Since sex coaching is a new and emerging profession, many of our visitors have questions about what it entails, how it’s done, what it costs, etc. The list below is intended to provide answers to the most common questions. Feel free to contact me with any other questions that you don’t see addressed below!
About the Sex Coaching Profession
Q: What is sex coaching?
A: Sex coaching is a new and emerging profession that melds a deep knowledge of sexology (the science that seeks to understand human sexuality) with the planning and goal-pursuing skills of coaching. A sex coach seeks to help a client identify and then drive toward enjoying the fullest and richest possible sexual and sensual life. Those goals are set by, and unique to, each client.
Q: Does sex coaching presume any particular perspectives on a client’s life?
A: Sex coaching is not prescriptive; it respects each client’s individuality, including their beliefs and their unique sources of sexual pleasure and satisfaction. There are also some differences in how various sex coaches pursue their profession. As a “common denominator”, though, sex coaches believe in the fundamental goodness of peoples’ sexuality, and in the fundamental right of all people to accept and embrace their sexuality. Sex coaching adopts a fundamentally “sex-positive” outlook on life.
Q: How does sex coaching position sex with respect to other aspects of a client’s life?
A: Again, different sex coaches have somewhat different views on the role of sex in a person’s life. For those who are accredited by the World Association of Sex Coaches (such as myself), sex is a multi-faceted thing that involves aspects of one’s mind, emotions, body, “energy” or presence, and even spirituality. Dr. Patti Britton, founder of Sex Coach University, bases her instruction on this multi-dimensional “MEBES” view of a client’s life. Sex is thus not a simple matter of physiology, mechanics or hydraulics; it involves all aspects of a person’s being. That is what makes sexuality such a powerful and encompassing thing!
Q: How is sex coaching related to sex therapy and other sex-oriented “helping” professions?
A: Sex therapy has been around as a recognized profession, for many years. A sex therapist is a licensed professional who seeks to identify and prescribe corrective actions for what they view as sexual pathology. This is analogous to a doctor trying to cure a patient’s ailments. Therapy is backward-looking, in that it focuses on a client’s history for clues that might explain observed sexual difficulties or issues.
Sex coaching is an emerging profession that does not entail licensing. Practitioners of that discipline apply a deep knowledge of sexology (the scientific study of human sexuality) to provide insights into how a client can enrich or increase their enjoyment of their sexuality and sensuality. Sex coaching seeks to increase the amount and quality of pleasure and satisfaction that a client draws from their sexual life. Sex coaching is forward-looking, in that it opens new possibilities for enrichment, rather than dwelling on sexual “pathology”.
Sex therapists are forbidden (by law) to touch their patients, even in neutral expressions such as a greeting hug. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists prohibits the use of touch in its members’ practices. In contrast, some sex coaches do include appropriate forms of touch in their practice. Both Sex Coach University and the World Association of Sex Coaches allow for the use of appropriate touch by qualified sex coaches. Any such touch is always directed toward the benefit of the client.
Coaching is a very personal collaborative relationship, in which shows of genuine caring and engagement are crucial to success. Of course, sex coaches are trained to be very aware of when touch can aid the achievement of desired results, versus when it is inappropriate or even harmful. Because of this continual need for careful assessment, most sex coaches who are not “body workers” tend to avoid the use of touch.
Q: How is sex coaching related to life coaching?
A: The core discipline of sex coaching is sexology; coaching simply provides the relationship and communication techniques through which the sex coach and client can collaborate in pursuing the client’s sexual goals. Life coaching includes a plethora of different areas of specialization: business coaching, relationship coaching, life-goals coaching, and many others. What all of these have in common with each other, and with sex coaching, is the collaborative relationship style used to deliver the coaching services. Coaching techniques are appropriate for sex coaching, in which the client sets the coaching goals and provides the needed knowledge and execution energy. The coach provides expert guidance, powerful and insight-promoting questions, and accountability as requested by the client.
Q: Is sex coaching the same as intimacy coaching?
A: No, though the two are closely connected in my own practice. Intimacy coaching focuses on building the inter-personal understanding and the receptiveness that enable partners to share emotional and physical closeness with one another. That closeness is mediated by the same factors of mind-emotions-body-energy-spirituality (MEBES) that underlie my approach to sex coaching. Thus, in my sessions, I don’t draw a sharp distinction between sex coaching and intimacy coaching. Intimacy coaching concerns itself with building emotional connections. Since the world of emotion is one of the facets of human sexuality, I see intimacy coaching as being a component of sex coaching.
