Does sex always die in a long term relationship?


There’s this commonly held myth that you will be all over each other at the beginning of a relationship but it’s normal for sexual desire to just end after a year or so.

This is codswallop! It only dries up if you haven’t worked on your own self development.

The answer to this problem about sex drying up is about becoming more emotionally mature and autonomous. Starting to work on a stronger sense of self can help bring back sex into a long term relationship. A strong sense of self means you aren’t dependent on having a positive reflected sense of self from your partner. This is an idea that sex therapist David Schnarch came up with and is an extension of Bowens Theory.

Tell me, do you want to have sex with someone who needs you to prop them up all the time and needs constant validation from you? I didn’t think so. Maybe at the beginning of the relationship that did it for you but it’s not going to last the distance.

Working on a stronger sense of self means that you will be:

-less reliant for your partners attention and not take differences in libido personally or to heart.

-less likely to force your partner to go along with your ideas or be forced to compromise on things you don’t want to just to keep the peace.

-less likely to always need validation and being ‘propped up’ constantly from your partner.

It’s usually not about sex at all. Sex is the battleground these conflicts are fought on but it’s about something much bigger.

I had someone scoff at me in my therapy room about the idea of self development. However it’s key to our sexuality and inextricably linked.

Working on issues surrounding our selfhood means we can resolve sexual problems in a relationship much better.

Art- Nathan-Dumlao


What is self validated intimacy and its relationship to passion?

I love this excerpt from an interview with sex therapist David Schnarch.


Q: What exactly do you mean by intimacy?

A: Intimacy involves self-confrontation and self-disclosure in the context of a partner.

In 1991, my first book …. pointed out the difference between other-validated intimacy and self-validated intimacy.

Other-validated intimacy requires your partner to validate and accept all your disclosures.

Self-validated intimacy involves validating what you say when your partner won’t.

Most couples-and most therapists-confuse getting acceptance, validation, and understanding from your partner with the process of intimacy itself.

The problem is that other-validated intimacy allows the partner with the least desire for intimacy to control their partner’s disclosures and the level of intimacy in the relationship.

We all want to be validated, but our dependence on it leads to what I call the “tyranny of the lowest common denominator,” and destroys passion, eroticism, and desire in emotionally committed relationships.

This is why I said earlier that our capacity for self-soothing and self-validation determine our tolerance and capacity for intimacy.

Q: What’s the relationship between profound intimacy and passion?

A: What really turns you on is personal and unique, like your thumbprint.
People who can’t validate their own eroticism hid it in their most important relationship, and passion always suffers.
When you’re capable of self-validated intimacy, you can let yourself be known at a very profound level-including what you really like sexually and daring to try out new things.
You stop worrying about your partner’s reaction and become deeply engrossed in the sexual drama unfolding with him/her.
This involves more than just “getting into sex” and getting the sex you like.
Many people focus on sensations during sex as a way of keeping intimacy to tolerable levels-they tune out their partner and tune into their body.
But when you’re capable of self-validated intimacy, you can let your partner look into you during sex without pulling away.
This makes for what my clients refer to as electric “wall-socket” sex.

Now I have some questions for you to ponder on your own or with your partner..

How do you hold onto yourself when you are in a relationship?

How do you feel about yourself?

How can you use sex as a window into who you are?

How can you become more uniquely yourself by embodying yourself in relationship with the people you love?

Let me know your answers!


What’s holding you back from being more creative?

