How You View Your Sexual Self

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

In this blog I want to talk a little bit about Attachment to the conceptualized, Dominance of Outmoded Scripts and Learning, and Cognitive Fusion .

AC Coaching and ACT use the term the conceptualized self to refer to what most people think about when asked to describe themselves. For example, if I asked you to describe yourself, you’d probably say things like “I’m thirty-five years old,” “I’m of average height,” “I’m happily married,” “I’m an architect,” “I’m kind and I’m lovable.” These kinds of self-statements sum up who you are and how you measure up compared to some societal standard (intelligence, income, body composition, and so on).

You also have a conceptualized sexual self that relate to your sexuality. So, if I asked you to describe yourself as a sexual person you might say things such as; “I really like sex”, “I’m pretty sexy,” “I’m good in bed”, “Men find me very desirable,” “I am not so sexy,” “I’m kind of inexperienced,” ” I have a very high/low sex drive” and so forth.

Some aspects of your conceptualized sexual self are helpful, positive, rational, and support your efforts to live a meet your sexual needs and wants and behave in ways that are consistent with your sexual and relationship values. Other aspects are not so helpful. Instead of helping and supporting you, the sexual thoughts, feelings, personal scripts, and mental images in your mind create barriers that keep you from meeting your sexual needs and wants and behaving in ways that are congruent with your sexual and relationship values.

 

When this is the case, it is often because you’ve attached, or fused with unhelpful aspects of your conceptualized sexual self. This is called Cognitive Fusion. When you fuse with any unhelpful aspect of your conceptualized self it takes on an added level of importance or concern that smothers the other aspects.

Personal Scripts and learning related to your conceptualized sexual self become outmoded (aka outdated) when they no longer represent your values or they stand in the way of meeting your values-based sexual and relationship goals. In this series I talked about how values originate and change over the course of your sexual history. When you fuse with outmoded aspects of your conceptualized sexual self they dominate your sexual thinking (hence, the phrase, Dominance of Outmoded Scripts and Learning).

 

For example, let’s imagine that you were raised (as I was)  to be ” good boy”  or a “good girl”  Your parents raised you to defer to others and always seek to please people. Because of this you grew up with a value system connected to strong beliefs that you shouldn’t upset people by being assertive or uncooperative. Your first inclination was always to please others and be a good boy or girl. You complied with this throughout your childhood and adolescence and grew up viewing yourself as a good boy or girl. You also felt guilty whenever you  caused others any displeasure or inconvenience because you strayed out of your good boy/girl pattern of behavior. Being a “good boy” or “good girl” became a key part of your conceptualized self

It also became part of your conceptualized sexual self as you began dating, became sexually active, entered into relationships, and got married.

Because you were over-attached (or fused) to “being a good boy or girl” it was hard for you to assert your own sexual needs, wants, and desires whenever they came into conflict with your partner’s. Your lack of psychological flexibility regarding this part of your conceptualized sexual self caused you to get stuck for years in behavior patterns and relationships that were not congruent with your sexual values, goals, needs, and wants. Your sexual mind was dominated with outmoded sexual scripts based on outdated learning.

 

 

People get fused with and stuck on many different aspects of the conceptualized sexual self such as body image, gender role, sexual preference, sexual behavior, and a host of others.

AC Coaching and ACT refer to the conceptualized self viewpoint as a self-as-content view. When you become attached to the view created by your conceptualized  self you mistakenly believe that your thoughts about something are the same as directly experiencing it.

So in the case of trying to break out of the good boy/girl mindset and behavior pattern your mind would conjure up all of the possible negative outcomes and things that could go wrong if you started to assert yourself or didn’t always aim to please. Because the attachment to that aspect of your conceptualized sexual self is so strong, your mind wants to protect you from the pain and suffering that would result from you trying to change that it.

The self-as-content view leads you to believe that you can avoid the pain and suffering of taking action and seeing what actually happens by figuring it all out in your mind without having to directly experience them.  This keeps you stuck as it keeps you from experiencing things that can be troubling or painful but growth-enhancing.

AC Coaching and ACT use techniques from Cognitive Defusion that help you step back and distance yourself from unhelpful attachments (such as the good boy/girl ones) to your conceptualized sexual self that keep you stuck. They help you detach or defuse from them. This diminishes their importance and brings them to a level that can be accepted and not seen asa barriers to change.

In later blogs I will discuss Cognitive Defusion techniques and give some examples of how to use them to break away from unhelpful attachments to your conceptualized sexual self.

To find out more about Cognitive Defusion and other easy-to-learn techniques for unleashing the power of your sexual mind check out my course, Great Sex From the Inside Out.

 

                                                                                      

 

Click Here to Find Out More About the Course

 

Thanks again for your support,

Dr Rich

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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

Get Out of Your Sexual Rut with Commitment

Commitment is all about finding your purpose. 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.

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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