Posts Tagged ‘sex therapy’

Christina Spaccavento: Male Fertility? Men Don’t Have A Biological Clock…Right?

Friday, August 24th, 2012

The risks to female fertility are all fairly well known, but what about our men folk? How much do we really know about the effects of our busy urban lives on the respective family jewels? Believe it or not, the modern man is just as vulnerable to fertility problems as his female counterpart!

There are a number of factors that can affect sperm health including lifestyle factors, environmental factors and even our choice in clothing. So what can men do to improve the potency of their punch?

If you’re a smoker, quit! Studies have shown that the concentration, motility, and morphology of sperm is affected by the toxic mixture of chemicals in cigarettes like nicotine, carbon monoxide, cadmium, and other mutagenic compounds [1].

Paternal smoking has also been associated with an increase in DNA damage to spermatozoa as well as higher incidences of birth defects and childhood cancer. And, if this isn’t enough, smoking is also widely recognised as a major cause of erectile dysfunction in men. Yes boys, the more you smoke, the higher your risk of impotence.

Eating a healthy diet rich in zinc and omega 3’s and regular exercise are also winners for the little fellas. Moderating alcohol intake will also alleviate ‘the brewer’s droop’, something most men will experience after a few too many.

Then there’s that invisible monster that is increasingly plaguing our lives; stress. If you’re working long hours there’s a good chance that your mates downstairs may be starting to feel a little out of their depth. Increased stress levels place heavier nutritional demands on the body to cope and sperm are way down the nutritional priority list when stress levels are high.

Environmental factors can also be major contributors to your sperm’s health. Industrial chemicals such as pesticides and synthetic oestrogenic substances that have crept into food can have negative effects on reproductive health. Going organic might not be a bad idea, but if you still buy from the supermarket, it’s essential that you wash your fruit and veggies well before eating them.

Statistics show that looser fitting underwear assists in maintaining optimum scrotal temperature, whilst reducing risks of overheating that can lead to sperm damage. If you’re looking to increase your fertility then it could help going back to the traditional boxer. And those tight jocks that look so good may be doing a little too much smuggling, so make sure you have some down-time in your more relaxed long johns.

But all jokes aside, fertility issues can become at times quite distressing when you’re trying to have children.  Many men even start to feel like what should be an unlimited love fest becomes a job.  If you find yourself in this sort of situation, getting some help from a Sex Therapist can give you and your partner some valuable support.

Christina is one of the very talented sex therapy professionals that MaXXX Black recommends. For information about sex therapy and counselling we encourage everyone to read our Community Links page.


1Zavos PM, Correa JR, Antypas S, Zarmakoupis-Zavos PN, Zarmakoupis CN. Effects of seminal plasma from cigarette smokers on sperm viability and longevity. Fertil Steril 1998;69:425–9.

Jacqueline Hellyer : What is Sex Therapy, Sex Coaching & Tantra Teaching?

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

I’m often asked what’s the difference between sex therapy and coaching, and where Tantra fits in. So here goes…

In a nutshell, Sex Therapy fixes sexual dysfunctions to make people sexually functional. Sex (and Relationship) Coaching, takes functional people and makes them exceptional. As I do both, I can help you fix the problems, and then take you beyond – far beyond – into the realm of exceptional! That’s where the Tantra comes in.

What is Sex Therapy?
Sex Therapy is a modality of sexual healing to help people with sexual dysfunctions become sexually functional. This involves addressing the psychological barriers to sexual health and well-being as well as providing sexual education and correction of limiting or false beliefs around sex and sexuality. Once healing has occurred, Sex Coaching can then take the individual or client to greater sexual awareness and fulfillment.

What is Sex Coaching?
Sex Coaching is pathway for sexual growth. Sex Coaching is a client-focused approach that works with sexually functional individuals and couples to enable them to deepen and expand their experience of sex, love and intimacy. Depending on the needs of the client, it may include ancient and esoteric teachings (see Tantra Teaching), sex education and instruction. The Coach helps the client to discover and enhance their own eroticism to create a love life that is one of ongoing growth and fulfillment.

What is Relationship Coaching?
Relationship coaching is a professional client-focused service where an essentially functional individual or couple is guided to create their desired relationship with effective support and information. The Coach enables the client(s) to become clear about their needs, hopes and desires, and to develop understandings and strategies to achieve these in a mutually supportive way. While past hurts and history may be addressed, the focus is more on moving forward, with the aim of enabling ongoing personal and relationship growth.

