Get Out of Your Sexual Rut With Valued Living

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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).

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 valued living means and how it related to your sexuality.

What Are Values?

Values are like the North Star. They are guiding lights that serve as sign posts for the direction you want to take in life. You have values related to many different aspects of your life including your sexuality.

Your sexual values are intimately related to your sexual and relationship goals and commitments. The clearer you are in what you value about sex and relationships, the easier it is to set values-based goals that you can commit to.

There are two different types of values; core and satellite values.

core and satellite values

Your core sexual and relationship values are the things that are central to who you  are and they are non-negotiable. People typically identify such things as fidelity, honesty, trust etc. as core sexual and relationship values.

Surrounding this core are lesser-held satellite sexual values that you hold dear but are not as strongly committed to. People identify things such as specific sexual behaviors, political beliefs, cultural traditions, and personal attributes such as intelligence and beaut, and so forth as satellite values. Satellite values are more amenable to compromise and change.

 

When you are young your values usually mirror those of your parents. In most families, sexual and relationship values are implied and you learn about them by observing how your parents and other family members interact with each other. The media is also a source of sexual and relationship values at an early age.

As you move through adolescence and young adulthood, your sexual and relationship values often change and become your own, a mixture of what you have learned from your parents and what you have chosen to embrace from your culture.

While most people view values as fixed and immutable, they are actually very fluid.  Your values change throughout your sexual life-cycle as you are exposed to new ideas, new relationships, and gather sexual experience.  In many cases you do not even realize that your values have changed and evolved.

I like to compare values to trees. Both have deep roots that nurture them.

 

 

They have many branches that reach out and have no limits regarding where they can spread and how far they can grow. In times of stress, they can bend without breaking. They can slough off adversity (such as being covered by ice or snow), spring back, and continue to grow. In other words, like the flexible tree and its branches, your values can bend without breaking if you have sufficient psychological flexibility.

Unfortunately a lot of people get stuck on their changing sexual and relationship values because they are unwilling to accept them and co-exist with the discomfort they bring. Moving in new sexual and relationship directions is usually accompanied by troubling thoughts and painful emotions, especially if they go against the values held by family, friends, or society in general.

Getting Unstuck and Becoming More Flexible Through Valued Living

Valued living starts with defining valued directions. This is a three-part process that involves exploring, choosing, and acting on your values.

  1. Exploring Values—During the first step of defining valued directions, you explore your sexual and relationship values and take advantage of opportunities to affirm and prize them publicly.

     2.Choosing Values—The second step of defining valued involves examining your sexual and relationship values           against other options. After consideration of other values you decide which of your values they still hold dear               and which (if any) are no longer your own.

  1. Acting on Values—The third and final step involves taking action that is consistent with your values. While this is similar to publicly affirming your values it is more behavioral in nature. For example, choosing a partner or deciding to try something sexual that interests you.

 

The perfect ending to your perfect day?

Sexual/Relationship Values Exercise: A Perfect Day

One simple way to identify your sexual and relationship values is to construct a “perfect day.“In other words, if you could plan a perfect sexual/relationship day, what criteria would you use?

  • Where would you be (beach, city etc.)?
  • What specific non-sexual activities (read, write, cook, etc.) would you and your partner engage in?
  • What specific sensual/sexual activities would you and your partner  engage in?

The answers to these questions represent your Daily Life Criteria (DLC) for a perfect day. The answers also reflect your core and satellite values.

Instructions:

List up to ten Daily Life Criteria for a Perfect Day:

1.____________________________________________________________________________

2.____________________________________________________________________________

3.____________________________________________________________________________

4.____________________________________________________________________________

5.____________________________________________________________________________

6.____________________________________________________________________________

7.____________________________________________________________________________

8.____________________________________________________________________________

9.____________________________________________________________________________

10.___________________________________________________________________________

What are the sexual and relationship values these DLC’s reflect?

How does your typical day compare to this perfect day?

What is standing in the way of you meeting these criteria for having more perfect days?

I am grateful to Gregg Krech and Linda Anderson-Krech of the ToDo Institute in Monkton Vermont for teaching me this activity and preparing me to share it with you. Click here to find out more about the ToDo Institute: 

Setting Values-Congruent Sexual and Relationship Goals

The next step in defining valued directions is setting goals that are based on your values. Unfortunately, most people either have no sexual and relationship goals or they set goals that are based on guilt about what they think they should do or what others (parents, partners, spouses etc.) think they should do.

Goals that are based on what other people value are doomed to fail. To counter this you need to set goals that are congruent with your values. You are much more likely to commit to taking action if your goals are in synch with your values.

 

values, goals, commitments

Goals vs. Objectives

I like to separate goals from measurable objectives. Goals are broader and not necessarily quantifiable (making measurement difficult). Objectives on the other hand are written so they can be easily assessed. A measurable objective answers the question: “Who, will do how much, of what, by when?”

Example:

Goal- “Make love more often.”

Objective – “By the end of March, 2017, I will have begun initiating lovemaking at least two times a week.”

The who in this objective is “I”, the how much is “at least two times a week”, the of what is will initiate lovemaking, and the by when is the end of March 2017. To assess your progress, all toy need to do is check back on April 1st to see if you met your goal.

Setting Values-Based Goals Exercise

Instructions:

Step 1. Pick one of the values you identified  in the “A Perfect Day,” activity.

__________________________________________________________________________

Step 2. Describe how this value currently influences your life.

__________________________________________________________________________

Step 3. Write one goal that you would like to achieve for this value.

__________________________________________________________________________

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

1.__________________________________________________________________________

2.__________________________________________________________________________

3.__________________________________________________________________________

Step 4. Periodically (for example, daily, weekly, or monthly) review the progress you are making in meeting the objectives. If you’ve written them correctly, all of their objectives should include time frames.

Step 5. If, after reviewing your progress, you decide to change the time frame or add or delete an objective, go ahead and do so. While goals and objectives help give your life structure and help you live a values-based life, you need to be flexible enough to adapt to changes in your life.

 

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 OK and want 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

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