When do you feel the most creative or what inspires you to be creative? 💖
What’s holding you back from being more creative?
These answers are different for everyone and I’d love to know yours! 💖


Does your own inner critic hold you back? Where did that nasty judgemental voice come from? Was it your parents or teachers that told you being creative was stupid, a waste of time or “not a real job?” Was it from years of not trusting or believing in yourself? Did a toxic intimate relationship make you lose so much confidence because you internalised all of your partners put downs and criticisms? Have you been bullied or belittled by partners, school or work colleagues and do you now take on this job for yourself?
Start paying attention to that voice! Start questioning it and speaking to yourself with patience and compassion..
Exploring in nature always helps me to feel more creative! The shapes, colours, light, movement and shadow reinvigorate my eyes and make me just want to write, draw, paint, photograph, sing, dance, bake, sculpt clay, make collages, make music, design, sew, build, plant etc! How do you define creativity and where do you channel your creativity? Creativity is much more than just painting..
Some people can have a very creative outlet in their life and not even realise it.
Creativity is inexplicably linked with our sexuality and sexual energy. Have a ponder about your creative blocks and how they relate to any emotional sexual blocks you might have.
When I’m out in Nature like today my senses are stimulated by Springs caresses. The invigorating wind blowing through my hair, the sun kissing my skin, the intoxicating smell of jasmine and dozens of other heady nectars electrifies my nostrils, the sights of all the colours and textures of flowers of all shapes, sizes and colours, the sound of the birds and the feel of the earth under my feet all re-ignite my creative juices! ❤️ I notice I breathe more deeply and even stand differently! For me it’s ecstatic bliss and I breathe in the spring winds and feel myself tremor with delight! 💜

If you are struggling with blocks to your creativity or sex drive imagine for a moment that the creativity and sexual energy of the world flowed through you like an abundant, beautiful waterfall or a stream of water.. It might be like jet pack propulsion or just a few drips. Imagine there’s a blockage somewhere like in a hose or a branch upstream of the river that’s blocking that sexual and creative flow of yours. Imagine unplugging the block or moving that branch so that you feel the entire gush of the waterfall flow through you dissolving all the critical thoughts, lack of self belief and confidence away! Notice how it feels and visualise how your life would start to look once these blocks were removed. This is the future we will be working towards together in my retreats and one on one coaching sessions. It’s so rewarding seeing my clients opening to a way of being they’ve always dreamt of.

Please get in touch via the link below if you’d like to unblock your creativity or sexual energy and live a more sensual artistic life full of pleasure and yummy creativity.. You deserve it! 💜

Catherine O Dowd

Art therapist 🌷Sex Therapist 🌷Couples Counsellor

Ps-No Photoshopping or skin improving filters on this mobile snap of me because I’m a therapist not a model! 🙂 And I’m learning to love and accept all of my flaws. Now that’s another blog post topic right there!14264041_958830394239173_4287609064255697328_n.jpg

Spring time and new beginnings. You have to let go to move forward.

‘Dreaming Tree’ by Christian Schloe

Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” – C. S. Lewis..


I’ve been meditating about new beginnings as we start the season of Spring. Spring is a fitting time to start afresh, start an emotional, mental and spiritual “spring clean” for yourself. Ask yourself these questions…

What do you need to let go of so that you can truly move forward?

What’s holding you back?

What’s keeping you stagnant and in the same holding pattern?

Are you enacting the same destructive patterns in your relationships?

Spring is a good time to start becoming aware of these patterns and start shifting them. Transpersonal art therapy works on a deep level to shift unconscious blocks that may have started in childhood. I use psychoanalysis combined with hypnosis like techniques and art therapy to help you uncover deep blockages and patterns. Becoming aware of these unconscious blocks can be how some of my clients describe, “a light bulb switching on” so they are more able to make conscious decisions in their life and move forward in a more positive and healed way..

You can’t change what has happened in your life and relationships, but you can create a new beginning, one choice at a time. Sometimes it’s not a true ending, it’s the same thing beginning in a new way.


Spring is  a fitting time to let go of negative and toxic relationships in your life and seek out healthy and positive connections in a “spring cleaning” of your emotional life.  It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to tell these types of people to, “get stuffed” but you can love them from a distance and lengthen the cord between you. Despite their good points, some people just dump their negativity on us and if you don’t see things ever changing releasing that person from your inner circle can be beneficial. Sometimes we continually attract similar types of people into our lives; friends or lovers that might be re-enacting a similar toxic power balance we may have learnt from a young age was ‘normal.’

