Sunday, May 15, 2011 11:26
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For instance, Rachel, the single computer-software sales manager, fell prey to negative self-talk whenever she found herself in a social situation that might lead to a sexual one. As soon as she spotted a man whom she found attractive or one who seemed to be attracted to her, her mind clicked into high gear. “Great-looking guy, intelligent, funny,” she would think. “I bet he’s married or gay or a jerk once you really get to know him. The ones I meet usually are. Why can’t I attract guys who aren’t losers? Why can’t I let the guys who aren’t losers know I’m attracted to them? Because they’ll think I’m desperate or needy or sleep around for the hell of it. That’s a laugh. The first time you have sex with someone, it isn’t even any good. Who needs it?” By the time her self-doubts and negative self-talk reached their final deafening crescendo, Rachel’s interest in sex would be long gone. She had literally—and consciously—talked herself out of sexual desire.On the other hand, many of our patients are not aware of their desire-inhibiting thoughts until sex therapy techniques. This happened to Ed after he attempted a sex therapy “homework assignment” we had given him and his wife, Pat.”Look, I tried what you said, but it didn’t help,” Ed declared, informing us that an exercise involving sensual but not sexual touching had been a total wash-out. “I tried to keep my mind on what I was feeling, but these thoughts just kept coming out of nowhere and they wouldn’t go away, or at least not for long.” The thoughts that Ed was referring to revolved around his perception that Pat was “no longer attractive and looked old.” He even fantasized about how Pat would look when she was really old—with silver hair and sagging breasts and wrinkles all over her body.”She was all dried up and brittle.” He shuddered. “I felt nauseated, disgusted.” Although Ed did indeed try to banish these thoughts from his mind, he could not. In fact, without telling Pat why, he became so uncomfortable that he refused to complete the exercise.Intrusive thoughts, once you recognize what they are, provide valuable clues about what is going on in your subconscious mind before and during sexual encounters. Like Ed, you may not be aware of the thoughts and images that interfere with your sexual feelings. But chances are that they have long been doing a number on your subconscious mind, switching off sexual desire before you even realize it has been switched on. *1\261\8*

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