Sex on the couch

by Erin Brandt

When I first began conceiving my business plan for Birds and Bees, I was focused on workshops because I love being in rooms with groups of people. It quickly became evident that my joy and ease with sex topics wasn’t always going to lead to rooms full of people. How was I going to meet the needs of individual clients, when I so often use group energy and lived experiences to provide education? I hemmed and hawed, resisted, and shrunk with self-doubt before embracing what is, truly, a valuable and fulfilling side of my business – coaching.

LOGISTICS: FIRST THIS, THEN THAT

The first step is booking an appointment – consultation, individual session, or partners session – which can be done via my website. There’s a link at the top of the home page “Book a Consultation” which will take you to my booking calendar. Select the service you’d like and find a day and time that works for you. My office hours are dictated by my offspring’s school schedule so I’m regularly in the office from 9:30am to 2:30pm, Monday through Friday. If you need to meet outside of those hours, email me at info@positivesexed. com or call 970-335-8036, I can accommodate evening and weekend appointments as needed.

A consultation is 15 minutes to share the basics of who I am and my background and space for you to highlight your needs, hopes, and desires. We will outline what you want to work on first. The world is a beautifully diverse place and the people who sit on my couch are there for their own unique reasons. This is why I offer individual sessions, a safe space for folks to share, process, explore, and parse any areas of sexuality they want to focus on.

When you schedule a private session online, payment is required at time of booking. I ask that you please reschedule or cancel at least 2 hours before the beginning of your appointment or you may be charged a cancellation fee, 20% of the total cost. You can read more about specific services on the website and I’m happy to answer any clarifying questions before you make an appointment.

At your first full appointment, you will be asked to sign a coaching agreement that outlines fees, confidentiality, scheduling and cancellation policies, my availability, and the difference between a coach and a therapist. In order for us to work together as coach and client, you will be required to sign this form.

That’s it for logistics!

THE COUCH: WHAT HAPPENS IN A SEX COACHING SESSION?

The paperwork is signed, you’ve paid – now what?

We talk about you! We talk about sex. We talk about habits. We talk about self-pleasure. We make plans and we debunk myths, misinformation, and the damage of keeping sex a secret. We may talk about bodies, body parts, functions, health, or spend time learning the names of sexual anatomy.

For some folks, they sit on my couch with a very specific goal in mind, and we work towards that goal in one or many sessions. Other clients don’t fully know why they are on my couch so we pull on thoughts, habits, experiences – like pulling on the string of an unraveling sweater – exploring where these take us. And still others are there to say all the sex related words, needs, fantasies, and stories they don’t feel safe to share anywhere else in their lives.

My role in the room is to listen. Correct myths when I hear them. Assign homework as needed. And most importantly I create and hold a safe space for clients to explore sex and their relationship to it.

Does this sound general and vague? That’s because there is nothing formulaic about visiting my couch as a client. Sessions are guided by what you need and the questions you have. Much like my workshops, I would rather guide the conversation and have participants learn collectively (peer-to-peer learning) instead of me talking at you. When you see me for a private session, the focus is fully on you and my role is to nudge you, make slight corrections, and help you explore sexuality.

This is how I see the difference between coaching and therapy. Coaching is about building your skills with someone who has specific knowledge and who is also your biggest fan, cheering you on as you do the work yourself. Therapy is similar but your therapist is doing the work until you can take on more for yourself. (Obviously, a very simplified distillation of the two roles!) I do not hesitate to refer clients to a therapist, if what I offer isn’t helping or the work is beyond my abilities. It is not surprising to me that I am seeing folks on my couch who have trauma in their histories and how that affects their sexual lives. It is common for a client to be seeing me in conjunction with their therapist. It is my knowledge and skills surrounding sexuality that make collaborations like this valuable. Not all sexologists are therapists and not all therapists are sexologists.

BEYOND THE COUCH: WHAT KIND OF HOMEWORK?

After every session I send you an email with the highlights of what you want to work on. This will include action items or homework that I think will help you in achieving your goals. You can opt out of this part of the service, if you’d prefer not to receive an email and we’ll spend the final 5 minutes of the session going over your homework.

Homework assignments are very often connected to changing habits, which makes this the most formulaic aspect of a coaching session. Communication about sex has been silenced by cultural norms, societal expectations, and systems of oppression. One of the first habits I work with clients on is breaking the silence. How that works is client-specific and all depends on you!

Other habits include self-pleasure (not just physical), exploration (readings and physical acts), and the undoing of misinformation through learning and communication.

If you are intrigued, book a consultation! My goal is to help you enhance your sexual experiences and we start where you want to because I have no expectations of where you should be.

Erin Brandt (she/her/hers) has been a sexologist for 15 years. When she’s not spreading sexual knowledge, Erin can be found learning from her child, hiking with her partner, cuddling with her pitbull, knitting with her cat, dancing with friends, and searching for the nearest hammock and ocean breeze. Want more? Visit www. positivesexed.com

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