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


#312: Conflict is Inevitable So Learn to Prevent, Manage and Repair

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, February 06, 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.

Prevent Conflict

As I said, difference is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it has to turn into conflict. A... 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



#310: Cuddle plus – an essential phase of the affection-sex continuum

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, January 09, 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



#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



#308: How To Give (and Receive) An Erotic Spanking

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, December 05, 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



#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

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



#306: What I Desire

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, November 07, 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



#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



#304: It's Not "Needy" to Connect, It's Human

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



#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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