Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, June 13, 2021
I was talking to a female client recently who has become very sex averse. As she described her sexual history, I pointed out that it sounded like she’d been engaging in obligation sex with her husband for a long time and therefore had been subjecting herself to low-level sexual trauma.
“Oh, no” she immediately replied, “I consented to it.”
Then she softly added: “But not on the inside.”
She realised that she was ‘consenting’ to sex due to external pressures. She thought it was something she should do and so agreed to do. But in fact, on the inside, she was screaming a big “NO”.
And because she wasn’t wanting it, she wasn’t enjoying it, so it became a traumatic experience, which of course led to her never wanting it, ever, ever again.
What I find so interesting is that this is a highly educated professional woman. I see this so often. Women who in all other areas of life are independent and assertive and empowered, but who when it comes to sex, fall into the old patriarchal trope that sex is something a man does to a woman and her only options are to succumb or run. Either she goes along with his expectations (or what she thinks are his... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, May 16, 2021
“The erotic connectivity between an individual and their consort offers methods by which the transcendent or transpersonal dimensions of being-in-the-world may be cultivated.” Barratt
This is the last of a three-part series outlining the results of my research into the benefits of a great love life. The previous two articles covered personal and relational transformation and now we’ll look at sexual transformation.
The participants in the study definitely found personal and relational transformation through their sexual relating. But what is this sexual relating? Originally, I recruited the six couples who participated in my research by asking for couples who resonated with the description of ‘optimal sexuality’ defined by other researchers (Kleinplatz and Menard) and their eight criteria of: being present, extraordinary communication, intense emotional connection, erotic intimacy, interpersonal risk-taking, authenticity, vulnerability, and transcendence. All the participants related strongly to those eight themes, and also highlighted some more – ones which are less to do with their experience of the sex act, more on how the couples engage with their sexuality. Let's at look at some of them:
Safety is sexy.
The participants have an extraordinary ability to accept the other, to listen and hear, even when the subject is challenging. By being able to discuss their desires and fears they create a... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, May 02, 2021
“Intimate relationship…is such a provocative and powerful meeting place, where the psychological and the spiritual come together in a particularly potent way.”
This is the second of a three part series of blog articles looking at the results of my research into the benefits of a great love life. The last article looked at how it can transform people individually and this one looks at how it can transform couples relationally.
As I pointed out in the last article, the six couples I did the deep dive with had all done personal and relational development work, as well as sexual, so I can’t say that the sexual focus on its own led to the relationship growth, yet all the couples said that they felt it definitely contributed. They reported:
- Their relationship feels fresh and not tired
- There is lightness and playfulness in relationship
- Comfort without boredom
- Small moments of bliss throughout life
- Great trust and emotional support of each other
- Extraordinary communication: open, hide nothing, no judgement,
- Don't 'fight', can discuss difficult subjects
- Read each other, in sync
- Separateness and great togetherness – differentiated not fused
- Positive impact on others
- Heightened awareness of each other
- Feel connected when apart
- Focus on their sexuality
- Lots of touch
- Intimacy is easy, flows
- Feeling that sex is integral to relational growth
Let’s look at some of these themes:
The... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, April 18, 2021
“When you love your beloved not merely as an unconscious strategy of ego but as an expression of the Eros of existence, outrageous love is awakened inside you, and your entire experience of life changes…. You begin to live the erotic life in every dimension of your non-sexual life. As you re-eroticise your life, you are personally transformed.”
(Gafni & Kincaid, 2017)
How is having a high-level love life transformative? I know from my years of work in this field that it is, so as the research component of my recent Masters of Science in Consciousness, Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology I investigated this question. With six couples who volunteered to share their great love lives with me, I did a deep dive into how they found they had transformed – personally, relationally and sexually.
This article covers the personal transformation side and the next two articles will cover each of the relational and sexual.
From the interviews and discussions with these couples it was clear that they had grown and transformed and that the focus on sexuality had been a significant part of that growth, but they had all done personal and relational development work as well, which no doubt contributed. Nonetheless, they felt that... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, April 04, 2021
I often see clients who have put their partner on a sexual pedestal. They believe their partner has their sexual act together, and somehow they have to meet their partner’s sexual level. I see this whether in long-term relationships or in casual encounters.
It’s this belief that you are sexual inadequate and your partner is sexually competent, and you set the sexual bar at the other’s supposed level of sexuality.
This approach is destined to fail.
- For a start, no-one is perfectly sexually proficient, we’re all fallible human beings who are never perfect or totally competent in any area of life.
- Secondly, sexuality is an ever-fluctuating thing, it’s never a static constant ‘level’.
- And most importantly, quality sex is never about meeting another person’s sexual needs/wants/expectations, it’s about two people co-creating a unique experience of pleasure and connection based on their own desires moment-by-moment.
I do see this a lot more in women than in men (including same sex attracted women). No doubt it comes from all those millenia of patriarchy where a women’s sexual role was solely to satisfy the husband. At least back then the demands weren’t so high, just lie back and think of England while he does his business inside you, and pop out a couple of heirs along the way. These... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, March 21, 2021
What makes a great relationship is being experts on each other.
You are different, always were, always will be. So, what makes you great as a couple is the ability to know, accept, appreciate, and work with the differences.
The similarities, the good stuff, that’s easy. No-one ever comes to me seeking help on how good things are!
Now, you might think you know your partner, but do you really? More likely your concept of your partner is a mix of how they were when you met (a time when you probably did pay a lot of attention) and your interpretation of who they are based on who you are…
Never assume you know your partner. You don’t. Keep paying attention and being curious. Keep discovering each other. You are endlessly fascinating. The more you each understand yourself and the other, the better you will understand your dynamic and be able to continuously co-create a secure, engaged relationship (or jointly and amicably agree to end it if it’s done its time).
Don’t make the other wrong. They are just different. The way you are, the way you see the world is not ‘right’, it’s just familiar, so it feels ‘normal’. But there is no ‘normal, we’re all individuals with individual histories and life experiences which... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, March 07, 2021
Consider sex an energy rather than a behaviour. Just as we can sense love, and feel the energy of love with our hearts, the energy of sex is the same. With sex though, the energy comes from our pelvis, our sexual centre.
But it’s not the ‘horny’ sense of sexual arousal, with an energy that wants to leave the body. That’s part of sex, sure. But the true sexual energy is a vital, life-giving force that rises upwards in the body, keeping us young and enlivened. When you let the sexual energy rise in this way, and combine it with your love energy, it becomes a beautiful potent energy that you can share with your partner all throughout your life. It connects you, nourishing your relationship and keeping an erotic flow going between you. This can be cultivated in myriad small ways of looks, smiles, acts of sweetness, through to longer friendly, intimate and sexual encounters. You feel it when you are together and also when you are apart.
After attending one of my couples retreats, one man described this as though their connection was “a frequency that had shifted from AM to FM”.
More recently, a male client described it as ”a lingering sense of each other”, which I think... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, February 21, 2021
How do you know when you’re having good sex? When there are no negative feelings and emotions associated with it. That is, when it comes from, feels like and results in positive states.
There are so many negative emotions associated with sex – shame, guilt, fear, obligation, disgust, entitlement, boredom, as well as negative physical sensations of pain and discomfort. None of these make for good sex. So, ask yourself:
What’s driving you?
If you feel obliged to do it to keep your partner happy, it’s not good sex.
If you feel an expectation that you should have sex, it’s not good sex.
If you feel entitled to sex regardless of where your partner’s at, it’s not good sex.
How does it feel when you’re doing it?
If it’s painful or uncomfortable, it’s not good sex.
If it’s boring, it’s not good sex.
If you wish it would end, it’s not good sex.
If you feel you have to hit certain KPIs, it’s not good sex.
If you’re doing what your partner wants not what you want, it’s not good sex
If you were enjoying it, but now you’re not and you don’t stop, it’s not good sex.
How does it feel afterwards?
If you feel shame, it’s not good sex.
If you feel disgust, it’s not good sex.
If you feel relief it’s over (and... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, February 07, 2021
A ‘perfect’ relationship is not one that has no conflict. It’s not that you are so ‘perfectly aligned’ that you never differ. That’s actually a sign that you are either seriously emotionally avoidant and not sharing your true feelings, or that there is a major power differential in the relationship where one always defers to the other.
Of course there is going to be difference – you are different people with different feelings and ideas and wants and needs. You always have and you lways will. From the myriad of small things throughout the day – what you’re having for dinner, who’s picking up the kids from school, through to major life issues like parenting styles, where you live, how you deal with aging parents, and of course sexual issues– you will inevitably differ on many issues.
Does that mean you have to fight and have a fractious relationship? Not at all. But it does mean that you have to develop your relationship skills so that you handle difference well.
I describe this in three ways: how you prevent conflict, how you manage it when it occurs, and how you repair quickly if it goes bad.
As I said, difference is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it has to turn into conflict. A... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, January 24, 2021
The Netflix series Bridgerton has been hugely popular. This Regency-era romance series has had audiences rivetted by both the slow burn courting as well as the quality sex scenes.
I've been interviewed twice by journalists on the show – one on the romance side, which you can read here, and one on the sex side, which you can read here.
I was more than happy to do the interviews, because even though I found the storyline itself pretty light and trite (spoiler alert – she gets her man!), there are some good takeaways from the show.
Firstly, and traditionally, there is great inspiration in the way the couples court. It is slow and subtle, yet builds up an incredible erotic charge. As I’m quoted saying in the first article:
"Even if it's just a nice kiss on the cheek – you can still do that in an erotic way. I think Bridgerton showed us just how erotic the bare minimum can be, especially when these days people think they have to be naked and doing all sorts of crazy things on the first date. Energetic frisson is incredibly powerful and something we’ve really lost lately. It's the building of anticipation and sexual chemistry without doing anything overt."
Secondly, and more... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, January 10, 2021
I see a lot of couples who get on well, are very affectionate, are kind and polite with each other, yet find it hard to get to sex. They might be holding hands and sharing little kisses throughout the day, working well as a team to get stuff done around the house, manage the kids, etc, but then…the reality of getting naked in bed together…? Well, sometimes that feels like too much of a stretch.
To these couples I say – focus on the cuddle-plus!
You see, they’re missing the phase between affection and sex. Just because you’re getting on well and are affectionate, are cuddling on the couch, it doesn’t mean you can go straight from that to full-on passionate, genital engagement.
The cuddle+ phase is where you go beyond simply the “oh I like you” to “mmm, I like you!” This is where you connect with your eyes, where your kisses linger longer than a peck, your conversation doesn’t go beyond what is happening between you and me right here right now, where touch moves from comforting to arousing, where you are sinking in and syncing together.
As I’ve stressed so often, in a long-term relationship this is probably not going to be intensely passionate, it may well be more... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, December 20, 2020
Consent is of course essential to quality sex. I think we all agree on that in the year 2021. But generally, that’s considered a ‘yes’ at the start of a linear process that once started has to go through all the steps, right to the end, meeting all the expected KPI’s along the way. That’s what the ‘yes’ has agreed to.
But what if you don’t want to go through the linear process? What if you don’t know yet if you want step 2 or 3 or 4 or whatever your script is? Or even if you thought you might, what if you change your mind along the way and want to do something different or stop altogether? In the standard model of sex it’s too late, you’ve already said ‘yes’, you’ve already given consent.
Or conversely, if you think your consent is saying yes to the whole process and you don’t know yet if you want to go to the later steps, then you might say ‘no’ up-front. Which is rather like saying ‘no’ to a meal because you don’t know if you’ll want dessert yet.
