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



#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



#328: Safety is Sexy

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, September 19, 2021

It might not sound particularly sexy, but without safety you don’t get sexy, at least, not quality sexy. 

Safety is needed to be able to trust, be vulnerable, open up and let go, and that is what’s required for good sex. 

Safety comes first.

It’s often overlooked in sex though. We want to jump straight to the good stuff, the behaviours, rather than making sure the conditions are safe. It would be like going skydiving without checking the parachute is packed properly. It’s dangerous! And not pleasurable. And in fact, like with skydiving, the more ‘dangerous’ you want your sexual encounter to be, the more you have to focus on safety.

You’ll actually find that those who engage in the kinkier sexual activities have very thoroughly well-packed “parachutes”. You’re safer in a BDSM dungeon than in the average bedroom, because there you don’t engage without a thorough understanding of what each is wanting and setting your boundaries very clearly. In contrast, I’ve had clients who have been together for decades, who have never discussed their sex life.

If your partner doesn’t know what you’re feeling and wanting and fearing and hoping, it’s not safe, and it’s not going to be good. Either you’ll exceed your boundaries and get hurt... 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 my 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 desire, 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... 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



#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



#314: A Lingering Sense of Each Other

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, March 06, 2021

Download Audio: A Lingering Sense of Each Other

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#314: A Lingering Sense of Each Other

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, March 06, 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



#311: The Bridgerton Effect

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, January 23, 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



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