Are you struggling to maintain a healthy sex life with your partner? or wondering why your sex life has changed over the years? Perhaps you can't seem to perform like you used to?
Today's podcast guest is one of Australia's most experienced and qualified Sex and Relationship Therapists. Jacqueline Hellyer. She has tremendous experience working with couples and men in overcoming the issues holding them back toward meaningful sex. She is a master of sexuality and helping couples reawaken a jaded sex life.
Today's episode explores how sexuality has transformed over time, the importance of a healthy sex life and how to keep it alive. It's an episode you won't want to miss.
Want more? Follow Jacqueline Hellyer
Please note that this episode contains explicit language. We suggest if you have children around, stop this episode now and listen to it later. Enjoy.
Jessica: Welcome to Flip the Script podcast, where we flip the narrative on issues that affect men's health.
Louie: Our aim is to talk about the weird, the wonderful, and perhaps the unspoken issues that affect men so you can feel empowered and back to living your best life.
Jessica: Let's get into it.
Jessica: Welcome back to flip the script podcast. I'm here as always with Louie.
Louie: Hey everyone.
Jessica: And today, we are so excited because we have an epic guest on our podcast. Her name is Jacqueline Hellyer. She is a sex and relationship guru, and she's one of the leading voices in what we call the third wave of sexuality, which basically means moving beyond shame, beyond sleeves, into meaningful sex. She is an accredited psychosexual therapist, and professional certified coach, and has a bachelor of biochemistry and human science, a master’s in the science of sexual health, and a master of consciousness, spirituality, and transpersonal psychology, just to name a few. We are so grateful to have you here Jacqueline.
Jacqueline: It's a pleasure to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
Jessica: So, I want to delve straight into where this all began for you. What led you to become such an influential expert in sex intimacy and relationships?
Jacqueline: Gosh, I mean, look, there's so many pathways here. I've had a pretty wibbly wobbly kind of a career. But at one point when I had three young children, including a baby, I wrote a book on how to keep your sex life going when children come along, because it's a time when people struggle and I saw so many of my peers struggling. And that made my clients want to talk more about sex and then your media sex staff, and I decided that I should probably get qualified in that. There's an awful lot of unqualified people in this field. So, I did the masters in sexology, qualified as a psychosexual therapist. And yeah, I mean, it's fantastic because it's an area of life that we all do, it's an integral part of being human, but in our society, we don't talk about it.
Jacqueline: I mean, there's a lot of sex out there and we all think we're sex positive, but we're not sex comfortable, right? We're not good at the intimate, the personal. We get no sex education whatsoever. If we're lucky, we get a little bit of reproduction education, which is very straightforward, yeah? Put our domain in slot B, jiggle a bit, and wait nine months. And if you don't want a baby, put a condom on it, right? We get told nothing about negotiating, about pleasure, about knowing what we want, about knowing what's okay and not okay. And we certainly get nothing about how our sexuality changes over a lifetime, about how sexuality changes depending on how we're feeling, about how it needs to be a co-creation between two people. We're locked into very archaic, not very satisfying and very juvenile models of sexuality that are just based on thousands of years of sexual oppression, under the patriarchy and under religious ideologies.
Jacqueline: And we are just like kids in the candy store, like, "What are we supposed to do here? What do we do?" We throw our young people into sexuality with no guidance, nothing from school, nothing from their parents, because their parents have got it all screwed up as well. And it's like Lord of the Flies, all the young people trying to figure it out. And that's where we get our basic sexual information from and we think, "Well, that's normal," whatever's happening in adolescence. And then we try and carry that through for the rest of our lives. We don't try and carry anything else through from our adolescence. We are actually kind of know that most of our adolescence is also just discovering, not really sure. Yeah.
Jacqueline: So most people are, are totally clueless about how to navigate sexuality, right from the beginning all the way through, till late old age, when we should still be being sexual because it's such a beautiful thing. No one looks at that. Oh, there's a very few number of people like myself, who have taken an onboard to really investigate it and understand it, of course from the biology, the biomedical side is important, but it's actually a tiny part of the whole thing around our sexuality. There's a psychological, the social, the emotional, the historical, the anthropological, the philosophical, for me, because there's an existential element to what sexuality's all about. But our society is very, very, very narrow in what we look at, and starting to change, starting to change. But there you go, there's a little bit of a blurb to get us started.
Jessica: I love it. I think Louie and I resonate with it a lot, because obviously, us having the fortunate position working for Optima Health, we get the pleasure of talking about this type of topic a lot, but we know, before even getting into this space, there was so much stigma, nobody talked about it. So, how can you learn and evolve your thinking when nobody talks about it? And all these things happen in closed doors, all this shame, like you were saying, that you are that leader in that space in breaking down that shame that a lot of people have in terms of their relationship with themselves, their sexuality and their partner.
Louie: The amount of times I've spoken to men who are more in their older age, they're past having children and it's just about themselves and their partner, but they can't have sex and then what they're missing out of that, and they don't really get any help from the professionals out there. Maybe they speak to their doctor or their friends about it as well, but there's no one really out there that can help them with this. Like Jacqueline touched on, it's very narrow with what sex is used for when it's reproduction, and that's usually around religion, but it's interesting how further education has taught her about the different types of what sex actually can do for you, and that's, I think, what we really need to show people, the other reasons for sex and what it can do for you and the benefits of that.
