Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, Volume 8, April 12, 2005

The Art of Sex Coaching

Dr. Patti Britton
New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2005
254Pages, $ 30.00

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Reviewed by Peter Anderson

Dr. Britton uses this text to impart the knowledge and expertise she has developed over a 30 year career. Her audience is professionals who are interested in becoming sex coaches and others who are interested in learning about sex coaching. I learned a lot.

Each chapter is organized with "More about that" highlight boxes throughout and "Get it" questions or quizzes at the end to make sure the reader is being referred to outside sources of information and is understanding the main points in the chapter.

The introduction lays out Dr. Britton's personal journey to becoming a sex coach and her sex coaching philosophy. Her philosophy is very sex positive, experiential, and intended to help clients become empowered to maximize their sexual potential. The first chapter provides an overview of the relationships between coaching and sex coaching. She reminds us that sex coaching is future oriented, relies on positive reinforcement, and is short term. She also reminds us that, as guides, coaches work to help clients (not patients!) empower themselves to be a magnet for the sexual lives they desire by becoming their most attractive selves. Chapter two addresses several sex therapy models that she has incorporated into her work as a sex coach. Without providing lengthy reviews of each model she offers specifics about what aspects are important to her and her practice. I found it significant that here and in chapter 12 she maintains her positive approach to sexuality by stating her opposition to the "sexual addiction" model of sexual behavior.

The three chapters in part two are focused on the personal and professional preparation necessary for sex coaching. The technical advice in chapter five (e.g., note-taking in sessions, setting fees, or marketing your practice) is valuable, but for me, not nearly as important as the chapters on personal and professional preparation. On a personal level Dr. Britton maintains that it is imperative to: learn the three levels of language usage and the terms appropriate in sex coaching; develop your own personal comfort with all aspects of sexuality; and understand the full range of human sexual behaviors and expressions. This sounds easy, but is a very complicated process that takes years of training and experience. Dr. Britton's writing style and approach are so encouraging that one of my concerns about her book is that readers will not grasp the complexity of the personal or professional growth process necessary to become an effective sex coach. For both personal and professional growth she suggests numerous activities that many of us in the profession would find intriguing (e.g., nude beaches, xxx movies, or a SAR). She also discusses failures in this section. Not all coaching or any other aspect of our lives can be successful all of the time, so preparing for some level of failure with clients is essential.

Chapter six is an excellent overview of her coaching techniques and the MEBES (i.e., Mind, Emotions, Body, Energy, & Spirit) model and how to apply this and other models to sex coaching. Chapters seven through twelve provide specifics about how to coach specific populations based on the most common concerns that they present to the coach. Each of these chapters provides a list of the concerns, specific techniques to address the concern, case studies reflecting successful client resolutions, "More About That" highlight boxes and "Get It!" questions at the end. In the Appendices you will find guided imagery, intake and assessment forms, PC exercises, Client guidelines, and additional resources.

This book is the first resource of its kind for professionals who would like to become sex coaches or want to have a better understanding of what sex coaching is all about. Throughout, Dr. Britton uses her expertise as a sex coach to write from a perspective that is sex positive and always in favor of self-acceptance and personal growth for coach and client alike.


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