Posts Tagged ‘sex counsellor’

Meet Cyndi Darnell – sex therapist, teacher, lover…

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

This July Max Black will be hosting the charming Cyndi Darnell for three new workshops, put together just for MB. So we thought you might like to know more about this Melbourne-based counsellor, author and educator before tickets to her workshops sell out…

The Counsellor

Cyndi is, first and foremost, a sex therapist and relationship counsellor with clients stretching far beyond her Melbourne abode. With over 20 years experience studying human sexuality here unique perspectives are the result of her very broad range of study – everything from the clinical (her qualifications include a Masters of Health Science) to the esoteric (Sexological Bodywork and Tantra).

Working with couples and individuals Cyndi aims to help clients build a sex-positive lifestyle that is a full expression of our very sensual potential.

I have always been a pleasure enthusiast. For as far back as I can remember, my fascination with pleasure and sexuality has been part of my identity. Having travelled the world extensively in my 20s in the pursuit of self-knowledge and then my 30s exploring more introspective wonders and delights, I have come to embrace the understanding that sexuality and pleasure is not something separate from our lives, but part of our lives as a pathway to genuine wholeness, contentment and wellbeing.

Cyndi Darnell at Max BlackThe Media

Cyndi’s educational and therapeutic skills have been seen and heard across Australia on The Project, ABC Radio National, Triple J, JOY 94.9,  SMH, Cosmopolitan, Time Out and both Australian Women’s & Mens’ Health mags (among other publications).

The extraordinary Catherine Deveny is a huge supporter of her work and together they made a series of free-to-air educational podcasts about sex, pleasure and the human condition.

Cyndi was also the founder and creator of Pleasure Forum Australia , ( spanning 4 years from 2010-2013) an unfunded and independent monthly adult-to-adult sex education program where the emphasis was on pleasure and practical education, not sleaze and clinical theory.


The Educator

In addition to the Pleasure Forum, Cyndi has become a sought-after educator in all things sexuality-related. Her Melbourne seminars are always sold out early and Max Black is thrilled to be able to bring Cyndi to Sydney this year.

Her comprehensive and entertaining workshops on adult sexuality, pleasure, anatomy and relationships help to demystify sex and put the emphasis on pleasure (that’s what we love!). She has worked closely with some of the world’s leaders in sex-positivity including a past MB workshop favourite, author and film maker Tristan Taormino.

We love Cydni’s light and effervescent approach to education and her rather wonderful ability to bridge the world of sex from many perspectives. That’s why Max Black is proud to be presenting Cyndi in 3 workshop presentations this July…


Click the links above to read more about Cyndi’s new workshops and for details about tickets.

Christina Spaccavento: Keeping It Together

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

This week we welcome Christina Spaccavento to the MB Blog – Christina is a wonderful sex therapist and relationship counsellor, and her articles will bring new insights into marriage, relationships and sexuality.


Marriage is becoming increasingly celebrated in Australia, so this would imply that there are many couples who are happy in their relationships. There is however still a relatively high divorce rate. So what is happening? This article addresses issues pertaining to marriage, limerence and relationships.

Keeping it Together

In 2009 the Australian Bureau of Statistics registered almost 50 000 divorces in Australia. That’s a lot of failed marriages for a country with a relatively small population. In fact Australia is ranked seventh place in the world for countries with the highest divorce rates. The United States comes in at first place (that’s no big surpise) followed by Puerto Rico, Russia, United Kingdom, Denmark and New Zealand. So is it really a game of chance? Or is there more to being a couple than initially meets the eye?

I see it again and again in my clinical practice. Dissatisfied lovers, who twelve to eighteen months after tying the knot watch in horror as it all fizzles down to mundane routine and ultimate relationship unhappiness.