Jacqueline: Yeah, absolutely. It's not about behaviours. It's about the "why." Until we start looking at why? What's this about? Why do we do this? If we just think it's about, our genitals should be performing in a certain way, it all comes down to, "Can the man get an erection and can the woman lubricate and have a penis go inside her vagina without pain?" As though that's it. As though it's like brushing your teeth or something.
Jacqueline: It just misses all the goodness about what human sexuality is all about, which is essentially about bonding through pleasure. That's why humans have sex. We don't have sex to reproduce, that's a tiny bit of human sexuality. We have sex to bond. That's why we evolved to be about the only mammal that has sex outside of reproduction. It's quite interesting, and one even looks at that.
Jacqueline: I mean, do we even know why humans evolved to be so sexual? It's because we've got big brains and big skulls, and we've got to give birth really early. So our infants are totally helpless. And a single mother, in prehistoric times, could never have raised an infant on her own. Not like other mammals, the babies cling to their backs, or tot along behind them, or hang out in the den while she goes and gets food. Yeah, no, our babies are way too helpless for years, right?
Jacqueline: So there was actually evolutionary pressure for the dads to actually hang around and help. We're the only animals that really have fatherhood, the others, you only need the males to impregnate and then they can piss off. The males don't want to have sex with the females unless she's in heat. They only do it for reproduction. But humans, way back in the dim, dark, early, early years of prehistory, the males that hung around had more successful offspring.
Jacqueline: And they probably, I don't know who did it first, but you know organisms, they actually had sex for some reason other than to have babies, and it felt good. And it got the oxytocin flowing, and the endorphins and they looked at each other and were like, "Oh, like you, you're nice. I stay." And so, there was this evolutionary pressure for couples to stay together, to have successful offspring, to keep the species going, right? Humans actually evolved through love and pleasure. That is what makes us so sexual.
Jacqueline: And it also explains why older people are still sexual, because we needed the grandparents to be loved up and helping out with the kids, and the aunties and uncles and the whole little tribe that we were growing up in, right? So this is what we were doing for millions, hundreds of thousands of years. And given that I've spent, last count, I'm up to about 10,000 clinical hours, plus another few thousand in retreats and workshops and stuff, talking to people one on one. Yeah? And just as many men as women, it's pretty half and half, lots of couples, lots of individuals. When you say, why do we have sex? It's all about, because it feels good and it connects us.
Louie: That's exactly right. I mean, that's why at the end of the day, you want to do something that makes you feel good. And the reproduction part of it is really not what we are doing or having sex for teenagers, where, when they start exploring their bodies and they get the hormone start flushing through, why are they having sex? Older people, when they've already had the children, why are they having sex? It's very interesting that this is something that we can do for such a long period of time. And it is so pleasurable, but there are so many restrictions put on it by society.
Jacqueline: Yeah. And all of those, like I always say, we live in a sexually dysfunctional society and we're all microcosms of that major sexual dysfunction. Like even when we say the word sex, what are you actually referring to? Are you referring to intercourse? Are you talking about the penis in the vagina? In which case, what are same sex attracted people doing? What if your penis is having an erection? What if the vagina doesn't want to invite in a penis at that time?
Jacqueline: We've got this really linear view of sex, right? You do it because you're horny. You're aiming for the genital friction, anything else is just foreplay, it doesn't count, it's just heading towards that. And you got to, if you had to try, you've got to get that penis in the vagina and it's got to shag until it ejaculates, and that's when you stop. I always say to people, "How do you know when you stop having sex? When the man ejaculates?" Oh my God. What if he ejaculates too soon or too late, or can't even get into the vagina? Or is it in the vagina and then is having a rest? Oh my God, no, we're not hitting our KPI, there's a problem.
Louie: Well, I mean, when you do speak to people when they think there's a problem.
Louie: How do you, I guess, talk to them about it? Like you touched on, if it's too soon, they ejaculate or they don't ejaculate, or it's too tight or not lubricated. Yeah. What are other ways, I guess, do you speak to them about sex and how to have a healthy sexual relationship?
Jacqueline: Well, I mean, interesting, just coming to that. When someone comes to me and they might say, "I have premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction." And I'm like, "Okay. So what's the problem?" And there is silence. We're like, "I just told you, premature ejaculation. I've got a label, got a label for my sexual dysfunction." And I'm like, "Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I heard you, but what's the problem?" And at this point they're getting a little confused, "Aren't you supposed to be some sex guru and you don't know what premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction is?" I'm like, "Of course I know what the label is. I'm asking you, why is this a problem for you?" Right?
Louie: There's something else happening.