In the non-linear approach to sex that I advocate, consent is a moment-by-moment experience. What am I feeling and wanting in this moment? Then, what am... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, December 06, 2020
A spanking can be deliciously erotic.
When it’s done well.
And that means sensually…
And of course with consent.
So, how do you give a good spanking?
You can add the odd spank to your regular sex play, or you can set up a whole spanking scene. Like this:
The lead-up is important, the spankee has to be in the right space to want the spanking. Their bum needs to be swinging or jiggling in anticipation.
Ask the spankee to assume a position where their bottom is sticking out: that could be leaning against a wall, over the arm of a chair, on all fours on the bed, even over your lap if that is mutually arousing.
Depending on your shared eroticism, the spanking could be part of a role play or it could be a delicious part of your mutual pleasure.
Warm the spankee’s bottom up first with rubs and very light spanks. This gets the blood to the surface and reduces the painful element.
You can rub over the rest of their body too for a whole body experience, or just focus on the bottom.
When you feel the spankee is ready, start with one medium level spank. Watch their reaction. Go back to the rubbing and fondling. Pause. Give another medium level spank. Watch their reaction.... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, November 22, 2020
Communication is so fundamental to co-creating a great life together. Whether it’s as simple as agreeing on what you’re going to have for dinner, through to big topics like how you manage your finances, every aspect of relating needs good communication. This is never more important than when it comes to sex, but…talking about sex is one of the hardest things for a couple to do.
Why is this? Well, some people think you shouldn’t have to talk about sex, it “should just come naturally”; some people only talk about sex when there’s a problem so when they do it’s heavy and negative; and a lot of people are simply too shy. Yet without talking about it, it’s not going to be good. Imagine if you didn’t talk about what you wanted to eat, or where you wanted to go on holidays, how you raise the kids – how good, or more likely bad, would your life together be?
So, let’s take a look at the three types of sexual communication you need to have a great love life.
Chit-chat is talking about sex in general. As I described in another blog article, you need to treat your love life like a mutual hobby – something you do for pleasure in... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, November 08, 2020
This is the text of a talk I gave at Generation Woman, about "What I Desire":
The simplest way to describe me is as a Sex Geek. I am fascinated by sex and love and intimacy in all its aspects – the physical, emotional, mental, social, anthropological and the spiritual. So, when it comes to talking about desire, well, that’s what I do all day. But it’s other people’s desire, or the concept in general; I rarely talk about my own, publicly, so this is a little different for me. And when I’m talking to an audience of women it’s usually for two days at a time, not five minutes.
So, how do I talk about a topic I have dedicated my life to exploring, in five minutes, in a personal way…?
Well, given that people are always asking me how I became a sex therapist, I thought I’d start with how my desire for desire started. And if a shamanic journey I went on a few years ago is to be believed, it all started several lifetimes ago when I was a Tibetan lama, exploring how sexual energy can be used for spiritual growth – but ended up inadvertently traumatising a bunch of women, and slunk off in abashed horror... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, October 25, 2020
I am a big fan of lazy sex. Hey, I’m a busy woman and ‘lazy’ is often the most I can manage. But lazy doesn’t have to mean boring. Let me share with you the simple pleasures of lazy sex….
I often find clients say they don’t have the energy for sex, as if it’s a given that sex needs to be energetic. It doesn’t. We’ve all been misled that way because sex scenes in movies tend to be passionate and fast, porn certainly doesn’t show lazy sex – how boring would that be to watch! And if we think back to when we were young, yes, it probably was more intense.
If you think about other pleasures in life though – food, music, walking in nature, conversing with friends – we don’t assume they have to be intense and passionate. So why should sex?
Of course, it can be, there’s nothing wrong with a good intense shag with lots of varied activities along the way. If you have the time and energy and you’re both in the mood for that, great, go for it. But if you’re not, rather than missing out on pleasure and connection, take a different approach.
I remember a client I had once who said that she liked sex,... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, October 04, 2020
Sometimes a client tells me they feel they are too ‘needy’ because they want to connect with their partner more. Or in contrast, a client tells me they feel their partner is too ‘needy’ because they want to connect with them more. And occasionally they are right, the ‘needy’ partner lacks self-assurance and uses their partner to fill a hole in themselves. But more often the clients have bought into a belief, so common in our society, that idolises individuality.
Yet humans are social creatures, we are pair-bonding creatures. It’s not ‘needy’ to desire connection, it’s human.
We’ve evolved that way. Why? Because we have very large brains and therefore very large skulls. This means that compared to most other mammal species, humans give birth to our young very prematurely, while the infant’s skull is still small enough to get out of the mother. So, our infants are born totally helpless – they can’t even hold up their heads! It takes seven years for a human infant to get to the level of independence that most mammals get to in a few weeks or months.
Other mammal species don’t need fathers. Once he’s done his job of impregnation the mother can gestate, birth and raise her infants all on her own. There is... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, September 20, 2020
Men can have a bit of a jack-hammer approach to thrusting, lots of tension and tightness, which can be ok if you’re focusing on friction to gain arousal rather than feeling. To move into deeper, more connected love-making you’ll need to master a broader repertoire of thrusts.
It's not just the men though. Intercourse is not simply a man thrusting into a passive partner. She needs to be engaged in her pelvis and moving with the motion too. Ideally you're moving in a harmonic unison. So these points, while directed to men, apply to the woman too. (And apologies for being so heterocentric, it applies whenever there is a penis or phallic object moving in and out of a partner.)
Important Point #1: Relax your hips
Keep your pelvic area relaxed, hips, buttocks, belly. You’ll feel more, you’ll have more control over your movements, you’ll be more sensitive to how your partner's body is responding, and you’ll move more freely and smoothly.
Important Point #2: Focus on the Out as much as the In
Rather than focusing on the in-in-in-in, which gives a jerky intense feel to the thrust, focus on the out as much as the in. This gives a more sensual flowing feel to the thrust.
It also means that rather than... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, September 06, 2020
This piece of erotic fiction is the Creative Synthesis I wrote as part of the research dissertation for my Masters of Science degree in Consciousness,
Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology. The research topic was: A Heuristic Inquiry into the Transformative Potential of Optimal Sexuality within
a Relational Context. You'll find reading this erotic fiction an easy and enjoyable way of getting across the findings - which is essentially the essence
of the overall approach in this blog...
You wake. It’s the eighth anniversary of F-Day – Freedom Day. The day you discovered your tedious husband was bonking one of the attendants at the golf
club. You’ll never forget the feeling – first a numbness from the shock, then an incredible feeling of release. It was as though something woke up in your
belly, in your womb, and slowly expanded throughout your body, awakening a joy, a release, an aliveness you hadn’t felt in years, if ever. You recall your
surprise as it actually felt sexual, this feeling of your whole body being awake and alive. Nothing like the dutiful dull, late-night rutting of your husband
relieving himself inside you – not that that happened much anymore, he seemed as jaded by it all as you; nor anything like the early... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, August 23, 2020
Mindfulness is a good thing. From scientific research to the personal experience of increasing numbers of people, there is proof of so many benefits
from practicing mindfulness in life – better health, calmer, more self-aware, more engaged with life.
There’s also been more research on sex and mindfulness, although the focus tends to be on how mindfulness practices can make sex better. I’m just
as interested in how sex itself can be a mindfulness practice.
So, what are mindfulness practices? We tend to associate mindfulness with solo, sedentary practices such as meditation, prayer and contemplation. And yes,
these are great ways to practice mindfulness, to learn to still the mind, relax the body and even have experiences of oneness with the universe. Ideally
these practices will also be embodied, so that you are really present and aware of your body
, as much as stilling the mind. I tend to think of
this as ‘bodyfulness’ as much as ‘mindfulness’.
While you can practice embodied mindfulness in seated positions, more obviously embodiment-focused are the movement-based mindfulness practices. These
practices involve movement, such as tai chi and yoga, which have additional benefits of being kinaesthetic, proprioceptive, tactile, spacial and interoceptive
(when practiced with focus not just as... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, August 09, 2020
There are so many different ways to eat – all the way from a quick snack through to a fancy multi-course dinner. It’s the same with sex, which is why
I use so many food analogies when I’m talking about sex.
I was doing this with a couple of clients recently. They’re a really fun-loving couple, upbeat and lively in most parts of life – but not the bedroom.
Instead of the lightness that was in the rest of their connection, bedroom matters had become heavy and hard, and pretty non-existent. After several
sessions of helping them identify and share their feelings and desires around sex, with loads of food analogies along the way, they came in to session
with big smiles on their faces.
“We had sex three times!” the wife exclaimed. “We had roast dinner…” “And some cheese on toast…” added the husband, “And even an open
sandwich!” finished the wife.
They’d really taken on board the food analogy concept and were using it not only to help with their sexual communication, but to make it fun as well. One
evening she’d had a lovely time on her own relaxing and getting in the mood for some loving, then texted him to invite him... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, July 26, 2020
A couple came to me this week for their three-month check-in after seeing me regularly early in the year. With big smiles and loving glances at each
other they said that one of the big changes for them was that they have instigated a monthly Date Day.
I am a big advocate of couples spending quality time together. Without it you lose connection, start feeling like house-mates rather than lovers, and
sex becomes either a non-event or a Big Issue. I’ve written elsewhere about finding that connection in small ways throughout the day, and having chats
together in the evenings. Those small connections are your ‘relationship vitamins’.
But that alone is rarely enough, you need some longer, more interesting times together, so date nights are a great idea.
But…sometimes getting out in the evening can feel like more effort than it’s worth, particularly if you’ve got young children. You’re tired!
So going out at the end of a long day (and week) can just add to the exhaustion (not to mention the expectation of having sex when you get home and
by the time you’ve paid the babysitter and checked on the kids and got undressed and into bed…zzzz….)
So, I often recommend to... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, July 12, 2020
My teenage son came to me the other day and proudly declared that out of all his mates, he’s the only one who has made love.
Once I got over the initial shock of him being so open with me – even though all three of my children are really open about their sexuality, since
I’ve brought them up that way, it still surprises me as I could never have been that open with my parents – I asked him if he meant that his friends
haven’t had sex yet.
“No, Mum,” he clarified “they’re having sex, but it’s just that boring teenage sex. Me and Kate, we really make love.” He had a big satisfied smile
on his face.
“So, what’s the difference between regular sex and love-making?” I asked.
“Oh, Mum, we spend ages making out first. Then only when we’re like, really really into it, that’s when we have sex. And we do it really slowly and it
feels sooo good and we can just go on and on for ages. You know, it’s all that stuff you told me makes it good. And some other stuff we’ve, you know, found
out ourselves. Kate just goes into this zone and it’s really good. Yeah, none of... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, June 28, 2020
Take a group of couples who love each other, put them in a beautiful environment with no distractions, teach them to connect more deeply, inspire them to explore and play, and what do you get…?
Well, as one man who attended one of my couples retreats put it:
"I thought this retreat would expand our sex life, but it didn’t so much expand as turn our sex life upside down! I’m now seeing the world with a new, exciting, slightly bewildering light.”
hard to explain that to someone before they’ve experienced it. “What do you do?” people ask me. My answer could indeed be: “I turn people’s sex lives
You see, when you are able to be very present in your body you can connect more deeply with your partner, you can become more intuitive in your relating,
and you open to subtlety of sensation and the calm, full, ecstatic feelings that engenders - and that means more connection, more feeling, and more
In the retreats I teach centredness, presence and mindfulness as the basis, then from there we explore the concepts of connection, energy and sensation
- and voila! The combination opens people up to experiences that are so much more than the... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, June 14, 2020
Adult shops these days can be classy, tasteful, staffed by friendly well-informed assistants, full of a huge range of products to titillate and pleasure.
