by Dr. Patti Britton, World Association of Sex Coaches Certified Sex Coach
Did you know that anybody can call themselves a sex coach?
As a Certified Sexuality Educator and Supervisor member of AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists), I see the growing presence of non-licensed practitioners in sexology worldwide. The broad field of sexology is a field that is unregulated through licensure, as is coaching. Therefore, anybody can call themselves a sex coach, without any credentials, supervision or licensure.
The one thing that should terrify all of us is the ubiquitous availability of all types of sexuality-related services (not all relegated to sex coaching or sex counseling) with UNqualified practitioners, including many with licenses and academic degrees. The potential damage to their clients’ well-being is immense, because working with a client’s sexuality is a highly sensitive, highly charged topic.
That is precisely why I developed the first manual on sex coaching for W.W. Norton & Co., (The Art of Sex Coaching: Expanding Your Practice, 2005) and cofounded Sex Coach University, the world’s premier training and credentialing organization that promotes ethical practices and universal standards of care in the burgeoning new field of sex coaching.
This was what drove me to co-found the World Association of Sex Coaches, which is the only credentialing body for sex coaches to ensure the highest professional standards worldwide.
I only wish that all sex coaches would obtain the qualifications to work according to the high standards set forth at Sex Coach U and at the World Association of Sex Coaches. We emphasize in our program (and in my book) the limitations of this form of client-focused sexological work, by repeatedly recommending the pattern of “referring out” to mental/physical health care providers when the work is beyond the scope of sex coaching.
Sex coaching is a combination of both personalized sex education and coaching tenets, all of which are documented in the literature, including the 2015 International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality (Wiley-Blackwell). I suggest reading the issue of the Journal of Sexual & Relationship Therapy (2013) devoted to “Extraordinary Sex Therapy”, edited by Dr. Gina Ogden, in which this Taylor-Francis publication cites examples of groundbreaking clinical approaches, including “Extraordinary Sex Coaching”, a chapter written by myself and a SexCoachU graduate, Sarah Rose Bright.
At Sex Coach U, our in-depth 220 hour training includes live community calls, and the mandatory live SAR (Sexual Attitude Reassessment and Restructuring) training, to promote competency and ensure the professional standards are upheld by our sex coaching students.
I believe so strongly in professional and ethical standards, that I co-founded a training program, Sexology University, where we are training licensed mental/physical health care (and other) specialists seeking sexology training to deepen their knowledge, comfort and skills with their clientele. It is at Sexology U where our Expert Courses reside, most of which are led by seasoned sexuality experts who have supported our work in sex coaching throughout the past 7 years; those include: Dr. Gina Ogden, Dr. Tammy Nelson, Dr. Sally Valentine, Dr. Jenn Gunsaullus, Dr. Linda DeVillers, Dr. Lou Paget, Dr. Debra Wickman, Dr. Shannon Chavez, Dr. Neil Cannon, Dr. Marty Klein, and many more.
At Sexology U we offer a complimentary new 10-12 hour course on Ethical Standards in Sexology led by Dr. Neil Cannon and developed by Dr. Robert Dunlap and myself, to enrich the practices of ethical standards within the broad field of sexology.
Sexology has been my calling, and my life’s purpose for over 40 years (read my story here). I am committed to ensuring that all of my students are working according to high ethical and professional standards within sexology to deliver the highest quality and responsible care to their clients.
In working with sex, there is potential for deep healing to occur, but also the opportunity for irrevocable damage if the coach is untrained and inexperienced.
I believe working with a client’s sexuality is the highest calling a professional can have, but the need for in-depth and comprehensive training is paramount. This is why I believe so passionately, and have worked tirelessly for many years, to ensure that sex coaches are highly trained to be able to facilitate the healing of their clients.
We must work together to ensure that sex coaches are working to the highest professional and ethical standards so we can continue to be a force for good. I envision a world in which we all are comfortable, knowledgeable and skilled to promote global sexual healing for all.