How to Talk to Your Partner
about Hiring a Sex Coach
Hiring a sex coach as a couple is a powerful choice, one that signals your willingness to take care of yourself and your relationship.
Yet this intimate and revealing conversation can be difficult for many people, men and women alike.
It’s natural to feel less than courageous in approaching your partner. Fear is normal here as you’re opening up what may be your struggles and desires for more. You may fear hurting your partner or of being judged by them. You name it, this space is ripe for fear.
Fret not. With the help of careful prep-work to build your confidence and courage, this conversation can actually help you grow closer.
Take Jenny, for example, a woman in her late 30s, who came to me because she wanted to stop feeling anxious and withdrawn during sex and feel more pleasure and connection to her husband. Jenny acknowledged right away that she had waited for a long time to seek out a coach because she was ashamed of needing help in an otherwise loving and caring relationship. She was scared to tell her partner that she didn't always enjoy sex for fear of hurting his feelings. Once she worked through her fear of approaching her partner and built up the courage to open up to talk to him, she not only had shared with him what was happening, but that conversation infused more connection that led to them committing to learning about sex and intimacy to grow their relationship.
Our fears highjack our own brains too, making us to find excuses on why not to work with a coach. Many clients tell me that they cannot afford to invest money or take time to work on themselves. I tell them they can't afford not to. Something to consider: What is the cost of staying in a relationship where you cannot fulfill your dreams? What is it worth to you to have the sexual connection with your partner that fulfills and excites you and leaves you feeling connected? When viewed from this angle, the investment in coaching is a pretty good deal.
These conversations may be tough. That's why I've created a process and a worksheet (PDF) to help you navigate this intimate — and important — conversation. I know you can do it!
Access your “why”
When you’re hiring a coach, you’re not actually investing in my services or me. You’re investing in you — yourself, your partner, your relationship. You’re investing into the results you want in your life — results that I can help you with.
Sex has meaning for humans including connection, intimacy, happiness, enjoyment — and these become motivators for expanding your erotic education. Some established couples are investing into reclaiming joy in their relationship that got lost over time. Others are investing at the start of their relationship to create an intimate future for decades to come. Many couples with children are investing into being role-models to their kids with healthy expression of connection, sexuality and affection.
Which is why it is critical to understand your “why” when you talk to your partner.
What results are you looking to get from working with a coach?
What’s most important to you?
How might your life change for the better for you as a couple?
What is your BIG DREAM for your relationship?
Your partner may not support you spending thousands on "a coach" without getting how this work is important to you and your relationship. But they might feel differently if you share with them that this is going to help you feel more relaxed, connected to them, and help you enjoy sex more. Do you feel the difference already?
Face your fears
Fears have a great way of lurking in the shadows, masquerading themselves as money issues or excuses such as “I don’t have time” or “Work/kids/life is just too busy right now.”
Get to know your fears so that they don’t drive the bus — and remind yourself that you do.
This conversation is an intimate one in nature. There is risk of revealing something about yourself or getting a "no." It's bound to provoke anxiety and discomfort in even the strongest of us.
The more aware you are about your own fears, the less you will be swayed by their unconscious power. Standing up for yourself in uncomfortable or pressured situations is a hallmark of relationship resilience and building intimacy in a long-term relation, and today is a great time to start building this muscle.
Find your non-negotiables
Your non-negotiables are your boundaries, or what you are not willing to do or give up in any situation. These are needs that correspond to what you value the most — about yourself, your body, your relationship. Examples of non-negotiables are expressing love to each other, speaking intimately, compassion, having physical touch, etc. Understanding your non-negotiables helps you know where you need to stand up for what you need and where you can negotiate.
By working through the worksheet, find out what is most important to you and what are you willing to negotiate.
Now you’re ready to have the conversation.
Check with your partner about a good time to talk about this topic.
Set aside dedicated time for this face-to-face conversation. Make it conscious, not a fly-by one while doing the dishes. And definitely not when you're making love.
You might find it useful to tell your partner upfront, before our phone consultation, that you’re exploring this work. Give them time and space to feel into it.