But you know what? You can find a whole heap of stuff in your own home that you can bring into the bedroom to augment your love play.
Come, let’s look around your house to see what goodies we can find…
In the Kitchen
Let’s start in the kitchen.
You can find some great implements for sensation play here. What can you see that you could run over your partner’s skin? Forks are fabulous. Other pronged
implements such as a spaghetti ladle, skewers, (blunt) knives. Experiment with the sharpness, it can be quite delightful (or not, in which case don’t).
Or something smooth perhaps? Try the back of spoons of different sizes, ladle or teaspoon. Warm them up in hot water to add the element of heat for some
On the subject of temperature play, you can’t go past ice for thrilling sensation - run it over your partner’s skin, hold it in particularly sensitive
spots, make your mouth cold with it then lick, kiss or suck various parts of your partner’s body. (Random tip, run an... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, May 31, 2020
How do you describe the act of intercourse? Do you call it ‘penetrative sex’? If you do, which wouldn’t be surprising as it’s such a common term, have
you ever thought about what the word actually means and symbolises?
Penetration means ‘breaking through resistance’. Which might have applied to sex in the bad old days when a wife was supposed to just submit to her
husband whether she wanted to or not, so it may well have been an act of breaking through resistance. But now, in 2020, do we really want to think
of sex as an aggressive act?
Worse still, the term ‘penetrative sex’ gives agency to the ‘penetrator’ - the man - who does it to a resistant, or at least passive, recipient –
Is this really the concept of intercourse we want to be perpetrating these days – that it’s something done to a woman by a man? Of course
not, yet we still use the term.
Now you might say it’s just a word and it’s not meant in that way. But words have power. Think of the difference
between ‘penetrative sex’ and ‘invitational sex’ or ‘envelopment sex’. Don’t the last two terms feel softer, welcoming,... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, May 17, 2020
Seriously. Yes, you read that correctly: guys, take your penis for a walk. No not on a leash (unless you’re a bit kinky!)
What do I mean by that rather absurd suggestion? I mean, get connected with your penis.
As you go out and about, be aware of your penis. As you
feel the warmth of the sun, notice your penis feeling it too. When you savour your coffee, notice your penis savouring it too. When you observe the women
around you and feel their feminine energy, have your penis feel it too. When you feel the power of swimming laps or going for a run or pumping weights,
have your penis feel the power too. When you’re cheering your team on and getting excited at a goal, feel your penis cheering along. When you’re sharing
a laugh with mates or at the movies, your penis laughs along with you. When you’re feeling thoughtful and reflective, your penis is meditative too.
It sounds strange, but the more you do this, the more connected you will become with your penis. Rather than it being an out of control creature with
a mind of its own, it will become your partner in pleasure. You’ll be a team.... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, April 26, 2020
After a couple of really full and busy years, I had hoped 2020 would be slower-paced, but I wasn’t expecting it to be like this! With the bushfires
at the start of the year there was no annual beach holiday to refresh and recuperate, so I thought a ‘stay-cation’ would be good as I could potter
at home and get the house and garden looking good (when it wasn’t too smoky to go outside that is). And…I’m still pottering at home. The house
and garden are looking amazing! I am fortunate than I can still get out of the house go to my clinic to see clients, mostly online.
It is interesting to see how clients are reacting to the pandemic restrictions. There are couples who are finding that spending more time together
is solving their problems as what they mostly needed was more downtime together. Others are finding the forced time together is highlighting and exacerbating
existing problems, bringing their troubles to the fore and forcing them to address them. Some single clients are withdrawing from the world while others
are reaching out and finding that the longer ‘dating’ required at this time means they are forming better quality connections.
For me, at the start of the pandemic,... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, April 19, 2020
Our five senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch are wonderful tools to explore sensuality and eroticism. By suppressing or enhancing the senses
you can create and experience all kinds of enchanting pleasures.
Here are some suggestions to inspire you in your own sensual adventures:
Touch your partner with items of different texture and temperature. Try
a feather, a piece of silk, a body brush, a loofah. Try things that have been heated or cooled, such as warm oil or ice-blocks. Use everyday items: the
end of a belt, a scarf, a fork, the back of a spoon…
Try doing it blindfolded, or with the receiver's hands tied for a different effect (of course with their agreement!) Blocking out the main sense of sight
can heighten the other senses, as can being restrained in some way (keeping in mind that not everyone is comfortable with restraint).
Feed your partner: have a selection of unknown items that they can’t see, make them all delicious, or mix them up (gerkins and chocolate!); feed your
partner chocolate mousse or rice pudding. Or blindfold both of you and try feeding each other (messy, but fun!)
Arouse the olfactory:... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, April 12, 2020
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: "My wife and I have been married for 10 years. We have a great sex life and we tell each other everything - so why won't
she masturbate in front of me? I think that it's hot and would bring us closer together, but she says it's embarrassing. I want to do it in front of
her as well but she thinks it's too private. How can she think this when we've lived together for more than 10 years? Am I being unreasonable? Should
I just give up or keep trying?"
Imagine if there was something your wife wanted you to do, but you found the thought of it excruciatingly embarrassing. Let’s
say she wanted you to do a striptease for her, yet you’d rather swallow broken glass than prance around in front of her removing your clothes. (If you
actually think that’s a hot idea the analogy won’t work for you, but I’m sure you get my drift.) The essence of what I am saying here is that it’s very
hard to do something sexual if you find it embarrassing. In fact, it’s hard to engage in anything sexual if you don’t find it a turn on.
You... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, April 05, 2020
If you look at all the other sex advice sites on the Internet you’d think the secret to great sex was only through sex toys. If you read the
advice in popular magazines you’d think the secret to great sex was only through being in some fabulous position. And if you read the advice
in the endless spam that gets past your email junk folder, you’d think it was only in some little blue pill.
But no. Great sex does not
come only from pills, props or positions.
Sure they can help. Lots of things can help, but pills, props and positions – the Three Ps - are only the icing on the cake.
You need to know how to make
a great cake before you ice it.
You need to know about making the time and the place, about surrender and sensuality, about intimacy and eroticism. That’s the starting point of great
Then if you want to add a few toys or try out some new positions (and possibly even try pills or sprays to aid erection – but only under medical advice),
then go for it. But a dildo on its own won’t spice up... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, March 29, 2020
From my column in Body+Soul
"My husband and I have been happily married for 10 years and recently he's wanted a lot more sex. At first I thought it was great, but he can't seem to keep his erection up and I can't help but feel disappointed. He's started smoking marijuana a lot more heavily lately - could this be to blame? What can I do?"
Answer: There is so much pressure on penises. The poor things are supposed to rise to attention on command, stay hard for hours,
only ejaculate when desired - and if they can’t do that, then the sex is considered poor, he has 'failed'. No wonder so many men suffer from performance
As a society we’re adding to that pressure with all the porn that’s being watched, with endless footage of big hard cocks that appear to last for
hours (never mind the reality that there are teams of women off set whose sole role is to keep the leads hard). And even on a more positive note, now
that we quite rightly acknowledge the female partner’s right to pleasure, that can also add to pressure.
So, let’s take the pressure off your partner’s penis by looking at sex... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, March 22, 2020
Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote the acclaimed novel 'Love in the Time of Cholera'. Now I'd like to write about 'Love in the Time of COVID'.
It would be easy to say there are more important things to focus on right now, but what is more important at this time than love and relating? And
what better time to bring this to the fore, than now, when we are isolating ourselves?
So many of my clients say that they don't have time to connect. They are either too busy, too stressed or exhausted - and their relationships and intimacy
suffer as a consequence. With this crisis, we can't be busy (except for our wonderful health professionals who are working so hard to protect us).
A client case from this week exemplifies this. They'd had to cancel their overseas wedding scheduled for next month. As sad as this was, there was
also a feeling of time and space, time to stop being so incredibly rushed and overwhelmed. Time to refresh and rejuvenate. Time to let their souls catch up.
As a society as a whole we need time for our souls to catch up. Yes, it is an unknown time, and certainly for vulnerable segments of the population, a
scary... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, March 15, 2020
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: I’ve been seeing my new boyfriend for six months. We’re really well suited, in and out of the bedroom, but there’s something troubling me. He doesn’t climax when I go down on him. I’m 32 and haven’t encountered this before. He says he loves what I do, but I’m starting to get a bit of a complex about it. What do you think?
Answer: We’re a little too focused on our sexual KPIs (key performance indicators) in this society. Sex has
to ‘achieve’ something, it’s goal-focused, and that goal is orgasm. And not just any orgasm, a very specific peak orgasm. If you don’t achieve that,
you haven’t performed up to standard. You’ve failed.
But wait up a moment, that performance approach might be appropriate in the workplace, where there are quotas and deadlines and outcomes to be met
– but in the bedroom? Do we need to take that performance focus into our sex lives, with all the pressure and expectation that accompanies it? Where’s
the enjoyment in that?
I say a big no to the performance model of sex! Of the countless clients I see with sexual ‘dysfunctions’, the bulk of them are actually
perfectly fine,... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, March 08, 2020
To have great sex you need to be able to switch off and focus at the same time: switch off from the rest of the world and focus on what's happening
right here and right now. You need to be able to lose yourself into the experience.
One of the main reasons I hear that people have trouble getting in to sex or getting around to sex is that they can't switch off and become present
to the connection, so clearly this is a skill that modern people are in need of. Even if you are having decent sex, improving your ability to let go
and be present in the experience will make the sex better and better.
So how to learn that skill? Learn to meditate! The better you get at meditating, the easier it is for you to sink in to sex.
It’s that ability to ‘sink in’ to yourself, that deep, calm feeling that’s so good for sex. This is especially so for long-term partners, where the 'va-va-voom
let’s-go-for-it-baby' approach, that you might have had in the early days, has waned. Well, let’s face it, when you’ve been... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, March 01, 2020
From my column in Body+Soul
My husband of 10 years and I have recently started seeing a marriage counsellor, and I feel like she’s on his side, and our sex life is ruined because of it. Why? Because my husband doesn’t like to kiss deeply, and the counsellor says he doesn’t have to if he doesn’t want to. Kissing has always been a point of contention in our relationship, because I love a good, deep kiss and it seems to me like a cornerstone in sexual intimacy. But now he’s flat-out refusing, and is very smug about it. We started seeing a counsellor because we had drifted apart. Is this the final straw to make me end our marriage completely?
Answer: This is why you should always see a couples therapist who is trained in sexuality as well as relationships. This situation
is far more complex than ‘he doesn’t have to if he doesn’t want to’. Can you imagine going to a dietitian because your health was bad, in part because
you don’t eat vegetables and being told by the dietitian that you don’t have to eat vegetables if you don’t want to? That would be absurd! We know
that vegetables are an essential part of a good diet and... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, February 23, 2020
This is a great word that I like to use when talking to couples about how to relate to each other and get in the mood for love-making.
That word is “communing”.
The dictionary defines the verb “commune” as:
- To share one's intimate thoughts or feelings with someone or something;
- To feel in close spiritual contact with someone or something.
It’s a gentle, chilled-out word that makes you feel relaxed and connected. I take it to mean that act of sharing and feeling when two people
hang-out together doing stuff that makes them feel good about each other.