What is Tantra Teaching?
Tantra is a spiritual and energetic approach to sex and life that comes from ancient India. Along with the Taoists of China and Qidosha from North America, these approaches to sex, love and intimacy are much broader and deeper than conventional western understandings. Through practices that include breathing, mindfulness, moving energy and sensual touch, you will learn to connect with your partner is a way that is real, deep, erotic, poetic and intensely beautiful. Tantra sessions do not involve nudity or intimate touch – that’s the homework!

Book in for private sessions or attend Tantra Fusion Workshops to take your relationship and sex life to functional and beyond!

Jacqueline Hellyer: Are Humans Monogamous – and if not, what does that mean?

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

So carrying on from my previous two posts showing that the old myths of men being naturally promiscuous to sow their seed, and women being monogamous because it’s ‘natural’ for a woman to be less sexual, have no basis in fact.

The former because it is a misuse of evolutionary theory, and the latter because it is based on historical suppression of women’s sexuality not their biological reality.

So what is real – are humans monogamous or not? Is monogamy a natural state that all humans gravitate to, or is it a social norm superimposed upon a different biological basis?

Well, it seems that monogamy is not biologically-based, it’s socially based. I can’t go into great depth in a blog post, so I recommend you read the brilliant new book “Sex At Dawn” by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha. It’s a thoroughly researched and very entertaining read. They look at our biology, at prehistoric remains, at our closest ape relatives, at existing and recent hunter-gatherer societies, and present a very plausible argument that we haven’t evolved to be monogamous, that the concept of ‘possessing’ a partner exclusively is a social development, not a biological one.

This is certainly a view that I had come to based on my own research and observations, clinical and personal; so it’s good to see it reinforced by academics who have done the proper analytical research.

So if we’re not naturally monogamous, what does that mean for us – that we should all start hanging out at swingers clubs and inviting the neighbours over for a “casual drink’?

Of course not. I’m not talking about going from one extreme to another! What I am saying is that we need to take the issue seriously, not cover it up with fear or power-based morality and narrow-mindedness.

These days we do plenty of things that we weren’t evolved for (such as sitting in front of a computer writing a blog post). But if we go too much against our innate selves, if we start fighting our selves, then we’re in for trouble. To use the computer example I just gave, our bodies have evolved to be active, and overly sedentary people risk obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc.

So if we aren’t naturally monogamous, forcing ourselves to be monogamous is not going to work. In the past it was avoided by repressing women’s sexuality so severely that it was barely possible to be non-monogamous. But now that women don’t get stoned, or burnt or locked up in mental institutions for being sexual, and now that women aren’t forced to stay in relationships for the sake of economic necessity, what do we find – around 50% of relationships involve infidelity (of which women contribute as much as men), and many many people practice serial monogamy, so while they might not overlap their lovers they certainly do have more than one.

I have come to think that as with so many other aspects of sexually, we’re all on a continuum of monogamy, with some people being completely monogamous and others being completely non-monogamous, and most of us somewhere in-between.

By David Barash & Judith Lipton

There are people who do manage to have consensual non-monogamous relationships, and that’s fine when it’s done openly, honestly and with continual reflection. It’s challenging (all relationships are challenging), but it is possible. I’ll write more about the different kinds of consensual non-monogamous relationships, and how such relationships can be negotiated, in a later blog.

If you do prefer to be monogamous though, then we have to recognise that it’s not easy to be exclusive with the same person for years on end and have a satisfactory love life with that one person. It is possible though.

Some key points I believe we all need to take on board, whatever our preferred type of relationship is, are:

– Be less judgmental of self and others around relationship preferences and inclinations;

– Be more open-minded about relationship possibilities, if not for yourself, then at least with others, not everyone has to be the same as you;

– Realise that becoming more aware of your own sexuality, and therefore more open, honest and real about yourself, is a very good thing for yourself and for your relationship(s);

– Be more focused on creating an on-going good sex life that includes diversity and novelty.

I would love to see our society develop in a way that is more inclusive of different kinds of sexuality, including varieties of sexual relating. We’ve had a long struggle, which still exists, to open our minds to homosexuality. Now we need to open up to other aspects of sexuality, such as non-monogamy.

Essentially it’s about being real and honest and non-judgmental.

