How Lack of Clarity About Your Sexual Values Gets You Stuck in a Rut

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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

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stuck in a sexual rut

In my last blog I 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. I’ll go into these six processes in my next blog.

In this blog I want to talk a little bit about Lack of Clarity of Values, and how it relates to becoming stuck.

Values are a key component of personality and are central to defining who someone is as a person. People have both core and satellite values related to a host of variables. One of those variables is sex.

Core sexual values are the things that are central to who one is as a sexual person and are non-negotiable. People have core sexual values that they would argue strongly for or even fight to defend.

Surrounding these core values are lesser-held satellite sexual values that people hold dear but are not as strongly committed to. These satellite values are important but are considered negotiable. Satellite sexual values are also more amenable to compromise and change.

These core and satellite lines are very subjective. One person’s core sexual values are another’s satellite values and vice versa.

When people are young, their sexual values usually mirror those of their parents. As they move through adolescence and young adulthood, their sexual values often change and become their own. This is usually a mixture of what they have learned from parents, society at large, and their culture.

While most people view values, particularly sexual values as fixed and immutable, they are actually very fluid.  Peoples’ values change throughout the sexual life-cycle as by-products of being exposed to new ideas, new people, and new circumstances.  Most people either do not realize that their values have changed or are unwilling to admit it because they lack the psychological flexibility to deal with the consequences of admitting this.

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This can be very confusing and threatening, especially if the changing values are related to strongly held moral and ethical beliefs. Sexual values fall squarely into this category and because of this are often a source of stress when they begin to change.

Most of my students and clients have never spent time actually examining their sexual values until they begin working with me. They’ve  accepted the sexual values instilled in them by their parents and their culture and they don’t really question them until they are in situations where their values no work for them in meeting their goals.

Often, their outdated sexual values no longer seem to represent who they are as independent adults. In a sense, they’ve outgrown certain sexual values and are not sure what to replace them with.

I saw this a lot with my students in my college Human Sexuality classes. My students came to college with sexual identities and sexual values that worked for them for the first 18 years of their lives when they lived at home with their parents. When they were on their own in college, many of them found that the direction provided by their sexual values no longer worked. Many sought to replace them with new values that gave them more freedom and flexibility. Other students took comfort in the direction provided by the values that  guided them up until entering college and continued to hold them dear. Those values were a source of strength for them and served as guideposts they used to navigate their new-found freedom in college.

I also saw how outdated values no longer worked for my adult clients who were transitioning from being married to being divorced or widowed. My transitioning adult clients also brought with them values that guided them through their formative years and the time they spent being married. In many cases the same values served as guiding lights that gave them strength as they adjusted to their new roles as widowed or divorced people.

Other adult students and clients found that the sexual values that guided them for the first 40 or 50 years of their lives no longer provided them with the direction they needed to navigate the mid-life transitions they were making into new relationships and careers. For example, many of my female students and clients in their 40s and 50s who, up to this point in their lives, had viewed themselves as “moms,” “wives” or “grandmothers” found that the sexual values associated with these roles changed as they re-entered the workforce, returned to school, or entered into new romantic relationships.

These examples illustrate how changing life situations can lead to a lack of clarity of sexual and other values. When people are not clear about their values they can feel like sailboats adrift without rudders. They are at the mercy of the prevailing winds and currents and will go wherever they push you.  There are strong social and cultural sexual winds that are constantly try to push people who are unclear about their values in all kinds of sexual directions. Being unclear about sexual values can also lead to being mesmerized into activity or as AC Coaching folks say, stuck in a sexual rut.

 

In future blogs I will talk about how to get unstuck in sexual ruts caused by lack of clarity regarding values.

I’ve developed a new course, Great Sex from The Inside Out, that will show you how to use values clarification and a host of exciting tools to help you have the sex life you want and deserve.

 

                                                                     

Click Here for More Information on My Great Sex from The Inside Out Course

 

Thanks again for your support,

Dr Rich

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

present centered
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