Q&A: SexCoachU's Dr. Patti Britton on the Growing Sexual Health Industry

Apr 3, 2015 1:15 PM PST

LOS ANGELES — Living by the mantra that it’s everyone’s divine birthright to celebrate their sexual self, Dr. Patti Britton, founder of SexCoachU, a leading sex educational and professional sex coach training facility has for the past 20 years been on the forefront of sexual health and education.

With the field of sexology and adult entertainment growing at a frantic pace as consumers now more than ever embrace what was once thought of as too private and shameful, a new demand has cropped up for experts who can advise people on all aspects of human sexuality from personal issues to just plain fun in the bedroom.

Since 2010, Britton’s SexCoachU was ahead of the curve — recognizing the emerging need for trained professional “sexperts” and coaches who could go out among the world armed with the right knowledge, and more importantly the fire in their bellies to help get clients past their sexual roadblocks.

Although it’s a new industry, sex coaching dovetails nicely with the adult sphere of talent and sex workers who with the proper training can be some of the most effective group of professionals to enter the growing field.

Dr. Britton — who hosted the seminar "Helping the Touchless Couple Get Back in the Game" at the first-ever Sexual Health Expo (SHE) earlier this year, shares her thoughts on sex coaching with XBIZ in a candid and telling interview.

XBIZ: SexCoachU is billed as “the world’s premier credentialing and training institute on sex coaching.” Can you please explain what sex coaching is?

Britton: Sex coaching is a new paradigm shift in how we as sexuality educators or counselors address the sexual concerns and issues of our clients, who are seeking out our services from a wide range of backgrounds. We are a new industry, with standards, ethics and practices that guide our professional approach to bringing clients from their “sexual roadblocks” to a fully realized sexual self. It began as the pioneer of sex coaching, as the marriage of the “what” of tried and true sex therapy with the “how” of life or personal coaching…. using my unique model for assessment and designing action plans for the client. That model is known as MEBES, for addressing the whole person in Mind, Emotions, Body/Body Image and Behaviors, Energy and Spirit.”

Sex coaching is client-driven, goals-oriented, fast paced, results-focused, de-pathologizing, sex positive and based on the sexological philosophy that our sexuality is natural, healthy and intrinsic to being human. Sex coaching is a dynamic and cooperative relationship with the client and coach, that can be a few sessions or last for years, depending on the issues and how wounded or stuck a client may be. Sex coaching is becoming the go-to choice for many consumers around the world who do not want to be told they are diseased or have a disorder by a therapist, but are looking for strategies, techniques, positive helpful information that they can apply right away. 

XBIZ: How did SexCoachU come to be founded?

Britton: When my book was released “The Art of Sex Coaching: Expanding Your Practice,” from W.W. Norton & Co. in 2005, it seemed natural to begin to train others in how to use these new approaches and methodologies. That book had a life of its own, creating a “new sexual evolution” for how professionals in sexology could work easily with more than 46 clinical sexual concerns, for men, women, couples in all walks of life. Sex Coach University (founded in 2010) was the result of bringing the teachings of the book alive, and creating an online platform that generated knowledge, a full skills base and competency for aspiring sex coaches all around the world. Myself and Dr. Robert Dunlap, as life partners and Ph.D. board-certified clinical sexologists, found it made sense to open SexCoachU and begin to market it globally; SexCoachU is now in 39 countries, with a large group of graduates so far, along with the growing number of students just starting out in one of its three programs. SexCoachU was the outgrowth as well for setting standards of practice in sex coaching, as anyone can just hang a shingle and call himself or herself a coach. We wanted to assure quality care for clients and a gateway for serving the sexual and relationship needs of consumers by fully trained and certified sex coaching professionals.

XBIZ: What makes it different from other sex education training facilities like the IASHS and the L.A. Academy of Sex?

Britton: The IASHS [Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality] is an academic institution. Actually SexCoachU’s program is so powerful and comprehensive, that its graduates of the Level 2 program, who meet the IASHS criteria for a doctoral candidacy, can claim a Masters Degree equivalent. We presently have 10 active doctoral students at IASHS who are completing their dissertations in a special program designed only for SexCoachU graduates. SexCoachU is an independent training institution, based on rigorous standards of adult learning and excellence in its educational delivery. The L.A. Academy of Sex is a newly formed entity that offers classes to consumers. SexCoachU offers extensive and intensive training programs, that bring a student to a level of knowledge and competency, with a proof of that competency in an evaluated live videotaped practicum experience, showcasing their ability to work with real cases, before they may complete their program and earn certification.

