3 tips to spot a coach who can’t help you…and one who can.
*Names have been changed for privacy.
When Natasha* and I first met in a class, she eyed me with suspicion.
“Can women actually have effortless orgasms?”
My answer? Absolutely.
She was skeptical, but booked a call with me anyway. We talked about her history with orgasm. She’d had a handful throughout her life, but all had either required:
- a lot of time and effort, or
- very specific circumstances that were hard to replicate
I shared some strategies she could use to quiet distracting thoughts, condition her pelvic muscles, and reduce her time to orgasm.
A couple weeks later, she texted me:
I’m a believer. I came last night!
“Congrats!” I wrote back. “Do it again tonight.”
Natasha kept at it, sticking with her strategies until she was reliably orgasming during sex.
And she didn’t stop there.
Natasha wanted truly effortless orgasms, so we continued to work together. I guided her through breathwork and relaxation exercises to further align her mind and body during arousal and give her complete orgasmic control.
The results were stunning:
- two months after we’d met, she was having multiple orgasms during sex
- in three months, orgasm was so easy she could do it on command
Understandably, sex with her husband had never been hotter. They were like teenagers now, squeezing quickies into their mornings and sexting all day about what they’d do that night.
“Thank you so much“, she said in our last call together. “You gave me…us…a marriage we never could have imagined.”
Finding a legitimate sex coach
Stories like Natasha’s are hard to come by—not because they don’t happen, but because most people keep their sex lives private.
Privacy is valid! Discretion is a cornerstone of any legitimate sex coach’s business.
But it does make it tough for people like Natasha to connect with coaches who can actually give them the blissful, orgasmic sex lives they want.
Here’s the good news: it is possible to suss out coaches who can actually help you, and ones who can’t.
How to avoid a sex coaching scam
Let’s go over some tips for avoiding sex coaching scams.
Tip #1: Look for reviews or testimonials
As I’m sure you can guess, most sex coaches don’t have Google Reviews. This circles back to the issue of discretion.
But there should be reviews posted somewhere if you look for them.
For example, you can find testimonials from my students and clients here.
A word of warning, however: It’s easy for illegitimate coaches to hire people to create fake reviews or even write them themselves while hiding behind the guise of privacy.
This is why it’s critical to look beyond reviews, which brings us to tip #2.
Tip #2: Check for an online presence
While some coaches have a thriving in-person practice and don’t need a lot of online presence, most legitimate sex coaches use the internet to provide potential clients a way to discretely connect.
This means they’ll have a robust online presence, including:
- a website
- social media pages
- an active blog, video channel, podcast, or similar form of outreach
You can use these things to get a feel not only for whether a coach is legitimate and currently practicing, but also whether they’re a good fit for your needs and goals.
Tip #3: Read the intake form
This is a real insider tip that will truly cinch the call on whether a sex coach is legitimate or not.
First, there’s something you need to know: some sexual issues are best handled by a doctor or sex therapist rather than a coach.
A good sex coach knows this, and won’t take on clients who have unmanaged medical or mental health issues that greatly affect their sex lives.
That means their intake form will include questions about your medical and mental health history.
Worried your medical and mental health history make you uncoachable? Reach out anyway, and be honest.
A good sex coach has a network of sex-positive service providers and can connect you to the right professionals for your situation.
Most of us are also happy to work with you in tandem with your doctor and/or therapist.
Other things to know about sex coaching scams
All over the world and across time, people have helped each other overcome mental blocks to sexual function and satisfaction. Sex coaches are simply people turning this skill into a profession.
As the professional sex coaching industry grows, it can be helpful to know a couple things about it.
Insight 1: Sex Coaching is Unregulated
Like personal training, sex coaching is an unregulated field. This means certifications or licenses aren’t required for someone to call themselves a sex coach.
Without regulating agencies, how can people be sure that a sex coach is qualified to help them?
Many look for a sex coach certification. However…
Insight 2: Certifications Aren’t Accredited
Certifications are helpful, but don’t guarantee quality sex coaching.
Again, like personal training, the certifications available are backed by businesses and professional organizations—not accredited universities like the ones sex therapists attend to get licensed.
Curious about these programs? Let’s inspect the certifications available and the types of people who apply to them.
Inside a Sex Coach Certification Program
A few years ago, I chose to pursue a sex coaching certification for a few reasons:
- To continue my lifelong journey of pursuing ongoing sex education.
- To gain a credential that would offer a sense of authority to my writing about sex.
- To do something different and help people directly rather than just writing.
Everyone has different reasons for applying to certification programs, of course. I’m just sharing mine as an example.
Once inside my program, for instance, I realized that my peers included healthcare professionals, teachers, spiritual leaders, dating show celebrities, and people from all walks of life.
What You Should Know
In typical internet-nerd fashion, I’d researched available certification programs extensively before choosing the one I went with, and learned a lot along the way.
Here are a few things that I think are important to know if you’re leery of a sex coaching scam:
Not everybody gets in.