Jacqueline: Yeah. Some people might be fine with that. Why is it a problem for you? Now they can start looking at why is it a problem, like premature ejaculation, why is it a problem? Well, maybe my partner's not satisfied. Maybe I'm not satisfied because it didn't... I wanted to have longer intercourse, or receiving oral sex or whatever it is that's happening. Yeah? I'm like, "Okay, so let's look at that." If for instance, if the problem is that my partner's not satisfied. Well, why are you stopping? Why are you stopping, why don't you keep going?
Louie: There's other ways, is that what you're trying to say? There's other ways to satisfy your partner.
Jacqueline: Yeah. And what's going on for her, right? So, quite often, the partner's like, "Actually I'm fine. I'm not worried, you're the one who's worried about this." Because he's got it into his head, that he should last a certain amount of time and doesn't know why. Sure, if you want to last longer, I can tell you about how to last longer, but we need to have a reason why you're wanting to do this. I mean, if your partner's satisfied or she doesn't want you to go longer, then why is this an issue? It's the same if there's erectile dysfunction, why is there a problem? So your penis is having a rest, why is this a problem? "Oh, because I'm a man, I'm supposed to stay hard for ages, I've seen it in porn."
Jacqueline: Yeah. I'm like, "So, that's porn, that's entertainment. We're not talking about entertainment here, we're talking about YouTube making love, right?" Like tell me, why do you even need to have an erection to make love? Right? Actually getting people to start questioning what their assumptions are. There's nothing wrong with an erection, a hard cock is a very fine thing, right? But not all the time, like there's a lot of the time, if you've got an erection, it's like, "Ah, I don't want this, go away." It's totally inappropriate, right?
Jacqueline: So it's like, "So what's going on here?" And very often it comes down to so many myths. So many myths that we are just brought up with, that are inculcated in our minds and we've never, ever examined them to find out what's going on, which then paradoxically causes so much pressure, that it has the opposite effect of what you want. And when we're talking penises, oh my God, the amount of pressure that penises are under seriously, I'm surprised any of them ever stand up. There is so much pressure on the penis, yeah? And it's getting worse. With porn, there's even more pressure and I've seen younger and younger guys coming in, going, "What's wrong with me because my penis is not like what I see on porn."
Louie: And it's more accessible for them at a much younger age now, because they've got their phones and they can access that any time now.
Jacqueline: Anyone under about 25, 30, has grown up in significantly through their early sexual years, seeing everything, seeing everything. I get these young guys coming in and they're like, "Oh, my penis is too small." Based on what? The 12 inch longs you see on porn? Or like, "Oh, it doesn't seem to work properly." I'm like, "What? A woman doesn't go into paroxysms of orgasm just by looking at your major member." The [inaudible 00:15:05] because it's just so huge.
Louie: That would affect their confidence, that's for sure.
Jacqueline: Yeah. Porn is terrible for men's confidence. Everyone always talks about porn as though it turns men into these raging maniacs who just want to abuse women. I'm like, "Not in my experience." I mean, I'm sure it does some places, but it actually makes men feel really insecure and just adds to the pressure on penises.
Which is interesting, because it circles back to your first point where there's no relative point of education. Because we're not talking about it, the only point of reference they have is porn. So, I think that's what... I love the work that you're doing, getting more people to talk about it, so there's more points of discussion so people can learn, like normalising penises come in all shapes and sizes, sex come in all shapes and sizes. You know what? Check in with yourself. Are you doing this because you genuinely want to find an answer to this question, or is it because you think society needs you to find an answer to that question?
Jacqueline: Yeah, absolutely. And people don't know how to check in with themselves sexually. And they think that they should just somehow know magically what their partner wants. We've got this huge myth that sex should just happen. We shouldn't have to talk about it, it should just be amazing. Isn't that what happens in the movies and on porn? You have no idea what's going on behind the sets there, right? But we're not taught to know what do we want? And we're not taught to find out what our partner wants, assuming they know what they want.
Jacqueline: And we're not taught that's sex, yeah, and sexual intimacy, and I actually don't like using the word sex, because everyone goes straight to intercourse, right? It's all penis and vagina stuff. That it's a mutual co-created thing, right? Everyone's got all these assumptions about what it should be and what I should be achieving. I've got these KPIs and it's all so linear, and there's pass or fail, you're doing it right. And oh my God, and most people are stressing themselves out. And if there's one thing that cannot happen when you are stressed, it's sexual arousal.
Louie: That's right.
Jacqueline: And most people, whether they're not lubricating or they're not getting erections or there's pain because they're tight, it's because they're stressed.
Louie: We see it a lot. It's becoming more common, 18, 19, 20 year olds, having sexual dysfunction. And it has to be around their anxiety, because at that age, you really shouldn't have any health issues or anything that's causing these issues for you, so what is it really about?
Jacqueline: It's the same with the older guys I find, they're stressed. Very often with the older guys, they think they should be able to still "perform" like they could when they were young. Like they think that they should be able to get an erection just spontaneously. So many guys I meet, who say they're not interested in sex or they've lost their mojo. What they're really saying is they're not getting spontaneously aroused, and they think they should, right? And when they're young, in their teen ages, it's often very easy to get spontaneously aroused, right? When you're older, and people say, "Oh, it's our age." I'm like, "A load of crap, it's stress."