Be real about where you are. You might be nervous or scared to bring up the topic. It's ok. Most likely, your partner might be too. Let them know that this is important to you and scary at the same time to ease the discomfort for both of you.
“Can we talk for a few minutes? I want to talk to you about something that’s important to me, but I’m feeling scared. Are you in a space to talk about it now?"
“I want to talk to you about our sex life, but I’m feeling nervous about bringing it up with you. Could we set aside a few minutes to talk about this privately?"
Lead your conversation with your "why".
Use the questions in the worksheet to access your "why" to help your partner understand and see why this is important for you to do.
Be direct in your conversation. You might be tempted to pad it with lines such as, “it would be nice if I did this” or “it’s probably a good idea”. The most powerful approach is to own your desire to do this work and using clear language such as "I want to do this. It's important for me to contribute this way to our relationship", while also staying open to hearing your partner's feedback or point of view.
The more vulnerable and open you can be with your partner about the situation and your desire to change it, the more they can understand how important this is for you.
Ask your partner about their concerns.
Asking about your partner's concerns and fears sends the message that you care about them and how they feel.
You may ask something like: "I am ready to start. What concerns or fears do you have about us doing this work?"
Be prepared to get a firm "no” from your partner. Should there be objections from your partner, staying grounded in your own decision helps you be less reactive or defensive during this stage. Connect back to your "why" and what's important to you. This will also help you stay more open and creative to finding a solution.
And get curious. We often think of a "no" as an end to a conversation, but it doesn't have to be. Respect your partner’s decision and avoid trying harder to explain your point or change their mind. Instead, get curious about your partner's experience and point of view.
You can learn more about your partner in this situation — and build more understanding between you — by acknowledging their perspective and concerns and asking about their response. This is an opportunity to learn more about them so that you can make an informed and solid decision for yourself.
In response to your partner's objection, you may ask: "I get that it’s a big ask to talk to a third-party about our sex life. It must feel scary for you right now. Can you tell me more about what scares you?"
Be open to finding a solution. It may not be obvious.
Ask open-ended questions that promote brainstorming and creativity: “How can we make this work together?" or "What do you need from me to feel safe about this decision?"
If it's a money issue, brainstorm some ways to find resources, be it selling things you no longer need on Craigslist or finding lower-cost options (such as drinking coffee at home and channeling the $4-5 dollars a day towards your coaching (30 days x $4 = $120). Use the worksheet to think of these options ahead of time.
If you find yourself or your partner getting defensive or withdrawing from the conversation, name it and find a better time to continue the conversation.
You might say: "I am noticing I am getting defensive about this decision, and I don't want to push you to change your mind. Can we continue talking about this another time?"
Here are some sample conversations with your partner.
“Can we talk for a few minutes? I want to talk to you about our sex life, but I’m feeling scared. Are you in a space to talk about it now?
You’re such a supportive partner, which is why I feel comfortable enough to bring this up. I noticed that sex has been hard for us. I know it has been hard for me and I can’t fully be present with you during it. And experiencing passionate love-making with you is very important to me — I love you and want to express it through closer intimacy. I have been feeling ready to learn about myself and sex, and I’d like to work with a trained professional to help us access that. It’s important to do this right now because I don't want to be leaving sexual pleasure on the table as we get older. Working on this together is going to make me happy and more relaxed, I know it. Your support would mean so much to me. I know this is a lot; take your time to process this.
What concerns do you have about us doing this work? Will you join me on this journey together?”
“I want to talk to you about our sex life, but I’m feeling nervous about bringing it up with you. Could we set aside a few minutes to talk about this privately?
I know we’ve been wanting to have sex less frequently, which is hard for me because I want to feel closer to you but my body doesn't seem to want to. I know it affects you too. I miss being able to connect with you on this intimate level. I have sought out the help of a trained professional, a sex coach, to help me — and us — access my desire and rekindle our sexual relationship. It is important for me that you support me on this journey.
What concerns might you have about me doing this work?
In response to partner's concerns: "I hear you feel that this decision might jeopardize our relationship. I bet it's scary for you right now. Can you tell me more about what scares you?"