There is an application process for every certification program I came across. They ask for things like formal education, the sex ed you’ve received, your publications in the field, sex-focused communities or organizations you’re a member of, and how your life experience has shaped your understanding of sexuality. Don’t demonstrate at least a solid foundation of sex-positivity and sexuality knowledge? They’ll recommend some resources and suggest you re-apply later.
Programs are therapist-backed.
The vast majority of certification programs I came across were built and/or overseen by a licensed sex therapist. While sex coaches aren’t earning psychology degrees, they are learning skills that licensed sex therapists find valuable. In fact, many therapists seek sex coach certification themselves to supplement their therapy rather than seek another license.
There’s no disillusion that coaches are therapists.
The very first lesson in my certification course was “What is a Sex Coach?”, and guess what—sex coaches are not therapists. This was broken down and revisited repeatedly throughout the course, especially in the “Sex Coaching Ethics” lesson. If a prospective client is struggling with mental health issues or sexual trauma, an ethical sex coach must refer that person to a therapist.
The courses take time.
It took me over a year to complete my self-paced course. If I had really put a lot of time and effort in, I might have completed it in six months. There were about 20 units on things like reproductive anatomy, sexual psychology, porn, kink, nonmonogamy, LGBTQ+ issues, and more. I wrote reports on field trips to sex toy stores, strip clubs, sex clubs, and BDSM dungeons. I gave a final presentation to my peers on gender and language. A lot of time and energy goes into getting certified.
They’re an investment.
The cost of programs I found ranged from $3,000 to tens of thousands of dollars. While the work required to graduate ensures that no one’s simply “paying for a piece of paper”, the financial investment is worth noting. It’s also worth noting that certification programs have a lower barrier to entry when it comes to the investment of time and money, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
All that being said, not every sex coach is certified, and not every sex coach has to be.
I’ve met many sex coaches who aren’t certified but have a background in sex club ownership/management, providing mediation for nonmonogamists, leading LGBTQ+ support groups, or having experience as a sex worker.
Not being certified doesn’t necessarily make a sex coaching business a scam. It’s up to prospective clients to dig into a sex coach’s background and determine if they’re a good fit.
Final Tips for Avoiding a Sex Coach Scam
If you’re looking for a sex coach and worried about being scammed, here are a few final things that can help you separate those qualified to handle your issue from the rest:
- A paper trail. These days a paper trail is likely digital, but there should still be one. Look up any qualifications a sex coach lists. Are the certification programs real? Do they have evidence of their experience in the field? Are there testimonials of their work from others? Do a little digging.
- Specializations. As you look over the coach’s website, content, email blasts, social media, or wherever you find their information, look for what they specialize in. Do those specialties include your issue? If not, they might be a qualified sex coach, but not a good match for you. Avoid coaches with little or no information about what they can help with.
- Tailored responses. Send a brief email or message asking, “Hey, I’m dealing with ______. Is that something you can help with or can you refer me to someone who does?” They should respond within a few days with an answer that makes it clear they read your message.
- Trust your gut. If something feels off or scammy, move on to another sex coach that resonates better. It’s okay to ask questions if you’re feeling unsure. If the answers you get are unsatisfactory there are plenty of other coaches out there to choose from.
When Sex Coaching Isn’t Right
A sex coach isn’t right for you if you’re dealing with unmanaged:
- trauma response
- eating disorder
- other mental disorders
- medical issues
- medication issues
If you need to talk to someone to process traumatic sexual events, a therapist is better equipped for that. Body image & sex coaches do exist for anyone struggling with sexual self-confidence based on their body, but ethical coaches draw the line at attempting to treat eating disorders.
Sex coaching is great for people in relatively good mental and physical health. A coach helps clients like this identify the sources of their issues, make a personalized plan to work towards resolution, and stay accountable to the process.
For those comfortable talking with others about sex, a sex coach may never be necessary. If you can talk things through and brainstorm solutions with people you trust—I’m genuinely happy for you!
When Coaching is Right
Ever heard the saying, “Can’t see the forest for the trees”? People are sometimes so deep in their problems that they can’t see the whole picture. A coach can describe the picture while standing on the outside, and point clients in the direction of resolution and satisfaction.
Sex coaches provide compassion, perspective, and step-by-step guidance to reaching your sensual goals. They transform their clients into happier, healthier, more actualized versions of themselves.
For people like Natash and countless others, a sex coach is the right choice. By going beyond the information you can find with a web search, a coach can walk you through their tried-and-true processes and help you overcome just about any struggle.
Sex is complicated.
We are all born capable of having transformative physical experiences with our bodies, yet for many of us this ability is muted by outside factors.
As a coach, I help people more fully embrace sexual pleasure and expression. Check out my clients’ testimonials to see for yourself.
Want a taste of what I do? Snag your free copy of my sexual communication journal, Talking About Sex:Talking About Sex
Meet Shannon Burton, SXI
Want to live your most sexually fulfilled life? Book a discovery call to discuss what sex coaching can do for you.
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