Jacqueline: We get older, we've got responsibilities, we've got mortgages, we're high in our profession, we've got responsibilities, we've got children, we don't get to relax. The evenings are full on and you collapse in the bed late at night. It's not surprising most people are going ugh. Because they think that they should magically turn on the lust, like the lust just comes from nowhere. And I'm like, "It doesn't." And then they say to me, "It did in the early days. It did in the early days." I'm like, "No, it didn't. Think about what happened in the early days." You had days of anticipation. You had days of looking forward to seeing your new love object.
Jacqueline: And then when you met, you prepped yourself, you were feeling good, you were looking good. My anticipation, you have a great night, there's lots of discovery. You were engrossed in each other with the talking and the dancing and everything. Of course, when you get home, you want to rip your clothes off and fuck. Of course, but that wasn't spontaneous, it was days of preparation for that. And now, with all the stress of everyday life, you think that you're going get to sex with that same approach? No. No, we need a different approach. But no one teaches anyone the different approach. And as I say, you need a chilled build.
Jacqueline: You've got to down regulate, you've got to get the stress away. You've got to find a space and you've got to sink into yourself, relaxing into yourself, and then you need to connect with your partner. If you're not connecting with your partner, you're not going to want to have sex, right? And you're not going to build towards that. Now, even if one person is horny, and sometimes people, because it's very common, and I actually see it more commonly, the woman has got more sexual drive than the man does, right? And all my colleagues say the same thing.
Jacqueline: So, very commonly, nothing's going to happen. You're not going to get the desire happening and the connecting happening and something erotic happening between you, unless you're actually together. And even if one person's over there being horny, you're like, "Well, fine." Horniness is nothing. Horniness is just a physiological thing, it doesn't mean that you desire your partner or that you want to have a beautiful encounter with them. Just because one person's there going, "Well, come on, I'm ready. What's wrong with you?" Yeah? It doesn't mean that the other one's necessarily going to be able to go, "Bang, I'm there."
Jacqueline: This is where we need to get... And I often joke that I should be called a getting to sex therapist rather than a sex therapist, because I spend so much more time on the getting there, right? Most couples, once they're there, they're okay. I give them a few tips and ideas and permission. But other than that, it's all about, well, how do two people, busy, tired, modern people, come together wanting to create beauty and pleasure and connection. What leads to that? It's actually got nothing to do with whether you got a hard on or not.
Jessica: We definitely want to know that. What are some tips? Because, as you said, a lot of busy moms and dads, especially new moms and dads, when they got babies and that sense of connection, the health and vitality that you get when you have sex, endorphins, the hormones, everything is so important. But when you've got so many other priorities, how do you do the lead up?
Jacqueline: Right. So there's a few things here, right? And I always say to people think about connection, don't think about sex and arousal, right? Because it's just distracting, okay? If you're tired, new parents or whatever. Yeah, you don't want to do anything that seems like it's a lot of effort. So, you've got to come back to the moment. Where am I at right now? What am I wanting? And if all you want is to have a nice cuddle and a good conversation, to me, that's sex, because that's connecting, right? You need to have the kind of relationship that enables sexual connection, right? And most people don't have the kind of relationships that enable sexual connection, because it starts the moment you wake up.
Jacqueline: Do you look at each other and say, "Hey, good morning doll, how'd you sleep?" Or you're like, "Oh, God, I got to get to work. Oh, the baby's crying. Oh, oh." And resentment because you did the nighttime shift and your partner didn't, right? And do you go, "Hey darling, would you like a cup of tea? I know you have bad sleep." Or you're just like, "Oh, I got to get off to work." Do you say, "Hey doll, have a lovely day, kiss, kiss, nice hug, looking forward to seeing you this evening." Or do you just go, "Oh, off now, see you later."
Jacqueline: Is there a connection throughout the day in what I call relationship vitamins. Tiny little bits of connection throughout the day, a nice little text. Not, "Don't forget to pick up the milk," but, "Hey, thinking of you. Hey, how's your day going?" A little heart emoji. Lots and lots of little things, right? It's like you're feeding each other these little bundles of loving energy, but not just love, there's always a little sexual friction, it's like a little flirt there, there's a little something that is not just platonic, subtle. I'm not talking about raunchy stuff.
Jacqueline: I always say to people, "You ought to think of your sexual energy, not as being horny, but it's a vital life energy that flows through you and it infuses the love you feel for your partner with something more vital and just a loveliness." But that has to be cultivated. Not only do we get no sex education, we get no relationship education. None, nothing. The most important thing in life, like longitudinal scientific studies that have been going on for decades have shown, that the most important factor in health and wellbeing in life is the quality of your primary relationship. More important than finance, even more important than health, status, all that sort of stuff. The quality of your primary relationship. And we get no training, nothing, nothing at all, right?
Jacqueline: So a lot of what I'm doing is teaching people how to have a good quality relationship, but even people who are trained in relationships, aren't trained in sexuality, which is insane, right? So, me and my colleague who is here in my clinic, are we the only ones out there? There's a few, but not many, right? There's a lot of sexologists who aren't trained in relationships. That does not make sense, does not compute, right? As though sex is something that happens outside of relating? I mean, okay, maybe if you're masturbating. But even a one night stand, there's a relationship going on, there's two people. Anyway.
