In reading Cyndi Darnell’s new book, Sex When You Don’t Feel Like It, the reader is guided through a journey of self-reflection with questions like: 

  • What is sex, anyway?
  • Why do I want to have sex?
  • What do I find pleasurable? What excites me sensually?
  • What do I not find pleasurable? 
  • Did I learn those points of preference through my own experience(s)?

Our views on pleasure and desire are, at least in part, constructed through the societal constructs of what it means to be “masculine” and “feminine.” Things quickly start to go awry when instead of expressing our authenticity at an individual level, we strive to fulfill a pre-made archetype that doesn’t suit us all that well. 

When we accept the cultural scripts of sex and gender without question, we are often left disappointed by them. Furthermore, we tend to accept that disappointment as a symptom of our own malfunction, rather than challenging the flawed system of performance-oriented sex combined with a general lack of sex education. 

Our desire to be loved, validated, and accepted initially encourages us to “accept the norm,” sacrificing any notion of experienced pleasure for suggestions of what pleasure looks like instead. This is often misrepresented, or at the very least, takes a minimized and limited viewpoint considering that there are many available pleasures, genders, ways of experiencing and defining “sex,” and ways of living a fulfilled life we have available to us when we dare question the often otherwise assumed notions of sex, pleasure, and desire. 

Sex When You Don’t Feel Like It encourages the reader to embody their physical sensuality and approach with playful curiosity to prioritize and support healthy sexual expression in our lives. In this process of questioning old patterns, we begin to unveil our internal and external accelerations and decelerations as they relate to desire. Incorporating our personal values into our sex lives creates space for us to feel our feelings. With this newly gained self-knowledge and spark in erotic imagination, we strive to improve our understanding and communication with ourselves and others. Instead of framing our sexual framework within the context of function vs. dysfunction, we are encouraged to explore pleasure in its many facets on our journey to more meaningful, fulfilling lives, in and out of the sheets.


Guest Posted and Written by Larissa Farrell (she/her), Education Coordinator at CPS & Owner/Digital Content Creator at LCF Writing Services.

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