Health

How This Man Coaches Couples to Have Better Sex

If you ask Eric Amaranth what fun sounds like, he has a simple answer: sex. And he's working to help everyone get better at it.

Amaranth is a sex life coach known for working with couples both in and outside the bedroom—often as a sideline-style encourager, as described by GQ. His main message is that there’s a simple happiness you might be missing out on—orgasms—and that’s where he comes in, gently teaching couples how to overcome common insecurities.

Eric Amaranth

His job is to coach and guide hundreds of couples, many from around the world via video conferencing, to move past some of the shame or bad experiences that may have prevented them from intimacy in their relationships. He swears by his extensive research and work with people of all ages that most people aren't quite doing it right. The reasons, he explains, have to do with who you are, your fears, and often, ego.

ATTN: spoke with Amaranth, who is married to a woman himself, over the phone to find out his perspective on some of the main issues plaguing people in relationships and affecting their sexuality. He says that sex is a component of health that's often misrepresented as taboo, but he helps people conquer their sexual fears.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

ATTN: How did you get involved in sex life coaching?

EA: With my mentor, Betty Dodson. I read her first book, Sex for One, in college and I was very impressed with how she and I thought very alike. I went to see her to learn some advanced sex skills that weren’t in books at the time. I graduated and became her employee and also her apprentice. I first came to her with no real expectation that sex life coaching was going to be a thing, although I saw a need for it in our culture. Psychologists were doing things for that. When you have something outside of a trauma situation, and you just want to get better, what do you do? How do you get better?

I make things even more incredible by combining skills. One of my little catch phrases is "Sex Sundae"—you learn one skill, then, it takes practice with one, two, three, four [skills] and a bit of a dedication to create this super experience in a way that’s like improving your golf game or yoga practice. Nothing awesome comes for free otherwise we’d all be doing it.

ATTN: How did you develop your skills?

EA: Over a 10-year period, I became the product that I am now. It’s not Ph.D.-based. It’s not going to a school and getting a human sexuality doctorate. I wanted to actually learn how to do a sexual skill. I decided to go with that model because [Betty Dodson] had been working with women since the early 70s. She got a group together and talked to them about sex and relationships. She went on to do group sessions of women masturbating as a teaching tool and sort of a "women coming together kind of tool," no pun intended. Now, they’re getting bigger and bigger. If [a student] wanted her first orgasm or a better one, you get down and do it and teach it firsthand.

ATTN: What kind of help do you offer couples?

EA: I do talk coaching. I do what I call talk sessions. I’m present, and I’m teaching in firsthand, but I don’t have sex with anybody. The talk sessions do work. I’ll use sex toys. When you’re there, you can get down into the details. Being there when sex is happening isn’t necessary all the time, but it can be good.

For an example, one of the good things about doing a guided session, which are the most popular, I can see mistakes that couples are making. For example, I had a lesbian couple, they reported a problem that when they do intercourse with a strap-on, the woman who was receiving had had sex with men before and said it didn’t feel the same as a man. Her partner didn’t know how to change that. After trying different things, they didn’t know how to make it different or better. I watched them do it, I noticed the strap-on wasn’t tight enough… her technique for moving it was smaller than what it needed it to be based on the pleasure that the other person was expecting. I saw what was going on and I said, "OK, check this out," and I was on the floor next to the bed showing her how to make it better. She did it and [her partner] immediately said, "Yeah, that’s it, that’s what I remember." It was fixed. People can go for decades not knowing this information. Who knows how many sex lives and relationships have ended over these type of things?

ATTN: How many couples do you think you have coached?

EA: I started in 2010. You could say I’ve coached since the early 2000s off and on. Not all people have the balls. It’s about how willing people are to make this change. People ask for a consultation, but don't come [in] because their significant other finds out and [gets cold feet] or because there are problems with their sex life or because of fear and ego, they don’t want to.

The only thing that’s holding people back. Other than religious stuff. If you have a religion that holds you back from doing certain stuff, I say [that's fine]. Don’t change your religion.

ATTN: What are the biggest barriers facing couples today?

There’s ego, fear, religion—even people who didn't grown up in religious households can have parents who have almost anti-sex [attitudes] from a religious background, but they never went to church a single day. It kind of permeates within. I wish people were more like this about violence than about sex, but that’s the culture that exists.

Then there’s the genders crap.

It all combines in this massive mess, and it’s like having somebody with like seven critical conditions. People ask me, "What’s the first thing I tell people?" [It's that you should] throw everything you know about sex in the fucking garbage, and do what I’m going to tell you.

One thing I tell couples is that when you start coaching with me, you have to set aside time to practice the skills, not sit in front of the TV every night. [Just like] if you want to do that yoga class or work out at the gym. It’s no different. I ask them, "Do you want to sit in front of the TV for the rest of your life or do you want something really awesome? Do you want these super orgasms?"

The common themes, another one, is [female clients lacking] orgasms or sexual attention that’s climactic in some way where he gets to have his, and she doesn’t. It always amazes me. [Some female clients] don’t get to come once, let alone [multiple] times. They don't get to do more erotic things. When you keep doing the same basic things, then it kind of starts to get old because your brain gets used to it. The human brain has the strongest capability to getting used to things and adapting. We get used to things, and therefore, we get bored.

Once you get good enough with a given partner, you’re going to do a lot of stuff you can do with them that you can’t do with anybody else. It kind of creates this specialness that you can’t repeat with anybody else.

People aren’t working on [their sex lives]. They aren’t updating it or changing it, and then they’re look elsewhere because that’s what brains do. That is common for everyone, and that’s how the coaching addresses that big issue. You have to have more things on the menu.

ATTN: What are the toughest sex problems or questions people are too embarrassed to ask?

It depends on the person. It could be something really simple, like "I have a mole on my labia that’s pretty embarrassing, am I normal?" And I’ll say, "Don't worry about whether you’re normal. Strive for the extraordinary, not normalcy. Don’t worry about being normal because no one else is going to know what you’re doing in the bedroom anyway."

That’s one of the problems I have with women especially. I’ll say, "Here’s how to do a blow job and clitoral stimulation," and she’ll say, "What would my mother say?" And I say, "Don't worry about it because she’s not going to be there anyway."

There are people with really severe hang-ups. I had one man who had really severe hang-ups that he could not really [pleasure] women because his mother gave him really hard conditioning about sex that, "Sex was evil, evil." I told him, "Look, you can do this if you have the gumption to fight that stuff in your head."

The fear can be so strong that it takes people years.

ATTN: What is the biggest challenge in your work?

In our society, sex is demonized, but it's available. It’s like schizophrenia.

To learn more about Eric Amaranth and his teachings check out his website.