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.

Share Button
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.

Share Button
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

Share Button
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.

Share Button
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.

 But I NEED YOU!

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

Cyndi

 

Share Button
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.

Share Button
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.

Carolyn

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

Share Button
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
*age
*preferred gender ID
*orientation

*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.

Share Button
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)
Thanks
Elaine

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.

Normal

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.

Misinformation

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.

Contraception

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.

Learn

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.

Share Button
 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

Share Button
 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?”

 

Share Button
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.

Share Button
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
the_age-logo
.
.
.
.
.
.

Share Button
 October 15, 2013  adult, feelings / emotions, genitals, health, kink / rough sex, men, parents, pleasure, sex, sex education, women Tagged with: ,  Comments Off
Mar 192013
 

Hi,

I don’t like sex. I would like to want to have to have sex but as soon as I start I can’t think about anything else but stopping. I am not in a relationship but have dated a few guys in the last year. Friends just say I haven’t met the right guy but if I think of my history there was only ever one guy I enjoyed sex with. A guy has never made me orgasim and I can only make myself using a vibrator (which I do enjoy). I feel confused and lonely by this because society is so sexually focused. What should I do?

Mish

 

Dear Mish,

This is a very intricate situation you are in here, and interestingly you are not alone.

Sex for you appears to be fraught with conflicting feelings. You don’t like it, but you’d like to like it, You can’t come with others, but you can come( and enjoy it) by yourself. You’ve only ever enjoyed sex with one partner and your friends are telling you ‘’you haven’t met the right guy yet’’. Yes, you’re right. Society is OBSESSED with sex, and often mediocre sex at that. It is lonely and it is confusing.

The social obsession with sex is reflective of the levels of cultural repression and disdain there is for sex and sexuality across the board. I have often wondered if we in Australia invested as much time, money and energy into exploring and teaching sexuality as we did on say sport, how different the cultural landscape of Australia would be?

 In many parts of Australia, UK and the USA, sex is still very much a taboo topic, while  among more progressive thinkers sex  can be referred to as ‘’just sex, it’s no big deal’’! My position is that a multi-million dollar online sex industry tells me It IS a big deal! It’s a REALLY big deal, it’s just been funnelled into very compartmentalised ways of accessing it; all hidden and all tainted with shame. People are FASCINATED by sex but have few avenues to get information! Whether you sit at either end of the sex / taboo binary or somewhere in the middle, sex is rarely seen for beauty that it is, the source of connection to the Self and an unlimited tool for pleasure.

While there is so much pressure for people to be partnered or at other extremes totally open, we leave ourselves few models for understanding the texture of sex and relationships. Developing a sense of connection to your erotic self can be a pathway to self discovery and connection, but when that pathway bears the distraction of cultural conventions, what could be a pursuit of pleasure for its own sake, becomes a source of anxiety and shame. Without a relationship to one’s own sexuality, it can be quite a difficult ( but not impossible ) path to greater erotic intelligence.

There is a small percentage of the global population who report no or very little interest in (partnered) sex. The current statistics suggest around 1% of the population feel that the descriptors of asexuality are applicable to them. Without a thorough consultation it is hard to know if this is a label you feel applies to you, but you are not alone in feeling disconnected from sex or the desire to do it.

  • There are a few factors here though that can help you work through this.

Firstly, ask yourself why you have sex? This seems an unusual question to many, but it can often be one of the greatest indicators into a conversation with ourselves about sex. Examining our motives for exploring sex can really help us better understand our needs.

Secondly, consider the people who are in your life (friends and lovers). How would you describe the connections you have with them? Having dated a few guys in the last year and not liked them doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything wrong with you, nor them. It could well be a reflection of a culture that does not give itself the permission to allow pleasure to be at its core. How on Earth are we expected to know what great sex can be when we live in a society that doesn’t prioritise it?

Thirdly, you can consider how YOU prioritise sex and give yourself permission to think outside the square when it comes to exploring your eroticism. Read widely and attend workshops and seminars on different topics about sex and sexuality or find a sex coach to work with you for a more personalised approach.

 

Good Luck

Cyndi

Share Button
Oct 152012
 

Cyndi discusses the importance and relevance of queer inclusive sex education in all schools as part of comprehensive sex education in all Australian schools
wireactual
.
.
.
.
.
.

Share Button