Get Out of Your Sexual Rut with Commitment

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In a recent post I discussed how to get unstuck using the six components of psychological flexibility.

  • Contact with the Present Moment (mindfulness).
  • Acceptance (acceptance)
  • Valued living (defining valued directions).  
  • Committed Action (commitment).
  • Observing Self (self-as-context).
  • Disentanglement (cognitive defusion) (Anstiss & Blonna, 2014).

These same six processes are used to get unstuck from unhelpful sexual thinking that is keeping you from having the kind of sex life and relationships you want and deserve.

In this post I want to focus on what Committed Action (Commitment) means and how it related to your sexuality.

As I mentioned in my last blog, Acceptance and Willingness lay the foundation for commitment. The three go together. Commitment is the action part of the triad.

Acceptance involves being more mindful of the troubling thoughts and painful emotions that have you stuck in a sexual or relationship rut and accepting this for what it is. Accepting this pain and suffering instead of trying to control, avoid, or eliminate it is central to managing it effectively.

Commitment training involves learning how to embrace this pain and suffering and coexist with it (rather than trying to control, avoid, or eliminate it) as you take action towards meeting your sexual and relationship values-congruent goals. 

Taking values-congruent action related to your sexual and relationship goals while co-existing with your and suffering is hard work and not for the faint-of-heart, but it can be learned or re-learned.

When your actions are connected to your values their purpose is to move you forward to fulfill your hopes, dreams, and goals. The thing that makes any action purposeful is the notion of intent. When you do something on purpose, you do it intentionally, not by chance, or on a whim, or because of a dare. When you engage in purposeful living you intentionally live your life according to your values, goals, and plans.

 

 

In a sexual sense your purpose could include things such as strengthening your relationship with your partner, exploring your own gender identity, or expanding your repertoire of sexual behaviors. Finding purpose in your sexuality is central to unleashing the power of your sexual mind.

If you have been following this blog you’ve already begun to formulate your sexual purpose by clarifying your values and being more mindful of the helpfulness of your thoughts, personal scripts, feelings, and mental images related to sex. The next step is to set realistic goals for your personal sexuality and your relationship that are based on your values.

Setting Values-Congruent Sexual and Relationship Goals

Goals and objectives go hand-in-hand. I like to think of the relationship as having your head in the clouds and your feet planted firmly on the ground.  Your goals are the head in the clouds part while your objectives are the feet planted firmly on the ground part.

 Goals are broad statements that are not necessarily measurable such as; “I want to have a great sex life with my partner,” “I want to have a happy marriage,” or  “I want to have a more adventurous sex life.”

Measurable objectives are action-oriented. They are based on behavioral outcomes that can be quantified. Objectives are tightly written statements that answer the question; “Who, will do how much, of what, by when?”

Examples of objectives are; “By the end of next month I will try out two new intercourse positions with my partner,” “By the end of the year I plan to have sex with three new partners”, ” For our 20th wedding anniversary my wife and I will go on a romantic Caribbean cruise without the children.”You could go back and easily measure any of these objectives because they all answer the who will do how much of what by when question.

 

 

The following exercise, Writing Values-Based Goals and Objectives, is from my book Sex -ACT and will give you a framework for writing clear goals and measurable objectives. It will also help you examine how closely your goals reflect your values.

Commitment Exercise: Writing Values-Based Goals and Objectives

Instructions:

Step 1. Pick one of your core sexual values that you identified in previous activities.

Step 2. Describe how this value currently influences your sexuality and relationship.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Step 3.  Write one goal that is related to this value.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Step 4.  Write three measurable objectives related to this goal.     ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Example:

Step 1. One of your core sexual values is:

“Having a satisfying sexual relationship with my husband after 15 years of marriage.”

Step 2. How this value currently influences my personal life:

“Because I value having a satisfying sexual relationship with my husband I try to not let work interfere with commitments I make to him. I will not stay late at work if we are supposed to meet for dinner somewhere, take in a movie, or just spend time together after work. My job often puts demands upon my time. I travel often for work so when I am not on the road I guard the time I have with my husband.”

Step 3.  One personal goal that is related to this value is:

“I would like to make love with my husband as often as possible.”

Step 4.  Three measurable objectives related to this goal are:

  1. “At least four times a week I will express my desire and availability to have sex with my husband.”
  2. ” Next month I will not cancel any scheduled dinner or other kinds of dates with my husband because of work unless it is an extreme emergency that I cannot avoid.”
  3. “Next week I will sext my husband a couple of times to let him know I still desire him sexually.”

After you’ve set your goals and written your objectives you need to periodically (for example, daily, weekly, or monthly) review your progress. If you’ve written them correctly, your objectives should include a time frame and be easy to evaluate.

After reviewing your progress it is okay if you decide to revise your time frames and add or delete objectives. While goals and objectives help give your life structure, they should also be flexible enough to adapt to change.

So, if you want more desire and passion, and great sex at any age stay tuned to this Great Sex Blog.

 

Each installment will focus on a different aspect of my Great Sex From the Inside Out Program, a new multi-session home study course for people just like you who have been in a committed sexual relationship for 5, 10, or more years and want to re-ignite the flame of desire or make it even brighter.

 

Thanks so much for reading this blog.

As a special gift I’d like to give you a copy of my free Sexual Mindfulness training session.  It is targeted to people who have been in committed sexual relationship for at least 5 years and are either in a sexual rut and want to re-ignite the flame of desire or are doing ok but would like to make it burn even brighter.                                                                                                   

 

 

This free one hour training session  combines a 30 minute video session about mindfulness and a sexy 30 minute audio session that shows you how to give a mindful back massage. Both sessions show how mindfulness can greatly enhance your sexual response and pleasure.

 

Get immediate access by downloading here:

 

Thanks again for your support,

Dr Rich

 

 

References:

Antiss, T., Blonna, R. (2014). Acceptance and Commitment Coaching.  in Passmore, J. Ed. (2014). Mastery in Coaching :A Complete Psychological Toolkit for Advanced Coaching. London: Kogan Page Publishing.

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