not willing to give up. Fair enough. Bear in mind there are other non- hormone based alternatives to contraception- namely female & male condoms- which will protect you from pregnancy and STIs – but require a different approach to intercourse than without them. It might be worth deciding which of the two options is less intrusive for you- after all- what is the point of having intercourse- or doing anything sexually for that matter- if there is no or little enjoyment in it for you?

Cultivate Interest

In my practice I meet A LOT of people who want to discuss low libido concerns with me. I also train health professionals  to discuss libido concerns with their patients, when pharmacological options are not relevant or haven’t worked. It’s important to ask yourself what YOUR motivations are for having sex- and even what sex means to you. For many people- sex is something they have never been taught much about. Because it’s ‘natural’, it is assumed that sex will just organically happen and be blissful and amazing. For some (few) folks this is true- but it is an exception rather than a rule.


Like with any skill that needs to be cultivated- prowess and enthusiasm come with focus and practice. Consider the ways you prioritise learning about sex in your life. Just like eating is natural (the reflex is an instinct- just like the sex reflex) cooking is not natural necessarily- it’s something you learn.

  • Consider the ways you learn or have learnt about sex?
  • Where did your info come from?

Chances are sex is not something you learnt much about at school or at home, so unless you have actively sought information, it’s likely you’re running on minimal information and minimal satisfaction. It seems logical then that the best approach to sorting out what’s happening ‘behind the scenes’, is to learn more about yourself in the context of sex and sexuality.

I run a variety of classes and workshops for adults of all genders to address the education gap in sex-ed in Australia. You are not alone in what you’re feeing and I urge to you to know there are ways and means to help you feel that connection to your sexuality again- and perhaps more deeply than before.
It won’t require endless interventions, but it will require some enthusiasm commitment from you. Sex is one of the most fabulous sources of pleasure available to us. It would be a shame to let a lack of information stand in your way of accessing this potent source of wellness and freedom.

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 December 7, 2013  adult, Blog, libido, My Blog, practice, Q & A Forum, sex, sex education, shame, wellbeing, women Tagged with:  Comments Off
Nov 282013

RN_Drawing RoomCyndi talks about sex on Radio National’s The Drawing Room. November 27 2013

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 November 28, 2013  adult, pleasure, podcast, sex, sex education, wellbeing Tagged with: ,  Comments Off
Oct 252013

People are often curious about my work. One of the questions I am most frequently asked is ‘do you see mostly couples’? In the beginning this surprised me, I couldn’t understand why people freely associated sexual enquiry primarily with people in relationships. After all, I have spent many years singlish and my enquiry into sexuality is more robust than most people I know. Our social constructs tell us that the frequency and quality of sex is in direct proportion to the duration of a long term relationship. The longer we’re together, the more intimate we must be and so on. And then it dawned on me that there are a whole lot of people who assume that other people in relationships are having sex, probably lots of it, along with lashings of love and good feelings whereas people who aren’t in relationships are probably not. Nothing could be further from the truth.

For many of us we learn about sex in the context of experience and sometimes that means a relationship. But a relationship alone does not good sex make! When I was at school sex was taught as reproduction. It was taught as something that happened exclusively between heterosexuals and it always involved an erect penis and a vagina (its state of arousal was irrelevant, as was the clitoris, but that’s for another post). These days school based sex education in some areas is more progressive, often involves some kind of homo-awareness and hopefully discusses consent and maybe even pleasure. A great step forward- but still not actively helping us understand what drives our sexuality or adequately preparing us for adulthood and realistic sexual relationships.

For some of us, sex occurs in a variety of contexts. For some of us it’s enjoyable. For many of us it lasts for months, for fewer of us it lasts years and for fewer still it lasts a lifetime. The assumption that couples seeking sex therapy in long term relationships is the reason people seek my services is at best a reflection of our social values  and expectations, ( people in relationships {should} have frequent sex – with each other) and at worst an indication of how little we understand ourselves as sexual beings (single people don’t have sex). This slippery logic became evident in other areas of my work where I discovered just how many beliefs people have about what sex is and is not. Many of us live with very structured understandings of what sex should and shouldn’t be like. I am frequently introduced to the ideas that people believe to be “normal’’ that deeply influence their sexual behaviour. The thing is, most of these ideas are just made up.

All of us have a tendency to make stuff up.  Not just about sex, but life. We make up all kinds of stuff to justify all kinds of things. ( I should be having sex three times a week, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, children don’t have sexual feelings etc etc)  Especially things we don’t understand or that challenge our emotions.  And if we make up enough stuff, and share our made up stuff with others, we sometimes get it affirmed or even exaggerated. Making up stuff is fabulous. It soothes us when we’re lonely and fulfills us when we need guidance and connects us to others. But what happens when the stuff we make up is counter-productive, the illusion that distracts us from our true feelings and leaves us feeling inadequate or “abnormal’’? When we make up enough stuff about how we should be living and how we should be feeling about how we’re living, we spend less time actually feeling our feelings and desires, and more time making stuff up to justify or numb the feelings we decide are unacceptable. When it comes to sex, the stuff we have made up is often the most potent (I really should be having more orgasms) and  the inner critic is at its most robust. (I don’t have enough orgasms- there must be something wrong with  me) The thing is – we don’t even realise we have made most of it up.

