This is How I Do It

Tue, 08/28/2012 - 12:42
Submitted by Eric Amaranth

It came out in print yesterday and here is the New York Post Sex Issue article on me online.

The writer I worked with, Dana Schuster, wanted to interview as many of my Talk Session and Guided Session clients as possible, which was arranged. I want to thank very much all of my past and present clients who helped me out so that this article could be published. Dana wanted to hear from real people about the results I create and you guys weren't shy. You made it happen.

Anyway, I was very happy with the quotes she took from people including one of my top three favorite quotes from my teacher Betty:

 “He’s very righteous. He’s very dedicated. He really wants to have sex be better for people,” says Dodson. “It’s not a gimmick thing for him.  He’s very serious.”

The obvious question on many people's minds is am I for real. I really like how Betty bottom-lined it: It's not a gimic. This is real. My mentor settling this couldn't have been done any better. Thank you for everything, Betty.

One thing they made a mistake on was when they described me as standing in the corner of the room watching my client during a guided session. Fox 5 and almost everyone but the GQ Magazine article on me gets it wrong. I'm going to have to bring this up during factchecking from now on. I sit on the floor at the side of the bed to start or sometimes in a chair at a greater distance. I get up to get a view of technique when necessary. I also ask permission for viewing position changes.

I was surprised when Ian Kerner made an appearance. I thought he was a fan of Betty's and sex life coaching. Oh well.

The ending of this article was pretty strong:

But Amaranth’s clients are insatiable.

Kate, who has only done talk sessions up until this point, is giddy about having her first “live” session with Amaranth.

“He’s like, ‘Don’t worry.’ He’s super reassuring. He said his experience has been, once you’re there and things get hot and heavy, you sort of forget he’s there,” says Kate.

She might want to heed Susan’s advice to double up on class-time.
“It went by!” Susan says of her time with Amaranth.

“Toward the end, I was like, oh, can we do blank, blank and blank . . . I had a list of things.”

“I would actually urge people to consider the four hours,” she advises,

“because after the two hours you’re like, ‘Teacher, tell me more!’ ”

Making my clients forget that I'm there is one way I do things. The other that can happen is they know I'm there, but what's happening is so good that they don't care anymore or I quietly communicate with the person doing the doing to the primary receiver so that the catcher can stay in their zone while the pitcher's doings are optimized. My Talk Sessions go over the same material as the Guided Sessions and they work perfectly for the majority of my clients.

Sex life coaching and neo-male perspectives.

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Shame on Ian Kerner.

Betty Dodson's picture
Tue, 08/28/2012 - 16:19
Betty Dodson

He's always acted like we were friends. However, I think most guys are going to be extremely jealous of what Eric has accomplished: "Learning by Doing."

Beginning as a fine artist, those of us who wanted to draw the nude always learned by doing. We just didn't take courses, read books and go to museums (altho that was included). Mostly we drew from the nude. Believe it or not, I too was teased and sometimes questioned about being overly interested in staring at naked people! Was I some kind of pervert? Today my answer would be a resounding "YES! And proud of it."

Remember folks, this is still Puritanical America where all things sexual are highly suspect. My work with women is hands-on and I'm lusting for someone to cart me off to jail for being a prostitute. So far, the authoriities have figured I would not be a good test case. Academics love me. But Oh what marveloous PR for the website Carlin and I run. This sick country of ours cannot distinguish between explicit sex ed and pornogarphy. Or actually teaching sexual skills instead of just talking about is a form of prostitution. I say it's long past due for Americans to grow the fuck up!

Eric, Betty, and sex life coaching

Wed, 08/29/2012 - 01:05

Well, you couldn't have had a better mentor than Betty for what you do. We DO have a sick country. Breastfeeding as a form of obscenity, nudity as something more shocking than murderous violence . . . It's inevitable that there will be a great deal of skepticism and criticism of sex--positive work in our present culture. It's very sad. At the same time, there has been real progress towards healthier attitudes during my lifetime.

I'm not sure that the general public understands the difference between sex life coaching and sex/relationship therapy. I believe there's a need for both. Sex therapists focus more on communication, on overcoming barriers to affection and sexual expression. Sex therapists do give specific assignments, but they're to be carried out at home by the person or couple. Doing the sort of hands-on work that you and Betty do would likely mean the end of a licensed therapist's credentials, as I'm sure you know. I'm curious as to the kinds of discussions you and Betty may have had with conventionally trained therapists. Do they tend to see problems with your methods, or do most helping professionals see you as allies with many of the same goals in mind of making life better for your clients?

ooooh, i love the feet

Wed, 08/29/2012 - 13:30
christie j (not verified)

ooooh, i love the feet peaking out from under the sheets. great picture.

