An intimacy coach is someone who strives to help you feel safer and more comfortable being close to an intimate partner. Comfort with intimacy in a relationship is something most people learn as children. Unfortunately, many grow up without positive experiences around physical or emotional closeness, and so they don’t feel safe engaging in that as adults.

To help you practice with different kinds of intimacy, the intimacy coach teaches you to feel safe and experience increased comfort with close connection. There are two main kinds of intimacy that an intimacy coach guide you in: sexual intimacy and emotional intimacy.

Intimacy Coaching Starts with the Foundations of Intimacy

Comfort with intimacy needs to be built from the ground up. By addressing attachment wounds, deepening embodiment, increasing presence, and enhancing emotional awareness, your intimacy coach teaches you to get your bearings and begin to relax into an intimate connection.

Addressing Attachment Wounds

Like so many people, you may have attachment wounds because you had inconsistent, intrusive, or absent caregivers. Working with attachment is never about blaming parents. If your parents were not good caregivers for you, it’s likely because they did not have good role models either. Working on attachment is like healing the history of disconnection in your family.

An intimacy coach helps transform your experience of attachment in many ways. First, they offer a non-judgmental, supportive, and consistent connection. They listen carefully and attune to your needs and feelings in a way that your caregivers could not. In some modalities, like the Somatica method or cuddle therapy, you can practice with cuddling and holding so that you feel warm and safe in physical connection.

Practicing Embodiment

You might have trouble relaxing into intimacy because you are disconnected from your body. You are used to spending most of your time thinking through problems, instead of feeling and enjoying sensations. An intimacy coach can teach you embodiment practices including breathwork, movement, and play which all help you feel more free and relaxed in your body.

Cultivating Presence

Intimacy can only happen in the present moment – yet so many people spend their time anxiously going over past experience or living in the future. Intimacy coaching works to correct that anxiety by guiding you into present-moment interactions. Presence is also cultivated through breath, and noticing sensations and emotions in the moment.

Emotional Awareness

To have deeper intimacy, you need to be able to share your feelings. Before you can share feelings, however, it is essential that you have an idea of what you are feeling. Many people have learned to disconnect from their feelings, fearing their emotions will be shamed. An intimacy coach will encourage you to notice your feelings – even if they are subtle and distant – guiding you into experiments where you learn to tune in more deeply to your emotional world.

Physical and Sexual Intimacy

An intimacy coach helps you with sexual intimacy in many ways. One of them if by practicing to get more in touch with pleasurable sensations. Your intimacy coach might direct you to experiment with different kinds of self-touch or with sensing different textures, flavors, and sounds. If it is within the boundaries of the method they are using, an intimacy coach might offer you sensual touch and help you relax, receive and enjoy touch. They might also have you touch them back and focus on how good it feels to touch.

Intimacy coaches also teach understanding of your turn-ons and help you get over shame you may have about these desires. Once you are more aware of your turn-ons and feel good about them, you can be more confident and comfortable in intimate situations.

Finally, to increase sexual intimacy, your coach assists in your sharing about your sexual needs – in terms of sensations and turn-ons before, during, and after sexual experiences.

Emotional Intimacy

Your intimacy coach not only counsels you on your physical needs, they also tend to your emotional needs. To become more emotionally intimate, your coach teaches you to share feelings with your partner (and others in your life). These feeling can include sentiments about your partner such as “I love you” or “You are so important to me.” You can share appreciations like “It means so much to me that you planned a trip for us” or “You are the best girlfriend/boyfriend ever!”

In addition to instructing you on positive feelings, your intimacy coach also helps you share your fears with another person. To attain interpersonal intimacy, you need to let your partner see the parts of yourself you are frightened will not be accepted. People fear intimacy because they are scared if another person gets too close, they will see all the unacceptable parts and reject them. The more you share and are accepted, the less shame you will have, and the more you can relax and enjoy intimacy.

Finally, an intimacy coach guides you to be less defensive about your shortcomings. Every human has amazing strengths and challenging shortcomings. If you can accept your shortcomings and acknowledge them, you can be closer to people because you don’t always have to be on the defensive. Admitting one’s shortcomings positions you to have a much better chance of dealing with them directly and opens you up to profound and intimate connections without worrying.

Is Working with an Intimacy Coach Right for You?

Do you want to feel closer to people and less self-conscious in your interactions? Do you want to practice emotional or erotic intimacy? Then engaging an intimacy coach might be a good idea.

While you may think of the capacity for intimacy as something a person has or doesn’t have, the truth is that intimacy can be learned at any age. Working with an intimacy coach can be fun and rewarding, and you can also practice with experiences that take you out of your comfort zone.

How to Choose an Intimacy Coach

In choosing an intimacy coach, you should decide on a specific modality you feel would fit you best.

  1. A Somatica Coach can work with all types of intimacy and sexual dysfunction issues.
  2. A Cuddlist works with physical intimacy and boundaries.
  3. A Surrogate Partner can only be accessed through a recommendation from a licensed therapist. A sex surrogate works with sexual intimacy and communication.

Whoever you choose – make sure you feel they are always checking in on and respecting your boundaries. If there is ever something you don’t feel ready for, make sure you tell your coach right away so they can take the coaching to a comfortable pace for you. There is no need to push yourself too hard in this arena – taking your time and respecting your own pace will actually help the work go faster in the long run because you will be able to stay present and not shut down.

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Celeste Hirschman
Celeste Hirschman, MA is the Co-Creator of the Somatica® Method and Co-Founder of Somatica® Institute. She trains coaches in the Somatica® Method of Sex and Relationship Coaching. She has her own private practice in San Francisco, where she works with clients to have profoundly pleasurable and fulfilling lives. She has co-authored multiple academic articles published in peer-reviewed journals and is the co-author of two books, Cockfidence - The Definitive Guide to Being the Man You Want to Be and Driving Women Wild and Making Love Real - The Intelligent Couples Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion. Celeste has her MA in Human Sexuality Studies from San Francisco State University (SFSU) and her BA in Women’s Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). Celeste has taken the Hakomi Pro-Skills Training as well as multiple other trainings on sexuality and relationships. Celeste also has a Certification in Sexological Bodywork from the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality (IASHS).