Sex Coach U: Dr. Patti Britton Combines Sexology and Business Training to Empower a New Generation of Sex Coaches

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Sex Coach U: Dr. Patti Britton Combines Sexology and Business Training to Empower a New Generation of Sex Coaches

Hayley Matthews Hayley Matthews
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The Short Version: Dr. Patti Britton is passionate about improving the sexual health of individuals and couples. That’s why, in addition to working privately with clients, she teaches others about the sexual health field through Sex Coach U. The program is primarily an online training course for aspiring sex coaches around the world. Sex Coach U offers an academically rigorous sexology curriculum that also helps students work through past personal sexual issues, so they can better coach their clients.

Sex Coach U, a training program for aspiring sex coaches, attracts a wide range of students. Many are already familiar with sexual health and sexuality because they work in the field or are trained in the discipline in some capacity.

“Maybe they’re a tantric leader, or perhaps they work in a women’s shelter or rape crisis center,” said Co-Founder Dr. Patti Britton.

Some students work in adult toy stores or own sex shops and seek training at Sex Coach U so they can offer better advice to their customers. They may want to learn how to offer products that help women who find it difficult to achieve orgasm or to assist men who struggle to maintain erections.

Photo of Dr. Patti Britton

Dr. Patti Britton helped develop Sex Coach U as a holistic curriculum complete with a self-evaluation component.

Other Sex Coach U students may be more surprising, Dr. Patti said. For example, The Core Certified Sex Coach Program attracts nurses who want to equip themselves to treat many different types of patients. She told us about a Christian minister who uses his training to help couples in his parish find sexual wellness.

“With our training, they can help lead customers or clients to sexual freedom,” Dr. Patti said.

Sex Coach U and sex coaching, in general, is much more than just teaching people how to spice up sex lives, Dr. Patti said. Instead, she said she believes sex is an essential part of the human experience — even referring to it as the core of the human self.

Initially, Dr. Patti and her life and coaching partner, Dr. Robert Dunlap, who passed away in 2017, wanted to develop a curriculum that gave sex coaches in training the skills they need to be successful in the field. They ended up creating the first sex coach training course in existence, she said.

“To coach someone over their sexual hurdles takes knowledge and skill,” Dr. Patti said. “You need to become a clear and clean communicator to create that experience for your client.”

Creating a Comprehensive, Theoretically Sound Curriculum

In a career spanning 35 years, Dr. Patti has worked to highlight the idea that sex coaching is a profession allied with mental health. However, many therapists and psychologists are still uncomfortable talking about sex and sexuality.

“It occurred to me that marrying sexology and coaching as a modality for working with clients was a friendlier way to help them heal,” Dr. Patti said.

After completing her doctoral program, she started a practice specializing in sexology, but she soon recognized that there weren’t enough sex coaches available to keep up with the demand. Among those who called themselves sex therapists, many weren’t educated in the language of the profession.

“There just weren’t enough of us trained appropriately from a sex-positive, educational foundation to move the clients toward fulfillment,” Dr. Patti said.

Screenshot from SexCoachU.com homepage

Sex Coach U differentiates itself from competitors with lessons on the business aspects of coaching.

In the early 1990s, she began thinking about ways to better train sex coaches to fill the gap between sexuality and therapy. Back then, she wrote the first sex coach training manual, “The Art of Sex Coaching: Expanding Your Practice.”

Her training platform, Sex Coach U, started as a way to increase publicity for her book. However, in the years that followed, the website became a learning platform where would-be sex coaches could begin working with their first clients within a year of beginning coursework.

The curriculum Dr. Patti wrote for Sex Coach U goes well beyond the book. She also provides on-camera lectures, and all study materials are designed with adult learners in mind.

However, the primary differentiator between Sex Coach U and other courses is that it also teaches business skills.

“Sexology-type training lacks information about how to make a living in the industry,” Dr. Patti said. “That’s what puts us ahead of other sex coach training programs.”

Ensuring Students Practice What They Preach With the SAR Program

Many students who strive to become sex coaches are training for a second or third career in midlife or later. Because the course caters to those demographics, almost all of the coursework is online. Even the “final exam” is a video that students submit of themselves working with clients. They then receive personalized feedback on their performance.

While most of Sex Coach U’s coursework is online, there is one face-to-face component that addresses any baggage a coaches-in-training may carry: Sexual Attitude Reassessment and Restructuring (SAR) training.

Sex Coach U students may feel the profession is their calling, but often haven’t thoroughly examined their own desires and possible sexual hangups. They may have unresolved issues that can prevent them from being effective with clients. SAR training aims to address those.

Dr. Patti is one of the leaders in SAR training, which promises to “push comfort levels, elicit feelings, and confront attitudes, beliefs, and values about sexuality.” Much like sex coaching itself, Dr. Patti wrote the manual on it.

For Sex Coach U students, SAR training, which is held twice a year in Los Angeles, is the only in-person requirement.

“It’s designed to push your buttons so you can discover your boundaries, attitudes, and beliefs about sex and sexual expression,” Dr. Patti said.

Many of her students confront their expectations around sex and sexuality at these sessions. Dr. Patti shared the story of a trans man who discovered his identity at one of these sessions.

“He had a breakdown and breakthrough about being a trans-identified man,” she said. “He told me that, without this program, he never would have been able to come out. It gave him the strength, courage, and healing to do that.”

Sex Coach U: Competent Professionals Mean Effective Coaching

Dr. Patti said she sees more of a need for sex coaches in the digital age than ever before. Technology provides easier access to porn, dating sites, and anonymous chatting, all of which can create negative sexual expectations. In turn, people may have skewed perceptions of what sex entails.

“As the social fabric changes and we look at the overuse of technology, it presents a problem to the perception of intimate relations and the lack of social and dating skills,” Dr. Patti said.

She often sees coaches or therapists making mistakes and experiencing what she calls “the Humpty Dumpty effect.” When individuals and couples discuss sex, they “crack themselves open,” describing their desires, vulnerabilities, and fears. Then, when they’re raw, these professionals may not know how to put their clients back together again.

“The goal is creating authentic, qualified, caring, compassionate sex coaches to do this healing work in the world. That’s what gets me up in the morning.” — Dr. Patti Britton, Co-Founder of Sex Coach U

In this climate, well-trained coaches are more important than ever.

“The goal is creating authentic, qualified, caring, compassionate sex coaches to do this healing work in the world,” Dr. Patti said. “That’s what gets me up in the morning.”

Dr. Patti is excited that the legacy of her partnership with Dr. Robert lives on in the successful project they started together. She also knows that her work isn’t done, which motivates her to develop training resources for as many sex coaches as she can.

“My mission is to bring people to healthy, happy sex lives as long as I have the energy to do it,” she said. “The fuel of this business is love.”