Rekindling Desire



Presented by: Barry McCarthy, Ph.D.

Recorded workshop available via video on demand



In the new sexual mantra of desire/pleasure/eroticism/satisfaction desire is the most important dimension. The paradox is that dysfunctional sex, conflictual sex, and sexual avoidance can destroy a loving marriage, but good sex cannot save a bad relationship. Contrary to “common sense” beliefs desire problems are most likely to occur early in the marriage and when couples over 50 stop being sexual it is almost always the man’ choice because he has lost confidence in erection and intercourse. When it’s “intercourse or nothing”, nothing wins.

This clinically-oriented workshop will explore the  psychological, biomedical, and social/relational factors which undermine sexual desire. Couple sex therapy is an efficacious strategy to rekindle sexual desire. The focus is  on pleasure-oriented touching  and responsive sexual desire. A crucial concept is building her, his, and our bridges to desire. Crucial  to successful treatment  is  to create an individualized relapse prevention program.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Develop a treatment plan for no-sex and low-sex relationships
  2. Create and individualize psychosexual skill exercises to enhance sexual desire
  3. Demonstrate how to conduct an individual psychological/relational/sexual history
  4. Identify 2 strategies to facilitate relational and sexual recovery from an affair
  5. Create an individualized relapse prevention program
  6. Describe the psychobiosocial model to identify what promotes and what subverts desire
  7. Explain sexual desire issues for gay, lesbian, and non-traditional individuals and couples
  8. Contrast the Good Enough Sex (GES) model with the individual perfect performance model

Activity Schedule:


Myths and realities of sexual desire

The new sexual mantra-desire/pleasure/eroticism/satisfaction

Model of couple sex therapy

Case study of couple sex therapy for a non-sexual marriage.


The psychobiosocial model for assessment and treatment of sex dysfunction

Desire psychosexual skill exercises

Female sexual dysfunction

Male sexual dysfunction

Five dimensions of sexual touch

The Good Enough Sex (GES) model vs. individual perfect sex performance model

1-2 Lunch


Extra-marital affairs and its impact on sexual desire

Monogamy vs. consensual non-monogamy

Sexual recovery from affairs

Couple sexual style  vs. couple relational style

Desire issues with each sexual style


Fatally flawed marriages

“Wise” relational and sexual decisions

The good divorce

Therapeutic strategies for  variant sexual arousal

Sexual trauma and adult sexual desire case

Sexuality and aging-focus on desire and satisfaction

Relapse prevention strategies

Personal and professional values and referral process

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