By Tanya Koens
I remember when I was studying counselling and did my student placement at a Men’s Sexual Health phone service. The first call I received was from a young man who was entering into an arranged marriage and he wanted to know how to please his wife sexually. He explained that in his culture they were allowed to divorce, but the women were not allowed to marry again. That didn’t sit well with him. He wanted to enter into a marriage and work at keeping it happy, healthy and life long. He understood sex was an important part of that. My heart melted and in that instance I decided that this is the work that I really wanted to do. I really loved that he called not because he had a problem, but because he wanted to prevent one.
A large percentage of the clients I meet are prompted to come along because they are experiencing some sort of problem … its far less common that people come in and ask for help in learning about different sexual techniques or how to please their partner. Yet these things will come up in the context of the problem clients present with. Difficulties such as:
- Why doesn’t my partner enjoy sex?
- I can’t orgasm with my partner/at all
- I am inexperienced, how do I please a new lover?
- How can I tell my partner what I like?
- I don’t know what I like sexually!
- Sex is painful
- I’m having problems with erections/ejaculations
In the course of addressing the above issues and many just like them, time is spent coaching and teaching clients about themselves, their bodies and their relationships.
Firstly there is checking how people connect with the people in their life and then how they communicate about sex. They may need some assistance in learning ways of communicating that are effective and to break patterns that may be upsetting or painful. Or simply help getting tricky subjects on the table. I call this the foreplay for sex therapy!
The Pleasure Approach
Therapy is often focused around addressing things that are broken or problematic. Coaching, to me, is helping people achieve more. To improve on what they have. My favourite question to ask people is “What could make this even better?”. How often do we ask ourselves that? It helps us reach that little bit higher and gives us permission to seek pleasure.
So often people are focused on getting things “right” or measuring up to fantasy expectations and it can turn sex into a chore or an exercise in disappointment. Taking a coaching approach helps clients consider what is possible, what feels good and focuses on connection and pleasure. I have found that when therapy approaches fixate on the presenting problem or the part of the body that is “not working” or “performing to expectations” or experiencing pain it can wind up putting even more pressure on the person with the problem.
Coaching takes the focus to what is possible, to connection and to pleasure … after all that is what we are seeking isn’t it? I think so many people forget this! Helping people to find ways to connect and experience pleasure and then start to address their issues has proven much more effective in the way that I work. Many sexual dysfunctions are rooted in anxiety (not all) and helping clients to connect without fear can go a long way towards solving the original problem. And besides, its fun and feels good. I don’t know about you, but that is where I would like the focus to be when it comes to getting sexy.
If you are interested in learning more about sex coaching contact us here.