You know your sex life needs some help, but you’re not quite sure where to start or what kind of help you need. Should you seek out a sex therapist or sex coach?
Both professions help people improve their sex lives—so what’s the difference?
What Is Sex Therapy?
Sex therapy is a type of talk therapy that focuses on resolving sexual concerns. It can be done individually, with your partner, or in a group setting.
The goals of sex therapy revolve around overcoming sexual problems and may include things like:
What Is a Sex Therapist?
A sex therapist is a trained mental health provider. They are a professional with a clinical psychology, counseling, or therapy license who has done additional training in sexual health.
This means sex therapists have the training to treat mental health issues and emotional struggles, as well as sexual issues.
When searching for a sex therapist, make sure that they have a sex therapy certification from the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT).
What Do You Do in Sex Therapy?
Sex therapy sessions focus on the problems you and/or your partner are experiencing around sex. You can expect to uncover issues from the past and present that are causing you distress.
In therapy, you work with your therapist to identify the root causes of your sexual issues, develop strategies to work through them, manage distressing emotions, and achieve your sexual goals.
A sex therapy session may involve:
- Discussing your sexual history and general mental health history
- Identifying the cause of your sexual problems
- Coordinating with any medical care if needed
- Education around sex
- Skill-building coping strategies
- Homework to do on your own or with a partner
What Is Sex Coaching?
Sex coaching is a newer field that takes a holistic approach to sexuality. Unlike sex therapy, which focuses on resolving specific issues, sex coaching can sometimes have a broader goal of sexual empowerment.
It’s about helping you feel more confident and empowered in your sexuality so you can have the fulfilling sex life that you desire.
What Is a Sex Coach?
A sex coach is a professional who trains, guides, motivates, and collaborates with their clients to help them achieve their sexual goals.
In the U.S., there is no governing body that certifies sex coaches. So if you are looking into sex coaches, be sure to do your research to find someone who is reputable and has the expertise you are looking for.
What Does Sex Coaching Look Like?
You meet with your sex coach on a regular basis and work toward your sexual goals.
A coaching session may involve:
- Emotional support
- Identifying sexual goals
- Discussing techniques for better sex
- Creating a plan together
- Homework to do on your own or a partner
- Accountability and motivation
How Sex Therapy and Sex Coaching Are Alike
Both sex therapy and sex coaching have the same goal: Overcoming sexual problems so you can have more pleasure and happiness in your life.
Both involve identifying what you’d like your sexual life to look like, pinpointing the barriers to where you want to be, and working towards those goals.
They are both talk-only practices—no physical contact between client and therapist/coach. But your therapist or coach will likely give you at-home exercises to help you work toward your goals.
Both are services that can be done individually or as a couple.
So, how are they different?
Key Differences Between the Two
While they have many similarities, there are a few key ways in which sex therapy and sex coaching differ.
Focus and Approach
The first key difference between sex therapy and sex coaching is the focus of each profession.
Sex therapists focus on helping people address and resolve specific sexual problems or dysfunctions.
Sex coaches, on the other hand, focus on helping people reach their sexual potential.
Sex therapy takes a more traditional mental health approach, while sex coaching is more similar to life-coaching.
Another key difference includes the training and credentials required for each profession.
To become a sex therapist, you must complete graduate-level coursework in human sexuality and receive professional licensure as a mental health professional.
Unlike sex therapists, sex coaches do not need to have a mental health background. There are no formal education or licensure requirements to become a sex coach; however, many sex coaches have backgrounds in human sexuality, or sex education.
In sex therapy, your therapist may help you develop skills to improve your mental and emotional well-being. These skills might focus on improving your communication with your partner, tools to manage sexual anxiety, and strategies for overcoming your difficulties.
Sex coaches may also help you develop skills, however, they do not focus on the mental health skill-building. They often take a more holistic approach that encompasses all aspects of your sexuality. This may include helping you develop a healthy relationship with your body, exploring your sexual identity, and increasing your sexual confidence.
Sometimes couples don’t have sexual issues, but are looking for ways to make sex better. Sex coaching may also involve learning specific tips and techniques couples can use in the bedroom to improve sex.
How to Choose Between Sex Therapy or Sex Coaching
So, which is right for you—sex therapy or sex coaching? Both sex therapy and sex coaching can be beneficial if your sex life is not where you want it to be.
If you have specific issues that you’d like to address—such as anxiety or erectile dysfunction—sex therapy may be a better fit for you.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for guidance on how to improve your overall satisfaction with your sex life, sex coaching may also help.
Ultimately, the decision comes down to what approach best aligns with your needs and goals. And there’s nothing wrong with starting with one approach and then transitioning to the other if you find that it’s not quite what you’re looking for.
As you look for the right provider for you, make sure that they have experience working with the problems you’re experiencing.
Look into their credentials. What is their background? What certifications do they have?
And then set up a consultation call to see if they would be a good fit.
Still Need Help Deciding?
If you’re struggling with sexual difficulties, seeking out professional help can make a world of difference. Whether you choose sex therapy or sex coaching—or both—you can be sure that you’re on the path to a more satisfying sex life.
If you’re still not sure which approach is right for you, contact us to talk to one of our experts. We’ll help you figure out which option is best suited to help you achieve your sexual goals.