A visit to Britain's first state-certified sex coach

Unlike conventional sex therapists - who talk to clients having sexual problems and give them advice on how to overcome them - sex coaching can take place in the bedroom

Jane walked up and down the street outside what looked like a nondescript house in north London three times before she summoned up the courage to ring the doorbell. The 51-year-old was about to have her first session with Britain's - and indeed one of the world's - first state-certified sex coaches. She was overwhelmed with nerves.

Unlike conventional sex therapists - who talk to clients having sexual problems and give them advice on how to overcome them in their own homes - sex coaching can take place in the bedroom. Its benefits can include anything from achieving better orgasms to simply feeling more comfortable naked with a partner. They can use a range of techniques: talk, role-play or intimate physical approaches like touching or massage.

Until now, this sector has been largely unregulated, and understandably scepticism has run high. But experts talk of a "booming industry" that is moving out of the shadows and into the mainstream. California has become the first state worldwide to certify sex coaches, but it is Britons who are its very first graduates. Jane's instructor, Mike Lousada, is so committed to the regulation of the sector that he is launching the first professional body for the industry across Europe later this year.

Lousada, 45, moved from the corporate world into sex coaching as a way do something "more meaningful" in his life. With his own hang-ups and "shame around the body," he became trained as a counsellor, and graduated from the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality last month as a sex coach. He now charges £80 an hour for talking therapy, and £120 for physical work, which includes genital massage, but can include having intercourse with a client. This would be in very rare cases; say to overcome a situation where a woman wanted, but wasn't able to, have penetrative sex.

Lousada calls his work "sex positive," differing from sex therapy which "arises from the point of view that something's wrong that needs to be fixed." He insists his services, often used by women who have been abused in some way in the past, is "boundaried" and run with a "strict code of ethics." He added: "'I'm showing people how to connect their bodies with someone else's. We are taught at school about pregnancy and sexual disease, but not about pleasure."

There are no recorded figures for the number of sex coaches in Britain, but one of the world's pioneering sex coaches, Dr Patti Britton, found there are at least 80 worldwide, when she conducted the first international survey last year.

Namita Caen, 46, from London, is another state-certified sex coach, working in California. She says interest in her services, which focus on talk, are on the increase as they become "legitimised": "Attitudes are totally changing; People are dying to share what's happening in their relationship".

Jane agrees. She had been living an asexual life for almost thirty years when she decided to take up sessions with Lousada. She said she chose to see a sex coach over a sex therapist, because her "issues were around discovering who [she] was as a sexual woman - in relationship to another." Engaging in talk sessions and intimate massage with Lousada, she said she is now "more comfortable with men" and able to "look in the mirror and see a sexy woman" again.

She added: "I find it fascinating that in the UK 'sex coaches' generally have the unfounded reputation of being some sort of prostitutes by another name - exploiting men and women who are either bored and rich or vulnerable and stupid. Mike's work provided me with a safe supportive environment where I could explore my sexuality as a woman and address the issues and hurts of the past."

The Department of Health advises that "people visit their GP if they are experiencing a sexual health problem" and some therapists have voiced suspicion of coaches lacking their accreditation. But Lousada hopes to change this. His professional body will be launched in the next few months: "Sex coaching is becoming a new profession. We need to have a code of ethics, a disciplinary code, and standards, in order to do this work safely."

Jane's name has been changed

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
News
Friends for life … some professionals think loneliness is more worrying than obesity
scienceSocial contact is good for our sense of wellbeing - but it's a myth that loneliness kills, say researchers
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

    Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

    Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

    Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

    £15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

    Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

    Day In a Page

    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us