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

#327: Pace Your Sexual Interactions

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, September 05, 2021

So often when I talk with clients about their so-called  “mismatched libidos” it has nothing to do with the quantity of desire and everything to do with the pace.

They are simply going too fast.

And so often I find that they are letting the one with faster arousal lead the way, with the other feeling or being labelled as inadequate because they’re not aroused quickly enough. Seriously, the stories I hear – no wonder so many people are not enjoying sex, often with one obliging even though they are not ready and the other feeling bad because they can tell their partner isn’t into it.

I often say to these couples, if you were going for a walk together, would you expect the slower walker to race along at the speed of the faster, or would the faster slow down to accommodate the slower so that you could enjoy the walk together? Or if you were enjoying a good meal, would you wolf it down and think that it was better because you ate so quickly – or would you take the time to savour the experience?

Of course we know that taking our time to enjoy activities together makes the experience more enjoyable. Yet when it comes to sex we often think... read more

#326: Fly on the Wall Friday - my new Video Series

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, August 22, 2021

What happens in a sex and relationship therapy clinic? What cases are discussed? What insights are uncovered?

Well, now you can be a 'fly on the wall' with new video series - Fly on the Wall Friday!

In this series I reflect on cases I've seen through the week at the LoveLife Clinic and share insights from them, to inspire you in your own love life.

The first seven episodes in the series are:

1.  The Case of the Missing Partners

In episode one I compare two cases where two men were sent to me by their wives to 'fix' their sexual problems. The outcome was very different in each case, depending on the attitude of the wives...

2.  The Case of the Missing Libido

In episode two I discuss the case of one partner of a same-sex female couple who, like so many clients I see, had 'lost her libido'. In solving this case, we look at issues like: what is libido, how arousal does not equal desi, and the difference between spontaneous and responsive arousal.

3.  The Case of the Disembodied Clients

In episode three I discuss two cases of clients who weren't 'in their body' and therefore weren't engaged with their sexuality. In solving these cases we look at the two types of disconnection - being... read more

#325: When Things Get Wobbly Assume the Best and Get Curious

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, August 08, 2021

It's inevitable that you will have wobbly times in your relationship. You are different - always have been, always will be! Sometimes you’ll have different wants or opinions, sometimes you’ll have inadvertently annoyed the other, sometimes stresses will come in from outside the relationship, and sometimes there will be a misunderstanding.

Whatever is the cause of the wobble, you need to do things:
 1. Assume the best of your partner.
 2. Get curious.

You have to assume that your partner is not deliberately trying to hurt you or annoy you or piss you off in any way. You have to assume that your partner loves you and you’re on the same team. So if they are acting in a way that seems unloving or not on the same team, get curious as to why. Ask them open-ended questions to understand what is going on for them. “Babe, I’m curious what’s going on for you…” “Honey, can you tell me more about that…” “Sweetheart, I’m feeling a little confused, could you take me through that again more slowly…”

This might sound simple, but it’s not always so as we can easily trigger our nervous systems and become emotionally dysregulated, so it’s hard to stay calm enough to assume the best and get... read more

#324: How Alike do You Need to be to Have a Good Relationship

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, July 25, 2021

My clients often wonder if they are really suited to each other. They thought they were at the start but over time the differences have become more apparent and they worry that they’re not compatible.

So how similar do we need to be to have a good relationship?

Well, it depends on what aspect of relating you are considering. In some cases yes, in others no.

In brief:

• You need to have common values.
• You need to have shared, but not the same, interests.
• You can have very different personalities.

It’s actually good to have different personalities, different ways of seeing the world, of being in the world. Different ways of thinking, different ways of feeling, different ways of expressing – these all broaden the ways you as a couple can live and experience life.

A big caveat here though is that you have to appreciate the differences, not make each other wrong for being different.

And you have to realise that the same qualities can have both good and bad aspects. Let’s take an example of a couple where one sees the other as “my rock”, solid, dependable, someone who makes them feel really safe and secure in the world. Yet, those same positive... read more

#323: Be "At Home" in Your Body

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, July 11, 2021

Close your eyes. Take a breath in, exhale slowly and sink into your body. Keep breathing slowly and gently and allow your mind to wander around the inside of your body.

What do you notice? What do you feel? Is there a sense of comfort, ease, contentment? Do you feel at home in your body?

We really are turtles, carrying our ‘home’ around with us. We inhabit our bodies. We travel through life in our bodies. We experience existence through our bodies.

Yet how comfortable do we feel in this “home”? So many people don’t. They are disconnected from their body. There are two main reasons for this.

Firstly, through being too much ‘in our heads’. Prioritising thinking over feeling, the brain over the body. These people live their lives in their heads, they are a head walking around with a body ‘down there somewhere’. There is little integration. These people rely on their brains, yet by being disconnected from their bodies, they aren’t getting the information their brains need to be in the world. This leads to anxiety at worst, and a reduction in pleasure and enjoyment at best.

The second reason is when people have negative emotions associated with their body. Unlike the first type who are in their heads and... read more

#322: Don't Ever Stop Kissing

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, June 27, 2021

So many of my clients don’t kiss. They might give each other pecks, but nothing more intimate or sensual than that.

Yet kissing is one of the best ways to become aroused!

Well, that’s part of the problem. So many people stay away from kissing for fear that it will inevitably have to lead to sex. But without the kissing you won’t feel like sex…

It comes back to the problem of taking a linear view of sex – step one must lead to step two which must lead to step three which must lead to step four, etc. So, if I’m not feeling like the later steps (ie getting genital) then I won’t go anywhere near those earlier steps.

The problem isn’t the kissing, the problem is the steps, or at least, thinking there are steps, and thinking that one must lead to the next. So, ditch the linear thinking, come back to the moment, and enjoy it for what it is.

A kiss, whether engaged in for a moment or for minutes, is connecting. Without the kissing you won’t get to sex (or at least, not enjoyable sex), and with the kissing there's no obligation to go to sex - it's just a kiss.

Use... read more

#321: Consent From the Inside

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.”

 She paused.

 I waited.

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

#320: How to Say No Without It Feeling Like Rejection

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, May 30, 2021

Be polite!

I’m not talking here about persistent unwanted advances at a party or bar, in those cases you may well need to be less than polite. I’m talking about how you say no to your partner’s sexual invitation.

With so many couples I work with, often one has been the ‘initiator’ and they can find it hard when they get rejected a lot. Often to the point of giving up initiating altogether. It can feel really rejecting when your partner says no a lot.

Now I want to stress that of course you have the right to say ‘no’. No-one should ever do anything sexually that they don’t want to do. What I’m focussing on here is how you say ‘no’.

For a start, think of the offer as a positive thing. Your partner finds you desirable and wants to share a pleasurable connecting experience with you. This is a good thing (just ask all the people who I work with whose partners don’t find them desirable, that’s really horrible).

So just as if your partner was offering you a slice of cake, or suggesting a date at the movies, take it as a positive offer. And just as if you didn’t feel like a slice of cake or going to the... read more

#319: The Benefits of a Great Love Life Part 3: Sexual Transformation

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

#318: The Benefits of a Great Love Life Part 2: Relational Transformation

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.”
John Welwood

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

1 2 3 .. 33

Listen to the audio version - the LoveLife Podcast!

the lovelife podcast


Recent Posts

Earlier Posts



to LOVELIFE News for regular inspiration on sex, love and intimacy!

For more great sex advice -
read my books!