The LoveLife Blog: guidance on mindful, bodyful, soulful loving!


#340: What Comes Before Consent

Jacqueline Hellyer - Monday, April 11, 2022

Consent has become an important topic, one that is absolutely necessary, important and overdue. 

However, as an accredited Psychosexual Therapist who has spent over ten thousand face-to-face hours talking in intimate detail with people about their sex lives, I know that as well-intentioned as the consent conversation is, until we start addressing what comes before consent, we won’t solve the problem of people being able to give consent. 

We tend to assume we know what sex is and what it is we are consenting to or not. But do we? We can’t consent if we don’t know the parameters, our own internal assumptions, of the thing we are consenting or not to. 

The first question I ask people when they come to me with their myriad issues, the essence of which comes down to being able to navigate sexual relating, is ‘what is sex’? The immediate response to which is generally a puzzled-look followed by, ‘oh, I’ve never really thought about that before.’ 

This is the problem – what do we mean when we refer to sex? What are we consenting to? So many people have a very limited view of sex, one that is generally framed in a patriarchal manner – that sex is something that men do to women and the woman... read more



#339: More than Sex-Positive, We Need to be Sex-Comfortable

Jacqueline Hellyer - Monday, March 14, 2022


The days when sex was seen as bad have passed. We’re pretty sex-positive these days. I rarely come across anyone who thinks that sex is a bad thing or that it’s a wrong thing. Which is great. But it seems to me that the main challenge these days, now that we’re positive about sex in general, is to feel comfortable with sex in the personal.

We don’t live in a sex-comfortable society. We might be sex-positive but we’re not necessarily sex-comfortable. We don’t talk about it, we’re not raised with much information. We only have either the bio-medical information or porn, both of which portray sex in a very physical, limited way. It’s not at all surprising that we’re not comfortable about sex, because what makes us comfortable about our sexuality is being able to understand what it’s all about in an holistic body-mind-heart-and-spirit way, to be able to talk about it and to be able to sink into your body and really know what we want and be able to express it. So, I think this term sex-comfortable is more what we should be aiming for now.

It should be like food. You know me, I like my food analogies, and I say we should be as comfortable about our sexuality... read more



#338: Get Off the Hedonistic Treadmill!

Jacqueline Hellyer - Monday, February 28, 2022

 

So many people consume sex like other goods. Like good little capitalists they crave and crave, wanting more and more: bigger, harder, faster, more diversity, more people, more orgasms, more toys, more excitement, more, more, more…

Popular culture encourages this with porn’s approach to creating craving for more and more.

Even in alternative, spiritual sexuality there’s often still this craving – for the cosmic orgasm, the kundalini rush, the bliss beyond.

Give us the tip, what’s the technique, show us the method… All wanting the bigger and better, the more.

It’s exhausting!

And it doesn’t lead anywhere. Other than an endless desperate yearning for some level of satisfaction that can never be reached.

It’s a hedonistic treadmill. As one male client who’d been on the treadmill for years, thinking he was cool and sexually open, said: “where was it all going to end – with a cock in each orifice and a zucchini up my nose?!” What an absurd situation!

As that client came to realise, sexual satisfaction doesn’t come from constantly chasing sensation on the outside. It comes from savouring sensation from within, exploring the subtle, the slow, the simple. And while that can of course include any activity or prop that takes your fancy, those elements are there to enhance an experience, not to chase... read more



#337: You Can't Search for Love. It's Already There. You Can Only Remove the Barriers to Let It In

Jacqueline Hellyer - Monday, February 14, 2022

So many people are looking for love, seeking it as though it is something outside of them, separate from them. 

Singles trawl the dating apps, date after date, hoping that this time it will be the one who will bring love into their life…

Couples engross themselves in their individual lives, becoming complacent, losing their connection. They feel the lack of love and seek it through work, children, or external lovers…

Yet the love is already there. It’s within us and it’s around us. Single or partnered, know yourself, love yourself. We need to do the psychological and spiritual work to clear negative patterns, to develop understanding and compassion for ourselves. It can be hard, and a life-long process, but so rewarding. We come to realise that ‘I’m ok’. We learn to let down the barriers, remove the armour that we created to keep us safe from the large or small hurts and neglects we experienced as children, to deal with the conditioning we received even though it didn’t feel right – ‘boys don’t cry’, ‘be a good girl’ – the message that we aren’t good enough unless… that we aren’t loveable unless….that we aren’t lovable.

Yet humans thrive on love, we are a bonding species, we need to connect to others, and to... read more



#336: How to Communicate Complaints Effectively

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, January 30, 2022


You are always going to have differences, you’re always going have challenges, there are always going to be things that you don’t like about your partner…you are always going to need to have difficult conversations, including when you have a complaint about your partner.

So, an essential skill in having a quality relationship is being able to communicate complaints effectively.

Couples with undeveloped communication skills will deal with complaints in one of two ineffective ways:

  • They’ll pretend the problem doesn’t exist and sweep it under the carpet… where it will fester unresolved until it re-emerges down the track in much worse form.

Or

  • They’ll go into full-on confrontation mode, with aggressive accusations… leading to full-blown war and generally no resolution, only, at best, capitulation.

Neither of these approaches are effective ways of communicating complaints. So how do you do it well?

