If there’s one thing I have figured out as an adult, it is that there are times when one needs to ask for help. Sounds easy, but if you are like me, it can be tough. I do recognize that every so often I need to call upon an expert for help in accomplishing some goal. Thankfully, there are many experts from which to choose, i.e., lawyers, therapists, and accountants. Others seek more specialized experts like nutritionists, physical trainers, financial planners, or even sexuality professionals. The latter is my domain; I help clients figure out their sexual concerns.

What Is A Sex Coach?

As a sex coach, I’m here to guide you through the often complex and intimate aspects of sexuality. Think of me as a personal trainer for your sex life. I provide education, support, and strategies to help you explore and enhance your sexual well-being. Whether it’s addressing sex related concerns, exploring new areas of intimacy, or simply learning more about your own sexual desires, I’m here to help you navigate these waters with confidence and ease. My role is to empower you, offering a safe and non-judgmental space to discuss and explore your sexuality, leading to a more fulfilling and, dare I say, joyful sexual experience.

Dr. Lanae St.John

What Credentials To Look For In Sex Coaching And Therapy

A certified sex therapist will have more clinical requirements, including supervised sex therapy training and related graduate degrees. Sex coaches can seek out  certification similar to sex therapists, and there are other ways to determine if you’re talking to a qualified sex coach.

For example, as a sex coach myself, I have dedicated years to acquiring a deep and comprehensive understanding of human sexuality. Here’s a snapshot of my professional journey:

  • Masters, Doctorate in Human Sexuality (2015) from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality
  • Trained in Somatica Method (2016)
  • Certified Sex Coach from Sex Coach U (2017)
  • Diplomate of the American Board of Sexology

Let’s go through the differing qualifications between sex therapists and sex coaches.

For Sex Therapists:

  1. Certification from AASECT: The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists offers a certification indicating specialized training in sex therapy.
  2. State Licensure: Many states require sex therapists to be licensed mental health professionals, such as licensed clinical social workers (LCSW), licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT), or licensed professional counselors (LPC).
  3. Advanced Degree: A master’s or doctoral degree in psychology, counseling, social work, or a related field is often required.
  4. Continuing Education: Participation in ongoing education specific to sex therapy to stay updated with the latest practices and research.
  5. Ethical Standards Adherence: Commitment to professional ethical standards, ensuring confidentiality and client welfare.
  6. Clinical Experience: Accumulated hours of supervised clinical experience in sex therapy.

For Sex Coaches:

  1. Certification from Recognized Bodies: Certifications from organizations like the Sexual Health Alliance or Sex Coach U indicate professional training in sex coaching.
  2. Educational Background: While a specific degree may not be required, a background in psychology, counseling, or a related field is beneficial.
  3. Specialized Training Programs: Completion of specialized training programs in sex coaching, which may include courses on sexuality, communication, and coaching techniques.
  4. Ethical Practice: Adherence to a code of ethics that emphasizes client safety, confidentiality, and respect.
  5. Experience in Coaching: Practical experience in coaching individuals or couples on sexual matters.
  6. Ongoing Professional Development: Engagement in continuous learning and professional development in the field of sex coaching.

These credentials ensure that the professional you choose has the necessary training, experience, and ethical standards to provide effective and safe guidance in sex therapy or coaching.

How To Find A Sex Therapist Or Sex Coach

Some sexologists go on to become members of the American Board Of Sexology (ABS, one of the best resources for people to find informed and non-judgmental sexuality professionals). As these sexuality professionals work to fulfill the educational requirements for membership, they usually acquire all they need to know about the full range of human sexual behavior and how people think and feel about it. These are essential experiences for a sexuality professional to have, especially in a field where so many people hold strong biases and have little accurate information.

If you ever need to find someone to coach you or to consult with, check out ACS or the World Association of Sex Coaches or any of the other relevant human sexuality organizations around the world; I belong to a few of those too (listed in my bio). Make sure in your initial consultation you feel comfortable with the professional. If you are not, check out another person who specializes in your particular areas of interest. How else will you get the help you need if you do not ask for it?

How To Evaluate A Sex Therapist Or Sex Coach

How can you be sure the professionals you are consulting know their subject area? Degrees or certifications are one way but even then you wish to ensure they know enough about your particular concerns. For the professional, it takes a lot of self-knowledge to be aware of one’s own biases and limitations. In particular, from the standpoint of a sex educator or sex coach, it is important to know one’s comfort zone when it comes to human sexuality.

A good sex therapist isn’t just qualified, they’re also ready and open to work with you in a safe and helpful way.

Humans engage in many different sexual behaviors. Some of these involve genitals; others do not. Some acts arouse the person(s) involved directly or indirectly; others have the opposite effect. It is important for professionals in human sexuality to know what areas they have the stomach for and which ones they should “refer out;” their biases may surface at some point and adversely impact the advice. Therefore, a sexuality professional must “know their squicks.” A squick is a term used in sexuality circles for something or someone that causes an immediate and thorough revulsion. My first exposure to squicks happened while watching a Sploshing video not too different than one that surfaced recently on the internet.

This Wet & Messy video amused me. However, some people sitting near me were repulsed. Their response fascinated me as well because I was not squicked by the video.

Why is this squick concept important: Have you ever walked into a therapist’s office, shared an experience (with BDSM, porn viewing, polyamory, or some other sexual kink) and walked out feeling judged? I reckon you felt that way because they held an incorrect impression or bias about that topic. Likely, that therapist did not have a thorough education about that subject.

Here’s an example: In a conference session once, I encountered a sexuality educator who told me she thought porn was too pervasive and had all the blocks on her computers at home to prevent her teenaged son from accessing it. I pointed out that she could block all adult content sites in her home, but it would not prevent her child’s access to it outside the house. I suggested explaining to him that porn is someone else’s fantasy and that “there are things you cannot unsee.” My kids understood this idea clearly the first time it came up. The educator was very anti-porn and not aware of her bias about adult content, nor how her attitude might make her unapproachable to her own child. I presume a parent seeking her advice would probably not get the tools or strategies to address these issues with their children adequately. Adult content is certainly widely available, but because of that parents should acknowledge that fact and address it instead of trying to ignore or hide it. In this instance, a bias will not help if it prevents you from getting assistance that is helpful.

Listening to the sexual concerns of people can be tough if you have not obtained a solid education on the topic first or if you let your biases seep out. During the Sexual Attitude Restructuring process at my graduate school, I discovered my hot buttons as a sexologist so now I know them and if a client’s concern is not in my area of expertise, then I send them to someone better suited than I to help.

Schedule A Discovery Call

Choosing the right sex therapist or coach is vital for your journey towards sexual well-being. It’s about finding someone with the right credentials and a deep understanding of your unique needs. As a qualified and empathetic sex coach, I’m here to guide you with expertise and care.

Ready to explore a more fulfilling sexual life? Schedule a discovery call with me and let’s start this empowering journey together.

About the Author

The MamaSutra

Dr. Lanae St.John is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sexology and certified sex coach with a background in sexology and a passion for helping people improve their sexual health and relationships. She is the author of "Read Me: A Parental Primer for "The Talk"" and the upcoming "You Are the One: How stopping the search and looking inside will lead you to your romantic destiny," and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the field. Dr. St.John aims to share her knowledge and expertise in a relatable and approachable way through her blog on themamasutra.com.

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