How Clients Get Stuck in a Sexual Rut

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According to AC Coaching, (Blonna & Anstiss, 2015), clients get stuck in sexual ruts because they lack psychological flexibility. Psychological inflexibility causes them to  gets stuck on outdated and unhelpful sexual thoughts,  personal scripts, mental images, and emotions.

To understand this better, think of your clients sex lives documentary films. The films are made up of all the individual sexual scenes that clients have spliced together over the years with their current partners and past sexual partners. Individual scenes in the movies are made up of individual thoughts, that combine to form personal scripts (lines of dialogue expressed as sexual self-talk about the scenes), mental images (individual picture frames that create videos of the scene), and emotions associated with the scenes.

Your clients sexual documentary films could revolve around any of the following aspects of their sexual identities:  

  • biological sex –  anatomical and physiological characteristics (such as hormones, internal and external sexual organs, physical characteristics etc.) associated with being a genetic male, female, or intersex person.
  •  gender identity – internal picture of being male, female, or transgender.
  •  gender role – external behavior associated with being male, female, or transgender.
  •  sexual orientation – one’s adult, free choice of sexual partners.
  •  sexual behavior – specific activities, level of activity, and types of relationships with partners.

In the next blog in this series I will cover sexual identity in detail.

As you can imagine, not all of the scenes in your clients’ personal sexual documentaries played out smoothly in real life. In many cases the scenes caused your clients lots of psychological pain and suffering. Many of the scenes were so painful that your clients really wished they never existed and that they could just edit them away. Unfortunately, unlike with editing movies, clients cannot leave those scenes on the cutting room floor. They are forever tucked away in parts of their minds and cannot be edited out.

The thoughts, personal scripts , mental images, and feelings  linked to these scenes occurred under specific contexts and times in their sexual development. These past sexual learning experiences serve as frames of reference (also known as Relational Frames in AC Coaching) that influence how clients perceive current and future sexual experiences. Even though these experiences happened years ago at a different time and place, they still lurk in the deeper recesses of your clients’ minds just waiting to rear their ugly heads. All that needs to happen is for the right set of similar circumstances to occur in the present moment and those scenes from your clients’ past sexual movies will jump to the forefront and extrapolate how things will play out in the future.

 

 

 

When clients’ past sexual frames of reference are not in synch with their current sexual values and goals, they create barriers to having the kind of sex life clients want and deserve. When this happens, it isn’t because they are crazy or sexually dysfunctional; they are just stuck.

This happens because they lack the psychological flexibility needed to overcome the barriers posed by their unhelpful and outdated sexual thoughts, personal scripts, mental images, and emotions.

The sad thing is that many clients 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 wonder if they can ever get it back.

All clients in long-term committed relationships get get stuck sexually from time to time. Everyone has unhelpful sexual thoughts, personal scripts, mental images and feelings associated with themselves, their partners or their relationships.

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

 

 

These issues are really sexual thinking traps that clients fall into because they lack the psychological flexibility to see them coming and avoid them. When clients don’t see these things for what they are; unhelpful mental traps, they 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.

In coming blogs I will discuss the six core processes that contribute to being psychologically inflexible and getting stuck in a sexual rut and how to get unstuck.

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