Patrick, a lot of conventionally trained therapists send clients

Betty Dodson's picture
Thu, 08/30/2012 - 08:57
Betty Dodson

to see us. They realize they have gone as far as possible within the limitations of talk teach. Many people need to be shown visually and/or phyiscally what to do or what they are doing that doesn't work. Learning by doing actually includes the body as well as the brain. Most helping professionals see us as allies with most of the same goals in mind of making life better for our clients. Makes sense right?

Yes, it does make sense

Thu, 08/30/2012 - 15:10

Thanks, Dr Betty. Yes, it does make sense. I asked this question because I'm familiar with the codes of ethics for licensed therapists such as psychologists and social workers, and these professionals couldn't do the kind of hands-on sex coaching you and Eric do without overstepping their permitted boundaries and getting into serious trouble. A typical conventioally trained therapist wouldn't even dream of allowing a client to remove his or her clothing in their presence, for example, no matter what the rationale---and in the context of talk therapy, there are good reasons for these rules. So I wasn't sure what attitudes you may have encountered in the course of your work. Anyway, glad to know that what you do is generally accepted---an adjunct, so to speak, to talk therapy that goes beyond what a licensed talk therapist is permitted to do.

I remember the days, pre

Sat, 09/01/2012 - 16:26
lsjb (not verified)

I remember the days, pre AIDS, when surrogacy was a respected and often utilized aid to therapy practices.  For people who are painfully shy, spinal cord injured, uneducated, phobic, today's aspergers folks who can't bear to cross the distance to touch another person, this specialty was a god-send.
There are still some around, and i do refer to them on occasion.  Not everyone will go. But surrogates are trained and supervised by psychotherapists and provide a very impotant service to the community.
Today, the juice we had to organize and put the professionals back on the main line of sex therapy practice has stalled.  It should be  organized and put back  in business.
Eric's work from what i know has so far been focused on pleasure and he provides a very useful and trustworthy skill . I hope he broadens his client base and becomes better known to psychotherapists to refer. Sometimes it's really only hands-on coaching and comfort that can provide the long lasting, truly meaningful healing.

A clarification

Eric Amaranth's picture
Sun, 09/02/2012 - 08:59
Eric Amaranth

I decided not to make sexual contact with clients because, realistically, the vast majority of people aren't ready for that level of coaching. Or, it isn't possible to do due to other obvious reasons. One could say that I do a form of hands-on, meaning my Guided Sessions and teaching via sex toys as models does engage with a client interactively. Hands-on does not mean my hands are on anyone, which is an easy assumption to make.

The interactive model is a very strong one and coaching lends itself to that very well. Sex life coaching is not like sports coaching, as Kerner claimed. It is more like dance or yoga instruction. The magazines that have covered me have made the comparisons to sports style coaching. The GQ article's title is "Put Me In Coach!" and the NY Post print article has a giant pic of a guy with a megaphone above the picture of a couple next to each other in bed. This isn't an accurate depiction either. However, I do realize certain levels of sensationalistic images and grammar are thought to be required.

Thank you for the clarification

Sun, 09/02/2012 - 13:55

I think your choice not to make direct sexual contact with clients is the right one. To me, 'hands-on' means being in the client's physical presence, giving direct, real-time suggestions and feedback. This seems to be exactly what you do. I have seen a number of Dr Betty's filmed sessions and seem to recall that she herself may, on occasion, briefly touch a client (with a gloved hand) for purposes of demonstration or to clarify an instruction. But this is obviously with the client's full consent, the sort of consent a patient would give a physician when touching is necessary for diagnosis or treatment. I have wondered what sort of pre-session releases your clients sign---these days we have to sign releases for everything a health care provider does. I'm sure also that clients would receive a detailed briefing on exactly what happens during a session, and on what the coach's role and boundaries are. Your clients are clearly coming to see you voluntarily and are requesting direct feedback on their sexuality. But there would at least be the potential for false accusations of misconduct---the reason why so many health care providers today insist on a third person being in the room during an examination. For the coach, therefore, it would be important to select clients who are psychologically healthy and who are coming to see them for the right reasons: their personal and sexual growth.