Q: Who “needs” sex coaching, and who can benefit from it?
A: No one needs sex coaching; to be good candidates for such coaching, clients must desire improvements in their sex-life. Sex coaches do not presume that a client’s sex-life is “broken” and in need of “fixing”. Instead, the sex coach offers to help a client enrich and broaden their sexual and intimate experiences. That suggests that almost everyone can benefit from sex coaching.
Q: What sorts of client concerns can be addresses in sex coaching?
A: Sex coaching can be very useful in addressing a wide range of concerns, affecting men, women and couples. Some of the more commonly-occurring concerns are listed below. Note that for some concerns (e.g. the repercussions from deep sexual trauma), a sex coach may deem it appropriate to refer the client to other professionals, such as physicians or licensed sex therapists.
- Low desire
- Early ejaculation
- Erectile dysfunction
- Delayed ejaculation
- Sexual inhibitions
- Body-image concerns
- Social and dating-skills concerns
- Sexual trauma
- Desire for enhanced pleasure
- Low desire
- Inability or difficulty in experiencing orgasm by oneself
- Inability or difficulty in experiencing orgasm with a partner
- Pain during sex
- Vaginismus (painful tightening of the vaginal entrance)
- Sexual inhibitions
- Body-image concerns
- Social and dating-skills concerns
- Sexual trauma
- Desire for enhanced pleasure
- Infrequent sex
- Touch issues
- Differing levels of desire
- Monogamy or affairs conflicts
- Sexual skills deficits
- Body image issues
- Communication-style conflicts
- Negotiation skills deficits
Q: Will sex coaching help me live a “normal” sex-life?
A: In sex coaching, “normal” is a dirty word; there is really no such thing. Human sexuality includes a huge range of practices, preferences and perspectives. These differ by society, by age-group, by historic time-period, and in many other dimensions. Sex coaches are trained to be non-judgmental and accepting of a client’s sexual preferences. Often, coaches acquire this acceptance through their own broad experimentation and experiences; they do their best to “walk the talk”! Of course, some practices are more frequently encountered than others; but this carries no implications as to “right” or “wrong” behavior. As long as a client honors free consent from a partner, whatever that client and partner choose to share and experience is “normal”— for them!
About Sex Coaches
Q: Who can become a sex coach, and what are their qualifications?
A: As the young field that it is, sex coaching does not yet have broadly-recognized and accepted standards governing training and practice. This means that just about anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves a “sex coach”— potentially to the detriment of clients.
The reality is that sex coaching is a complex and knowledge-intensive field, requiring extensive preparation. To be competent in that field, a practitioner needs to have deep sexological knowledge, as well as honed coaching skills. Many sex coaches come from kindred fields that provide at least part of that required background, such as sex therapy or sex education. Even people with such a background typically need to extend and enhance their knowledge, to qualify as a capable sex coach.
The World Association of Sex Coaches has been established by a number of the leading lights in the fields of sexology and coaching, in part to help establish training and credentialing standards. Clients who wish to ensure a good sex-coaching experience should consider seeking out a WASC-certified coach. As a Professional Sex Coach graduate of Sex Coach University (SCU), I am proud to be accredited by WASC.
Q: Is the sex-coaching profession regulated?
A: At this point in time, sex coaches do not face licensing requirements or other regulatory requirements, as do sex therapists. That will probably change, as more practitioners enter the field and the need for quality assurance becomes more extensive. For now, a knowledgeable client would be wise to investigate a prospective sex coach’s training and certification.
Q: What ethical and professional standards govern a sex coach’s behavior?
A: Because sex coaching is not yet regulated, there are no uniform ethical and professional standards for that profession. However, professional organizations such as WASC and training bodies such as SCU emphasize ethics and standards. Both of these organizations subscribe to the following beliefs:
The World Association of Sex Coaches upholds these ethical standards:
We believe that:
- Sexuality is an essential natural and health part of being human; we as humans are sexual beings lifelong, from conception to death.
- Sexual rights are human rights; all adult sexual expression is acceptable, as long as it is with consent and without intentional harm.
