Working with Desire and Libido difficulties (individuals & couples): a non – pathologizing approach & what’s missing from our practice (4 CEs) Sunday, October 18, 2020


Presented by: Cyndi Darnell 



One of the core reasons people seek help from sexuality professionals is to explore mismatched desire and low libido.

Desire is conceptualized in the mainstream as an involuntary feeling of horniness which sex relies upon to be successful. But research shows us that ‘great sex’ requires so much more than simply being ‘in the mood’. While ‘horniness’ is considered the holy grail of desire scales, we are tricked into thinking that desire is something that happens *to* us rather than something we do. This workshop proposes that desire is in fact a strategy, a resource and a practice and offers interventions for navigating the skills to get us there. By reframing desire as a ‘strategy’ rather than a passive, subjective, moment-in-time, we reorient ourselves and our clients to the notion that desire is something we control, rather than something that controls us. Whether we experience ‘too much’ or ‘too little’ desire, reframing desire and libido as a relationship to values and skills, allows clients a richer understanding of their unique erotic template along with tools to facilitate how to make it happen.


At the conclusion of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Compare and contrast popular models of human sexuality in relation to desire & arousal
  • Explain how conventional knowledge of desire stops short of addressing the needs of modern relationships
  • Apply strategies for information gathering and client reframing of desire
  • Use client-led initiatives to formulate a tailored approach reviving to desire and managing desire discrepancies.

Schedule (30 minutes each)

  • Introduction to conceptualizing desire
  • Models of desire including distinctions between desire & arousal
  • Critical reflection of desire models and what’s missing from our practice
  • Understanding the relationship of brain functioning and desire to help clients understand what they’re experiencing and why
  • Formulating strategies and rationale for working with desire with an emphasis on ‘what works’ via case studies & literature review
  • Strategies for discussing sex and inspiring change
  • Reframing risk-taking using a strengths based model
  • Group discussion and opportunity to utilize new frameworks in approach