I have often asked myself what the cause could possibly be. As a relationship counsellor, the first explanation that comes to mind is the idea of ‘limerence’. For those of you who are not familiar with this notion, ‘limerence’ is a term that was coined by Dr. Dororthy Tennov, an American Psychologist who attempted to describe the enigmatic state of being in love. Many of us have experienced those feelings of intense, almost obsessive and often painful romantic desire for another human. And you may have noticed that these sensations are usually experienced at the beginning of a relationship. A classic example is the call “just to say hi” that never ends because you don’t want to hang up on you lover. And then, as time goes on things tend to peter out . This is the state of limerence coming and going.

So how does it all start to come undone? We all know the amount of time, energy and money that goes into the preparation of a wedding. Retailers exploit the limerent phase to sell products ranging from wedding dresses to kitchen pans. But after it is all over, what skills have couples actually learnt towards maintaining the life-long commitment they have just signed up for? The stressful period before the big day can even bring to the forefront many issues that are affecting couples, but I am often left wondering how many of those hopefuls actually seek help before it is too late when there is such good help available.

Sex therapists can help rekindle and maintain that flame of love and interest in the lifelong union of marriage.

First of all, we need to be pragmatic in our expectations of our relationships. We need to realise that it is unrealistic and unfair to expect to feel the same euphoria that was experienced in the first three months of meeting our mate. If a relationship is to last it requires a lot more foundation than is often laid in the limerent phase. Here are some tips:

Be friends with your partner

Friendship is important in any relationship, so it’s important to nurture it.  Think about the activities that you enjoy doing with your partner, whether it be spending a quiet dinner just the two of you, going to concerts or performances, or walking along the beach. The time you spend doing things together helps to build a strong relationship foundation.


In my clinical experience what I find is the longer couples stay together, the more they start to think that they are mind readers. It is always good idea to make sure you fully understand what your partner is saying, or not saying and not just assume you know.

Check that you are both heading where you want to in the relationship

We all agree that people change over time. Yet in a relationships clients often express their bewilderment at changes in their partner. They say to me “she said she never wanted…..and now he wants…” Well I’ve got news for those who find themselves in this bind; we all change. It’s important to check in with each other regularly to make sure you’re both heading in the right direction.

Share the Workload

So now you’re a team. Making a a fair contribution of time and resources to the relationship will help build a strong foundation that leads to relationship resilience.

Keep things special

There is nothing cheesy about organising a weekly romantic date with your partner to keep the passion alive. Making a conscious effort to dedicate time and energy to your relationship will bring lasting rewards.


There is no one concrete formula on how to ensure long term relationship bliss. What we can do, however is learn ways to stay positively connnected to our partner in order to build and maintain a strong union.

Introducing Christina Spaccavento, Sex Therapist.

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Part of the joy of working here at MB is the relationships we have with some of Australia’s best sex therapists and relationships counsellors. This week Christina Spaccavento joins our community network and we can’t wait to tell you all about her…

Christina Spaccavento is a qualified and experienced Sex Therapist and Relationship Counsellor who provides both face-to-face and telephone counselling.  We love that she is friendly and approachable and committed to offering a discreet and understanding experience through her client-centered and solution-focused therapeutic style.
Christina has a Masters of Health Science (Sexual Health) from the University of Sydney (we love a local!) and runs her own clinical practice in Surry Hills and Potts Point, which makes it easy to get to a location near you.
Christina also runs sexuality workshops for health professionals and has made various expert contributions to media publications and television in the area of sexology.
So how can she help? Christina has a huge breadth of knowledge to draw on and can help with many many issues, including:
  • Lesbian and Gay Counselling
  • Relationship and Marriage Counselling
  • Intimacy Issues
  • Couples Communication
  • Female and Male Desire Problems/Issues
  • Orgasm and Related Issues
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Gender Identity
  • Illness and Sexuality
  • Vaginismus
  • Painful Intercourse
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Sex Addiction/Compulsive Sexual Behaviours
  • Premature Ejaculation
  • Delayed Ejaculation
  • Post Prostatectomy Surgery

You can contact Christina through her website: or by calling her directly on 0422 088 752.

Look out for future articles and advice from Christina right here on our Blog in 2012.