I encourage you to take the first step and come and see me. It can take a lot of courage seeking help but I am open minded, non-judgemental and you will find me easy to talk to. Click on the link and send me an email. I’d love to hear from you.



Regular Yoga Increases Female Sex Drive….

A study in India has shown that regular yoga of about forty five minutes duration, increases women’s sex drive.  This recent research followed 40 women, aged between 22 and 55 years, over three months.
Women filled out a questionaire at the beginning and the end of the three months of yoga. The questionaire asked about their Female Sexual Function Index. Basically, this is a scale which measures  things such as desire, arousal, lubrication, pain, orgasm and mental satisfaction. At the end of the three months, 85% of women said they had better orgasms, improved arousal and lubrication and reduced pain during sex.

Researchers said the yoga had improved their pelivc floor muscles, the ones that direct our sexual responses.. The results also showed that yoga was particularly beneficial for women 45 years of age and older.

It makes sense really… Exercise alone can help increase your energy, reduce your stress and anxiety and boost your hormones. Yoga utilises exercise in combination with that all important breath work to really increase awareness of your body. If you book a session with me I can show you some really great breathing techniques that can help get you “out of your head” and in the “over-thinking” and “anxiety” zone and get more in touch with your body.  The more in tune you are with your body, then the more empowered and confident you feel sexually.  Anxiety is a sexual confidence killer. If you feel too trapped in your head and want to break out of this pattern then come and see me.

Book a session with me today to learn ways to increase your body awareness and have better more confident sex!

Even Science agrees. Rituals do work!

Ritual can help you deal with the end of a marriage or relationship, the loss of a friend, going into a new phase of your life, anxiety, confidence, healing and leaving behind trauma and assault..
Ritual can also help build better relationships, bring a couple closer together, open the gateway to sacred sex and better connection and enhance the quality of your life.I can’t ask any of my counselling/sex therapy clients to do any processes or exercises I haven’t tried myself first.
On Monday night I designed my own personal ritual and executed it in the presence of others. It was an incredibly powerful experience and I feel like a transformed person ever since.

During this ritual or rite of passage, I used symbols, objects, music, sounds and other things that were of personal significance to me. People use rituals  as a way to get a sense of control again and reduce negative feelings after our worlds have been shaken up.
Studies have shown that people who undertake rituals (whether alone in or in a group) have a much stronger sense of control over their worlds and lower levels of grief when it came to loss or missing out. Rituals can also reduce anxiety and increase people’s confidence. If something has happened in your life and you feel loss or disruption, or you want to increase intimacy in your relationship; then designing a ritual with me can help.
I love this article.  Part of my recent study has been noticing the overlaps between western psychology and holistic and ancient traditions. Some very mainstream psychologists have advocated rituals for couple work.  It’s undeniable that this ancient tradition that has been used throughout history is important and useful for self transformation and couples work. If you would like to learn to use rituals in your own life to transform yourself, heal a past hurt or further enhance your relationships, book a session with me now! Rituals can be simple and short, they don’t have to be a long or time consuming affair.  Rituals can give your life more meaning and add extra depth and intensity to your relationships.
“There are real benefits to rituals, religious or otherwise.Recent research suggests that rituals may be more rational than they appear. Why? Because even simple rituals can be extremely effective.

Rituals performed after experiencing losses – from loved ones to lotteries – do alleviate grief, and rituals performed before high-pressure tasks – like singing in public – do in fact reduce anxiety and increase people’s confidence.

What’s more, rituals appear to benefit even people who claim not to believe that rituals work.

While anthropologists have documented rituals across cultures, this earlier research has been primarily observational. Recently, a series of investigations by psychologists have revealed intriguing new results demonstrating that rituals can have a causal impact on people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.”