Jacqueline: So yeah. So we have to learn, as a couple, how do we stay connected with each other? I sometimes say, it's a bit like you're on a simmer, the two of you are simmering. It's like, "Oh, I like you. Oh, this is good." And when the kids go down at the end of the day, you don't just veg out in front of the television or on Instagram or whatever. You actually turn the television off and you play some nice music and you sit down and you have a chat. And that is the closest to what you did in the early days, where you were actually focused on each other, you were actually interested in each other. And you talked about things other than the mortgage and the kids, right?
Jacqueline: You're actually interested in each other, it connects your mind, it opens your hearts to each other. You say positive things like, "Well, this is tough with the kids or whatever, but yay go us, we're doing well." You're way more likely to get genital. How do you say it's all sex and sometimes you bring your genitals into it? And your genitals are much more likely to respond if you're feeling good and connected, and most importantly of all, you feel safe. Because if you don't feel safe, you're not going to get aroused. You can't, you literally cannot. So if there's any pressure, there's expectation, if there's fear or shame or any of those kind of things going on, it's not going to happen, it can't. It's the most basic, basic thing about sexuality that most people are unaware of. It can't, it's not possible.
Jessica: And so, with communicating to your partner, obviously the connectedness is really important, but maybe, is it that time at the end of the day when you are both feeling relaxed, is that the best time to maybe communicate, maybe some things that you want out of your sexual intimacy or needs that you want desired, that resolved or maybe even how you're feeling in that moment, maybe you can't show up with an erection during that time, but maybe you can pleasure her, I don't know. What's the best way to communicate in time and things like that?
Jacqueline: Yeah, absolutely. And communication is of the essence, right? And so many people think that you shouldn't communicate about sex, or you shouldn't have to, or if you have to, it's going to be a problem, and the only time they ever talk about sex is when it's a problem, which is really not sexy. I often make analogies with food. I use a lot of food analogies, because we're very good with food in our society. We're very good at identifying what we want. We feel okay if we want different things, I like my food a bit saltier than you. Fine, we hold off the salt. Yeah. You want a second serving and I don't. It's cool, it's not a big deal, right? Or I'm not feeling very hungry right now. Great. We have no problems communicating food and co-creating an eating experience that suits both of our needs, right?
Jacqueline: But when it comes to sex, it's, "Oh, it's all terrible, it's all this big thing." And when we can get as comfortable talking about our sexuality, as we are about food, then we're okay, right? And my clients always stop seeing me when they get that comfortable. "Yeah. We don't need you anymore because we are really comfortable talking about our sexuality. Thank you." That's what it's all about. Because when two people can do that, and they've got rid of all the myths that hamper it and all the stupid beliefs that everyone is chocolate block full of, then it's actually really not that hard, it's no more difficult than negotiating what you're going to have for dinner, right? And a hell of a lot easier than negotiating where you're going for holidays, or whether you should visit the in-laws for lunch on Sunday, right? Those are difficult things.
Jacqueline: Yeah. So, and I often say, I mean, you can see all of this on my blog. I've got hundreds and hundreds of articles on my blog, through all my different concepts and one day I'll have time to write the big book. Everyone's always saying, "Where is your book?" I'm like, "Oh, God, I'm too busy. So busy saving sex lives, I don't have time to write the book, but I will." All in my blog. So just search in my blog and you'll find, and it's all podcasted as well, so. But three types of sexual communication. And one is what I'm talking about here and what you are suggesting here, is that it's the chit chat.
Jacqueline: You talk about sex as a natural part of life. It's like it's a hobby. I say sex should be your hobby, it's something you do for pleasure in your leisure time, right? And just as if you played tennis or taken up a language or scuba diving, whatever your hobby was, you would be talking about it, sharing what you like about it, what you're concerned about, how you could try different things, right? And you're doing that outside the bedroom, outside the sexual act itself. You're going for a walk, having a chat in the evening, "Hey, how's our sex life going? Got any thoughts? Let's listen to one of Jacqueline's podcasts and have a chat about what she's talking about, right? A lot of my clients do that to just get you used to talking about sex in a really natural way, right?
Jacqueline: We also need to get a lot better at talking about sex in the moment, and I often give couples activities to get better at talking, asking for what they want in the moment, responding, giving feedback in the moment, because most people are really bad at that. Once sex, this linear process starts, we just shut up until he's ejaculated and then we're done. So, we've got to get a lot better at talking in the moment.
Jacqueline: And the other time that I think is really good for communicating around sex is when you've finish, I call it the debrief, sounds a little bit serious, but there you are lying and you postnuptial bliss and it's like, "Oh, doll, that was nice. What don't you like about it? Quite like this? Or I thought about this." Because it's just right there and depending how much energy you've got, but it also can make it... Extends the pleasure and the connection and the loveliness, just by having a nice little, "Oh, that was nice." Whatever.