- Every person deserves to choose whether, how and with whom they wish to express their sexuality, alone and/or with a partner.
- Every person deserves to and can have the sexual aspects of one’s life become realized; every person also has the obligation to take responsibility for their sexual actions and the impact on self, others and the global environment.
- People do not get rid of parts of themselves as sexual beings; they learn how to embrace and accept those aspects of self.
- Most practitioners of medicine and mental health care are inadequately trained and prepared to meet the sexual needs of their patients.
- Sex coaching is a direct, powerful and transformational pathway to sexual healing, sexual wellness and sexual success.
- Being a sex coach is one of the highest professions one can choose, allowing the sex coach to clear oneself first, then to become the greatest container for the sexual well-being of clients.
- We as sex coaches serve as role models for sex-positivity, sexual empowerment, sexual health and sexual success to the world.
- We as sex coaches must give back to the global community and advocate for sexual well-being and sexual freedom wherever we can have a positive influence.
We uphold the Code of Ethical Standards and Values of several organizations, including:
- The basic tenets for ethical standards at the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists, with the exception that we uphold the right for sex coaches who are trained and certified by the World Association of Sex Coaches to use healing and appropriate touch.
- The World Association of Sexual Health Declaration of Sexual Rights.
- The Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance.
- The beliefs, credos and practices of other well-regarded organizations, such as SIECUS, Planned Parenthood, World Health Organization and other human/sexual rights groups advocating for sexual rights, sexual wellness and freedom.
Q: What can I do to ensure access to a qualified sex-coaching professional?
A: Because there is not yet any globally-accepted set of standards or licensing for sex coaches, the next best thing that a prospective client can do to find a qualified coach is to look to the ranks of the few institutions that are pioneering stringent sex-coach training. Graduates of Sex Coach University, as well as other well-qualified coaches, will be listed in a Coach Directory that resides on the WASC website. Note that because many coaches work remotely via Skype or telephone, any listed coaches are potentially good candidates; they need not physically reside near a client’s location.
How Does Sex Coaching Work?
Q: What is the relationship like between a sex coach and his/her client?
A: Sex coaching is a partnership between two peers, rather than an asymmetric relationship between an expert problem solver and a passive subject of study (as in a therapeutic relationship). The sex coach can serve not only as a source of relevant information and knowledge, but also as a friend and advocate who encourages the client. Sex coaching is not a sterile, arms-length relationship; instead, the coach provides the warm acceptance and open-mindedness that facilitate a client’s efforts to understand himself or herself, and then to make room in their life for pursuit of their sexual desires.
Q: What are the sex coach’s roles and responsibilities?
A: The coach provides expert knowledge and other resources; helps create effective plans for pursuing goals; is the source of powerful questions that increase the client’s insight; and is a source of accountability to help the client stay on-track toward their stated goals. The coach provides progress feedback, and possibly suggests changes to the current plan, if needed. The coach establishes a safe and comfortable environment (“container”) in which mutual trust in the coaching relationship can develop. The coach ensures that the coaching work and client information are kept safe and private.
Q: What are the client’s roles and responsibilities?
A: In sex coaching, the client sets the coaching goals, and he or she is the source of the knowledge required to reach those goals. The client is responsible for actually taking the steps spelled out in the agreed-upon action-plan. The client needs to be willing to truly engage with, and develop trust for, the coach. The client must responsibly do what they agree to do, in pursuit of their sexual goals. That often includes a willingness to take needed actions outside the coaching sessions. The client is expected to treat things shared by the coach during sessions as private.
Q: How can a client get the most out of sex coaching?
A: If sex coaching sessions are to be fruitful, the client must be coachable. That is, he or she must be free from deep-seated emotional or psychological issues that would interfere with productive engagement with the coach. (For individuals with such issues, a sex coach will normally suggest a referral to a qualified therapist, before considering beginning sex coaching.) Beyond that, the client needs to have at least a sense that their sex-life and intimacy are not as enjoyable or fulfilling as they could be. The client needs to be receptive to at least an exploratory session with the coach, with the purpose of deciding what sexual, sensual and intimacy goals the client might want to pursue. The client also needs to engage with the coach to see whether the “chemistry” between coach and client is comfortable and productive.
Q: What is a sex-coaching session like?
