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human consciousness, what was once in the realm of mighty cosmic superpowers like Eros, Aphrodite and Pan, has now been superseded by the high priests of the universities whose life blood is determined by the likes of pharmaceutical companies, whose primary function is to tell you whether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

Sensation?

Emotion?

Both?

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.

Sometimes.

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?

Really.

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
 

sex-nerd-sandraWhile recently in USA, I had the pleasure of being ‘had’ and interviewed by the delightful and quirky Sex Nerd Saaaandra ( you’ll get the joke when you tune in)  of Nerdist.com. In this in depth and meaty interview, Sandra and I get real and raw about what makes for getting the sex you really want, navigating new sexual terrain, the difference between being a sex therapist and a sex educator and why I love both, but how they are such different skills. We also cover how gender roles are being redefined, how unnatural sex  really is and well a whole lot more. Strap yourselves in for this one. It’s intense, it’s passionate and it’s online here.

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Nov 112014
 

TheProject_Logo_500x281Cyndi talks to The Project about recent findings on the sex lives of Australians. November 7. 2014.

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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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Sep 242014
 

logoToo long the exclusive realm of men, women are successfully claiming the world of pornography as their own, and shaping it in a direction more suited to their desires. The rise of feminist pornography highlights the growing demand for explicit portrayals of sex by women, and for women.

Sex therapist Cyndi Darnell has devoted her life to the pursuit of pleasure, assisting countless women in realigning their sexual expectations. Award-winning feminist erotic filmmaker Anna Brownfield has changed the nature of sex on film for an entire generation of young Australian women. Gala Vanting is an erotic imagist, who retains ownership of her sexuality through photography and short films that challenge what it means to be a sexual being. CEO of the Eros Association, and the leader of the Australian Sex Party, Fiona Patten also joins the panel.

Together, these three women discuss feminist pornography as an expression of female sexuality. Honest, revealing and illuminating, this event gives conventional notions of pornography a firm and long overdue slap.

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 September 24, 2014  adult, communication, consent, feminism, pleasure, porn, sex, sex education, sex positive, society, women Tagged with: ,  Comments Off
Sep 082014
 

Cyndi talks with Jenna Price about making sex work for you. Click image for full story. Portfolio-CanberraTimes-c

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Aug 282014
 

new dailyCyndi talks with the New Daily about how having a little space in a relationship can actually help fuel erotic fires and strengthen a relationship. Click image  for the full story.

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 August 28, 2014  adult, anxiety, communication, intimacy, myths, pleasure, practice, sex, skills, society, wellbeing Tagged with: ,  Comments Off
Jul 022014
 

The more I see, read and experience through the lens of my work regarding feminism, sex and intimacy the more I am convinced it is crucial to the well being of everyone on the planet. Everyone is affected by feminism! (Whether they realise it or not.) Women reduced to gormless sex objects with little to no agency is still part of a mainstream sexual script. Men reduced to gormless sex predators incapable of distinguishing thought from feeling is still part of mainstream sexual script. Women whose eroticism is expected to be as infantile as that of new born babies matched with a male interpretation of sexuality that is brutish, cavalier and constricted. Anyone who sits outside this narrow mould is fucked over by it. And quite frankly, that’s everyone I’ve ever met! The sexual status quo serves no one in its current form. We all suffer under this current system. So yeah, we need feminism in the bedroom as much as anywhere else.

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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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Jun 192014
 

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What is it about sex that is so terrifying? Why do we spend billions either pursuing it or prohibiting it? Sex is everywhere, or so it seems.

In an age where we have virtually unfettered access to any kind of sex we want, we are more riddled with social conservatism, isolation, depression and anxiety than ever. In an age where sex rules the web but not our prime-time discussions, it’s time we stepped up the cultural landscape and got a bit real with ourselves when it comes to the power, necessity and function of sex.

Cyndi Darnell − sex therapist and sex educator − tackles the elephant in the room. Filmed November 28, 2013.

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May 212014
 

Rohana Hayes from RAW Women.com interviews Cyndi about being a Sex Therapist, the myths, the rumours and the state of play when it comes to great sex! Click image for storyIMGP24992s

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Apr 102014
 

One of the most powerful lessons I have received in my life and that I draw on heavily in counselling and education with clients is working with the notion of uncertainty.

Uncertainty is harrowing in so many ways. It brings us face to face with the impermanence of life. Love, Life, Relationships and even Orgasm all eventually come to an end. The trouble is when the end is so distracting to us we miss the richness of what is present-in the present.

Now I get anxious, like everyone does from time to time. I also get sad- deeply sad at times about the impermanence of the things that I long for and desire – namely people and sometimes experiences. It’s in these moments that I am most notably challenged and compelled to surrender to the notion of uncertainty as a permanent aspect of life. Trying to remain stoic in the face of it is unnerving and my challenge is to bring myself back into balance without getting lost in the outcome of what I fear. I have learnt that when I focus only on outcomes, I miss the experience of being alive. I shut down, become disconnected and fear becomes the default that clouds any capacity for texture and relief.

Discomfort is part of life. I cannot see another way around it. And I wouldn’t trade in my capacity to feel in exchange for a life half- lived.

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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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