Successful Sex Coaching: Slow and Steady Will Get You There Faster
When I talk with people about sex coaching and how it can help them, it sometimes becomes apparent that they’re looking for a transformative, cathartic experience that will change everything about their sex lives. This seems to be especially common when they’re asking about somatic sex coaching, but it also happens when they’re curious about the talk-oriented work that I do.
There are a lot of reasons why people think that catharsis is the most effective approach. We get a lot of messages about quick solutions, get rich quick schemes, instant success, and amazing experiences that totally change lives and relationships. We live in a “take this pill and your problems will be fixed” world. And there are a lot of coaches, workshops, and online programs that promise to instantly transform your life in only a few weeks. Though if you don’t have immediate success with them, they’ll tell you that you didn’t work hard enough or you aren’t the right fit for their program.
In my experience, the catharsis model is far less effective than the folks who sell it claim. You might have a deeply profound encounter that gives you new perspective on your situation, but I find that it’s not nearly as sustainable as a slower approach. That doesn’t mean that there’s no value to it. A catharsis can give you a preview of you where you can go, which can give you hope and inspiration to do the work to get there. But I’ve seen far too many people bounce from one “transformational” workshop, program, or guru to another, without ever seeming to get to the root of their problems. They’re so focused on where they want to be that they never look at the ground in front of them to figure out their next steps.
My approach to sex coaching is to focus on the incremental, less flashy steps that create a stronger foundation and true progress. Rather than trying to create sudden changes, I find it more effective to explore how the body, mind, and heart can integrate new experiences and expand their capacity to move out of the comfort zone and into the learning edges.
That doesn’t mean that the comfort zone is a bad place to be. On the contrary, you need time to rest, to integrate, and to let things settle. If you constantly push yourself to go, go, go, you won’t improve or grow nearly as quickly. Just ask a weightlifter, a marathon runner, or a swimmer- if you want to get stronger, you need to give your body time to rest and recover. Your heart and mind work the same way. We need to come back to the comfort zone and take a break.
Not only that, but the comfort zone is where we find the safety and security that allow us to confidently explore our edges. You can see this in practice when young children check in with their parents every so often, and then go back out onto the playground. It isn’t just kids who do this. One of the most effective approaches to adult learning is to create safety so that people will feel comfortable, and then offer useful, relevant information to help them learn. Without safety, learning isn’t as effective.
The trick is to know when to stretch and when to rest. That takes practice, and it takes a willingness to track what happens when you overdo it and when you don’t do enough. It takes time to figure out how those patterns work in your system, and then find ways to use that information to decide how to move forward. Sometimes, you might go a little bit too far, which can leave you feeling tender, dealing with a shameover, or simply needing to rest. At other times, you might not push enough and end up feeling like you’re stagnating. Calibrating your pace can be tricky.
Unfortunately, it’s easy to decide that this approach is too slow, and that a catharsis is the way to go. But when you blow past your comfort zone and shatter your boundaries, you can actually set yourself back because the experience is too big or too much for your system to absorb. It can leave you emotionally injured or traumatized, simply because you went more quickly than you could handle. It’s the emotional equivalent of a torn muscle or a dislocated shoulder from exercising harder than your body was ready for. And when that happens, you end up losing more time to healing and recovery.
It can be difficult to be patient with a slower process, especially if you’ve waited until things were in crisis before starting the work. It’s hard to not talk yourself into going a little faster or pushing a little harder so you can get through it more quickly. And given how seductive the catharsis model is, it can be challenging to take a breath and let things integrate. But overcoming sexual challenges and learning new approaches to embodiment, pleasure, and sex will happen much more smoothly when you do. You really will get there faster when you slow down and focus on keeping a steady pace. And you’ll discover more things about yourself, your sexuality, your relationships, and your pleasure along the way.
As a somatic sex educator and relationship coach, I want to help you find new tools to create the relationships that support you and make you thrive. I offer in-person sessions in Seattle, as well as coaching over skype. Get in touch with me to schedule a free 30 minute Get Acquainted skype call. Let’s talk about what’s going on for you and how I can help you make sex easy.