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

#330: Moans & Groans – why sound is good in sex and how to make more

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, October 17, 2021

Download Audio: Moans & Groans – why sound is good in sex and to how make more

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#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

#313: How Do You Know When You're Having Good Sex?

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, February 20, 2021

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#313: How Do You Know When You're Having Good Sex?

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, February 20, 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

#309: Moment-by-Moment Consent

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, December 19, 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

#307: Three Types of Sexual Communication: Chit-chat, In the Moment and The Debrief

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, November 21, 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

#305: Lazy Sex

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, October 24, 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

#305: Lazy Sex

Jacqueline Hellyer - Friday, October 23, 2020

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#303: The Art of the Thrust

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

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