Being in a long term relationship is no sure fire guarantee for intimacy- or even good  or frequent sex. Singles, couples and beyond are having all kinds of sex from none–to swinger parties every weekend of the year. We don’t know about it- because as a culture we don’t talk about the  extent of sexual diversity.   Being married 20 years does not mean you are more likely nor entitled to see a sex therapist than if you are in a non-monogamous union, engaging the services of sex workers or someone who regularly engages in solo sex as a self-soothing act of love. Are any of these types of people more likely to seek out my services than another? My experience tells me  no. What many of these folks have in common though is a lack of awareness about just how normal they actually are in their diversity.

Sex by its nature is intimate and personal. At its most creative- it’s intimate, it’s complex and it’s a need – just as Maslow pointed out all those years ago. I’d argue however that human sexuality transcends the just the physiological. Sex provides us with the canvas to paint our emotions, negotiate power, articulate our eroticism, come face-to-face with our fears, give and receive pleasure and maybe even heal old wounds. These things are not always explicit in a long term relationship but they are present- just as they are in a one night stand or a casual fling. This dance happens every time we choose to have some kind of sex. These are the things people will seek my services for.  The notion that intimate sex exists only between long term partners is a lie. Sometimes it’s easier to share that kind of eroticism with a virtual stranger than it is to share with a long term partner. Your own moral compass may deem that to be right or wrong- but bear in mind- morals are something else…………….. we have just made up.

I will leave you with this quote from Buddha –

”All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?”


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Oct 252013

Feelings are at the heart of satisfying sex – even if it’s erotic feelings – becoming familiar with our feelings helps us become more familiar with ourselves. No two ways about it.

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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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Jul 052012

 Rough sex, anyone?

My current lover and I have been having quite rough sex. Hair pulling,  choking and slapping, etc. I am really enjoying it in the moment but afterwards feel a bit strange about it. He is very loving and respectful generally, but I worry I am betraying my feminist principles by allowing / enjoying these activities. What do you think?

Ivy. Collingwood

Dear Ivy,

Rough sex gets a bad rap sometimes, and often for the wrong reason. Sometimes people assume that rough sex means that one partner is being coerced, and the other partner is being unnecessarily aggressive, or aggressive as a form of genuine punishment, hatred or anger. While this can and does happen in situations where consent is not established, the difference here Ivy, is you are consenting and enjoying it. This is an extremely important distinction.

Pleasure and eroticism come in many forms. Sadly, because human sexuality is not discussed frequently enough or widely enough in a public context, it is often hard to know what other people enjoy and how many people enjoy it. We are often forced to keep our sexuality to ourselves for fear of being shamed or ridiculed for it.

The current surge and interest in rough sex play and kink can be measured by the popularity of books such as 50 Shades of Grey. Regardless of what one thinks of it from a literary perspective, people all over the world are now talking about alternative sex practices more than ever, and in more public ways. To my mind, this is a VERY good thing. Books like this give permission for people to experience alternative forms of sexuality and arousal, and decide for themselves whether or not THEY would like to try them and then whether  or not they like them.

While some aspects of rough and kinky sex do carry a degree of danger, the acts you’re describing (aside from the choking) are essentially harmless, as long as you pay attention to your limits and honour them. The dangers with choking are very real and very high, and even the most experienced kink practitioners warn strongly against it. Learn and understand your limits with spanking and hair pulling, communicate them, and stop immediately if it ceases to be fun! its always a good idea to have an agreement with your lover about what your ”stop” word( also known as a safe word) is, so he knows when he hears this word, it really means STOP IMMEDIATELY, and is NOT part of the game. Choose in advance an incongruent word that you both identify as being the STOP word. eg. car keys ( or some other random and un-sex related word).

While feminist principles are a valuable part of being a contemporary woman, so too is your relationship with your sexuality. As a person of any gender, allowing yourself to freely express and enjoy your eroticism is a healthy and fundamental part of being an adult. Depending upon how you perceive your feminist principles in light of sexual pleasure , you may find that the two can very comfortably go hand in hand, because as women, we have fought (and continue the fight) to be allowed to decide what we do with our own bodies, who we share them with and how. Give yourself permission to be all of who you are, sexual, sensual, kinky AND feminist. They do not need to be in conflict with each other.

Listen to your body, notice its responses. This is where you will find the greatest liberation.

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