A new trend in sex therapy is emerging, with dissatisfied couples now turning to sex coaches who are paid to observe and then teach women and men how to be better lovers.
Aniela McGuinness and her husband, Jourdan, both 29, were unhappy with their sex life so they approached New York-based sex coach Eric Amaranth, who, from a chair in the corner of a hotel room, gave the couple a bevy of sex toys and issued instructions.
For $240 per hour, the couple tried out different and mostly unknown intimate sex acts on each other, and by following Mr Amaranth’s advice, they say they are more confident and enjoying the best sex of their relationship.
Mrs McGuinness, an actress, told UK’s Grazia: ‘I was nervous at first, of course. I wasn’t sure how easily I would be able to relax.
‘But it was an incredible experience, I had orgasms like I’ve never had before – with him in the room.’
After the success of Fifty Shades of Grey, couples, and especially women, believe there is something wrong with them if they aren’t having mind-blowing sex – and are subsequently taking serious action with this new breed of sex tutors.
In London, sex coach Mike Lousada claims to be able to reawaken a women’s sexuality with tantric sex and inter-vaginal massage.
And there are the sex surrogates, made famous by the new film The Sessions, who give their clients one-on-one coaching in ‘caressing techniques, kissing, feeling relaxed with another person in the nude and, inevitably, the sex act itself.’
Mr Amaranth, 36, describes his sex therapy [far from the emotional and psychological healing performed by traditional sex therapist], as being like ‘a chef who teaches other people how to make gourmet food.’
His clients can choose between simple ‘talk sessions’ which take place over Skype or G-chat for $175; or the ‘guided sessions’ in which he observes couples, or single people, pleasuring themselves or each other in a hotel room – giving them real-time tips, advice and encouragement.
He launched his business two years ago after the end of his 13-year relationship with Betty Dodson – America’s pioneering sex-life coach who is 46 years his senior and who now, age 82, still coaches ‘masturbation classes’.
With Ms Dodson as his mentor, he says he has worked with about 200 clients from around the world, who are mostly in the late twenties, eager to spice up their sex life.
Mrs McGuiness, who had watched porn with her husband but felt there was only so much they could learn from staged performances designed for male fantasies, said: ‘Our sex education in school is about abstinence but we are never taught actual skills.’
Amaranth says most of the couples he sees are on close to breaking-up because of a sexually related problem, but they usually lack the skills to fix the quality of their sex lives. So he sets them homework, with new techniques and tasks to try at home.
However it isn’t just couples who are seeking help, Mr Amaranth says 50 percent of his clients are single women wanting to improve their own orgams, or single men wanting to learn how to perform better in bed.
A 35-year-old Connecticut women, who preferred not to be named, said she took part in a guided session for singles.
‘I didn’t have a problem with sex or any sort of dysfunction, but I’d always come away from sexual encounters a little disappointed,’ she admitted.
‘But I think it’s unfair and unrealistic to simply expect men to be masters; we need to step up too. So I wanted to arm myself with as much information and as many skills as I could.”
However Dr Petra Boynton, psychologist and senior lecturer at University of College London, warns that sex coaching is unregulated, and there is no formal qualifications required to practice.
Unfazed, Mrs McGuiness said: ‘I know I’m better in bed [now], and I’ll have those skills for the rest of my life.’
Sex Therapist Eric Amaranth’s most asked questions: