One of the most commonly asked questions I get when I tell people that I am studying to become a sex coach is “what is the difference between a sex coach and a sex therapist?” Although they may appear to be the same thing the way each one handles working with a client is very different.
When you think of therapy you think of sitting in an office, talking at a therapist for an hour, and unveiling your deep and emotional history. When you think of coaching you often think of a sports coach, or music coach, who helps their client improve in an area of choice. Two wildly different scenarios. The same can be said for sex therapy versus sex coaching. Sex therapy tends to look back and place the focus on what happened, whereas sex coaching deals with the present, towards the future.
The past informs who we are in the present, but does not dictate who we are and who we become.
As mentioned above, sex coaching deals with the present, towards the future. As coaches, we meet the client where they are and discuss what it is they want to achieve. This could be anywhere from exploring BDSM, telling their partner they like to wear women’s clothing, or learning self-pleasure. We then have a back and forth conversation with our client to decide on the next steps to take.
Sex coaching differs from therapy in that it is a very active and participatory session. We like to engage verbally with our clients and bounce ideas off of each other to give a little nudge in the right direction, but to not make our client feel overwhelmed. As sex coaches, we may also accompany a client to a sex shop to help them pick out a toy, or help them choose which outfit to show their partner. We want them to feel seen and welcomed to be who they truly are, and having a collaborative session, one built on team work, honors that.
As sex coaches we learn to determine whether or not we think a client would better benefit from a therapist over a sex coach. Sometimes therapy may be needed before a sex coach can step in. Other times sex coaching and sex therapy can be used in congruence with each other. The opposite can be said as well. Therapists don’t always have immersive training on sex to feel comfortable guiding their clients in that area, so they will refer out to a sex coach to help their clients pursue what it is they desire.
Knowing what it is you are looking for is a great starting point to decide whether or not to reach out to a sex coach, a sex therapist, or a therapist in general. If it something you are unsure about find a sex coach or therapist and ask them for their advice. It is always better to reach out so that you can begin walking towards the future that you want than it is to stay stuck in your present life, or even in your past.