Sounds reasonable, but it’s such a big ask in this society, especially when it’s to do with sexuality.

Still, I live and work in hope…



Jacqueline Hellyer: Women Are Not Naturally Monogomous

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Following on from the last blog post, where I debunked the myth that men are naturally promiscuous due to their need to spread their seed far and wide, I’d now like to examine the widely held myth that women are not naturally promiscuous. (I suppose because prehistorically we were so busy looking after those babies that those men randomly left behind as they wandered around spreading their seed – a recipe for reproductive success? Not!)

Now let’s look at a few biological facts here:

– women are able to have sex at any time
– women are more sexually responsive than men (more orgasms both in quantity, variety and quality).
– women can last sexually far longer than men
– women lose interest in sex more easily than men
– women generally need evidence of positive male interest and attention to want to have sex
– women have a less physical ‘urge’ for sex, rather a more contextual interest in sex
– women’s interest in sex sparks up with a new sex/love interest

These are biological facts. They do nothing to imply that women are less sexual than men. In fact they imply that women could well be more sexual than men. These facts do not imply that women are naturally monogamous, in fact they could be interpreted as showing that women need more than one man to be sexually satisfied.

Now, let’s look at some historical facts:

– for the past couple of thousand years or so girls in the west have been raised to think that they’re not sexual and shouldn’t be sexual
– girls and women who were overtly sexual have been discriminated against, burnt at the stake, cast out from society, forced to wear shaming badges, excommunicated, locked up in mental institutions – need I go on?
– Until the last few decades, women have been dependent on men for their economic security, without a man it has been very difficult for a woman to survive
– Women were considered the possessions of men, first owned by their fathers, and that ownership passed to their husbands at marriage. Women were therefore required to obey and serve first their fathers and then their husbands, otherwise they’d have no-one to support them.

Would any of these facts have allowed women to freely express their true sexual selves? Clearly, no.

So don’t confuse biological fact, with historically based social norms. Women have not been allowed to be sexually expressively, particularly not sexually promiscuous. That doesn’t mean it’s not innate. The biological facts would imply otherwise.

I’m not saying women should be promiscuous, or even that it’s natural for women to be promiscuous. I’m simply saying that there is no evidence to show that women naturally are naturally monogamous.

Luscious Lovers – A Workshop for Couples

Friday, November 5th, 2010

Deepen Your Connection and Heighten Eroticism

Luscious Lovers is a one-day workshop for couples designed to:

  • enhance the physical aspects of sex
  • deepen intimacy and connection
  • expand eroticism
  • surrender to playful sexual freedom!

Jacqueline’s workshops are always comfortable, classy and sleaze-free.  There is no nudity,  just a lot of good practical, luscious information and activities to deepen and enhance your love life as a modern couple.

Couples of all ages and stages of life attend this workshop, some are new and others have been together for decades. Some come because they are looking to improve their relationship, others just want a fun and sensual day out together.

Jacqueline co-presents this workshop with Lachlan Burnham, a professional massage therapist, who in addition to being her ‘man prop’ leads the massage section of the day.

Common concerns (particularly from men) about attending are:

  • It will be too New-Age-ish – well it’s not at all It is kept very modern and understandable – no hippy fluff;
  • It will be embarrassing doing stuff in front of other people  –  you don’t do anything in front of other people, everyone is focused on themselves, and you don’t do anything more than hug;
  • You’ll have to talk about yourselves: you don’t have to share anything except your first name.

In fact at virtually every workshop at least one of the men publicly thanks his wife for ‘dragging him along’!

Upcoming Luscious Lovers Workshops

Click on the date below to book:

Luscious Lovers 20 November 2010

Download flyer for 20 November
Venue: The Dome, in Surry Hills, Sydney
(corner of Cleveland and Crown Streets, first floor of the Crown Hotel.)
Cost $497 per couple.
Time: 10am to 6pm

Still want to know more – watch this clip from Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes:

Testimonials From Previous Attendees:


“Inspired, oohhh yeah, what wonderful timing for us just the injection we both needed.”

“I loved the experiential nature of the workshop – it was brilliant and acted as a stimulus to reconnecting.”

“No-one felt intimidated – it was relaxing and natural to partake in the activities.”

“Just wanted to let you know that we enjoyed last Sunday immensely. Happy to say that we really connected that day and had some of the most amazing sex when we got home!!!!

