Getting Stuck by Avoiding Sexual Situations and Opportunities

Dr Rich Blonna - Your Guide To Less Stress and Better Sex

Written By Dr. Rich

For more than 30 years, I have devoted myself, both professionally and personally, to helping people just like you stress less, have better sex, and enjoy life more.

Learn more about Dr. Rich

I am a university professor, author, and a world-renowned expert in how the mind and body work together in creating and managing stress. I’m proud to be one of the creators of Acceptance and Commitment (AC) Coaching, an exciting form of cognitive psychology that combines mindfulness, acceptance, and commitment to help people stress less and enjoy better sex and a more fulfilling life. I’m certified in Naikan and Morita, two forms of Japanese psychology that emphasize mindfulness and acceptance training respectively. I’m also a Board Certified Coach (BCC), National Certified Counselor (NCC), and Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). My eclectic approach combines the best practices from all of these disciplines. I’ve helped thousands of people from the United States, Europe, South Africa, and Asia through my books, audios, and adult training courses. My home is in Marco Island, Florida where I live with Heidi, my wife of 48 years. I love writing, tennis, running, kayaking, swimming, biking, weight training, meditation on the beach, and anything that gets me outdoors in the sun.

April 9, 2022

stuc_in_a_sexual_rut

stuck in a sexual rut

I recently talked about how you get caught in a sexual rut because of psychological inflexibility. I described the six core processes that contribute to being psychologically inflexible and getting stuck; (1) Lack of clarity of values (2) Dominance of outmoded scripts and learning (3) Cognitive fusion (4) Attachment to the conceptualized self (5) Experiential avoidance and (6) Inaction, impulsivity, and rigidity . The six processes work independently and combine synergistically when getting stuck sexually.

In this blog I want to talk a little bit about Experiential Avoidance and Inactivity, Impulsivity, and Rigidity, the remaining factors related to psychological inflexibility.

Experiential Avoidance.  A common response to dealing with troubling thoughts and painful emotions is to try to control, eliminate, or avoid them.  As mentioned in a previous blog, a key finding from AC Coaching and ACT is that trying to deal with troubling thoughts and painful emotions by trying to control, avoid, or eliminate them only makes them worse.

For example, imagine that you have troubling thoughts and feelings about your ability to have an orgasm. In the past you have had mixed experiences regarding having orgasms. Sometimes you had one with intercourse alone, other times only through a combination of intercourse and oral sex.

Tonight, with your new partner you are determined to not let your concerns about having an orgasm ruin your sexual encounter with this new partner.  From the beginning of the encounter your fears about not having an orgasm creep into your consciousness. You tell yourself “stop thinking about this. I am going to have an orgasm so don’t worry.”

As the evening progresses and things start to heat up you find that the more you try to control, avoid, or eliminate your troubling thoughts about having an orgasm the more they persist. Your mind keeps coming back to the troubling thoughts and takes you out of the present moment.

Your partner senses that something is wrong and asks you “what is wrong, you seem distracted?”  You reply, “nothing is wrong, I  just have a few things on my mind.” You try to pick up where you left off and the encounter heats up again. Your partner is very excited and after a short time he has an orgasm before you get the chance to.

You are disappointed but try not to let this show. You have been focusing so much on trying to not think about having an orgasm that you lost track of what was going on between the both of you. While it was enjoyable to be with a sexy partner  you find yourself disappointed because he had an orgasm and you did not.

 

 

Experiential avoidance goes hand-in-hand with taking a self-as-content view. I recently described how a self-as-content view revolves around the notion that thinking about something is the same as directly experiencing it. If you have a self-as-content view you feel that you can work everything out in your head without having to directly experience it. This can lead to hours of trying to figure out every possible permutation of a sexual situation and what could possibly go wrong, and how to avoid it, before taking action. Worse yet, it can lead to avoiding sexual and relationship experiences. This limits your sexual growth, keeps you stuck in a rut, and contributes to not unleashing the power of your sexual mind.

Inaction, Impulsivity, or Rigidity. You can lump inaction, impulsivity, and rigidity together because they are closely related to the other five components of psychological inflexibility. Let’s take a moment to discuss how they differ.

Inaction means taking no action. It could mean not saying , doing, or reacting to a potential sexual stimulus (person, place, situation) in any way. Impulsivity means acting on impulse rather than in a way that is consistent with your values and goals. Rigidity means being rigid or inflexible. When you are rigid you only see one possible way to view a situation or behave in relation to it.

You can see how all three are related to being fused with unhelpful aspects of your conceptualized sexual self. Fusion can lead to doing nothing (inaction or rigidity). Lack of clarity about your sexual values could lead to doing anything (impulsivity) that partners, or friends propose because you lack the direction and path that is provided by a clear set of values-based goals. Dominance of outmoded scripts and learning can keep you rigid (rigidity) or mesmerized into inactivity (inaction) because the outdated frames of reference leave you confused and without a clear direction.

My Sexual Mindfulness course 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.                                                                                                   

 

 

 

Click Here for More Information About My Sexual Mindfulness Course

 

Thanks again for your support,

Dr Rich

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The way you do that is by using Disentanglement (Cognitive Defusion). Disentanglement techniques give you several different ways to step back and take an observing-self view. Many Disentanglement techniques such as The White Board, actually use physical distance to separate you from the contents of your mind (you write that down on the actual white board).

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

Valued living (defining valued directions).
Contact with the Present Moment (mindfulness).
Committed Action (commitment).
Acceptance (acceptance).
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 Mindfulness means and how it related to your sexuality.

Mindfulness is best described as moment-by-moment awareness. There are four dimensions of mindful moments. They are

present centered
non-judgmental
non-verbal
non-conceptual

Mindfulness can greatly enhance your ability to experience sexual pleasure and eroticism through all of your senses. By slowing down and integrating all of your senses into your daily experiences, you set the stage for doing the same thing in the bedroom.

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