Louie: Yeah, no. It's preparing you, talking about it beforehand and also getting out of your head and not prioritising, like you mentioned before, running off to work, if you're running a bit late, prioritising the right things and not the other things where you're going to block your partner out or stress, subconsciously maybe, block out your partner. And then you have an interesting thought when you touched on chatting, during and also after. So, it would be interesting to see how many people are doing that, how comfortable they are during sex to stop and-
Jacqueline: No, it's not. No, it's not. Most don't even think that you should, some people think it's wrong to need to talk during sex or that it's unsexy. I'm like, "What's unsexy about, darling, could you just slow it down a bit? This is nice, but even slow will be better." I'm like, "That's not unsexy." Yeah. And then they go, "I can never do what you do. Jacqueline." I'm like, "You have to learn to do this too, I wasn't born this way. I've been just as repressed in the matter as everyone else was."
Jessica: I guess it's practice, right? The more that you do it, the more comfortable you'll be.
Jacqueline: Yeah, totally. And one of the lovely things about being in a relationship, is that you can do it together, you can support each other in it. It's actually harder when I'm working with people who are trying to get into a relationship and they might be learning all of this stuff, they're learning all this from me, but the people they're dating don't necessarily, and they've got all those limited beliefs that most of us have around sexuality.
Jessica: Is there any other ways that you can connect to your partner outside of the bedroom to, obviously, as you said, it's basically intimacy outside, equals more intimacy inside.
Jacqueline: Yeah. It doesn't come from nowhere. You can't be this busy, busy, busy, person all day and then suddenly you're sex God in the bedroom. No. So you need to be doing these things that are connecting you, and when the connecting is making you feel good too, right? What you're doing is you're keeping your nervous systems, nice and calm. You're getting all the happy hormones flowing, even the oxytocin flowing, right? Throughout the whole of your life together. And if you're doing things that make you feel good as an individual as well, right? As I said, everyone's a stress head these days. If you are stressed and tired, the main things that get in the way of people wanting sex or being able to get aroused, is stress and tiredness. What are modern people? Stressed and tired, and distracted by all of these devices that suck our attention, that feed us entertainment so that we don't have to do anything.
Jacqueline: And so we think if we have to do something that it's easy or not at all. It is. It's always easier not to. It's way, way, way easy just to get sucked into Netflix or hours of social media, than it is to put the damn device down, turn on some music, turn to your partner and say, "Hey, let's go for a walk. Well, let's just sit and have some time together." No, people are just dragged into these other worlds because everyone's in their own world, because they're on their own screen doing their own thing. And one of them might go, "Sex?" And the other one's like, "You got to be joking." But more likely, I see more clients, where they've both lost their mojo. They're like, we're just not doing it anymore.
Louie: So, like autopilot?
Jacqueline: Yeah. And over, and over, and over again, people say to me, "What's wrong with me? I'm not wanting sex." And I'm like, "Well, what are you doing? How going about it?" You do not have a sex possible life. You do not have a sex friendly relationship. If that was my life, I wouldn't be having sex either. And if I was, I wouldn't be enjoying it, because I wouldn't be ready for it.
Jessica: Your environment plays such a pivotal role in how you show up in your sexual intimacy. So, if your environment is flooded with distractions, television, TV, work, all these other modern age or just generalized distractions, you're not going to be able to focus on that thing that's so important. So it's almost like maybe removing some of that at certain times of the day, or reducing the amount of time that you spend with those distractions so you can show up in the most basic way, which is that fundamental human need to be sexually connected.
Jacqueline: Yeah, absolutely.
Louie: I mean, what would you say if somebody wanted to do that? So they've realized there's an issue. They've realized that that's what they've been doing, they've been stressing about work. They've been on their phone. They've been distracted. They've gone to their partner, who's probably the same way because this is probably the first time they've noticed about it. How do you start that conversation? "Look, we are distracted. We're not spending enough time with each other. This is stressing me out and I really want to just focus on us." Is that the best approach?
Jacqueline: Well, yeah, that's part of it. I mean, it depends on the individual, but I always get people to look really in detail about their lifestyle. Like we look at underlying beliefs that can get in the way, right? And we look at lifestyle stuff, that's getting in the way, right? I mean, if you said that I want to get super fit and have a buff body and you know, really fit and run a marathon. Well, that's not going to happen. If you don't create space in your life to go for a run or go to the gym. You can talk about it all you like, you can wish for it all you like, but if you're not creating the kind of lifestyle that enables you to get fit and healthy, it's not going to happen. It's like saying, "Oh, I wish I could afford my own house, I want to save the deposit." And then spending all your money. And it's the same with sex and intimacy.
Jacqueline: If you want to have a positive sexual, intimate lifestyle, you've got to create the conditions that enable that, it doesn't come from nowhere. I keep saying this to people over and over again, it doesn't come from nowhere. You were not as healthy as you are now because you are a slob and you don't do anything. No, you focus on it. You do something about it. I say to my clients, "The reason you can afford to come and see me is because you work really hard and you manage your finances, yeah? That takes effort and focus. The reason why you've got a terrible love life is because you're not putting that same focus and awareness and intention into your relationship and your sexuality." And people go, "Oh, I don't want to work on that."