It can be a cup of tea and a chat after the kids are in bed. It can be walking to the park together pushing the pram. It can be snuggling up on the couch
laughing and watching your favorite TV show. It can be doing a jigsaw puzzle together. It can be taking dessert up to the bedroom and feeding each other
while giggling on the bed.
It doesn’t have to involve a lot of verbal communication; it certainly doesn’t have to involve deep and meaningful conversation (although it can lead
to that naturally). It... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, February 16, 2020
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: I’ve been with my girlfriend for 3 years and we are really happy. Our sex life is fun and experimental, but up until this point monogamous. We’ve shared fantasies about bringing a man (and woman) into bed with us during sex. That’s great, but I think the real thing could be even better. She’s keen but worried about getting jealous. What are some ground rules for a good threesome so that everyone’s happy?
: The thought of a threesome can be very titillating. The prospect of turning that fantasy into a reality though, can be fraught,
so you need to be prepared. It’s like any activity that is potentially both thrilling and dangerous – like sky-diving for instance – preparation is key
For a start, I want to clarify that you don’t need to turn a fantasy into a reality. It can do its job turning you on quite nicely safely in the confines
of your mind. Or take it one step further and spice up your sex life by sharing the idea with your partner; telling each other fantasies can be erotically
charged without needing to act them out. This is especially true when the fantasy is potentially as dangerous... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, February 09, 2020
At my last Couples Retreat in Bali I made the comment to some participants that I don't feel like a woman, I feel like a human in a female body. The
shocked reaction came back: "But you're so womanly, you're gorgeous, the epitome of being female, a veritable goddess!"
Which I have to say was definitely very flattering, if a little excessive!
But actually I believe the reason I come across as so "womanly" is that I have balanced my yin and yang, my masculine and feminine, within myself.
I simply feel 'human' and then I inhabit a female body. And I have to say I love having a female body! But you know, if I had a male body, I'm not
sure I'd feel that different, and I'm sure I'd love having a male body. Because being human and having a body is a pretty cool thing when you think
about it. Miraculous actually.
So much of my work with people is to find that internal balance. Our journey in life is in large part to develop
those sides of ourselves that have been stunted (eg men not in touch with their vulnerable side, or women not in touch with their powerful side) so that
we can... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, February 02, 2020
From my column in Body+Soul
I was wondering if you could help me reconnect with my husband as we’re both super stressed from this bushfire season. We live on the South Coast of NSW and our house has been extremely close to the bushfires – over the summer we’ve been evacuated a few times. We’ve been in a state of high stress for a couple of months now, and it’s taken a big toll on our relationship. It feels like my husband has switched to survival mode and can’t or won’t switch back, so there’s no room for emotional or physical intimacy. Is this normal? What can I do?
: I’m sorry to hear the bushfires have had such a big impact on you. Being on high alert for so long, and so repeatedly is terribly
stressful. In times of crisis our emotional, mental and physical resources automatically go into survival mode. We are totally switched on and focused,
we are fully up-regulated with our sympathetic nervous system pumping. Adrenaline floods our body, our heart rate goes up, our air passages expand, our
whole being is primed for fight, flight or freeze.
At times like these, when all our resources are directed towards survival, it is... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, January 26, 2020
The neurotransmitter dopamine makes us feel good and positive and upbeat. When we have healthy levels of dopamine we have a positive outlook on life
and have energy and motivation - and a better sex drive!
When dopamine levels are low we feel sluggish and down, the world is grey and everything is an effort - including sex.
To increase your sexual desire you need to do things that increase your dopamine levels.
Having goals in life and achieving them is one way to
keep the dopamine high. That’s why it’s so important to enjoy your work and get positive feedback from what you do and achieve.
It’s not just big goals though, any small achievement, especially if you take the time to notice it and reinforce the positive feeling will keep your
dopamine levels up. In fact, it’s good to keep this in balance so that you don’t have wild fluctuations. So notice all the good positive things in life,
take a moment to really appreciate them and keep the positive feelings going.
Exercise is great too. It doesn’t have to be intense, just get up off your butt and go for a walk! Walk to a... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, January 19, 2020
From my column in Body+Soul
"I’ve recently discovered my husband is having an affair. But I’m not upset about it – I’m glad. Glad because I haven’t fancied my husband for years, and this affair means the pressure to have sex has ended. Our love life was good at the start. Three children later though, and the chemistry just isn’t there.
Why don’t I leave him? I like our life together. He makes me laugh, he’s kind, and brilliant with our kids. We live in a nice house and have a buzzing social life. I don’t see why I need to end a perfectly good marriage just because I don’t find him sexually attractive. And I’m not prepared to wreck all our lives for the sake of his bit on the side.
I do feel uneasy though. I’m worried that he might admit his affair (and I’d have no idea how to react), or even worse, fall in love and want to leave the marriage himself. So, what’s my best move here – do I keep looking the other way? Or do I talk to him and work out a new ‘arrangement’ that keeps our marriage solid but our sex lives separate?"
... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, January 05, 2020
Good sex is like good food. If you want a good meal, you've got two choices.
1) Plan in advance: set a date, go through the recipe books, do the shopping, set time aside for the cooking, start work in a clean kitchen,
enjoy the process of cooking, lay a beautiful table, plate the food up well - then you have an amazing meal.
Or, if you want a more ‘spontaneous’ good meal:
2) Have a well-stocked kitchen: plenty of good ingredients in the larder and all the right implements in the cupboards, plus have plenty of
practice at throwing things together - then you grab all the right elements to put an amazing meal together at short notice.
It’s the same with sex. If you want a really good encounter you can:
1) Plan in advance
: set aside some time, create a lovely environment, ensure you’re not too tired, put some thought into what you might do - then
you can have an amazing sexual encounter.
But, if you want a more ‘spontaneous’ good sexual encounter:
2) Have a well stocked ‘love larder’
: so that you’ve... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, December 22, 2019
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: "I want to reinvent my sex life in 2020, really take it by the balls, so to speak. I’m married and in my mid 30s. My husband is a good lover but until recently I’ve been quite conservative in the bedroom, so it’s not like I've asked much of him! We don’t have kids yet and I’d love to get a bit wild with him before that all happens. This new desire started when we discovered a fantastic vibrator that gave me firework orgasms, and now I’m thinking about what else I’m missing out on. How do I flex my newfound interest in sex?"
: Congratulations on starting to wake up to your sexuality! Sex is playtime for adults, and you’ve started playing!
So, how to flex this newfound interest? The first thing is to find out what you both like. Create a congenial environment for sharing, chilling out on
the back verandah with a glass of wine, or over a romantic dinner out. Then broach the topic by asking questions like:
- what’s the best thing we’ve ever done?
- what’s something you’d do if you had no inhibitions?
- what do you fantasize about?
- how do you like to... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, December 15, 2019
Foreplay is generally seen as what you do before you get to intercourse, to prepare yourselves (especially the woman) to be ready to receive “penetration”
by the man. Intercourse is seen as a vigorous activity consisting of the man thrusting into the woman, or less frequently, the woman bouncing around
on the man.
The problem with this limited view is that it assumes that:
- Intercourse is the “main event” or “the whole point” of sex and that other activities simply lead-up to that “main event”
- Intercourse is such a vigorous activity that plenty of preparation is required
But let’s look at this differently. Let’s take a less linear view of sex and say that:
- Intercourse isn’t the main event, that it isn’t the whole point, that it’s just one of many elements and possibilities of sex and love-making
- Intercourse doesn’t have to be vigorous so it doesn’t necessarily require lots of preparation
- Intercourse can, in essence, be part of the foreplay.
Now that’s a very different point of view!
You’ll notice that I often focus on sensuality and exploring the “valleys” of sex as well as the “peaks”, and particularly on softening and making the
genitals more receptive.... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, December 08, 2019
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: "I’m single for the first time in 10 years. I’m over the heartbreak, and now I’m ready to have some fun – specifically, some fun on holiday. I’m going with some other single friends to a resort in Bali this summer. But I’m also prone to UTIs in summer, and I’m desperate to make sure that doesn’t happen on holiday and ruin my good time. What can I do to protect myself? And what are the other golden rules for healthy holiday sex?"
: Singles fun in the sun in Bali sounds like a good way to move forward now you’re over the heartbreak. It’s good that you’ve waited,
as too many people try to mend a broken heart by distracting themselves with new people, but you don’t necessarily make good choices in that state. It’s
much better to take the time to get over the grief, anger and other negative emotions you inevitably go through at the end of a relationship. Rebound encounters,
whether relationships or flings, are rarely based on clear emotions and made with clean choices.
So, now that you’re in a good place – it’s time to meet people and have fun! Before I focus on the UTI issue,... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, December 01, 2019
I love using food metaphors when educating and inspiring people around sexuality. We understand the variety, the flavours, the processes and ingredients – from simple to complex
- when it comes to food. So, it is with sex too.
One of my most important food analogies is that great sex is non-linear, more like a picnic than a three-course meal.
More recently I wrote about ‘relationship vitamins’, all the little
things that are needed to make a relationship strong and healthy and sexy.
Today I’d like to use the metaphor of a cake and icing (frosting for my North American readers). Icing is sweet and delicious, but
on its own, it’s too sweet and is sickly rather than tasty. Icing is only good when it’s on a cake. When you have a delicious cake, and then you ice
it – mmm, yummy scrummy!
When we’re talking about sex, what you’re actually doing
is the icing. Everything that goes into yourselves individually
and as a couple, is the cake. That’s who you are as a couple, your dynamic, how you approach and engage intimately and sexually.
I’ve developed a model, the... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, November 24, 2019
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: "Hoping you can shed some light. Two months ago I decided to end a wonderful relationship, due to my partner's desire to have sex twice a day. He told me this is normal for him, and that he had it like that in his last two long-term relationships. It all came to a head when he told me he wasn’t ready for us to live together and be defacto. I felt I was being sexually used, and called it quits. But we still love one another and talk regularly and have huge chemistry between us. Can you help me? Is it normal in your 50s to be wanting sex twice a day, and how can we find a compromise?"
: What’s normal is that everyone is different! There are so many elements to sex – the lead-up, initiation, timing, activities,
pace, rhythm, location, atmosphere, props, aftercare – you’re always going to be different. Every couple faces the challenge of co-creating a sex life
that suits you both.
But since you ask, let’s focus on the frequency point for a moment. In regard to what’s ‘normal’ in terms of frequency, the Australian Study of Health
and Relationship a few years ago came up... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, November 17, 2019
I’ve just received final approval for my research project – hooray- and now I need couples to be my research participants.
The fancy, academic title for my research is:
The transformative potential of optimal sexuality within a relational context.
What this means in everyday language is:
Does having a great sex life develop you as a couple and as individuals, and if so, how?
There’s a great quote from John Welwood that says:
“intimate relationship…is such a provocative and powerful meeting place, where the psychological and the spiritual come together in a particularly potent way.”
I totally agree with this and am particularly interested in how a couple’s sex life contributes. I am sure, from all my years of professional experience,
and from my own personal life, that developing a certain kind of sexuality, does transform you. A couple who attended one of my Bali retreats, describe
this beautifully when they said that they felt their relationship “had changed frequency, as though we have shifted from AM to FM”
In my last LoveLife Blog article
, I described
‘optimal sexuality’ and what it entails. There are eight components to having this level of... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, November 10, 2019
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: "I've just turned 60 and have been married over 35 years to a very good lady who loves me, but over the years has lost interest in sex. These days, she would happily have no sex at all, and so my advances are almost entirely rebuffed. The problem is I can’t find release myself – I’m not able to masturbate (perhaps my Catholic upbringing has locked in some guilt that stops me). My question has two parts: Is having regular erections without release bad for my health (eg my prostate)? And then… what can I do? If I can’t change my wife’s mind or learn to self-pleasure, I’m afraid I’ll start looking outside my marriage."