A: Coaching sessions are designed to be relaxed, no-pressure affairs. They are usually conducted in comfortable circumstances: either in a cozy and welcoming professional office space (for face-to-face sessions), or in the comfort of one’s home or other chosen environment (for remote sessions).
Sex-coaching sessions are also action-oriented and results-oriented. They move from understanding a client’s goals and situation, to creating a clear action plan to reach those goals, to execution and tracking progress on that action plan.
Before a coach begins sessions with a client, he or she conducts an intake process to gather relevant information about the client. Besides contact information and a sharing of the coach’s policies, the intake process usually includes fairly detailed information about a prospective client’s sexual history, preferences and goals. This process helps ensure that the coach can serve the needs of each particular client, and that coach and client can work together comfortably.
The beginning of a session is devoted to a “check-in” process during which the coach listens to the client— to understand his or her concerns and interests, or other information that they wish to share. For sessions after the first one, the coach may then review highlights and conclusions from the prior session. The coach may also ask the client to describe what progress they feel they’re making toward the client’s chosen goals.
Discussion may then turn to addressing roadblocks, answering client questions, or otherwise boosting the client’s confidence and ability to take their needed next steps. Toward the end of a session, coach and client agree on what next steps are appropriate, so that the client will leave with clarity about how to keep going. The session ends with a close-out, during which the coach asks what the client has learned or concluded, how they are feeling about the process, and what they intend to tackle after the session. This close-out crystallizes the session results, and it aligns the client for taking their next productive steps toward their goals.
Q: What are the ways (“modalities”) in which a sex coach and client can interact?
A: There are different kinds of sex coaching; each specialty and each coach can have preferred modes of interaction with a client. These can include the following commonly-used modalities:
- Many coaches interact with clients remotely, by telephone and/or via teleconferencing (e.g. Skype). Such modes are effective, and they give the coach a wide geographic reach. (This is my main way to work with my clients.)
- Coaches can conduct one-on-one face-to-face sessions, usually in an uncluttered and tastefully-appointed professional space (owned or rented). This allows for close personal interaction, and for the sharing of “body language” that might be missed in remote sessions.
- Coaches can work with groups, in workshops, conference talks, and other multi-person forums.
- Many coaches maintain an active online presence, sharing via tools such as blog entries, Facebook postings, Twitter “tweets”, etc.
- Some sex coaches engage in “bodywork”, which entails various sorts of touch. That can include massage, demonstrations of sensual or erotic techniques, or even very personal physical interaction with a client. One example of this is the practice of the “sex surrogate” played by Helen Hunt in the excellent recent movie, “The Sessions”. Another example is the one-on-one orgasm coaching that renowned sexologist Dr.Betty Dodson conducts with her female clients. Note that these are extreme and rather unusual examples of sex coaching; most coaches refrain from the use of touch with their clients.
Q: How often should I have sex-coaching sessions, and for how long?
A: Unlike sex therapy, which can entail protracted sessions spanning many months, most sex coaching is conducted over the course of just a few sessions. There are cases in which this extends to many sessions, or in which occasional “maintenance” sessions can occur over a long period.
The duration of coaching depends on the nature of the goals or concerns that the client presents. Simple cases of sexual misinformation may be corrected in a single session. Correcting dating or social-interaction concerns may take several sessions, as may introducing a client to a new area of sexual activity. (Multiple sessions allow for repeated explorations and monitoring of progress.) The coach will typically assess what is needed and will make recommendations to the client, based on an intake process and an initial get-acquainted session.
In terms of session frequency, weekly or bi-weekly sessions are common. That frequency allows for the maintenance of continuity between sessions. Apart from occasional “tune-up” sessions, it is important for coach and client to meet often enough to keep goals fresh in memory, track ongoing progress, ask questions as they occur, and otherwise keep the engagement very active.
Q: Does sex coaching deliver all of its value through coaching sessions?
A: Again, different sex coaches approach their practices differently. For some, all or most of the coaching work occurs during sessions. For others (including me), the coach suggests that the client take on important activities between coaching sessions. For example, the coach might recommend that the client view an instructional DVD, read a book, try a new sexual experience, or visit a novel sexual-activity venue, as part of broadening that client’s sexual horizons. The client’s experiences can then be discussed during the following session, to help tune the client’s goals and action-plan. That sort of real-world immersion can make sex coaching much more powerful than talk-only sessions.