Trapped? Use the Right Timing to Break Free

timingSexuality is an important part of our lives. Throughout the world, individuals choose to express their sexual energies in a variety of ways. For many people, the sexual outlets they pursue can become a major disruption in their lives and get in the way of enjoying committed, fulfilling relationships.

These sexual outlets can include things like hooking up and one-night-stands; phone sex, sexual chat rooms, masturbation, prostitutes, many different forms of pornography; strip clubs, massage parlors and many more. Frustrated and unhappy with the results of their sexual behaviors, many get to the place where they realize, "This just isn't working for me any more." So, they try to stop the behavior, but too often discover that they can't. No matter how hard they try, they keep going back to the same sexual outlets, even though doing so is messing up their lives and their relationships.

Why is it so hard to break out of unwanted sexual behaviors and outlets? Shouldn't it just be a matter of deciding, "I'm not going to do that any more" and stop? Unfortunately, it's rarely that simple. Dr. Page Bailey's illustration of "The Funnel of Sexual Process" helps explain why breaking out of negative sexual habits can be so difficult.

 

Imagine in your mind an hourglass, wide at the top and slowly narrowing down to a very small passage- way in the center and then back to a wide opening at the bottom. This is a perfect illustration of how the brain behaves in sexual process. As we go along in everyday life, our brain has a relatively wide perspective taking in all of the people and things around us. But once an individual becomes sexually aroused, the brain immediately begins to narrow its focus as it releases a tidal wave of endorphins and other neurochemicals.

funnel

The word endorphin is derived from two words—"Endogenous" meaning produced from within, and "morphine" a powerful pain-killer. So, in the funnel of sexual process, our brain and nervous system release our own natural pain killers.

In addition, we also release other powerful neuro-chemicals like dopamine—the body's pleasure chemical. So, in the funnel, stress and pain are blocked out and at the same time, we feel enormous pleasure. The further we head down into the funnel, the more narrow our focus. The logic centers of the brain shut down and the pleasure centers take over. And the pleasure center of the brain has only one absolute goal—climax. On our way there, we block out the world and all distractions.

In a healthy relationship, this narrowing process causes the couple to narrowly focus on each other and enjoy the pleasure together.  However, when enter this funnel through any number of sexual outlets outside a one man/one woman marriage relationship, the narrow focus is on self and getting our own rush or high as a pleasure outlet or an escape from the stresses of life—just like any other drug. The trouble is, because the pleasure center of the brain is in complete control, all thoughts of logic, values, consequences, self-control and future goals are blocked out.

Then, after we reach climax, we emerge from the narrowest part of the funnel. The Logic center of the brain regains control, and that's when we realize we've given in yet again, and the feelings of frustration, loneliness and depression hit us. It's at this point that we often feel the greatest motivation to get the help we need to break out of our unwanted sexual behaviors. However, soon the negative feelings dissipate and our determination to get help fades away as we get back into the routine of life. We miss the chance to get on the path to breaking free.

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Here's another way to look at this cycle.

The Avoidance Cycle

Avoidance Cycle

When it comes to bad habits and addictions, people typically use one primary strategy in their attempt to break free—avoidance through willpower.  When they feel an urge to indulge in unwanted sexual outlets, most individuals who are trying to break free of the behavior, attempt to force the thought or urge out of their mind and avoid the situation. All of us have heard the traditional advice, "You just need to try harder." This is the worst advice there is because it usually plunges the struggling individual into what we call the Avoidance Cycle.

What happens when you try to force a thought out of your mind? For instance, right now I don't want you to think about a big, bright, yellow school bus. No matter what, DO NOT think about that bus! Of course, the more you try to fight and keep the image out of your mind, the more it forces its way in. In psychology we call this an intrusive thought. Continually attempting to force the same intrusive thoughts, urges or feelings out of your mind can hopelessly plunge you into the Avoidance Cycle.

In the Avoidance Cycle, the struggling individual fights the sexual thoughts and urges and does everything he can to resist them. But they just continue nagging at him and trying to force their way in. Finally, worn out from the constant battle, he gives in and indulges in the same old sexual outlets. Temporarily, he feels relief—he doesn't have to fight the urges anymore. But then, after the experience—the "rush"—is over, once again all of the negative emotions set in. He makes a new vow—"That's the last time I will ever do that!" And he heads in to the Avoidance Cycle all over again.

After years of being trapped in this cycle, many people simply resolve themselves to their sexual habits— "Why bother trying. I'm never going to get past this. I might as well just give in and stop fighting."

Get the Help You Need

Believe it or not, the best time to take action and get help with your unwanted sexual behaviors is after you have indulged and you're feeling the emotional fallout. Use these negative emotions to your advantage—use them to motivate you to get the help you need and start changing your life and relationships for the better!

If you're sick and tired of the sexual outlets you've been pursuing, and you want start breaking free—then sign up for the RECLAiM program and start taking charge of your life! Do it now, before you change your mind and head back into that crazy cycle again.