: First up, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that men need to ejaculate for their prostate health, some studies even
indicate the opposite. So, let’s get that myth out of the way and turn to the more interesting part of your question. Better still, let’s turn it around
and ask the real question – why sex? There are many reasons why we desire sex. Two of the main ones are: (1) we’re feeling horny and want an orgasmic release,
and (2) we want to have a pleasurable, connecting experience with... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, November 02, 2019
I am really interested in human sexual potential. What is truly great sex? And why should we aim for it?
Well, most sexological research seems to have been focused more on quantity than quality. There’s a big focus on functioning genitals, with the assumption
that if he’s erect and she’s lubricating, well, off you go then, that’s all you need for sex.
More recently there is more attention placed on pleasure, which is great, but again, it tends to focus on quantity rather than quality. How many orgasms
are we having and how big are they?
But I work a lot with people who do have functioning genitals and satisfactory orgasms, yet they still say there’s something missing, that there’s
got to be more. And yes, there is! I believe our human sexual potential has a lot more to do with depth and transcendence than in functioning genitals
and quantifiable orgasms.
My clinical experience backs this up, not to mention my own personal experience, but I hadn’t seen much in the scientific
literature until I came across a wonderful study by Drs Kleinplatz and Menard* that define what they call ‘optimal sexuality’ in exactly the same way I
think of... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Monday, October 28, 2019
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: I am 45 years old and have been single for 8 years since my marriage ended – I’ve been so busy raising my two kids and working it wasn’t really an issue. But now I want back in the dating game. I hate the fact that if I died tomorrow my ex-husband would be my last sexual partner. Question is… how on earth do I do it? Dating sites just don't do it for me, they seem too risky. I don’t have any physical issues, but I’m aware my body isn’t what it used to be. So how do I get my confidence back? I’m not necessarily looking for a relationship - just some action!
: I had a client once who said she felt “like a very experienced virgin”. She’d had lots of sex in her life, but so long ago that facing
the prospect of getting sexually active felt like being a virgin all over again.
With more people having serial relationships these days, the challenge of finding new partners is common. And as you point out, the two key issues are:
how to feel confident and how to actually meet someone.
... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, October 20, 2019
I’m sitting in bed writing this, having just had breakfast in bed brought to me by my wonderful lover. It was just a cup of tea and toast, nothing
flash, but what a difference it’s making to my day! It’s a small thing, but it’s a significant thing.
It’s the sum of these small things that set the quality of your relationship. Equally, it’s the sum of small neglects that stultify a relationship,
flat-lining it. When a relationship flat-lines, there’s generally not a lot of sexual desire.
Maintaining sexual desire is a challenge for busy modern couples are so often tired and/or distracted. Couples who find it easy to move into sexual play
are ones who keep themselves simmering, so to speak. That is in large part a reflection on how the two of you are relating as a couple. It’s the culmination
of all the small things you do to, for and with each other so feel good about each other, appreciate each other and enjoy each others company, that you
create a mood in which you want to enjoy each others bodies in delicious sexual play.
A couple I’ve been working with for a while announced at a recent retreat that... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, October 13, 2019
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: "My husband and I don't 'make love' any more, we seem to just get it over with. We've been married for 15 years and are pretty happy, all things considered. But we both work, and we have two young kids (both under 10), so there's not really much time or energy left over for a raging sex life. I don't necessarily want 'firework-sex' all the time, but I do hope we can get back to being more tender, more connected, and yes, do more cuddling afterwards! Where do we start?"
: Your situation is so common. In fact, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a couple who have been together for 15 years with young
kids who haven’t had to deal with the issues of limited time and energy and the impact it has on their sex life. I see couples like you every day at my
clinic. The ‘we love each other but have lost our mojo’ clients would have to be my largest category of client.
It sounds like you understand the importance of sexual connection, and want to have sex, but want better quality. That’s a great place to start, some people
just give up at this stage, so it’s good... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, October 06, 2019
If you want to be healthy you know there are some basic things you need – like regular exercise and the right amount of vitamins and minerals. Without
these, you’re not going to be in great shape.
It’s the same with relating well, there are some basic things you need every day to stay loved-up and connected.
Let’s call these ‘vitamins for your relationship’. These practices will help keep your Couple Bubble strong. Without them you’re going to be pretty
wobbly as a couple.
Here are the two key ‘relationship vitamins’ that I believe are vital, and that I prescribe for all my clients: one that you ‘take’ four times a day
and one that you ‘take’ once a day.
1: Mini Couple Bubble Top-Ups
The first type of vitamin is what I call Mini Couple Bubble Top-Ups. These are focused, brief connections when you meet and part. Usually these are
at four critical points of the day: when you wake up, when you part in the morning, when you greet in the evening and when you go to sleep. (Obviously
those times are different if you’re both at home or are shift workers, but the same principle applies.)
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, September 22, 2019
Our brain is such an interesting thing. It stores away memories and impressions, and then when we are met with a similar situation, it immediately
goes ‘oh that old thing’ and presents a pre-formed idea based on the past. Which means it’s easy to get complacent in our experiencing of life, including
our experience of our partner.
When we first meet there is so much newness and excitement – our brain is bedazzled by our new object of interest, we find this person fascinating.
Our brain is engaged and releasing lots of dopamine and the endorphins and oxytocin are flowing in our body. It feels sooo goood! Often this is fuelled
by pre-existing beliefs around ‘happy ever after’ and ‘finding one’s soul mate’, which enhance the interest and positive feelings.
But, over time, that person is no longer new. They become a bit ‘same old same old’. Our brain gets used to them, we no longer see them as new and
interesting, and often this is exacerbated by beliefs around sex and love getting boring with time, and maybe memories of our own parents’ complacent
marriages mixed in. We go into automatic mode with our partner, with our impressions and expectations of them. We get... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, September 08, 2019
There is so much pressure on penises. The poor things are supposed to rise to attention on command, stay hard for hours, only ejaculate when desired
- and if they can’t do that, then the sex is considered poor, he has 'failed'.
But what’s so wrong about a soft cock?
Nothing, and there’s plenty of pleasure to be had with one:
- It’s lovely and soft and malleable.
- It feels good for the man to have his soft cock handled.
- It’s easy for the woman to play with a soft cock with her hands or mouth.
- Intercourse can feel better with a softer cock, particularly anal sex.
- You can even have sex with a completely soft cock. It’s part of the subtle approach I encourage, where you simply join genitals, do nothing, and notice
the ecstatic sensations that arise.
If the woman wants something hard and phallic inside and there’s no erection on hand to satisfy, well then, use your hands! Fingers have bones so they’re
potentially always boners! Talented digital stimulation of the vagina is a wonderful thing. Or use toys - dexterous use of dildos and vibrators is a similarly
excellent experience. Or check out the pantry... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, August 25, 2019
A client of mine who'd done my Blackbelt in the Bedroom seminar for men said that afterwards he had the best sex ever.
He said: “I applied everything you taught us. I made every stroke count. It was unbelievable!”
I was so proud of him! What he was doing was making love with focus, presence, deep connection, and of course, with love. In this way every nuance, every
moment, every stroke was meaningful.
As he said, it was mind-blowing. Deep, connected, focused sex is truly awesome.
So take his advice: make every stroke count.
Learn what this man learned, enrol in my online course for men. Click on the banner below!
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, August 11, 2019
I often say that all the dysfunctions we have around sex are more to do with society's dysfunctional model of sex, rather than the people
doing it. I've written elsewhere how the model of 'normal'
sex is based on solo masturbation rather than partnered love-making. This makes it structured and linear, with success measured by action and performance,
rather than being free-flowing and non-linear, with success measured by feeling and connectedness.
Since 'sex' is seen as having key KPIs of penis-in-vagina activity (god only knows what lesbians do) with requisite orgasms, all of which happens in
a set linear way, it means that out of fear/awkwardness/confusion/distaste people avoid any kind of love-making or even affection so as avoid what
they see as ‘sex’ - and then feel really bad about not having sex!
It’s a bit of a catch-22 type of situation.
As I pointed out to a client caught in this dilemma on her first visit recently: you can make love with just a kiss. When she returned on her next
visit she looked quite different.
“So how have the last two weeks been,” I asked, my standard first question.
She looked at me, eyes aglow.... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, July 28, 2019
So many people who come to me are wanting more from their sexuality, but are at a loss as to what that ‘more’ might be.
These people might already have done their own research or seen other professional helpers. They've made sure their genitals are functioning, have
given themselves permission to try different sexual activities, learned the importance of consent – and yes, these are all important parts of a healthy
sex life – yet something is still missing…
The answer to the ‘more’ in sex is not a doing more, it’s a being more.
It is about moving away from sex as an ‘act’ or a ‘performance’ and engaging with another with openness and transparency. Rather than ‘doing’ each
other or ‘getting each other off’, it’s about both surrendering to the experience. When two people engage in this way you are allowing yourself to
explore, express and be known at the deepest levels of your being.
- mindful, in that your mind is not distracted but is fully present;
- bodyful, in that you are completely embodied, experiencing fully through the whole of your physicality; and it becomes
- soulful, in that you discover... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, July 07, 2019
So often I hear my clients say that they still love their partner but are no longer in love.
Often this is given as the reason for wanting to end an otherwise good relationship. These clients always make this claim with some despondency and
with a sense of finality, as though once it’s gone it’s gone.
This is understandable, as it’s a common belief that there is the exciting, passionate ‘in love’ honeymoon period and then there is dreary ‘loving’
companionship ever after. But is this fact or myth? Is loss of ‘in love-ness’ inevitable or can we keep it going?
Well, it’s a huge topic and I’d
need more than one blog post to go into details, but essentially the answer is yes, you can cultivate that feeling. The key word here is cultivate.
It doesn’t ‘just happen’.
Nothing good in life ‘just happens’, nothing good lasts without focus and attention. You don’t stay fit and healthy if you don’t focus on it, you don’t
become wealthy if you don’t pay attention, you don’t develop a good career or business without on-going intent to do so. Yet for some reason when it comes
to love and sex, we think it... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, June 23, 2019
There are two fundamental parts to expanding your sexual play:
- it’s got to be REAL, that is, it has to be what you truly want, and
- it’s got to be CONSENSUAL, you both have to want it.
Too many people do what they think they ‘should’ do even though they don’t really want to; or they don’t do what they think they ‘shouldn’t’ do even though
they do want to.
I say, as long as it’s between adults who both (or all) agree to it, then it’s fine.
There is a separate issue of when sex or particular aspects of sex become compulsive and interfere with life, that’s not good. If you’re confused, the
barometer is: is this life-enhancing, does this make me feel good and empowered and add to the quality of my life (and the same for your partner)? If the
answer is yes, then go for it.
Now, as we’ve seen in my last article, there is a veritable smorgasbord of sexual delights out there. You don’t have to try them all. You don’t even have
to try any of them if celibacy is your thing. It’s like food, we’ve all got our own tastes. Personally, I... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, June 09, 2019
There’s a veritable smorgasbord of sexual possibilities, so why limit yourself to meat and three vegetables (with vanilla ice-cream
as a special treat!)? Well, if that's all you want, that's absolutely fine. There are no ‘shoulds’ in sex, the important thing is to find out what
is real for you and honour that. So if you really like chops and potatoes, that’s fine. But if you’re curious about sushi or ravioli, then give it
a go! And if you like it, then make it a regular part of your life.
