Category Archives: Sexual difficulties

Hand-Break Off, Gas Pedal Down

Summarised from Come as You Are by Emily Nagosky.

In Nagosky’s book Come as You Are, she comprehensively explains a really useful theory in sexuality research – The Dual Control Model of sexual response.

Complicated name, but incredibly user-friendly.

This post is my summary of the most critical points in the theory, and how they might apply to our sex lives. Please indulge me as I use an automotive analogy throughout. Continue reading Hand-Break Off, Gas Pedal Down

Painful Gyne Exams: First Steps to Good Care

Undergoing gynaecological exams (such as cervical screening or fertility related procedures) is commonly somewhat uncomfortable.

It’s normal to feel some awkwardness or nervousness before and/or during these intimate exams. Fair enough – these are necessary but invasive procedures. And sometimes with a complete stranger.

It is also common to feel some physical discomfort – the equipment may be cold and hard, you may be feeling tense and find it hard to relax your pelvic muscles, a swab may poke in a sensitive spot.

For some people though, gynaecological procedures are very uncomfortable, painful and distressing. Pelvic pain can impact in a variety of ways and may be caused by a variety of factors. These include: Continue reading Painful Gyne Exams: First Steps to Good Care

Andrology Angst: What are my Options Doc?

The idea of providing a sperm sample during fertility preservation or reproductive treatment is a bit awkward and uncomfortable for most people considering it. And fair enough – you don’t usually have to ejaculate on command in a foreign location.

All of a sudden, the whole scientific community is in this private sphere of your life, and you have to masturbate into a cup.

But for some people, the idea may be particularly anxiety provoking and distressing.

Why does collection day cause anxiety?

Here are a few reasons why:

  • You may be worried about “performance anxiety” in a strange and clinical environment, and not being able to arouse yourself to ejaculation;
  • You may have been fine when you did the initial semen tests, but now feel the pressure of providing sperm on the actual big-day of treatment;
  • You may have had issues in the past not being able to ejaculate in sexual or medical situations;
  • You may not usually masturbating or you may be used to having a partner with you for sexual stimulation; or
  • You may have personal or religious reasons for not masturbating.

Continue reading Andrology Angst: What are my Options Doc?

Quickie Blog: Creative Ways to Give Them Pleasure

It’s common for sex to become overly goal oriented in both casual and  long-term relationships. Often the goal is about achieving orgasm – either your own orgasm or your lover’s orgasm – and perhaps both.

(At certain times in some long-term relationships, the goal may be more procreative – to make a baby. And you can read more about this here and here).

And while it isn’t rare to have goal-oriented sex – and it’s encouraged by books, movies, porn and peers – this kind of narrow sexual goal can get a bit rigid and uncreative, leading to mechanical or less enjoyable sex in the long run. Continue reading Quickie Blog: Creative Ways to Give Them Pleasure

Painful Sex: Empowered Help Seeking

Painful sex is incredibly distressing & confusing for those who experience it, and their partners.

Sexual pain can be caused by a variety of medical factors, and it manifests in a variety of ways – such as chronic discomfort during sex, pain upon genital touching and/or penetration, or an inability to have penetration due to intense pain. Some people who experience sexual pain may also experience pain using tampons, and/or discomfort sitting or wearing tight pants. Continue reading Painful Sex: Empowered Help Seeking

Interview: Three in the Bed & the Mother Said… (short version)

I recently had the honour of interviewing Tanaya, a 32 year old mother, about her experiences of early motherhood and sexuality. Her partner is Jon, 34 years old, and their son Sean is currently 10 months old.

This is an abbreviated version of the interview. To read the full interview – go here.


ALICE: To start, maybe you can give a bit of an overview of how things have changed in your sex life, or your thoughts and feelings around sex, before pregnancy, during pregnancy and now that you’re breastfeeding. Continue reading Interview: Three in the Bed & the Mother Said… (short version)

Let’s Talk About Talking About Sex, Baby

In many relationships, talking about sex is difficult. And it can be especially difficult if your sex life isn’t going so smoothly.

For some couples, or perhaps in more casual sexual relationships too, the idea of going from no meaningful conversations about sex to full-on sex discussions about genitals, position preferences, sexual desire discrepancies and secret fantasies may feel like a very daunting leap.

And sometimes it’s best to start small. Continue reading Let’s Talk About Talking About Sex, Baby

Ambiguities of The Erotic

I’ve recently been reading Esther Perel’s book Mating in Captivity: Sex, Lies and Domestic Bliss. The book discusses sex and eroticism in long-term relationships and is interesting in many ways. But there’s a particular point that has stood out for me as a sex therapist.

In Mating in Captivity, Perel discusses what I’m going to call the ambiguities or intangibles of sex, sexuality and love-making. She also explores the way that these intangibles can fly in the face of our can-do, goal-oriented society: Continue reading Ambiguities of The Erotic

A Psychologist and a Sex-Design Researcher Walk into a Bar…

I recently had the pleasure of meeting up with a Melbourne-based Sex-Design Researcher by the name of Victoria Cullen. Victoria is a Workshop Facilitator and Sex Educator at Passionfruit: The Sensuality Shop. She also lectures for RMIT University in the Future Sex Studio where she teaches students about consumer-centered design for sex products, aids and services. And, she has recently started a great sexuality blog called The Lubrarian.

So, when a Psychologist and a Sex-Design Researcher walk into a bar, what do they talk about? Here’s a little summary of our interesting chats. Continue reading A Psychologist and a Sex-Design Researcher Walk into a Bar…

Passion, Novelty and Hedonic Adaptation: In the Bedroom (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this series I discussed the topic of Hedonic Adaptation from a general relationship perspective. Part 2 of this series will focus on the application of these ideas to the sexual domain.

To recap, Hedonic Adaptation in relationships is where, after a surge in happiness and passion at the beginning of a new relationship, people generally adapt to this scenario over time -the passion then reduces and happiness comes back down to the person’s previous baseline. Continue reading Passion, Novelty and Hedonic Adaptation: In the Bedroom (Part 2)