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

#194: Be Kind - It Works

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, March 25, 2017

I confess, I do sometimes look at my bookings of the day and see certain client names with some dread…

One such young couple were clients once. Newly married, he was struggling with an ‘incident’ she’d been involved in a little while before and they were not coping at all well. Nastiness, accusations, resentments, passive aggression, verbal aggression … Let’s just say that they weren’t being very nice to each other. And there was definitely no sex happening.

A few sessions on, I looked at my client list one day and saw them as the final clients for the day. The bell rang, with some trepidation I answered it, and lo and behold, there were two young people looking radiant with big smiles on their faces!

“So, what’s going on?” I asked with curiosity.

He looked over to her with a grin, she looked up at me with a grin, “Well,” she said, almost guiltily it seemed, “we’re being nice to each other.”

“Wow, radical concept!” I commented light-heartedly, “and the result?”

“We’re getting on so much better!”


“Four times in the... read more

#188: A High-Level Relationship is a High-Maintenance Relationship

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, February 04, 2017

The clients and retreat participants I see tend to be pretty together type of people with a mature attitude to life and relating. So I don’t get too many couples who want to stay flat-lining or locked in conflict. They want to grow and develop as individuals and as a couple and have the best life they can.

There are three ways of having a long-term relationship, or four, as the second type manifests in two ways which might appear to be diametrically opposed but are actually versions of the same dynamic:

1) Flat-lining

This is when a couple play it safe. Too afraid to upset the other or too needy of validation from their partner, neither of them is game to be truly honest. Over time these relationships tend to become more and more limited and the couple grow ‘old’. Sometimes there is a power dynamic here, such as in the traditional patriarchal structure where the man had the power and the woman had to acquiesce. The key indicator here is that they want it to be ‘easy’ and ‘not rock the boat’.

2) Deadlock

These couples know they’re not happy and blame the other... read more

#182: What Is A Marriage Sabbatical and Why Take One?

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, November 19, 2016

I have a client at the moment who recently took a ‘marriage sabbatical’. At least, that’s what she and her husband called it.

A work sabbatical is traditionally when you take a break from your job to study something else for a while. The idea is that regular work is too full to focus on the study, so you have some time away, and come back to the job both with new and useful knowledge and a fresh spirit.

That’s what this client is doing with her marriage: she’s taking a month off to be away from her husband and all the expectations and pressures she feels (rightly or wrongly) from being in the marriage, in order to have the space to learn more about herself and what she wants and needs in her life and in her marriage.

So, yes, it’s a marriage sabbatical.

I love this term. It’s so much better than ‘trial separation’ or other more onerous terms. It’s calling it for what it is: time out.

These clients, like so many others who seem to have reached a plateau, have been married for over twenty years and are now empty nesters. They’ve had some struggles in... read more

#181: The Basic Sexual Unit is One

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, November 12, 2016

(This is copy of a blog I wrote five years ago, hence some of the historical references.)

Here I am sitting in the depths of the jungle in northern Thailand, spending some time at a permaculture farm. Last weekend I was studying spiritual healing. Over Easter I attended the Xplore festival on alternate sexuality. Three quite different experiences, but all united: the sexuality, the spirituality and the connection to the environment.

What unites them? You, one, the individual. The individual is the basic unit and it is only through you that change happens, or doesn’t. It’s up to the individual to find their spiritual connection, their connection to the environment, and their connection to their sexuality.

The basic sexual unit is one.

You’d hardly think so, given our society’s obsession with couples. Not that I have anything against couples, pair-bonding is a normal human activity, and it is the social norm. The problem is two-fold:

The first is that people feel that they need to be in a couple to feel complete. This places enormous pressure on the other to live up to this expectation. Even the archbishop who married Will and Kate last week in his sermon said that one of the problems with modern... read more

#174: Mums and Dads Need “Cuddle Time”

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, September 10, 2016

Happy loving parents make for happy loving children
, so it’s vital that as parents you make the time and space to be loving with each other.  A lot of people seem to feel it’s all too hard when you have children, so they have infrequent sex, if any at all.

It doesn't have to be that way though, not if you train your children to know that Mummy and Daddy need “Cuddle Time”.  

We tend to make sex exceptional, rather than treating it as a normal part of life. Thinking that our children couldn’t possibly know we’re having sex, or that we can only have sex when they’re asleep or out of the house, is a good example of how we treat sex as something ‘different’.

Normalise it in your family: from the earliest age, let your children know that Mummy and Daddy like to have private “cuddle time”. Explain to them that when we have lots of cuddles together we make lots of love for each other and for the whole family. Kids love cuddles, so they understand why Mummy and Daddy cuddle too. They don’t need to know the details. Just keep things simple and use age-appropriate language.

