A New Direction

Last week was revelatory in many ways, and it’s all culminated in one decision:

I’m taking things in a new direction.

I initially envisioned Sex Coach Shannon as primarily a coaching business. I’d write, of course, because that’s who I am—a writer and teacher: someone who enjoys teaching through writing.

That writing, I hoped, would reach readers in meaningful ways. Some of these readers might decide that coaching would be helpful for them, and if it went well, they’d perhaps tell their friends.

Of course, writing alone is not enough when it comes to marketing a coaching business. I would need to broadcast that writing and my services on social media and other platforms. To do this well, I needed content that was more than just links to my writing.

People don’t follow pages that are just links to blog posts, after all.

So I worked on that. I offered free advice on advice forums, repurposed my writing into videos, reels, and social media posts, and dutifully replied to my DMs.

It was fun at times, but mostly a chore for me. It wasn’t what I wanted to be doing, but it felt like something I had to do in order to do what I wanted to do. That was good enough…until it wasn’t.

Photo by Marcus Aurelius

When Facebook and Instagram permanently suspended my account and shadowbanned me, it hit me harder than I expected.

I already knew these platforms were sex-negative, so it wasn’t surprising. In many ways, it was actually affirming. I was right to be hesitant. I was grateful I hadn’t invested more time and money into building my audiences there before getting that confirmation.

But I had turned to these platforms because I wasn’t getting enough return for my efforts in other places, and being shut down so quickly felt like a message from the universe that this just wasn’t the path for me.

Then I realized it wasn’t.

I’ve realized now that I don’t have to do the things I’m “supposed” to do in order to do the things I want to do. I can just do what I want to do. I can get straight to it and ignore the steps in between if they don’t serve me.

If there’s nothing in my way—why not just do it?

Why I Got a Sex Coach Certification

When I decided in 2020 to begin working on my sex coach certification, there were two driving forces at play:

  1. I was burned out from writing marketing content for tech companies.
  2. I knew I’d rather be writing about sex, sexuality, and combating sexual shame and stigma.

To write about these things with any hope of making it into a career, however, I felt the need to have some kind of qualification. Though I’d read about (and lived life lessons around) sexuality and sexual health since I was a teen, I had no formal education on the topic or certifications.

So I started researching them.

A sex coach certification was the most reasonable choice for me. It was in my budget and my desired timeline for making a career switch. The knowledge I would gain from the course would of course be invaluable, and being able to coach individuals and improve their sex lives would be an honor as well as informative for my writing.

And wouldn’t you know it: I learned that I’m really good at coaching!

Time and again, my mock clients, intern sessions, and finally actual clients have affirmed for me that the service I provide as a coach is endlessly helpful.

But my primary goal wasn’t to become a sex coach. It was to transition into sex writing.

Somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that primary goal. I got bogged down in the chase for clients. My writing was all marketing again, and not the kind of valuable insight I wanted to provide into sex and sexuality. I’d wound up back where I didn’t want to be: writing primarily marketing material.

Writing What I Care About

Photo by Kamaji Ogino

When I wrote The Underappreciated Versatility of Strap-On Sex last week, there was admittedly some marketing motivation. I’m hosting a free chat on strap-on sex this Wednesday, and I wanted to pitch that along with my more advanced class.

Despite that, the post took off without any extra effort on my part. In less than a week, the post had hundreds more organic views than any other post I’ve published here or elsewhere in the last year. While I’m sure the niche subject matter (and my Fetlife following) certainly helps, I like to think this is also at least partially due to my different approach with the piece.

Rather than aiming for search engine optimization or a general overview, I dug into what genuinely interests me about strap-on sex: its history and lesser-known uses. My authentic interest undoubtedly contributed meaningfully to the article’s success.

And damnit, that feels good.

I got a sex coaching certification to get out of writing marketing, and I think I’m going to do just that.

Don’t worry: I won’t be eliminating my coaching services. I have, however, reduced my availability to just two days a week. You can still book here if you’re interested.

And if not; that’s okay! I’ll be here with a new sexy post every week on things like kink, nonmonogamy, gender, and how we can all take steps to reduce sexual shame. This week’s topic? Cuckolding. 😉

I’ll also be working on a big project that I hope to publish this summer. It’s been on my mind for months now, but because it wouldn’t immediately earn me income, I put it off. Now with my new direction, I know it’s time to focus on what I want to do—and I want to publish this book.

This will likely be my last Weekly Update for a while as I work on these new goals. I want to focus my time and energy on writing deep-dive pieces into the sexual acts and expressions that capture my fascination most, as well as on this summer project.

Perhaps I’m not going in a new direction, but rather refining it. I’m trimming away things that aren’t working and that aren’t making me happy so that I can focus on those that do. I’m still leaving room for connections and possibility, but I’m becoming more laser-focsed on what makes me, me and what I have to offer.

It’s gonna be an exciting year, y’all.

Stay sexy. ❤

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Published by Shannon Burton

Sex educator and writer by day, poet and flash fiction author by night, I occasionally manage to get out of the house to enjoy New Orleans as it's meant to be.

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