Now, some people are firmly in the meat and three veg camp, and others have already have a good look at the whole menu and sampled widely. I’m talking
to all of you in-between. Some of you might not even know what’s on the menu! Or where to find a menu! So this is particularly for you.
In this article I’m going to look at what’s on the menu. In the next one we’ll be looking at how you and your partner decide what you’d like - unlike
food, with sexual play you both need to be trying the same thing, so you need to agree about what you're tasting...
When you read... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, May 26, 2019
I've written elsewhere about the three types of sex in a long-term relationship: Simple Sex, Sensual Sex and Spicy Sex. I thought I’d write a
little more on Simple Sex.
In a society that focuses on the ‘bigger harder faster’ type of sex, you could be mistaken into thinking that good sex is all about swinging upside
down from the chandeliers. It’s not. It can be, but sometimes it’s good to be short, sweet and simple. Just comforting, nothing more, like a cup of
tea, or a hot buttered muffin.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I’m doing a joint project with Marie Stopes International. My role
is to educate new parents on what to expect and how to adapt to sex when you’ve got babies and small children.
One of the key messages is: Keep It Simple. Don’t stop having sex, or as I’d prefer to stress at that time of your life, don’t stop making love, but keep
your expectations low. She’s tired, zombified, probably in a mild state of shock from this major life change. He’s tired, perplexed and probably feeling
a little helpless and left out. So keep your connection strong with cuddles and Simple Sex.
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, May 12, 2019
I’m going to talk about solo sex.
That’s right, masturbation, wanking, self-pleasuring, or as they refer to it in the ancient Taoist sexual tracts, self-cultivation. Why is this? Because
the ability to self-pleasure is an important aspect of sexual empowerment and sexual development.
Unfortunately, it has had a bad rap over recent centuries. It has been seen as something unpleasant, even sinful, and so done furtively and secretly.
I mean, when was the last time you had in-depth conversations with your friends on your favorite masturbatory techniques? Or as an adolescent did your
parents encourage you to self-pleasure to explore your budding sexuality? I doubt it. Which is a shame, because it would have made a positive difference
to your experience of sex.
It’s never too late, and I encourage everyone to enjoy the pleasures of solo sex. It’s a healthy part of everyone’s
sex life, whether you’re single or partnered. People often think it’s secondary to partnered sex, and only something you’d do if you weren’t getting “the
real thing”. But solo sex is fabulous in its own right, and when done well can enhance your ability to have better partnered sex.
When I say 'when it's done well' I mean when it's done... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Wednesday, May 01, 2019
1 May 2019
Today I am 55 years of age. It feels somehow special. I feel I’ve ‘arrived’ at a new stage somehow. I didn’t feel this when I turned 50, although that
was significant too. Fifty-five feels strong, wise, powerful.
I woke up with the phrase 'Own the Crone' going through my mind.
It comes from the three classical stages of woman: maiden, mother and crone.
It’s the ‘maiden’, the young woman, who has been considered the most desirable, the most sexual in our society. We glorify youth, the beauty, the vibrancy
of the young. That’s what’s considered sexually desirable.
The ‘mother’ phase of a woman’s life, well, this has been when she's considered the most ‘useful’ – as long as she had children of course, god forbid
if she didn’t and remained a ‘spinster’. But was she sexual? Ah, no.
And as for the crone, that dried up older woman. What use was she? She’s past it, a post-menopausal has-been.
Hardly! I’ve never felt more confident, more capable, healthier or more sexually juiced up in my life! So, I’m coming out loud and proud about my age
to be a beacon... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, April 14, 2019
For centuries we had the Madonna - Whore polarity,
good girl versus bad girl: bad girls put out, good girls are virtuous. You fuck the whore but not your pure, chaste wife. Female sexuality was only
there to serve men's sexuality: the good girls provided offspring and the bad girls provided pleasure - and never the twain would meet.
Then that ridiculous notion changed with the sexual revolution of the 1960’s and 70’s. Finally we believed that sex was good and we should like sex
- hip hip hooray, sexual freedom and liberation for all!!!
But has it really changed?
I think that to a large extent we simply replaced the good girl versus bad girl split with the Porn Star versus Prude. That sexual freedom only translated
into the freedom to act like a porn star: do me big boy, yeah yeah - or…nothing, zip. You’re the Prude.
Too many people think that sexual freedom means acting like a porn star, doing things for free that a high class escort would only do for serious money.
Oral, anal, threesomes, moresomes. you name it, they do it, because they’re oh so cool and sexually free. (Mind you, they often have to be drugged... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, March 31, 2019
“When one is pretending, the whole body revolts”.
This is a brilliant quote by the early 20th century erotic author Anais Nin. What it means is: when people pretend during sex, when
it's an act rather than true expression, then over time their body (and soul) revolts.
I see this revulsion often. It can be a slow decline into general disinterest, or a build up of revulsion and disgust about the sex act.
While this applies to both sexes, it particularly applies to women. This is because physically it’s easier for women to pretend and/or put up with pretense
than it is for a man, and because historically under patriarchy it was the expectation that women would 'put up' with sex, so it's ingrained in our social
This ‘pretending’ can come in two forms:
1) It can be what I call “obligation sex” -
when someone has sex simply because they think they “should”, that it is in some way an obligation
on them. It might be to keep their partner happy (or to stop them whining about it), it might be because they think that’s part of the marriage contract,
it might be because... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, March 17, 2019
The standard approach to sex is rather like a three course meal, it proceeds in set stages: you kiss a bit, fondle a bit (maybe give her an orgasm),
then have vigorous intercourse until he comes. The End.
It’s not a bad model for sex, but it’s limited, and can get pretty boring over time.
I suggest you take a less lineal approach to sex and think of it less like a three-course meal and more like a picnic. At a picnic everything is available
in front of you and you can pick and choose whatever you want, in whatever quantity, at whatever pace, and in whatever order you please.
a picnic you can have dips-quiche-pavlova if you like, but you don’t have to. You can just have dips, you can go straight to the pavlova, you can go quiche-dips-dips-quiche-pavlova-quiche-dips-pavlova.
You don’t even have to eat - you can just sit and drink champagne, you’re still having a picnic.
It’s the same with sex: you can do whatever you like, in whatever order you like, at whatever pace you like, in whatever quantities you like. You can
intersperse bouts of intercourse with bouts of oral or... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, February 24, 2019
What is your bedroom like? Is it a relaxing and rejuvenating place separate from the cares of the world?
When you walk into your bedroom, do you go “Aaahh!” and smile because you feel more restful just being there?
Is your bedroom a sanctuary that you can chill out together in?
If you answered “Yes” to these questions then well done! Your bedroom is as it
should be, and because of this you probably find that sex is something you can transition into fairly easily.
If it’s not, then it’s redecoration time! Think about colors and textures, music and lighting. Ban all technology except for your music player. Remove
family photos other than happy romantic photos of the two of you. And keep it tidy.
Now it will feel like a sanctuary. You’ll be able to walk across the threshold of your bedroom and leave the cares of the world behind, entering into
a peaceful place where you can wind down and chill out together.
Yes, chill out together.
I find that too many people only use their bedroom for sleep and sex, so they don’t go to the bedroom unless they’re planning one... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, February 10, 2019
No, I’m not talking about getting your knickers off!
I’m talking about talking about your sex. That in itself can be sexy and extend the deliciousness of the sexual interaction. It’s also the only way
you’re going to give each other quality feedback.
Now, if you have the kind of sex where you do it late at night when you’re both exhausted and he rolls off after his ejaculation and falls asleep immediately,
then you’re not going to be able to debrief straight after. However, the more you move away from that three-course-meal approach to sex and more to
a picnic approach the easier it will be to
communicate during the love-making session, and be in a good space afterwards so that you can keep talking. In fact, you can’t do the picnic approach
to sex without talking about it, it would be as limiting as a picnic without conversation (keeping in mind that of course there are times at both a
picnic and sex where there’s no need to talk at all…)
When I say ‘debrief’, I don’t mean something heavy. Make it light and fun: What went well? What did you do differently? What could have been done
a little differently? You... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, January 27, 2019
You can tell when a woman is really aroused: her face glazes over.
She’ll feel kind of “stoned” or “love drunk” on the inside and she’ll look it on the outside.
At that point her brain is switching off (or at least, the left “logical” side of her brain), and her speech centres shut down so she can’t really
talk. It’s quite an altered state of consciousness.
When she gets to that state she’s acting on pure feeling, there’s no control or planning or thinking that she should or shouldn’t do something. She just
is. That’s when her sexual expression becomes pure and real.
Interestingly, it’s also when she can become the wildest. Because at that point the limiting beliefs and thought processes that get in the way of
true sexual expression aren’t functioning - so she’s truly free.
Some women drink alcohol or take party drugs as a short cut to get to this stage, where the inhibitions are gone and she’s feeling free. That’s not
a healthy way to get there though. It’s far better to get there naturally.
This requires real letting-go, which is tricky for modern women with... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, January 13, 2019
Can you makeover your sex life?
Of course you can! That’s what I’m all about.
Essentially a makeover is when you realise you’re not living up to your potential in some area of life and you set about changing that. Many people
simply accept their “lot” in life, excusing even the possibility of change with beliefs that: “I’m too old”, “I’m too poor”, “I’m too whatever”. Other
people realise that we have agency to create our own lives, so it’s up to us to choose to be however we want to be. This applies as much to sex as
any other part of life.
In fact, I think a sexual makeover is essential
to any other life makeover. We are essentially sexual creatures, our sexuality is fundamental
to our being, and therefore to our well-being. So if you’re considering a lifestyle makeover, you’ve got to include sex.
Sometimes people say to me that they’ll fix the other “stuff” before they address sex.
I say, no, Sex is at the base of all life! So start at the base!
Start transforming your sexuality and you’ll start transforming your life.
... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, December 30, 2018
There's a beautiful quote from Anais Nin:
There came a day when the flower realized that the pain of remaining tight in a bud was greater than the risk of opening up and blossoming.
That's how people often feel about their sexuality before they come to see me. They can't bear being a tight bud any more, they can no longer deny
their need to blossom. It's what I love in this work, whether it's with private clients or in the group workshops, people start to tap into their true
selves and to allow themselves to be who they really are and express themselves honestly and openly.
Our sexuality is one area where many people aren’t open and honest and true to themselves. No matter how much personal development work they’ve done, if
they’ve missed out this crucial part of themselves, then they’re never going to be whole and real.
You see, true sexual expression comes from a very deep part of ourselves, it’s probably the part of ourselves that is truer than any other part. Many
people think our sexuality is part of our lower, animal side. I beg to disagree. I believe our sexuality is part of our... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, December 16, 2018
The fairy tales got it wrong. Two do not become one and live happily ever after. Two halves do not make a whole. Rather, two complete
people come together and form a third entity, their coupledom. You, me and us. Not just us.
'Two becoming one' is co-dependence. Two becoming three - two self-reliant individuals and a strong bond as a couple - that's what gives security
and freedom in life.
It's so important in life to know yourself, respect yourself and nurture yourself. I call this selfless selfishness
- putting yourself
first so that you can do your best for others. That applies to relationships as a whole, and also to the act of sex, where you need a ‘selfish’ approach
to be real and connect from deep within, rather than from a head-orientated performance approach focused on whether you’re doing it well or not.