This means that you can... read more

#169: The Three Pillars of Love

Jacqueline Hellyer - Friday, August 05, 2016

 I was honored once to give the reading at a friends’ wedding. They’d chosen a reading they liked, but wanted it ‘sexed up a bit’ - and who better to ask? Like most wedding readings it was beautiful and poetic and spoke all about love and commitment and sharing and respecting - all good and important aspects of marriage - but nothing about sex and intimacy. As my friends rightly said: “It’s our sexual connection that brought us together and it’s what makes our relationship unique - so we want that celebrated in our wedding ceremony too!”

So, in the reading, I pointed out that a marriage (or any long-term relationship) is like a tripod. It has three legs: friends, partners and lovers. When all three are strong, you have a strong relationship, when they’re wobbly or missing, so is your relationship. 

Being friends means just that: enjoying each other’s company, sharing conversation and activities, and generally being good companions.

Being partners means being teammates in the game of life: being able to successfully run your household and family, managing the logistical parts of life.

Being lovers means maintaining the ‘mmm’ factor, that special energy that connects you in a way unlike... read more

#168: Seven Benefits of Attending a Couples Retreat

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, July 30, 2016

I’m back from running another gorgeous Couples Retreat in the Blue Mountains last weekend. I’m feeling all loved up myself from being surrounded by couples celebrating their love and honouring their sexuality as an expression of that love. It really is such a wonderful experience that I want to tell you all the good reasons to attend.

I was going to write this myself, and then I received this feedback from one couple who attended - and so I figured that rather than me waxing lyrical about it, it’d be much better for you to hear from the participants themselves!

* * * * * * * * *
Hi Jacqueline,

We want to give you some formal feedback on what was an amazing weekend.

We both feel it was THE BEST investment we have ever made as a couple.

We had so much fun on the weekend but that is just a fraction of the value as we learned tools that will serve us for the rest of our lives.

(1) We were hoping it would allow us to derive more enjoyment out of our sex lives. These expectations have already... read more

#159: Practice Expressing Your Feelings For Greater Connection and Better Sex

Jacqueline Hellyer - Sunday, May 08, 2016

A key to intimacy is expressing your feelings. Not your thoughts, your feelings: being able to share with your partner how you are feeling and being able to hear what he or she is sharing with you.

It's not an easy thing to do. More commonly people hold back out of fear of a negative reaction from their partner. So they end up playing this weird dance of trying to mind-read what the other wants and feels, and generally getting it wrong.

An exercise I give couples to improve this skill is every evening to have a chat over a cup of tea or coffee and take it in turns to share how you’re feeling.

Some people are fine with that level of guidance; others struggle and need more direction. If you’re in the latter category, here’s an activity for you.

Set aside some time for a chat, maybe after dinner, or if you’ve got young children, once they’ve gone to bed. Do not do this in front of the TV. Sit somewhere comfortable, and if it feels right, have a cup of tea together. Humans have been sharing over cups of tea for centuries. It’s comforting and bonding. read more

#151: Radical Honesty

Jacqueline Hellyer - Thursday, January 28, 2016

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels
I'm always amazed at what happens when a couple is radically honesty with each other.

Let me share a couple of recent examples:

In one case, a young man told his wife that he didn’t find her sexually attractive and never really had. He had naturally felt he couldn’t tell her that for fear of insulting and upsetting her, but he was really finding it hard to have sex with her because of this feeling.

With my encouragement, he told her how he truly felt, which was, as expected, insulting and upsetting for her. However because they were able to have this conversation from a gentle, open, sharing place, he could give her the space to sit with the information. There was no intensity of emotion on his part, no aggression, no judgment or condescension or fear, and this enabled her to sit with the news, process it calmly and accept it.

On his part, releasing this huge burden, this terrible secret he’d been keeping, freed him up enormously.

The outcome: he actually opened up to the possibility, and then the reality, that he did find his... read more

#143: Tantra: The Art of Mindful Sex

Jacqueline Hellyer - Thursday, October 15, 2015

What is Tantra?

Essentially, it’s mindful sex. Or to be a little broader: mindful loving. Loving with presence and focus, fully engaged physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Mindful sex means that:

  • your monkey chatter mind is stilled, so your brain can focus creatively and connectedly;
  • your body has heightened awareness, fully using each of its five senses, so there is great feeling throughout the whole body;
  • you’re focused on the whole body, and even beyond the body, not just the genitals;
  • there is a palpable energetic flow within you and between you, you feel connected;
  • your sexual play flows in peaks and valleys, from intensity to subtlety and everywhere in between;
  • you communicate verbally and physically with ease and understanding;
  • you feel both deep and light: deep in feeling and light in freedom;
  • orgasms may or may not happen, it’s the pleasure of the process not specific outcomes that matter;
  • the encounter leaves you feeling recharged and reinvigorated;
  • you find that the whole of life improves, you are healthier, more vital and feel a positive joyful outlook on life.
With mindfulness a quick snuggle under the covers can be as profound as hours of play on a weekend away. It’s about what’s happening in... read more

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