... and your first steps to overcoming them. Grab a pen and paper and get ready to investigate, with some self-coaching.
We are obsessed with other people’s sex lives. That’s how it seems to me, working in this area. Clients worry they aren’t having ‘enough’ sex compared to ‘everyone else’, aren’t passionate enough, kinky enough, horny enough, take too long or don’t last long enough... These are all limiting or negative beliefs which can seriously impact our happiness and fulfilment.
Sex is an area of behaviour where we don’t often get to see what our fellow humans are up to. We get an idea in our head from popular culture, media, film (which all often display an obsession with sex) but we don’t really know what’s going on behind the nation’s closed bedroom doors. Even if the doors are open - for example if we are at a fetish club or swingers’ night, or watching a documentary about one of these - what is happening at a one-off event isn’t representative of those people’s day to day sex lives. Even very close friends may seldom or never talk about sex. So are our self-disparaging beliefs healthy, when they are not necessarily rooted in fact? And how can we take a different view on them?
Think about the limiting or negative beliefs you have about yourself in regard to sex, or sex itself, and choose one. The time to examine your beliefs is when you are relaxed and feeling open-minded, and have time, not when the belief has been triggered and you are in the grips of its negative consequences. Are you feeling relaxed and curious now? If so, write your belief down, then work with it, writing down your answers, as you read this article.
The first step in examining a belief is to ask yourself where it came from. What makes you believe you are not adventurous in bed, for example? Fully unpick the source or sources - what ideal are you comparing yourself to, or who said the comment which made you believe this? List all the possible origins of the belief.
Then ask - how could these sources be wrong? Have they ever been wrong about other topics? So if an ex said something hurtful - were they always right about everything? If your favourite series on Netflix make you feel unadventurous - would you compare yourself personally to other elements of the storyline such as how to build a career?
Then have an objective look at your own history. Is this belief ALWAYS the case or are there incidents in your history which prove you wrong? What about that short-lived but crazily passionate relationship several years ago where you did things you’d previously only fantasised about and haven’t done since... but - you did them. Or look at your fantasies - are they more adventurous than your real life? So is it the case YOU are ‘not adventurous’, or that your current sexual situation/environment doesn’t support your adventurous side coming out? Apply these investigations to your own chosen belief.
You can see how something which can seem simple and factual, and which has a lot of control over your actions, is actually more complex.
My favourite question in regard to beliefs is a challenging one, which has sometimes taken me days or weeks to answer when examining my own limiting beliefs: “what is this belief protecting me from?” Even our most negative beliefs have some element our minds believe to be doing us good or be protective in some way. “I’m not adventurous in bed” could be protecting us from rejection by a partner, keeping a sexual status quo to protect our marriage, or allowing us to hold the belief “I am a good person” if another belief is that being sexually adventurous is shameful or wrong.
Now get your imagination going. What if you woke up one day and the belief had disappeared. How would you act differently? What would you do? Taking it a step further - what’s the opposite of the belief - in our example “I am super-adventurous in bed”. What would you do if you held that belief instead? How would your sex life be different, and how would your life overall be affected?
Then it’s time to assess - do you want to lose the original belief? Part of this process is releasing tensions and resentments associated with the sources of the original belief. This doesn’t mean that you condone bad behaviour, but that you choose not to allow it to affect you from here onwards. If you are able to, forgive the source of the belief, forgive yourself for having been affected by it, and now leave it in the past.
Then it’s time to replace it with a more positive belief. It doesn’t have to be a total opposite if that’s too much of a stretch - you can take tiny steps. In our example - “I am sometimes adventurous in bed” if you’ve remembered incidents where you were. Or “It’s safe to be adventurous in bed” if you’ve realised your fears in this area are unfounded. Or “I am on a path to becoming adventurous in bed”. What is the first action you could take, towards establishing that new belief? Write this down as an action you commit to taking and the timeframe in which you will do so.
Well done. You've taken your first steps towards liberating yourself from a limiting belief and increasing your capacity for sexual happiness.
Sometimes we need the help of another person to investigate our limiting beliefs. The 'known', even if unsatisfying, may feel preferable to the scary 'unknown' of facing that belief, so your mind won't ask the questions. In that instance, having someone else ask them, in an unrushed, confidential and supportive space, may be what you need. This is an example of where coaching can help. Don't hesitate to contact me if this article has unearthed things you need help to explore.