If you are the person with the complaint:

  • Be gentle, make sure your partner is in a receptive mode and not distracted or busy, ask if this is a good time to talk and if not, when would be.
  • Start the conversation with a positive comment, use ‘us’ language. Then share what behaviour is causing you problems and why it is a problem for you. Keep in mind the issue is not the behaviour, it’s why... read more


#335: Nurture Your Soul with Sex

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, January 16, 2022

Quality sex nurtures your body. It releases stress, is good for your heart health, your skin, your fitness, suppleness and so much more. 

Quality sex also nurtures your mind and emotions. It’s fun, it’s creative, it’s connecting, and keeps you feeling relaxed, calm, bonded and loved up.

It’s about the healthiest activity you can engage in!

It goes much deeper though than just being physically good for you, and even deeper than having a positive effect mentally and emotionally. It goes right to your soul. Quality sex nurtures your soul.

When you are able to create the level of connection and safety, through self-awareness and communication, that enables you to engage sexually with presence, vulnerability, authenticity, the quality of experience becomes so freeing and joyful. This is a level of freedom beyond just stress release. It’s a sense of expansiveness that feels transcendent. And it’s a sense of joy that is more than just fun and happiness, it is experiencing a core vitality and a joyfulness of life and love.

 It’s an altered state of consciousness, with transcendent states of bliss and flow where you’ve let go of control, there’s no expectation or pressure. It’s two authentic lovers coming together to co-create an experience of pleasure and connection moment by moment. 

This is what sex can... read more



#334: How to Express Your Emotions Without Being "Emotional"

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, December 12, 2021

Some people are labelled as ‘emotional’, as if it’s a bad thing. Well, you know what, we’re all emotional. All the time. We are all, every one of us, at every single moment, having an emotional experience. Experience, which is the state of being alive, is felt through our feelings, our emotions.

So being ‘emotional’ is being alive. 

Being able to be in touch with our emotions, to feel them, to know them and to express them is a very important skill in life. Particularly in relationships. 

A lot of us aren’t good at that. Some of us grow up thinking emotions are ‘bad’, particularly negative emotions. The message you get is: It’s bad to be feeling bad, so don’t feel bad. Um, so what you are supposed to do with those feelings? Well, either you suppress them, pretend they’re not there, and just let them fester. Or you become overly ‘emotional’, intense and not being able to express cleanly. 

It’s actually a little healthier to be overly expressive in your emotions than to suppress them. At least they are getting out and not festering. But if they are not being expressed well, they get violent or abusive and that is not at all good. That’s out of control. 

So how do you express feeling... read more



#333: Q&A: We're Time Poor - How Do We Add Some Zing?

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, November 28, 2021


Q: We’re all so time poor these days, but booking in for a ‘romance’ night with my partner seems a bit pre-meditated. But the occasional dull and brief late-night sex we have leaves a lot to be desired. How can I add some zing?

A: There’s a myth in our society that good sex has to be spontaneous. Which is like saying a good meal has to be spontaneous. In fact it’s quite the opposite, the better the meal usually the more focus and time is put into it. Otherwise you get McDonalds. It’s the same with sex. Give it the focus it needs or you end up with MacDonald’s sex – dull and not very satisfying.

People often reminisce about the early days of their romance when it was supposedly spontaneous, but in fact there was a huge amount of lead-up and anticipation. You’d be thinking all week of Saturday night and what you’d wear, what you’d do, where you’d go…Fast forward several years and you slob around the house in your flannel jammies, spend the evenings engrossed in anything but each other, fall exhausted into bed at 11pm and wonder why you can’t be bothered!

If you want good sex in an on-going relationship you’ve got to create the... read more



#332: Be Conscious Not Complacent

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, November 14, 2021


It’s so easy to become complacent in relationships. Hey, we’re busy people, we’ve got a lot on, we’re tired, we don’t have the time or energy to invest in our relationship, there are other priorities…

 And so, without the nurturance, it withers and dies…

 Like everything in life, if you want something to be good, if you want it to be a part of life that supports and enhances you, you need to focus on it. If you want to be healthy you have to focus on your health, if you want to be wealthy you have to focus on your finances, and if you want to be loved-up you have to focus on your relationship.

 If you get complacent you stop being consciously engaged with your partner and even with yourself and revert to subconscious beliefs and patterns, such as poor parental role-modelling, limiting cultural beliefs around relationships, unhelpful myths about sexuality.

 When you pay attention though, you learn about yourself and your partner and through that you develop a better dynamic. With that awareness you make better choices. If there are tensions or blocks, you work on them. You admit where you lack knowledge or experience and get help and learn. Then you practice, together, and... read more



#331: It's OK to Disappoint Your Partner

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, October 31, 2021

So often people tell me that they don’t want to say their truth as they don’t want to upset their partner, but what they really mean is that they don’t want to feel bad about disappointing their partner. There’s a big difference between those two statements.

Of course, we don’t like our partners to be upset, but that doesn’t mean we should do anything we can to prevent them having a bad feeling. That is intensely co-dependant.

We are not responsible for our partner’s feelings. We are responsible for our own feelings. Now, let me clarify that a bit.

In a healthy relationship we are interdependent. That means we are both independent and relational. The relational part is that we are attentive and supportive of our partner. We are always responsible for being caring and polite and kind and respectful to our partner. Absolutely. The independent part of a good relationship is that we are also attentive and respectful to ourselves. That means we need to express our truth to our partner. The relational element of this is that we need to express that truth in a caring, polite, kind and respectful way.

Then the independent element on our partner’s part, is that they are responsible for managing their... read more



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