Jacqueline: I'm like, "It's not work. In fact, it's the opposite of work." It's relaxing, it's rejuvenating, turning the telly off and having a conversation or a foot rub, or going and having a bath because you need to chill and maybe inviting your partner in or not, depending whether you need a bit of time on your own. A lot of people need time on their own before they can be with their partner, you know? We've got to do things to transition from the busyness of life to "ah," landing, landing. I'm home, right? I've left the rest of the world out there. We don't know how to transition and land. And then we have to transition again if we want to connect sexually, intimately. You can't just be, "Oh, well, I'm busy in the house doing this and blah, blah, blah." And you're over there and I'm over here and there's no connection.
Jacqueline: You might have landed in the home, but you're not landed in the "ah," back in the couple bubble, as I call it, doing sweet things, it's all good for you. When you have a quality relationship, of which your sexuality is such a part of it, at all levels, as I say. Just chilling is sexual, as far as I'm concerned, all the way through to genital engagement. It's rejuvenating. People who actually prioritize this are happier, healthier, they look younger, they're vibrant. Yeah, they're joyful, because this is why we're so sexual as human beings or we should be.
Jacqueline: But in the last few thousand years of oppression and we should be working hard, not having pleasure, and then the industrial revolution, we're all just cogs in the capitalist machine. And the amount people work these days is insane. It's insane. I often just say to my clients, "Give up, forget about having a sex life, you're not going to." And they're like, "Oh, but we want to." I'm like, "No, you don't." You don't, you're not willing to make any changes in your life. It's like going to a personal trainer and going, "I want to get fit," and then doing nothing. So I'm trying to be like, "No you don't. No you don't. You can't just turn up here every so often and have a chat."
Louie: And it always seems to happen when maybe the relationship's about to break, or their starting to get criticism from their partner when they want to actually do something.
Jacqueline: Yeah. Well, sadly too many people don't actually do something about it until it's pretty much too late. The resentment has built up over the years or there's been a crisis. Oh my God, the number of affairs I deal with. I deal with affairs on a daily basis because the couple, sadly, have not been able to talk openly about what's going on. Doctors will tell, people don't stop smoking until they get lung disease, or they don't eat well until they've had their heart attack. I mean, this is humans, this is what we do. We need a crisis before we actually do the right thing, because we're all so busy doing other things, we're all so distracted. We don't prioritize what really matters in life.
Jessica: Yeah. You have to be proactive in this space because it's a lot harder when the crisis has already happened, right?
Jacqueline: Oh, yeah. If you've got years of resentment behind it, it's a lot harder to deal with than if you start well and learn how to co-create, keep count... But this is the trouble, no one's given this information. They don't know how to do this. So, you can't blame anybody. It's hard, I wish I'd had this information when I was young. It would've saved me a lot of sadness and upset, to myself and my partners. I didn't know. I had to do multiple university degrees to figure this shit out. Talk to thousands of people to actually know what's going on.
Jacqueline: I mean, most of what I know, I wasn't even taught at sexological school at university.
Jessica: I guess it's so crazy. It's something that's thousands of years, we've been doing it, yet we're only starting to really see how important it is to learn in this space and apply these learnings.
Jacqueline: Millions of years. The homo species have been around for two million years. Homo sapiens sapiens, which is a species we are, has been around for 200,000 years.
Jessica: Really, I'm not great with history. So, thank you.
Jacqueline: Well, this is part of the problem, everyone's just looking at it right now and going, "Oh, what's wrong in this very minute?" Or, "What's happened over the last 10 or 20 years?" I'm like, "No, no, we need to go back a lot, lot, lot, lot, lot further, to really know what's going on.
Louie: Probably a lot of people's belief systems only go back to 2000, 3000 years as well, so there might not even be anything before them.
Jacqueline: Yeah, I know. Yeah. Yeah. Anyway, but I think it's useful. I mean, I've looked at that. And then when you realize, "Oh, we evolved to be sexual because it's connecting. Ah, we do it because we love each other and it makes us feel good." Because humans are a social species, we need to bond and feel good with other people, that's what we do.
Jacqueline: Actually, we didn't evolve to be cogs in the machine of a capitalistic ideology. No, that's not good for us, that's why we're all sick and stressed and getting cancer and suffering all the time. And this simple, beautiful thing we can do, which is just to connect with someone that we love. "Oh, I haven't got time for that." Yeah. And then it's like, "Oh, well, you don't want to have sex." Or, "My penis isn't working," whatever. "Ah, let's go and get some drugs." People stop, stop, stop, stop, stop. Hang on, could we just breathe? Just breathe for a moment. Let's calm down. Let's actually look at what's going on here. Yeah? Let's have a nice chat. Yeah. And guess what? Penises start working again.
Jessica: Yeah. It's good, like you said, to start with the why, be inquisitive and investigate a little bit further, and really calm the nervous system, I think that's the biggest thing that I'm really hearing. First things first, just calm down, and work out ways to calm your nervous system.
