Sex coaching is about guiding clients toward their most fulfilled and satisfied sexual selves. It’s a process that involves education, guidance, behavioral training, balancing, and alignment. Clients come to us with their various concerns, and we help them decipher the blocks and move forward toward their desired outcomes. In order to do so, we adopt two models to help us—the philosophy and approach designed by Dr. Patti Britton called MEBES©, and the adapted for sex coaching PLISSIT model originally designed by Jack Annon.
These two models inform our approach, giving us a clear lens to filter information through. They allow us to assess our clients, inform them, and design action plans for their success. They are dynamic and holistic, empowering us to view the whole client rather than their concern alone. They also work to grant us the opportunity to approach the case from a client-centered perspective—and empower the client to make their own change.
In this article, we’ll go over PLISSIT and MEBES© and discuss how they work in the sex coaching process.
PLISSIT stands for Permission (P), Limited Information (LI), Specific Suggestions (SS), and Intensive Therapy (IT)—since it has been adapted for coaching, the last element would be Intensive Coaching (IC) instead.
The first step in working with many clients is granting them the gift of permission. Sometimes this element is all a client needs—to be granted the permission to be who they are sexually and pursue the desires they may have previously deemed “not normal.” This is where coaches normalize the client’s experience, which can be a tremendous and transformative experience!
Other clients need specific clarification or personalized education around their concerns, which is where limited information can be helpful. For example, coaches can offer their clients sexual education that pertains to their concerns, such as statistics around female orgasm or penis size. Sometimes this limited information is all a client needs to move forward.
Coaching often also includes specific suggestions, which is where our exercises and home assignments come in. This is where we guide our clients to take action and hold them accountable. We might give them journal prompts to work with, mindfulness exercises to use during masturbation, or low-pressure sensual massages to try with a partner. By empowering our clients to try new things, and collaboratively coming up with an action plan, we can help them resolve their current situation.
Intensive coaching takes place over multiple sessions and goes deeper than the above. It requires access to resources and a referral network of other working professionals. Different from therapy, intensive coaching will maintain a focus on the future and does not involve deep emotional processing.
This four-phase model informs the sex coaching process and takes place over time. While it may appear as four consecutive steps, in reality, the different phases are accessed intermittently and in whatever order makes sense for the client. This model can add structure to our process and it emphasizes our important role in normalizing our clients’ experiences while granting them permission to be who they are, sexually.
MEBES© stands for Mind, Emotion, Body (or Behavior), Energy, and Spirit. The MEBES© Signature System involves these five parts of the sexual self. Clients will let you know where they are stuck individually or in their relationship in any or all of the five parts.
“Mind” includes elements such as thought patterns, self-talk, fantasy, and compulsivity. In this category, sex coaches might address negative self-talk or an overactive “monkey mind.” The coaching that takes place involves education, redirection, and instruction.
Emotion includes feelings—how to express them, how they inform our sexuality, and our capacity for feeling intimate with another person. As coaches, we can help clients clear the negative emotions that are blocking them from an abundant intimate life. We might also help our clients better communicate their feelings.
Body includes the physical—how the body experiences sensations, how touch feels, and the mechanics of sexual experiences. In this realm, coaches might address mechanical issues around sex such as how to give or receive oral sex, how to have better control over ejaculation, or how to communicate with touch. This category could also include body image concerns and coaches can guide their clients to develop body neutrality or body positivity.
Energy includes the energetic exchange that is present during sex, the energies between two partners, and the expression of energy. Coaches utilize their intuition or other subtle skills in order to pick up on what energy is present during sessions. They use that information to guide the conversation or address something previously unmentioned.
Spirit can be seen as spiritual, religious, or just as one’s inner self. In this realm, we might coach our clients to use more “I” statements, to better access their intuition, or to connect with their sexual being in a more esoteric way. In the spirit category, we might discuss divinity or sacred sexuality.
These elements encompass the whole of a person and allow us to view their sexual concerns without the pathologization of them. MEBES© gives us containers for discovering, addressing, and transforming the different aspects of one’s sexual experiences. These different areas give us a better understanding of the concern(s) brought to us by our clients and help us address them and move forward.
When you master the MEBES model, you will become a truly holistic practitioner, able to integrate all five parts of your clients’ sexual being in their sexual healing journey.
The Sex Coaching Process
As sex coaches, we work with our clients by understanding where they are blocked and then guiding them to move past that block toward their sexual satisfaction and fulfillment. MEBES© and PLISSIT/C are two models that inform this process. We use them as tools to help our clients—by assessing them, defining their concerns, and designing action plans, all of which helps them to make long-lasting, impactful, positive changes to resolve or release their sexual concerns. These models are not strict guidelines we adhere to, but rather the systems that grant us a productive view of anything our client brings to us.
PLISSIT gives us a framework to move the process along, and establish what the client needs for resolution. MEBES© gives us a holistic lens through which we view our client as a whole. Together, they provide a foundation for our client to reach their highest potential!
These two models are at the heart of our work as sex coaches, and utilizing them in your practice benefits both you and the client.