That requires self-reliance, the ability to self-validate, not requiring others to judge you from their own worldview and to decide if you’re right or
wrong, good or bad. In intimate relationships in particular, people too often require the other person to make them feel good. They get into the relationship
through their own sense of lack and needing the other to make them feel... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, December 02, 2018
There are some old sexual myths of men being “naturally promiscuous” to sow their seed, and women being “naturally monogamous” because it’s “natural”
for a woman to be less sexual and on closer examination these myths have no basis in fact. The former because it is a misuse of evolutionary theory
and the latter because it is based on historical suppression of women’s sexuality not their biological reality. (See A History of Sexual Misinformation for more on this.)
So what is real – are humans monogamous or not? Is monogamy a natural state that all humans gravitate to, or is it a social
norm superimposed upon a different biological basis?
Well, it seems that monogamy is not biologically-based, it’s socially based. For an in-depth look at this issue I recommend you read the brilliant book
“Sex At Dawn” by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha. It’s a thoroughly researched and very entertaining read. The authors look at our biology, at prehistoric
remains, at our closest ape relatives, at existing and recent hunter-gatherer societies, and present a very plausible argument that we haven’t evolved
to be monogamous, that the concept of “possessing” a partner exclusively is a social development, not a biological one.
This... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, November 18, 2018
Have you ever had a gigglegasm?
Do you even know what a gigglegasm is?
If you take sex too seriously, if you aren’t comfortable with letting yourself go, then you probably haven’t.
A gigglegasm is when an orgasm turns into uncontrolled laughing. It’s a wonderful thing.
As you know, I’m constantly going on about how sex is playtime for adults, that it’s too important to be taken seriously, that the best sex happens when
you lighten up and play. An outcome of that approach is that you can start laughing and find it hard to stop. Great stuff!
Personally, I find gigglegasms generally happens at the end of a long love-making session when feeling high and completely spent at the same time.
One thing known to help keep people young, vital and happy (other than sex) is laughter. So when you get a gigglegasm going you get the best of both worlds
– sex AND laughter.
You can have intense orgasms from sexual intensity, you can have blissed out orgasms from sexual sensuality and you can have gigglegasms from just letting
go and having fun - which, by... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, November 04, 2018
Over my years of clinical and academic involvement in sexuality (not to mention countless hours of personal ‘research’) I have identified seven underlying
elements to our sexuality.
These elements are all essential to having a strong, healthy, integrated sexuality. If you are weak in any of them, your sexuality will be out of balance.
These elements are also developmental, each element includes and transcends the ones before. If you jump ahead before you’ve developed and integrated
the earlier elements, that too will cause your sexuality to be out of balance.
It all starts with you - having a positive sense of self, centred, confident, balanced in your yin and yang elements. (Of course, we are never ‘perfect’,
but without a reasonable level of self-awareness and balance it is not possible to be able to engage with a partner in a healthy manner.)
I call this your ‘Lady’and ‘Gentleman’ sides, someone who is confident, centred and self-aware.
Once you've got the hang of yourself, you need take that forward and 'meet' your partner - with equality, assessing for worthiness, identifying boundaries,
co-creating safety so you can then explore... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, October 21, 2018
I see a lot of couples who like sex, but somehow they're just not getting around to it.
The higher-desire person is perplexed as to why the lower-desire person doesn’t want sex more often, especially when both parties clearly enjoy it
once they actually get around to doing it. And the lower-desire person is confused as to why they find it so hard to have sex when it’s generally not
so bad, even brilliant, when they actually do get around to doing it.
And sometimes it's not that there's a higher and lower desire person, they'd both like the idea of it, but it's not happening...
I point out to them that having sex can often be like getting to the gym – you know it’s good for you, you know you’ll enjoy it while you’re there,
you know you’ll feel better for doing it, but … it’s still hard to get there in the first place!
There are two principle reasons why it can be a struggle to get to the gym, or to have sex, even though you want to:
- Too many competing priorities.
When you’ve got so much on, and... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, October 07, 2018
Desire is a wonderful thing. Intensity is not.
When you desire without intensity, when you open yourself to your partner and invite them in, that is enticing. That will attract them.
But, some people have a more direct approach, and that might not always be appealing to the partner. Some people come on too strong right from the
first approach, and others try harder and harder if they feel they’re not getting the response they want.
If your partner isn’t responding as enthusiastically as you might hope for when you express your desire for them, it’s understandable that you might
try harder. Unfortunately, that tends to come across as intensity and often causes your partner to back further away and be less forthcoming. So, you
try harder and harder… until you give up. Then you back off completely and offer your partner nothing. It’s kind of like: “If you’re not going
to play with me, then I don’t want to play with you!” Which is about as mature as the childish tone implies.
You’re not in the playground anymore, so you need more mature ways of relating. It’s not either-or. It’s not either I come on strong or... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, September 23, 2018
When you feel sexy, you are sexy.
Notice that I say when you feel sexy, not when you look sexy. You might also look sexy, but the important thing is that you feel
Just looking sexy is a superficial thing. You can try all you like with the latest fashions, gym workouts or even cosmetic surgery to look sexy. Until
you feel sexy though, you won’t be sexy.
Those things can certainly help you feel sexy, no doubt about it. For many people, being in shape, wearing nice clothes, even a nip and tuck here and there
can do a lot to make them feel good about themselves. Being healthy, being in shape, looking good, all contribute.
That’s not enough though. There are plenty of good-looking well-dressed people who somehow just aren’t particularly sexy (unless you think Ken and Barbie
are sexy). And there are plenty of people who don’t look or dress the part of ‘sexy’ yet are really hot - or beguiling or enchanting or desirable in some
These people are being sexy. They’re not trying to be sexy they just are.
Truly sexy people don’t try... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, September 09, 2018
I was in session with a couple recently, looking at some challenging aspects of their relationship, when one of them said: ‘I guess you have to wade
through your shit to get the insights to make change…’ and I responded with: ‘You’re not wading through it, you’re composting it!’.
They loved the analogy! And it’s a good one. We’ve all got our shit – defences, traumas, fears, confusions, resentments - that has accumulated over
our history. If you don’t deal with it, it ferments and turns bad. But if you do deal with it, you are composting it, turning it into fertilizer for
I like food analogies when talking about sex, and I like gardening analogies when talking about relationships, because a good relationship
needs cultivating. Like a garden, it needs constant tending – pulling up the weeds, pruning here and there, moving things around, adding new plants at
times, and always watering and fertilizing to keep everything blooming. Otherwise it withers and dies.
Too many people put huge amounts of focus into other parts of life – work, health, friends, family, hobbies – and then wonder why they don’t have a good
relationship. It has become a withered garden, dying from lack of nurturance.
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, August 12, 2018
You can live life to the full or you can sink into dreary monotony. You can mature with vibrancy or you can grow old and tired. You can have a relationship
that continues to explore and grow or you can have one of complacency and dullness. You can see your parenting role as one of keeping under control
or as growth and delight (for you and your children).
It’s a choice. There is nothing ‘inevitable’ about how life turns out. The only thing inevitable is that life mirrors your attitude and beliefs. If
you believe life, relationships, anything is all downhill after the early flush, it will be. If you believe life can continue to open up and bring
new and interesting experiences, it will.
So many people succumb to flat-lining, limiting themselves. Accepting the status quo means you don’t
have to take risks. Low expectations mean you can’t be hurt.
Flat-lining is safe, if dull. Flat-liners live safe, dull lives and their sex, if any, is flat and dull. Sex mirrors life.
Flat-liners sit on the beach and watch other people surfing the waves. They might do it timidly, wishing they were brave enough to pick up a board and
go... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, July 22, 2018
Sex within intimate relationships can be an extraordinary place to grow spiritually, to deepen in love, expand conscious awareness, to feel more peace,
bliss, ease. But it’s also very easy to fall into what’s called spiritual bypassing, thinking that you’re becoming more spiritual but actually doing
some or all of the following:
- exaggerated detachment,
- emotional numbing and repression,
- overemphasis on the positive,
- blind or overly tolerant compassion,
- weak or too porous boundaries,
- lopsided development (cognitive intelligence often being far ahead of emotional and moral intelligence),
- debilitating judgement about one’s negative or shadow side,
- devaluation of the personal relative to the spiritual, and
- delusions of having arrived at a higher level of being. *
Which means you’re bypassing doing the psychological work you need to do to actually be able to develop spiritually.
I see a lot of this in my work, here are the most common examples:
- Spiritual narcissists, where one partner considers themselves spiritually ‘superior’ to the other. This may be because they have studied or engaged
in spiritual practices more than their... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, July 08, 2018
The clitoris is a wonderful thing, one that leads to many and varied delights - but it is not an on / off button.
The clitoris is not the spot that turns a woman on.
In fact, a woman has to be already turned on before you touch her clitoris.
Once she is already turned on and feeling quite aroused, then the clitoris can be a portal to greater pleasure. But if you go there too quickly it can
feel unpleasant, invasive, even painful, and certainly not pleasurable.
A bunch of physiological processes cascade in a woman’s arousal. The cascade can start as a small trickle, then build up to a full-on waterfall of
arousal - if you let it. Too much intensity too quickly can short circuit that arousal and cause the cascade to “dry up” so to speak.
That process, her arousal, starts way before she’s even thinking about sex. It starts with the way the two of you relate: the kind words and thoughtful
gestures, the laughter and enjoyment you share. When you have that as the basis, then she’ll be in the mood for embracing and kissing. If that’s going
well, then, and only then,... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, June 24, 2018
Phase One: Two Become One
When we fall in love, there is so much newness and discovery that it’s very easy to feel like ‘two become one’, you feel you have so much in common!
It’s just like the fairy-tales and you feel that you really will ‘live happily ever after’!!!
This is the ‘symbiotic’ phase of a relationship. It’s a very important part and builds a strong foundation.
Symbiosis or Fusion?
However, inevitably, you start to realise that two have not become one, two are still two. The cracks start to appear, your differences are more obvious
and unsettling. I call this the ‘aargh’ phase of a relationship.
Sometimes couples split up at this phase, thinking that they’re not right for each other. That might be true, but not always.
Others pretend it’s not happening, they don’t talk about the differences. These couples tend to lose the singular pronoun and talk about ‘we’ and ‘us’
exclusively, and their relationship becomes more and more limited. They are not game to push boundaries, make suggestions, try new things, for fear of
Others recognise the differences, and blame the other! These are... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, June 10, 2018
One of the absolute keys to good sex is the ability to let go, to surrender to the experience.
I'm going to speak directly to female readers here, because I find that women have more trouble in this area. Yet it’s actually more important that
the woman let go for the couple to be able to reach heightened states of arousal and pleasure.
Essentially what women need to do is allow for self-indulgence.
Now there are some ‘precious princesses’ out there who are all about self-indulgence: me, me, me. I'm not talking about them. I’m talking about all
those women I see in my clinic and at workshops and in the street and in the school playground, etc, who can’t allow themselves to indulge. Especially
Sex as letting go, opening up, being real, requires
self-indulgence. As a woman it requires you to open to the experience, to
allow pleasure, wonder and ecstasy.
Yet so many women hold themselves back from experiencing this pleasure. So many women hold back from allowing themselves the indulgence of engaging and
Which is such a shame! Because the more a woman lets herself go in this way,... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, May 27, 2018
the end of my last Couples Retreat, one participant, who’d had quite a challenging time of it, declared with a big smile and evident relief that she
realised that prior to the retreat she had not been relationship-oriented.
I see this a lot, in various manifestations.