“WOW! THANK YOU for making the day really special for us and highlighting some of the simple things we can do as Luscious Lovers.”

“From me a huge hug and big big thank you for the wonderful content, presentation and most of all the love you shared with us.”

“My husband says he’s so pleased I made him attend. Since Saturday we have noticed a real shift in our energies towards each other almost like switching from AM to FM radio, the difference is that noticeable.”

“Thank-you to my wife for dragging me here today. It has turned out to be exactly what we needed.”

“We really enjoyed the workshop, so much so that we raced home afterwards and got it on! Grrrrrrrrr to say the least – Lol.”

“It was so good to take time out to reconnect.”

“My partner and I feel closer since doing the luscious lovers class with Jacqueline.  Before this my partner said he felt a lot of pressure to live up to a macho male image but when he saw how much other men were willing to give the gentle tantric caressing to their partners, he’s started to initiate this at home.  For me, this class has given me the courage to experiment with light bondage, food and toys more without him feeling like he’s not enough.  Instead he’s discovered lots of women love this! Now I can bring my fantasies to life instead of keeping them only in my mind.”

“It was so good we’re back to do it a second time!”

Jacqueline Hellyer: Strength In Softness, Softness In Strength

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

I had an interesting few days recently, running a workshop for women, followed two days later with a seminar for men.

For me it was truly wonderful to work with a group of 16 women over two days and feel and see them come more fully into the strength and softness of their femininity, and become more sexually confident and expressive. Such gorgeous strong feminine women!

And then two days later to work with a group of 25 men for an evening of coming into the strength and softness of their masculinity, becoming more sexually confident and (according to feedback from some participants and/or their wives) more sexually expressive. Such gorgeous strong masculine men!

It really brought home to me how equal men and women are in their innate sexual energy, but how differently that energy is expressed.

Vive la difference!

We are all equal, and thank god for social changes that have given reasonable social, political, economic, etc equality between the sexes. God forbid that we should ever go back to a time when women were considered inferior to men in so many ways or that that inferiority be entrenched in society.

But equality does not mean same.

Women have proven that they can be as tough as men and can change tires and lead boardroom meetings; and men have proven they can be as tender as women and can change nappies and bake muffins. And that’s great. But please women, don’t lose what is so intrinsically and wonderfully feminine about you as a woman when you do; and please men, don’t lose what is so intrinsically and wonderfully masculine about you as a man when you do.

I’ll say it again: vive la difference!

One of my recent blog posts describes the energetics of the feminine and the masculine in more detail. The essence of it is that for the majority of the population, women are naturally soft on the outside and strong on the inside and men are naturally strong on the outside and soft on the inside. It’s this opposition and complementarity that in large part maintains the sexual tension, the ‘oomph’ factor. (In same sex relationships a different but similar dynamic is working.)

If this is lost because the man is a WIMP (weak inept mopey purposeless person) – all softness and no strength, or a SHIT (selfish hard insensitive tosser) – all hard on the outside and no entry to his internal softness; and/or if the woman is a DRIP (docile rueful ineffective person) – all softness with no inner strength, or a SHREW (stressed hard resentful emasculating woman) – with hard barriers on the outside not allowing access to her softness or her true inner strength, then you’re not going to have the kind of connection that allows for good sex, if any sex at all.

I’m not implying here that to be masculine means macho and aggressive, nor that feminine means pathetic and weak. Far from it. One of the reasons I’ve developed the concept of the 14 female sexual archetypes is to show the breadth of ways to express the feminine – from Amazon to Sex Kitten to Madonna. And the same applies to men.

I see it over and over again in my clinic and when talking and working with people all over the place – men are not being true and real as men in the bedroom, and their women want them to be; and women are not being true and real as women in the bedroom, and their men want them to be. And everyone is so confused about this! Because it’s been drilled into us, for example, that it’s bad for women to be submissive and for men to be dominant. But it’s not! Submission does not mean weak and dominance does not mean domineering. (Nor am I even implying that women should be submissive and men dominant.) So we hide from what might be real and do and act the way we feel we should. But over time that acting becomes just that, and we either can’t be bothered or else get frustrated because it isn’t real, it’s an act.

It’s actually hard to find the right words to describe what I’m talking about, because these words have become so loaded with meaning. Even the word ‘feminine’ has come to imply something weak and dependant, rather than strong and gorgeous. Which is one of the reasons why I encourage people to come to my workshops and seminars to start to feel what it’s like to be real.

