Cyndi Darnell: Mindful Sex: Pleasure, Power, Permission


Manage episode 211997722 series 2391036
By Rebecca Wong. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Sex is a richly complex part of being human and there’s no one way to experience it. It can be a catalyst for spiritual connection or a source of deep trauma. It thrives on play. It emphasizes pleasure for pleasure’s sake. It enacts politics and power plays. It insists on respect and permission. And, in our culture, it is tightly bound to shame.

This week’s guest is Cyndi Darnell, one of Australia’s leading sex and relationship therapists, and she asks us to consider what would change if we acknowledged that we do in fact have bodies, without which we cannot experience the world. She wants us to know that it is safe to talk about our bodies, our experiences, our desires. In fact, she invites us to consider how radically different our world could be if we were more comfortable talking about sex. How would this change your relationship with yourself or your partner? How would it change how we raise our children? How would it change the status quo?

  • The beginnings of sex therapy as a field, sensate focus and mindfulness with a “small m”.
  • Sexuality as a complex intersection of the many facets of the human experience, but with emphasis on radical acceptance of our bodies.
  • Creativity and limitations as opportunity for sexual and pleasure expansion.
  • The reductive and detrimental effects of typical sexual education, how it affects us even many years later, and how we can do differently in educating our kids.
  • The benefits and limitations to applying mindfulness principles to somatic exploration, and ways that tantra can pick up where mindfulness leaves off.
  • Prioritizing touch as both the giver and receiver, and the transformational power in realizing we have agency in both contexts.
  • Three simple ways to activate the parasympathetic nervous system to clear the pathway to pleasure.
  • The differences between surrender and submission, and the role of permission in both.
  • The sexual politics and power dynamics that exist in every relationship, whether we choose to see it or not--and how power plays out when we refuse to see it.
  • What therapists can do and shouldn’t do if they are uncomfortable with dealing with sex issues in the clinical space.

Referenced in this episode:

Cyndi’s sex education video series for adults, The Atlas of Erotic Anatomy and Arousal

The Omega Institute in New York, where Cyndi occasionally leads workshops.

You can connect with Cyndi Darnell at, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Oh, and note your calendars, Rebecca will be co-leading a fabulous 5 day retreat at Menla for couples this Valentine’s week, details available here.

87 episodes