Jacqueline: Yeah. And then go slowly. I often say slow the fuck down, literally. Yeah. I hope I can say fuck on this podcast, I assume I can.
Jacqueline: Everyone's going to rate, like, "Oh, we've got 10 minutes and we've got to get to the end of our linear process." Like, "I'm not ready, but shove your penis in anyway." Or, "My penis isn't hard, so I'm going to think of something really dirty to get it hard. But, oh, that doesn't really feel loving, but I'm going to do it anyway because I've got to get my ejaculation happening, otherwise we fail." I say slow down, slow down. There's no KPI, other than that you're feeling connected and loved up and this feels good.
Jacqueline: If you don't have intercourse today, then maybe it'll be tomorrow, right? Or if you're halfway through some intercourse and that's enough, great. If you study advanced tantric sexual techniques, you don't even ejaculate, right? I just spent three days, the last three days, running a couples retreat. I run these beautiful couples retreats and it's all about, "Stop thinking that you got to get anywhere. Just be in the moment. See what's here for the two of you, in this moment." If you're both exhausted and baby's been crying all night long, you don't have to get dicks wet, that's not what you need. Or even if one of you wants to have a little bit of a solo pleasure, the other one can just look on. I love you. We've got these stupid ideas about what is a successful sexual encounter.
Louie: Well, I think they only have one ID.
Louie: Yeah. But what you're saying, it's about the whole act in itself before, during and after, and even way before.
Jacqueline: Yeah. And paradoxically, when you adopt this approach, you get way more that don't have functioning genitals that want to join together, in a more standard approach, right? It's the focusing on that, that's the problem though. We're just ahead of ourselves. "Oh, got to get there. Oh pressure." It's not happening. Yeah, don't, just have a nice chat. Pour a glass of wine, give each other a full massage, tell each other you love each other. And they're like, "God, remember when... Oh, yeah. The next thing you know. "Oh, okay. Let's get naked in the bedroom, shall we? This is nice."
Louie: Everything's been very great so far. It really does mirror what we are trying to do as well, because a lot of men's... That's what we do, they come to us and they just don't have any idea of what's going on.
Louie: So, they feel it's always on them, it's their responsibility. If they're not [inaudible 00:45:45]. If they're not able to do it, then they immediately rush to the internet and try and find an answer as to why. So it's been really good, I guess, for a lot of them to have a listen to this and understand really what the differences are and what they can do.
Jacqueline: Absolutely. Because men are beautiful. I love men. Every man I have that comes here. Like he wants to pleasure his partner. He wants to... But this is a lot, and I teach my women this as well. Men are under so much pressure to perform. They're supposed to know what to do and without talking about it without... And it's so sad.
Jacqueline: But when a couple can start talking, right? Understand, then it becomes a co-creation and a mutual thing, whatever they end up doing, and it's just lovely, lovely. It's supposed to be lovely, it's not supposed to be hot and heavy and raunchy and, "Yeah, yeah. Do me, big boy." It's supposed to be lovely, yeah? And sometimes it gets more erotic and longer from that, but ultimately it's just like, "Oh, this is nice." That's the feeling that we're going for. So, go for that, "Oh, nice." Not the hot and heavy, because we're all too tired.
Jessica: It's like a juicy warm hug.
Jacqueline: Yeah, yeah. Look, sometimes juicy, warm hugs can turn into hours of amazing play, but they're not going to start that way. You can't start with the intense, lustfulness. Start with a coming together and see what comes from that, yeah? That's how you keep your sex life going all lifelong
Jessica: And I love what you said as well, it's like taking the pressure off, remove the KPIs, remove the expectation the obsession around the destination and just enjoy the ride.
Jacqueline: Yeah. Absolutely, literally. Yes. Yes, absolutely.
Jessica: Well, it's been an absolute, incredible journey actually. Louie and I can definitely say we have learned a lot from you Jacquelyn. You are absolutely a great pleasure to have, and I could speak to you all day. If the listeners want to find out more about you, because I know that they will and we're probably going to get heaps of questions, where can they find you?
Jacqueline: Okay. So I've got a couple of websites. So there's my website, which is jacquelinehellyer.com, and there you'll get my blog and my podcast. There's online courses, there's information about couples of retreats and so forth. And then there's my clinic, The LoveLife Clinic, which is based in Sydney, in Rozelle, but of course we also do online sessions for people further afield. And I've got a couple of other great therapists working here also, highly trained in both sexological and relational therapy. So, love to help anyone who wants that kind of help. So we've got masses of resources in this website, actually I'm about to release a new website where it's much more integrated, both the clinic and the other stuff that I offer.
Jessica: We'll link all of that in the show notes and we'll make sure that we promote you so everyone's got you there and available for them to learn more. I know that there's, I was reading a couple of your blogs, there's really, really great information on there. And especially also, those people that want to get into more of the tantric sex or more of how to show up differently as a lover, there's some really cool, good tools there as well. Well, thank you again, Jacqueline.
Louie: Thank you for coming on.
Jessica: Hopefully we'll be able to speak to you very soon.
Jacqueline: Okay. Cheers.