Sex Coaching and Sex Therapy. What’s Right For You?
If your sex life is feeling stuck, one of the best things you can do is get some help from a trained expert. When you need useful suggestions, information about how other people have navigated similar circumstances, outside perspective about your challenges, or you just want to speak with someone who’s not involved in the situation, working with a skilled and compassionate professional can make all the difference.
It can be difficult to find the right person, especially if you’re not 100% sure what you’re looking for. One of the most common questions I hear from folks is: what’s the difference between sex coaching and sex therapy? So here are some of the things to consider when you’re looking for someone to work with.
The main difference between therapy and sex therapy is that a sex therapist has training and expertise with sexuality topics. It’s sort of like how there are therapists who specialize in helping people overcome drug and alcohol addiction, heal from trauma, move through grief, or deal with their depression. Most therapists have training around these topics, and some specialize in them. A sex therapist is like any other therapist, except that they usually have more knowledge and experience with sexuality issues. That’s especially important since most therapy training programs offer very little sex education to their students. In some states, it’s a total of eight hours of class time, so it’s worth asking a therapist about their training.
Some therapists are certified by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, which means that they’ve met some rather high training standards, but there are lots of other sex therapists who don’t have that piece of paper. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re less skilled or effective. I’ve known a lot of sex therapists who aren’t certified and still do great work.
In general, the process of therapy focuses a lot on your past experiences in order to help you heal old wounds and develop new skills for emotional self-regulation and self-care. It can be an incredibly powerful experience. Some of my deepest healing came from my work with therapists, and I have a lot of respect for the profession. But sometimes, you don’t really need to take a long look backward. Sometimes, you need or want to focus on what’s in front of you so you can move forward. That’s where coaching comes in.
Coaches, whether they specialize in helping people with money, relationships, life choices, eating habits, or sex, are there you make it easier for you to move forward towards your goals. Your past experiences will often be part of the conversation since there’s a lot of important information there, but a coach will generally put more emphasis on getting you from where you are now to where you want to be.
One way you can think of it is that therapists do a great job at helping you understand how you got to where you are, and that can be a source of deep healing and inspiration for growth. Coaches are there to help you move from where you are to where you want to get, and healing often happens along the way. The big difference is where the focus is.
As a sex and relationship coach, my job is to make it easier for you to have the sex life and the relationship(s) that fulfill you. After many years of talking with thousands of people about their sexual experiences, their fantasies and desires, their secrets, their challenges, and their relationships, I bring a wide perspective that helps me find ways to help you. That doesn’t mean that I know what will work for you. I can make suggestions, ask questions, and reflect back to you what I see happening in your sex life. It’s up to you to try things out and let me know how they worked so we can recalibrate and refine things. Ultimately, you’re the one who’s driving the car. It’s my job to help you get to where you want to go.
Coaching and therapy are both powerful tools. I’ve had some amazing experiences with each of them. I’ve learned new things about myself, gotten valuable skills that have made my life easier, and developed new understanding about my emotional and relationship patterns. And I hope that having a little more clarity about the difference between the two will make it easier for you to decide which one will be the best for you when you need it.
If you’re curious about sex and relationship coaching, please get in touch with me and let’s set up a free Get Acquainted call. If you’re in the Seattle area, I’d love to meet you in my office, whether it’s for talk-focused work or experiential/hands-on sessions. And if not, I’d be happy to talk with you over Zoom or meet you in person when I travel to your city. I want to help you make sex easy. Let’s figure out how to make that happen.