For the average person who believes sexual skill comes naturally, the idea of anyone needing to be coached or treated in therapy for something that’s supposed to be an innate skill can seem pointless. But contrary to popular belief, sexual skill isn’t something we’re born with. We are all born with sexual equipment and desire, but how to use those things isn’t always so obvious to the sexual novice.

Sexual skill and how to express sexual energy in a healthy way must be learned. (They don’t teach that in high school sex education). Through years of being loaded down with religious dogma and cultural caveats that restrict individuals from exploring sexuality in a positive way, people can develop blockages with sexual energy that go unnoticed until they manifest in negative ways within relationships, with others and with self.

Often, these blocks lead to sexual dysfunctions that go unaddressed or misdiagnosed by doctors whose specialties aren’t specifically within the field of sexuality—leaving many feeling confused or “broken” in a sense when it comes to their sexual expression. As these factors come into view, the importance of sex therapy/coaching becomes more apparent.

So why exactly is sex therapy/coaching important?

Both sex coaching and sex therapy are proven techniques used to help individuals who seek to improve their sex lives. Those who administer this kind of work can be psychiatrists, social workers, psychologists, family or marriage therapists, sex educators or sexologists.

The people who choose to go into this field have a deeper understanding of sexuality that enables them to walk through the healing process with patients/clients. It’s important for anyone dealing with sexual issues to consult these specialists for their issues to receive the proper steps necessary to move into the direction of change they seek.

What’s the difference between sex therapy and sex coaching?

Sex therapy and sex coaching sound like the same type of treatments, but each is different in its approach to ushering those seeking help into a new area of understanding about sexuality.

Sex therapy

Sex therapy is a form of psychotherapy used to treat sexual dysfunction with the goal of helping those with issues to overcome their problems and return to healthy sexual activity. Sex therapy typically begins with a medical and psychological evaluation to determine the root cause of the dysfunction. Common dysfunctions addressed by sex therapists include non-consummation, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, unwanted sexual fetishes, sexual addiction, low libido, painful sex and lack of sexual confidence.

Sex therapy is also recommended for those recovering from sexual abuse. This form of therapy is solution-focused and concentrated on a patient’s symptoms using a talk therapy method as the main form of treatment. A sex therapist will be directive in guiding one to solutions by asking questions, giving directions and assigning homework in order to help a patient reach his or her goal. Sex therapy often consists of short-term sessions (ranging from one to a couple dozen), dependent upon the person’s improvement.

Sex coaching

Sex coaching comes from the perspective of a life coach, where individuals seeking sexual improvement are referred to as clients instead of patients, and are spoken to with words of encouragement. With sex coaching, it’s all about “empowering the client.” Sex coaching differs greatly from sex therapy in the area of utilizing a “hands on” approach with clients in working through their issues and acting as a guide who stands side-by-side to achieve their desired outcomes.

Many sex coaches use hands-on techniques like body work or massage, as well as educational aids such as DVDs, erotic writing, appropriate websites, selected books, herbal supplements, genital creams and sexual enhancers such as sex toys in their coaching. However, there are sex coaches who choose to solely utilize talk-only methods, but in an interactive way, when coaching.

Clients who have blockages that may stem from past trauma or childhood experiences are often referred to therapists who work in these areas, because sex coaching doesn’t delve into the past of a client, but works with him or her in their current state to focus on where the client wants to be sexually.

How do I know which is right for me?

Choosing the right form of therapy is dependent upon a person’s issues and their desired outcome. For those dealing with strong sexual dysfunctions caused by underlying health issues that may require medication, seeking out the help of a sex therapist would be ideal. For those seeking encouragement, empowerment, education and hands-on treatment, sex coaching would be the ideal choice.

No matter which option you choose, opening one’s life to the guidance of another who’s well versed in this problem area will prove beneficial anyone who embraces and accepts the process of therapy/coaching. In either case, the success of patients/clients depends on their desire and ability to follow through with suggestions of change.