Presentations and Workshops

Barry McCarthy, Ph.D. workshop presenter, author, and professor

Received Masters and Johnson award for lifetime contributions to the sexuality field, 2016

Barry has presented over 450 workshops in the United States and internationally to help mental health clinicians integrate sexual strategies and techniques into couple and individual therapy. The sexual paradox is that good sex cannot save a bad marriage, but bad sex can undermine a loving marriage. The traditional clinical belief is that with increased communication and intimacy, sex will naturally improve. For most couples however, sexual problems, especially low desire, need to be addressed directly. In these highly evaluated workshops, clinicians learn to apply the psychobiosocial model for assessment and treatment of sexual problems, implement the four-session assessment model, use psychosexual skill exercises, embrace the new mantra of desire/pleasure/eroticism/satisfaction, adopt the Good Enough Sex (GES) model, and create an individualized relapse prevention plan. Barry presents two-day, one-day, or half-day workshops as well as plenary presentations.

Please contact me at about your needs.

Workshop Topics Include

Rekindling Desire and Dealing with Desire Discrepancies

The new sexual mantra is desire/pleasure/eroticism/satisfaction with desire the most important dimension. A breakthrough concept “responsive sexual desire” is valuable for both women and men. This workshop explores what facilitates desire-positive anticipation, a pleasure-orientation, freedom and choice (including the power of veto), and a variety of sexual scenarios and techniques. Desire is subverted by a performance orientation, pressure and coercion, and totally predictable routine. A couple’s challenge is to balance intimacy and eroticism and to establish hers, his, and our  bridges to sexual desire. It is crucial to maintain positive, realistic sexual expectations including dealing with dissatisfying or dysfunctional sexual experiences.

Integrating Sexual Interventions into Couple Therapy

Couple therapists  typically focus on communication and problem-solving  while ignoring  sexual problems. Sexual desire and satisfaction  need to be dealt with directly in therapy. Clinicians will learn the four session assessment model, help clients develop a couple sexual style (which is often different that their relational style), and implement psychosexual skill exercises. The clinician’s stance is pro-sexual and pleasure-oriented, providing personally relevant, science-based guidelines, and suggesting  sexual strategies and techniques to facilitate sexual self-efficacy.

Couple Sexuality and Aging

The good news is that there is solid science that couples can be sexual in their 60’s , 70’s, and 80’s. The bad news is that 1 in3 couples stop being sexual between 60-65 and 2 in 3  stop sex between 70-75. Both professionals and the public are surprised to learn that the choice to stop  is the man’s. He has lost confidence with erections and intercourse and says to himself ”I don’t want to start something I can’t finish”.

 This workshop empowers clinicians to help couples enjoy desire/pleasure/eroticism/satisfaction in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. We emphasize responsive sexual desire, female-male sexual equity, Good Enough Sex (GES), and embracing variable, flexible sexual expression. We emphasize sexual challenges rather than feeling controlled by bio-medical losses. Aging sexuality is more human, genuine and satisfying.

A New Model of Healthy Male Sexuality

The mistaken assumption is that male sex is simple, either put on a pedestal or demonized as abusive. In truth, male sexuality is multi-causal, multi-dimensional with large individual, couple, cultural, and value differences.

This workshop will confront toxic male sexuality without shaming the man, emphasize sexual self-acceptance including addressing personal vulnerabilities, adopting the Good Enough Sex (GES) model and dropping perfect individual perfect performance, rejecting the double standard and replacing it with female-male sexual equity, and turning toward your partner as your intimate and erotic ally. Male sexuality values integrated eroticism and confronts  the myth that a real man can have sex with any woman, any time, and in any situation. “Wise men” adopt an accepting, humanistic approach to sexuality.

A New Model of Affairs and Sexual Recovery

The traditional approach to affairs is iatrogenic, giving affairs more power than they deserve. Do not end a marriage because of an affair. The new model of understanding and assessment of affairs is based on a couple approach which includes an individual psychosocial history session. The couple feedback session focuses on developing a genuine narrative which is acceptable to both the “injured” and “involved” partners. You can learn from the past but cannot change the past. Rather than making an “emotional choice” the treatment approach emphasizes a “wise decision” of whether to rebuild the marital bond. The challenge for couples who recommit to their marriage is to create a healthier respect, trust, and intimacy bond and a new couple sexual style which is more satisfying than before the affair. An individualized relapse prevention/trust bond is an integral component of comprehensive couple sex therapy. This approach is also relevant to couples who choose consensual non-monogamy.