How You Get Stuck in a Sexual 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

How You Get Stuck in a Sexual Rut

One of the main reasons for not being able to unleash the power of your sexual mind to keep your passion and desire alive is that it gets stuck on unhelpful sexual thoughts, feelings, personal scripts, and mental images.

Think of your sex life as a documentary film. It is made up of all the individual sexual scenes that you have spliced together over the years with your current partner and past sexual partners if you have had any. Each scene in your movie is made up of thoughts, feelings, lines of dialogue (your self-talk about your sex life; also referred to as Personal Scripts in AC Coaching) and mental images (individual picture frames in your movie).

Some of these scenes relate to your biological sex/gender (things associated with being a genetic male or female such as hormones, internal and external sexual organs, physical characteristics etc.). Other scenes relate to your gender identity and role (how you see yourself as a male or female and how this plays out in your behavior, attire, etc.). This is the area where things such as identifying as male, female, transgender etc. occur.  Lastly some of these scenes relate to your sexual orientation and relationships with men and woman over the course of your sexually-active life.

Your Sexual Documentary Film

As you can imagine, not all of the scenes in your personal sexual documentary went smoothly. In many cases there were situations that caused you lots of emotional pain and suffering. Many of them are so painful that you really wish they didn’t exist and that you could just edit them away. Unfortunately, unlike a movie you cannot leave these scenes on the floor of the editing room. They are forever tucked away in a part of your mind and cannot be edited out.

The thoughts, feelings, mental images, and personal scripts linked to these scenes occurred under specific circumstances (contexts) at different points (time frames) in your sexual development. These past sexual learning experiences serve as frames of reference (also known as Relational Frames in ACT and AC Coaching) that influence how you perceive current and future sexual experiences. Even though these experiences happened years ago at a time and place when you were a totally different person, they still lurk in the deeper recesses of your mind just waiting to rear their ugly heads. All that needs to happen is for the right set of circumstances to occur and that scene from your sexual movie switches on and “watch” it in your mind.

 

 

When your past sexual frames of reference are in synch with your current sexual values and relationship goals, your documentary continues to roll and you  get the most out of your sex life.

However, when these past sexual frames of reference are not in synch with your sexual values and goals, they actually create barriers to having the kind of sex life you want and deserve. When this happens, it isn’t because you are crazy or sexually dysfunctional; you are just stuck. It happens because your mind lacks the psychological flexibility to overcome the barriers posed by your unhelpful sexual thoughts, feelings, personal scripts and mental images.

The sad thing is that many adults just like you who are in long-term loving and committed relationships get stuck and either don’t know how to get unstuck or give up trying. They stay stuck for months and even years and wonder where the passion, desire, and sexual satisfaction went and if they can ever get it back.

Everyone in a long-term committed relationship gets get stuck sexually from time to time. We all have unhelpful sexual thoughts, feelings, personal scripts, and mental images associated with ourselves, our partners or our relationships.

Sometimes it is a body image issue. We don’t see ourselves or our partners as the young, sexy people we fell in love with. We somehow don’t match up to the societal images of sexy men and women any more (if we ever did) and find it harder and harder to get turned on by our partners or turn on ourselves. Other times it is gender role issue. Instead of seeing ourselves as sexual creatures filled with desire and passion we see ourselves as parents, grandparents, care-takers,  middle aged or old people,  and we allow societal stereotypes about how we should be take precedent over what we want to be.  Often it is a behavioral issue. We have these outdated sexual scenes in our minds about how we performed as men and women in our 20s and now that we are in our 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s and simply can’t perform the same way we did in our youth we feel inadequate. Instead of accepting at our sensuality and sexuality for what it is, and enjoying the heck out of it, we get stuck on believing that this is not good enough or somehow inferior to what it was in our 20s.

 

 

These issues are really sexual thinking traps that we fall into. When you don’t see these things for what they are; unhelpful mental traps, you get stuck in them (or “hooked ” by them as AC Coaches like to say) and are unable to move forward sexually.

AC Coaching proposes that you get hooked and stuck because you lack the psychological flexibility required to think through and manage these mental sexual barriers.

There are 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.

 

I’ve developed a special course, Great Sex From the Inside Out, that uses these six processes to help you get unstuck and reignite your passion.

 

 

Click Here to Find Out More About The Great Sex From the Inside Out Course

 

 

 

 

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The observing self view allows you to step back and become an impartial observer of your mind’s version of things. Observing your thoughts and feelings from the safe distance of the observing self allows you to see that your mental activity is just that, things going on in your mind. It also helps you observe whether or not this mental activity is accurate, helpful, or contributes to reaching your sexual and relationship goals.

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).

Get Out of Your Sexual Rut with Commitment

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Get Unstuck with Sexual Mindfulness

Get Unstuck with Sexual Mindfulness

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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