Since I addressed mindset in the first couple of posts here and here and because it’s a large part of what I do, you might be asking, "What is mindset?" And, "What the heck does mindset have to do with sex and sexual confidence?"
So, let’s start there, but before I get into what mindset IS, I want to take a look at what it’s NOT. Because it’s presented and understood in different ways and I want to reinforce what I’m really talking about here.
So, first … mindset is NOT positive thinking. That seems to be a common perception - - just have a positive mindset about whatever thing … you gotta think positive … you create what you want when you think positive, etc.
Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with thinking positively. I’m just saying that positive thinking isn’t what mindset truly is.
It IS about thinking. And it IS about thinking in ways that serve you.
But it's NOT about "just" thinking positive … because all that does is put positive thoughts (which are sometimes manufactured) on top of what’s currently going on underneath in your unconscious mind … which is what runs the show.
Like when you create a positive affirmation but you keep eating junk food anyway, even though you want to stop.
Or like when you create a positive goal to talk to a partner about something you fantasize about but shame holds you back and you keep it silent again and again .
The second thing that mindset is NOT is that it’s not about "just” believing.
That’s something that’s really commonly thought as well but you can't "just" choose to believe something different.
You have to also do the work to discover and shift the non-serving things in your unconscious so that different beliefs can run the show.
When you listen to the advice to "just" believe, you end up feeling like there HAS to be something wrong with you because you can't get this thing figured out.
That’s how I felt for a long time.
It’s kind of like the positive thinking one where it’s putting a Band-Aid over something deeper that’s going on underneath and that stuff underneath keeps coming up for you even if you try to do something different.
And the third thing that mindset is NOT is that it’s not JUST a perspective on something.
A lot of people automatically associate mindset with holding a certain viewpoint about something.
Like, “I have a good mindset about that.”
It CAN be that.
But it’s also SO much more than that.
Well, there are things that influence us in our lives (like the media and about a million other things). And we have certain experiences in our lives as well.
From those influences and experiences, we form perceptions of ourselves and the world.
Those perceptions become beliefs.
And from those beliefs, we form expectations of ourselves and the world.
All of that is happening in our unconscious.
But our thoughts reflect it and we can hear it silently whispering in the back of our minds (or maybe not so silently).
Our feelings also reflect it.
And our actions follow our thoughts and feelings, which creates our results.
“Mindset” is all that stuff that's going on in your unconscious mind and your conscious mind that affects what you do, and the results you get in your life.
It’s about what’s in charge of all of that, or the identity you live from.
We can choose to live from the identity that was shaped and silenced and shamed by all the societal influences … and experience thoughts, feelings, actions and results aligned with that.
Or we can choose to shift that and live from our truth and our authentic selves … and experience thoughts, feelings, actions and results aligned with that.
So, really, mindset is a PROCESS of discovering the unconscious beliefs that are currently in charge (and resulting in the things you DON’T want as results), shifting them, and creating new ones that are more serving.
Which is where positive thinking and new beliefs come into play, but the underlying stuff has to be dealt with for it to be effective.
So, what does mindset have to do with sex and sexual confidence?
Well, just like in general, we’re bombarded with all kinds of influences from society and from our experiences that tell us what’s expected sexually, what’s normal, what’s okay or not okay according to the societal standard.
It all impacts what we think and how we feel about who we are, uniquely.
Often, it shames and silences who we are in terms of our identity and desires and tells us we’re wrong, not normal or broken in some way.
So that we don’t express it outwardly.
And then don’t feel awesome about the sex lives we’re living.
And that’s why I shared in the first couple of episodes that random, surface tactics aren’t the answer on their own when you’re experiencing a discrepancy between what you want and what you’re experiencing and when there’s shame, fear and stuff holding you back.
You might try things like finally deciding to say something or setting goals or creating positive affirmations … or even things like reading books, listening to podcasts or trying different tactics or toys … but it doesn’t work … or it doesn’t work for very long … and you end up feeling frustrated and stuck.
This is because the unconscious stories run your life … and you’re not alone in this because it happens to everyone in different ways.
We all have info coming at us from every possible direction in our lives. It influences how we see ourselves.
And as information KEEPS coming into our lives through our senses, we filter it based on many things, including what we believe about ourselves and the world, how we see ourselves, our beliefs, and many other things.
It all becomes our internal reality or our programming or the conscious and unconscious stories that we tell ourselves.
And like I mentioned before, it affects our thoughts, feelings and physical state. And it’s reflected in our behavior or actions. Which creates our results.
That’s why mindset is actually about getting clear about the influences you’ve experienced, how they’ve impacted you, who you authentically are and feeling confident about that so you CAN express it in your sex life.
And this is definitely possible.
So, that’s the gist of what mindset is all about and what it has to do with sex.
It’s the foundation I come from and how I view the concept of mindset in the coaching I do with clients, which is also about sex but alongside the deeper work.
All of this actually brings me to the fact that September is sexual health awareness month and I want to share a bit about that today because sexual health is really what we’re talking about here.
Sexual health is often viewed as having to do with just the biological aspects of sex like reproduction, STIs, erectile dysfunction or menopause, but it’s actually way more than that.
The World Health Organization partly defines sexual health as:
“A state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality.”
I add that sexual health is impacted by all the things I’m talking about here - - all the things from society and our experiences that affect us. It all plays a role in our health when it comes to sex and sexuality.
As well, to expand on the World Health Organization’s definition of sexual health, Doug Braun-Harvey created the six principles of sexual health.
I’m not going to go into all six, but three of his principles are relevant to what I’ve been talking about and they show how all of what I’ve said is connected to sexual health.
The three principles are honesty, pleasure and shared values.
Honesty is about honesty with yourself and with others and in order to be honest, you need to be aware of yourself in terms of everything I’m talking about here - - who you are sexually, what you like and don’t like, your values, what you really want, what you need, what has affected you, etc. And it involves communication of these things.
About pleasure, Doug Braun-Harvey wrote:
“Too often judgments about the lack of congruence between what we are expected to find pleasurable competes with the erotic demands of our most hungry sexual desires.”
This is EXACTLY what I’m talking about here and it’s very much aligned with what I experienced in my life and what I’ve heard from so many of you as far as what your biggest struggle is.
And shared values is about being aware of what your sexual values are and again, communicating them and acting in way that’s true to them. Sexual values are one of the things I support you in discovering when we work together and they’re part of what makes you, you, sexually.
As you can see, our sexual health is a big and important topic it’s a lot deeper than “just go buy this cool sex toy” or what might be happening in a more medical sense.
So, keep reading for more!
If we aren’t connected on Instagram already, come find me over there, share this post and tag me. I’d love to have a conversation with you about it and hear about the loops you find yourself operating from.