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


#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 or you’ll play it safe and... 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 these cases we look at the two types of disconnection -... 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


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



#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



#302: Transformational Erotica

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, September 06, 2020



This piece of erotic fiction is the Creative Synthesis I wrote as part of the research dissertation for my Masters of Science degree in Consciousness, Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology. The research topic was: A Heuristic Inquiry into the Transformative Potential of Optimal Sexuality within a Relational Context. You'll find reading this erotic fiction an easy and enjoyable way of getting across the findings - which is essentially the essence of the overall approach in this blog...

F-Day Anniversary

Her:

You wake. It’s the eighth anniversary of F-Day – Freedom Day. The day you discovered your tedious husband was bonking one of the attendants at the golf club. You’ll never forget the feeling – first a numbness from the shock, then an incredible feeling of release. It was as though something woke up in your belly, in your womb, and slowly expanded throughout your body, awakening a joy, a release, an aliveness you hadn’t felt in years, if ever. You recall your surprise as it actually felt sexual, this feeling of your whole body being awake and alive. Nothing like the dutiful dull, late-night rutting of your husband relieving himself inside you – not that that happened much anymore, he seemed as jaded by it all as you; nor anything like the early... read more


#301: Sex as Embodied Mindfulness Practice

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, August 23, 2020



Mindfulness is a good thing. From scientific research to the personal experience of increasing numbers of people, there is proof of so many benefits from practicing mindfulness in life – better health, calmer, more self-aware, more engaged with life.

There’s also been more research on sex and mindfulness, although the focus tends to be on how mindfulness practices can make sex better. I’m just as interested in how sex itself can be a mindfulness practice.

So, what are mindfulness practices? We tend to associate mindfulness with solo, sedentary practices such as meditation, prayer and contemplation. And yes, these are great ways to practice mindfulness, to learn to still the mind, relax the body and even have experiences of oneness with the universe. Ideally these practices will also be embodied, so that you are really present and aware of your body, as much as stilling the mind. I tend to think of this as ‘bodyfulness’ as much as ‘mindfulness’.

While you can practice embodied mindfulness in seated positions, more obviously embodiment-focused are the movement-based mindfulness practices. These practices involve movement, such as tai chi and yoga, which have additional benefits of being kinaesthetic, proprioceptive, tactile, spacial and interoceptive (when practiced with focus not just as... read more


#300: So Many Ways to Eat, So Many Ways to…

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, August 09, 2020



There are so many different ways to eat – all the way from a quick snack through to a fancy multi-course dinner. It’s the same with sex, which is why I use so many food analogies when I’m talking about sex.

I was doing this with a couple of clients recently. They’re a really fun-loving couple, upbeat and lively in most parts of life – but not the bedroom. Instead of the lightness that was in the rest of their connection, bedroom matters had become heavy and hard, and pretty non-existent. After several sessions of helping them identify and share their feelings and desires around sex, with loads of food analogies along the way, they came in to session with big smiles on their faces.

“We had sex three times!” the wife exclaimed. “We had roast dinner…” “And some cheese on toast…” added the husband, “And even an open sandwich!” finished the wife.

They’d really taken on board the food analogy concept and were using it not only to help with their sexual communication, but to make it fun as well. One evening she’d had a lovely time on her own relaxing and getting in the mood for some loving, then texted him to invite him... read more


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