XBIZ: You offer three levels of training: sex coach, sex expert and sex coach trainer. Can you briefly explain the differences?

Britton: Level 1: Become a sex coach; this is our basic level; often this is for the international student seeking an English program to get them the basics; some of our students in Level 1 already have a background as sex educator and need to round out their understanding of coaching and how to integrate the two; it was originally intended for the home sex toy party consultant to be able to answer questions more substantially; Level 2 is the heart of SexCoachU: it prepares the student not only to gain the knowledge, skills and expertise for working with real cases in assessment and design of action plans, but also provides a solid foundation in sexology and coaching methodologies; it develops a competency that allows Level 2 students to open their own practice as a sex coach and work with the media or within writing venues as a sex expert. It also encompasses all of the learning offered in Level 1.

Level 3 is for Level 2 graduates seeking to work with SexCoachU in our global training team; it prepares them for how to design curricula, lead groups, implement the teachings in our curriculum and gain the experience and expertise to license the content of our programs for their own independent program in another country. This is for a very select group of students.

Most of our graduates finish at Level 2 and are ready to go out into the world and serve real clients. They earn certification through the World Association of Sex Coaches and the American College of Sexologists. Those are gold standard credentials.

Our Expert Courses are designed for the consumer, or SexCoachU student with a specialty niche in mind, who is seeking greater information about sexuality and to gain clinical expertise in a specialty area. Currently there are more than 30 such courses all online for self-paced independent study; these courses are the perfect add-on for the adult industry to amplify their knowledge base, as well.

XBIZ: Do students need a background in human sexuality?

Britton: Most do already have that; it is not required; the training is very extensive so they learn what is needed along the way of their journey at SexCoachU.

XBIZ: Who are the instructors and what are their credentials?

All of our expert faculty’s bios are listed on our website. All instructors and the founders are top of their field in sexology and some in coaching or business.

XBIZ: Are graduates certified or licensed to practice?

Britton: They become certified, as there is no licensure for coaching or for sexology.

XBIZ: Are graduates American Association for Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) certified?

Britton: No; that is a separate entity and they may apply for appropriate certification at AASECT as a sexuality educator, counselor or perhaps therapist if they meet their criteria; SexCoachU students are from a wide variety of expertise, backgrounds and even licenses in some cases (M.D, N.D., R.N., LMFT, LCSW, ministers and leaders in sexual health care around the world.)

XBIZ: To what do you attribute the rise in interest in the sexual health and education industries and professional “sexperts?”

Britton: The world is in a dark place. It is in dire need of sexual enlightenment, accurate information, de-shaming, quelling fears about sex, and healing past sexual wounds. In addition, the epidemic of chronic porn usage on electronic devices, sexual pain disorders, sexless relationships, disconnection due to cyber life and lack of time for relaxation and slowing down — to name a few — are creating an enormous demand for helping professionals qualified and dedicated to addressing the sorry state of sexuality globally.

XBIZ: Will more sexperts and coaches be in demand by adult companies? If yes, please explain.

Britton: Yes. Adult industry staff or performers would greatly benefit from being trained as sex coaches or sex experts through SexCoachU. They may have background and knowledge of how to do sex, but not necessarily how to heal or enhance the layered aspects of who humans are as sexual beings. We have some adult entertainers as students who thrive in our programs. We are adult-friendly and sex worker-friendly, and invite any to take advantage of our complimentary sex coaching discovery session with our staff to find out if this path may be right for them.

XBIZ: Where is sex education for the consumer headed in your opinion?

Britton: Self help still rules, especially with the Internet at one’s fingertips. However, sex education with a guide is becoming the preferred route, especially by hiring a certified sex coach.

XBIZ: Tell us more about your book, “The Art of Sex Coaching.”

Britton: It is the compilation of 20+ years of work, using the marriage of sexology and coaching, and gives a person the pathway to discovery: for who they are, and assessing their ability to teach or counsel/coach a client about sexuality; and specific tools for meeting the clinical needs of clients for more than 46 clinical concerns. It has been the textbook for all students at SexCoachU and often is the key that brings them into training after reading the book; many colleagues of ours in sex therapy or counseling or education remark that this book is one that sits on their shelf as a go-to reference book, as it shows the causes of so many sexual problems and how to help the client to overcome or resolve those issues, to find sexual satisfaction, and ultimately to realize their authentic sexual self. I believe it is your divine birthright to celebrate your sexual self.”

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