I met up with one couple during the week who had done Luscious Woman and Blackbelt over the previous week and they were beaming! He said that in observing how Lachlan, my very wonderful ‘man prop’ and I interacted, he actually ‘got’ what it meant to allow his masculine energy to come out in a powerful yet softly respectful way. Already he’d found that this enabled his wife’s feminine energy to emerge without her needing to control so she could let go – and both have truly awesome sex!  Another client who had attended Luscious Woman walked into my office so transformed from her hard-edged resentment into glowing gentleness that it was all I could do not to hug her – and her husband was finding it so much easier to come into his masculine fullness because she wasn’t terrifying him! Again, great sex resulted!

This is powerful stuff.  I really admire all of you for coming on this journey of self-discovery, particularly in a part of life, sex, that is so very screwed up in our society. It’s hard and confusing, but this is fantastic work that can effect deep realisation and true expression of self, without all the barriers that constrain us in expressing who we really are, particularly in relation to our intrinsic masculinity or femininity (and we all have both).

Jacqueline Hellyer: The Sexual Glutton

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

I was chatting to a good friend recently who, like many people, loves sex and loves the general topic of sex. He was musing on whether he might possibly be a sex addict given that he’s so fascinated, possibly even obsessed, by the topic. My reply was: “I hope not, because that would make me one too!”

It got me thinking, because I have done on-line “Are you a Sex Addict’ type quizzes, and according to some of them I certainly would be a sex addict because thinking about sex takes up so much of my time and sex in general plays such a big part of my life.

But the problem is, the tone of the questioning, and I notice this too when talking to clients and others, is that the questioning tends to be around the quantity of sex or sex-related activity and thought, rather than the quality. Lots of sex does not a sex addict make.

I got to thinking about a food analogy. I often use food analogies when talking about sexual issues. I do this mainly to remove the extraordinary range of social stigmas, assumptions, beliefs, etc, that get in the way of assessing sexuality in a non-judgemental manner. We’re clearer about food (although there are still an awful lot of hang-ups there too!)

So if someone watched Masterchef assiduously, never missed Iron Chef, subscribed to a myriad of food magazines and poured over them for hours on end, planned elaborate meals, experimented with new ingredients, loved to talk about food as much as preparing and eating it – does that make them a food addict?

It’s essentially the difference between being a gourmet or a glutton.

A gourmet is a connoisseur of food, someone with a discerning palate. A gourmet savours food, enjoying the intensities and the subtleties. A gourmet is closely in touch with the effect of the food on their own well-being, he or she won’t overeat because that would affect their enjoyment of the food. A gourmet might enjoy the exotic and elaborate, but will equally revel in the simple. A gourmet will pay attention to what surrounds the food, the presentation and the atmosphere, understanding the experience is more than just the food itself.

A glutton is a gorger of food, all they’re interested in is the quantity. There’s no self-restraint, it’s just a matter of if they want it they’ll eat it. A glutton is not able to appreciate the finer nuances of food, is oblivious to the surroundings, doesn’t care. Food is not indulged in to add to the overall and long-term quality of life, only the immediate gratification of eating.

It’s the same with sex. Someone who’s a connoisseur of sex is interested in savouring sex, whether it’s a late night cuddle under the covers or a weekend of erotic delights. It’s the quality that counts, not the quantity. They know how much is enough because they’re in tune with the subtle aspects of sex.

A glutton of sex just wants more and more and is never satisfied, so it impacts on the quality of their life.

I was explaining this to a client recently, who was telling me how his sexual self-confidence was non-existent as his recently ex-partner insisted on hours of sex at a time and was never satisfied, no matter how many orgasms she had or what they did, she always wanted more, more, more. The thing is that they both liked lots of sex, both liked a wide range of sexual activities, the difference was that she went at it with avaricious intensity and could never get enough – your typical glutton, whereas he wanted to take it more slowly and savour the experience as they went – your typical gourmet. So he needed to find someone who was also a gourmet (which I pointed out shouldn’t be too hard given his evident enjoyment of extended sexual play!)

As I keep saying, it’s not what you do that matters, it’s how you experience it.

Jacqueline Hellyer is one of Australia’s foremost experts on sex and sexuality. In addition to her private clinical practice, she is the ” I’m the Sex Coach” for Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazines; a published author with a growing web presence and she runs the Tantric Fusion workshops.