In some couples, one declares they are quite happy in the relationship and so their dissatisfied partner must have their own issues to deal with. Well,
no, I’m afraid that if one person is not happy then there is something wrong with the relationship not with only one of the individuals in
it. Thinking otherwise is not being relationship-oriented.
I see other couples where they might both be feeling dissatisfied in the relationship, but one claims to know what the problem is, and the problem
is the partner, who needs to sort out ‘their’ issues. This person is also not relationship-oriented.
And frequently I see couples where they have both done a lot of individual personal development and growth and so are puzzled as to why they are having
In all these cases, one or both of them is seeing themselves as two separate individuals, rather than as a two-person psychobiological unit.... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, May 13, 2018
In the Tantric yogic traditions they talk about ‘actionless action’ or inaction through action. This is part of the karma-yoga tradition, developing
spiritually through right action. Rather than renouncing the world and avoiding actions, karma yoga is about engaging in the world - cultivating wordly
life and spiritual life simultaneously.
In the Taoist tradition there is the concept of wu-wei ‘action through non-action’ or action without intent, which leads to a life of harmony, aligned
with the Way or the Tao.
Both Tantra and Taoism apply this to sex as much as to any other aspect of life. In both approaches, there are two important
aspects of this doing through non-doing: lack of attachment to the action and moral rightness.
As it says in the Tao te Ching (Daode Jing) "When action is pure and selfless, everything settles into its own perfect place," and “The highest virtue is to act without a sense of self”.
So what’s this got to do with sex? How can we modern people have sex through non-sex and thereby achieve harmonious living and spiritual
Firstly - sex without attachment. This means you enter the sexual or intimate activity without being needy, without an expectation
of outcome,... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, April 29, 2018
An orgasm is good, great in fact, but it gets better than that - it gets orgasmic!
Yes, the range of orgasms and orgasmic experiences we can have is mind-blowing. If you think sex is about stimulating your genitals until you have
an orgasm and then you’re done, oh boy, have you got a long way to go! And what a journey!
To have a nice clitoral orgasm if you’re a woman, or to have a nice ejaculation if you’re a man, is important. Some women have trouble with this, so I
love to help them start to have orgasms. It’s just the start though…
For women in particular, the orgasmic possibilities are vast, but men too can experience a lot more than just an ejaculation, and they can certainly
have more than one. Women, well, women can get into an orgasmic state - and stay there a long time!
Let’s start with women. How to achieve this? Well, for a start, don’t think that once you’ve had an orgasm you’re done. Far from it. Often the first
orgasm is little more than stress release. Even the second might be a nice build up and small explosion. By then you’ll be... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, April 15, 2018
It's Autumn, the “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” to quote Keats - a time of ripening and reaching fulfillment. Mmm, doesn’t that sound so
It’s not an intense, fiery time of year though and I don’t advocate an overly intense approach to sex.
Too many people go too far too quick, rushing into it, without allowing the time for the ‘ripening’ in order to achieve real sexual fulfillment.
Truly awesome sex always takes connection, a 'sinking in' within oneself and with each other. It’s different from the rapid-fire approach to sexual
excitation, which is the more “normal” mode in this society. With this sinking in comes a ‘syncing in’, where you can let go and really feel each other,
really tune in - and for a while the two can indeed become 'one'.
This is so different to the performance approach so many people are trapped in, with each person in their head, wondering if they’re doing the 'right'
thing or responding in the 'right' way, or thinking about something else entirely and wishing it was all over!
With sinking in to sync in, it’s not about the head, it’s about two bodies moving in... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, April 01, 2018
Penises come in all shapes and sizes, and all with the same intention in mind – to have great sex. But with all the variation, which penises are the
most effective, and does size really matter?
To stimulate the vagina a penis needs to touch the sides, so girth is an important factor. Some penises
are thick enough to fill most women, some are too thick for comfort, and a large proportion need deft handling to reach the good spots - not being thick
enough to fill all around (although that also depends on the size of the vagina in question - there’s considerable variation in capacity and muscle tautness
But never fear, if your girth is less than ideal, it’s more about how you wield your member than its size. So here are some tips for guys of all sizes:
Prove your skills as a lover before she gets to see your member. She’ll already be impressed and size won’t be a big issue. She’ll also be good and aroused,
and a well-aroused vagina is a responsive vagina, so her muscles are more likely to naturally clamp around your penis, increasing sensation.
Your advantage in the penile... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, March 25, 2018
We often hear about women having trouble with orgasms, and generally with men it’s thought that they have the opposite problem, that they come too
quickly. So when a man has trouble coming, or can’t come at all, he might feel that there’s something wrong with him. He can feel very alone.
But it’s actually very common for men not to come. It’s called Retarded or Delayed Ejaculation, and most men will encounter it at least sporadically
in their lives. If it’s happening repeatedly though, it can be a problem. Particularly if the woman thinks it’s because he’s not attracted to her,
or if they want to conceive.
The cause is generally stress-related and the situation gets worse when it causes Performance Anxiety, which exacerbates the inability to come in some
men, and in other men can lead to losing erection or even coming too quickly. To make matters worse, if there’s additional anxiety caused by the partner’s
negative response, then that creates a negative feedback loop, and the man ends up with anxiety about having Performance anxiety - Performance Anxiety
Not a good thing.
The thing is though, sex is not about orgasm. Too many people think that sex... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, March 11, 2018
For generations we raised our girl children to think they’re not sexual, that they shouldn’t be sexual, and if they were sexual - stoning or burning
them to death or locking them away in insane asylums. Women didn’t have a chance to explore their sexuality, and neither did their partners.
So, with no alternative, when a man married he basically kept on doing with his wife what he’d been doing with himself for years - masturbating. Since
puberty the adolescent boy had been stroking his penis as fast as he could until he ejaculated. So when he got a female partner, not knowing any better,
he kept doing that inside her.
Essentially men were masturbating inside their wives.
So the standard approach has three parts:
- Find yourself aroused - you have to be horny before you start
- Stroke genitals rapidly - it's all about the shagging
- Have an orgasm - we all know the 'rule' that sex ends when the man ejaculates - right?
I call this the Adolescent Male Masturbatory (AMM) Model of Sex
It’s what we in the West have done for millennia.
... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, February 25, 2018
The secret to a strong relationship is that you merge your love and sexual energies within you and share that constantly. This creates a unique vibration
between you, like your own radio frequency. It’s a frequency that has the warmth and support of love yet with a zest, a frission of the sexual.
It is a potent energy.
This frequency manifests in myriad small ways throughout the day - in looks, touches, comments, tokens (gifts, surprises, services). I’ve described
this in other blogs as sharing ‘quanta of deliciousness’, maintaining
the 'mmm' factor, and focusing on the 'beforeplay'
When you keep this frequency strong it creates a depth of connection, a profound intimacy. It makes it both easier to move into genital sexual connection,
as you are already so connected it’s not a great jump (important for people who have resistance or difficulty being interested in genital interaction),
and paradoxically genital sexual connection becomes less important because you already have a strong sexual energy flowing between you (important for
those who have a strong need or urgency for genital interaction).
Rather than sex being an ‘off or on’ dynamic in your relationship, it becomes
a sliding scale. I’ve described this elsewhere... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, February 11, 2018
A couple who had been regular clients for most of the year finished their time with me recently. At their final session they told me they realized
they were 'fixed' because they'd been out to dinner and found themselves happily talking about their sex life as though it was a normal part of life….
I was so pleased to hear this! For this couple, as with so many people, sex had become a Big Issue. It was a crazy mélange of expectations, obligations,
desires, awkwardness, uncertainty, pleasures, confusions, misunderstandings - none of which they were able to deal with as they would with any other part
of their lives.
As with other couples who stick with sex therapy, after (in their case) about ten sessions, they had unwound that knotty mess and had learned to speak
openly and freely with each other. So sex had lost it’s “heaviness” and had once again become something light and joyful in their lives - to the extent
that it had become an engaging and normal topic of dinnertime conversation.
I see this time after time - the ease with which couples come to see their sex lives after doing work with me, how they find a freedom to talk about... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, January 28, 2018
I find people's views on sex fascinating, even after over eight thousand hours of talking to people in detail about their sex lives! There's so much
diversity around what we think of as “normal” or “abnormal” - far more diversity than you'd think if you based it on the media or general opinion.
I could go on and on about the range of opinions people have about what “normal” is.
But in my considerable experience as a Sex Therapist I’ve discovered that the idea of “normal” has little basis in anything other than what people
themselves have experienced in their own lives.
Interestingly, whether they think that their own experience is normal or abnormal seems to be based more on their level of self-esteem than anything
- People with high self-esteem tend to feel that what they do and think is normal.
- People with low self -esteem tend to feel that what they think and do is abnormal.
I’ve had a client who ended a significant relationship because he felt he couldn’t last long enough to satisfy his partner, even though she disagreed.
This was because his experience of women was that they wanted lots of intense sex.
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, January 14, 2018
How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways…
1. I say it with words of love and affection
2. I touch you with love and affection
3. I give you gifts
4. I spend time with you
5. I do things for you
I’m sure that Shakespeare in his wisdom about human relationships would have agreed with these five ‘languages’ of love. It’s actually the modern-day
author Gary Chapman who came up with them.
All five languages are important and necessary, but the fact is that we all express love differently and we all receive love differently. It’s important
that you know your own style of loving, and equally important that you understand, recognize and appreciate the style of those close to you.
If, for instance, your main language of love is words of affection, and your least strong language is doing things, yet your partner is the opposite,
then you’re going to have problems. You’ll be declaring your love with words which will just brush off your partner, or even annoy them: “Huh, it’s just
words, it doesn’t mean anything”. While at the same time... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Monday, January 01, 2018
It's the new year, a time for committing to bettering yourself. What better area of life to commit to focusing on than your love life?!
Whether you're single or partnered, we can all focus on that fundamentally important contributor to health, happiness and well-being - your sexuality!
So I'd like to suggest you commit to a Year of Great Sex! Let's call it your 'Great Sex' Project.
The Great Sex Project for Couples
In other places I’ve written about Consensual Non-Monotony. It's a play on words as I've also written about Consensual Non-Monogamy. The latter term describes
how to have a successful non-monogamous relationship, but since most people choose to be monogamous, the trick is to overcome the biggest problem with
long-term monogamous relationships – monotony - hence the term Consensual Non-Monotony. The important point here is that it's got to be consensual, that
is, you both have to agree to be non-monotonous and you both have to commit to doing whatever it takes to have an on-going, great sex life. Make it a project!
Why not? You have renovation projects together, holiday projects together, get healthier projects together, so why not a better sex project?
If... read more
Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, December 24, 2017
Given how busy and distracted we all are, it's the 'getting to sex' stage that's the most challenging for modern couples. I call this stage of sex
'Beforeplay'. It's the transition phase necessary to remove you from the stresses of the day, and get the two of you connecting, maintaining the 'mmm'
factor and building up some of that erotic frission...
- Lounge around the house in sexy and sensual lounging-round-the-house gear that’s both comfortable and sexy.
- Take the dog for a walk together in the evening – maybe knickerless...
- Sit on the back verandah together after dinner drinking wine and looking out at the stars (above dress code applies).
- Read good quality erotica – aloud to each other. Or any book for that matter, reading aloud is quite sexy!
- Cook, eat, and clean up dinner naked, or wearing just a robe and nothing else underneath.
- Hang out in your bedroom together having a cup of tea or coffee and a chat.
- Play backgammon or do a jigsaw puzzle together.
- Sit either end of the couch and give yourselves foot massages.
- Have a bath and have your partner come in and give you a foot massage, or just sit on the bath... read more