~ excerpt from “Why Rituals Work” by Francesca Gino and Michael I. Norton for Scientific American magazine

More sexual myths. Men turning down sex with their partners.

I’m on a lifelong journey to tackle sexual myths, because there’s a lot of misinformation out there. Starting with this myth- Women have lower sexual desire than men.
This is not true! Several studies have found that the partner least desirous of sex can be equally the male or the female.
Research has shown that the differences between male and female desire discrepancy is evenly balanced.
In medieval times, women were believed to have the bigger sex drive than men. It was believed that women had animalistic sexual urges that were more out of control than men.
A recent survey found 62 per cent of men turn down sex more frequently than their female partner, with a third admitting they had lost their sex drive.
Doctors talk about the rising numbers of men with low libido that they treat; citing stress, illness, money worries, diabetes and obesity as well as lowering levels of testostorone as causes. Large studies done in America show that every decade there’s a decrease in testosterone levels by as much as ten per cent.
If you would like to improve your sexual desire or are having problems with your partner because you have mismatched libidos I can help! Book a session today!

Are you projecting the fears of the past onto your present relationship?

“To grow, you must be willing to let your present and future be totally unlike your past. Your history is not your destiny.” – Alan Cohentrapped_by_myriahanyia-d32mglx
Too often people are so scarred by past experiences with sex and relationships, and they project these fears and expectations onto the present with hazardous results. Insecurity can scare away a new partner, and sexual anxiety can limit your potential to experience true connection and a sexually empowered life. How often have you projected the fears, hurts and experiences in a former relationship onto a present lover? How often have you tried not to do this, but just ended up doing it anyway?  We don’t have to repeat these old patterns again and again..


Book a session with me today to leave these scars behind and experience true fulfilment and sexual empowerment. I can help you live in the present, not dwell in the past and open yourself up to receiving and giving pleasure, bliss and love.  Art therapy can help heal old hurts and give you insight into your life. Sex therapy can help you create the fulfilling, exciting sexual life brimming with good sexual health that you deserve. Click on the link to book a session with me today!

The Female Orgasm as Art

What an interesting project.  I just watched a series of movies called, “Hysterical Literature” by film maker Clayton Cubbitt. A womanHysterical Literature sits at a table and reads from her favourite book. Underneath the table out of view of the camera, an “unseen accomplice” tried to bring the woman to orgasm with a vibrator. There was something quite beautiful about the black and white treatment, the reading of the literature and the intimacy of the orgasm. It is a very different treatment of  female orgasm that is seen in pornography!

There is a distinct sensuality in these short films, which I really enjoyed watching.  There’s even some humour as the woman Hysterical-Literaturestruggles to maintain her focus on the words in front of her!  Apparently it was a back massager that was being used, and if you listen carefully, sometimes you can hear the buzzing!

The director sums it up nicely, “It’s quite interesting to hear about what was going through their mind as they started to lose track of what they read and surrendered to their bodies. They talk about it almost like it becomes a religious trance, and they usually have no recollection of the last half of the reading.”

I love how they don’t remember the last section of what they’re reading! And the director also mentions the interesting struggles the sitter has between mind and body. One of the women said she held on for as long as she could, reading the literature, before she decided to give in to the pleasure.

“The title is a winking reference to the quack Victorian medical theory of “hysteria” in women, and the vibrators and hydrotherapy treatments used to “cure” them. On an individual level, I’m interested in the battle the sitter experiences between mind and body, and how long one retains primacy over the other, and when they reach balance, and when they switch control.”

As a sex therapist, I couldn’t help but see the films as a nice  metaphor for letting go and stopping thinking and overanalysing everything, in order to experience pleasure. During sex a lot of people find it hard to stop the non-stop narrative going through their head, and this can make it hard for them to let go and experience orgasm. What are your thoughts?  When has your mind and all your thoughts blocked you from letting go and feeling pleasure and/or orgasm?