Better Than Sex? Not According To This Sex Coach

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Nerve, the cultural center of the web for sex and relationships, was one of the first online destinations to open the conversation on erotica in a candid, empowering way. Now, the folks at Nerve are bringing their smart, fearless take on everything from orgasmic meditation to the world’s weirdest sex rituals to R29.

Eric Amaranth is a “sex life coach who specializes in women’s and men’s sexuality, basic to advanced sex skills, and high-end sex education,” according to his web site. Naturally, we wanted to talk to him. After reading this, you will too.


(Illustration: Anna Sudit)

What made you decide to be a “sex life coach?” Did you grow up wanting to be one or was it something you fell into?
"I didn’t always want to be a sex coach. I don’t think anybody would. It started with me being a teenager wanting to learn how to pull my weight in bed. I’d go to the bookstores and go into the Sexuality And Self-Help section; I definitely didn’t have the guts to buy the books yet. I asked myself, ‘How do you be a good lover?’ It kind of grew from there. I found a book in college that my mentor, Betty Dodson, wrote. She was going places that other books weren’t, because other books were just kind of wimpy, like, ‘Give her roses and hug her.’ Which, okay, that’s fine, but I want to know how you actually rub a clitoris to make it orgasm all over the bed. Plus, [Dodson’s] art was hot. I went and contacted her, asked her about a section in her book, and she liked it, liked what I was thinking. We got together after that."

So, you and Betty Dodson were involved sexually? [Famed sex educator Betty Dodson was 69 when she and Eric met; he was was 22. — Ed.]
"Yes. We were involved for nine years."

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What do you think was the best thing she taught you?
"Understanding the power of combining clitoral stimulation with vaginal penetration. If a woman doesn’t know how to do that, give her the means to learn. There are some women out there who will say, ‘Well, that doesn’t work for me,’ but that’s only because your mind and body haven’t learned to integrate the two."

So, you think that’s a universal need for women? Are there universal needs in the bedroom?
"The one universal need I can think of is a bit political. Men have easier access to their orgasm than women do, in a heterosexual dynamic. So, the first universal need is to have that equalized, to the point where [you] can create those orgasms easily and consistently. And, that’s a real problem right now, but it’s getting better in the last 10 or 15 years I’ve been doing this."

What are some of the things out there now that are making things better for sex?
"I’ve noticed, looking at porn and men’s magazines, that male-targeted sex resources are gradually putting more clitoris into the action. For a long time, they didn’t. It all started with, ‘The penis has to create everything. My penis will make you come. Roar!’ If you’re suddenly denying that fundamental, neurological hook-up because of ego and ignorance, we have a problem. Then, the male ego is not only cheating women; it’s cheating men."

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Does your experience as a sex coach help you in the bedroom?
"Yeah, of course. My first interest in learning more about sex came from wanting to get better myself. There were all these sexual things that I was curious about, about whether they were shows put on in porn, or whether they could be legitimately amazing for women. I always had a really strong erotic attachment to a woman receiving stimulation and pleasure. When clients ask me, ‘What kind of man should I look for?’ [I tell them] that’s the type of man you should look for… Other guys, it’s all about them, and they don’t really care about her, or they just don’t know any better. But, I think most guys, if you show them a woman really enjoying herself, they’ll say, ‘Oh my god, that’s the hottest thing I’ve ever seen.’ Then, they’re motivated to do things that are amazing, because part of their enjoyment is seeing you in those states."

What about vice-versa? Do you believe that men are more visual than women and women are more mental than men?
"Women are almost as visual as men… Men have more testosterone, so they’re more quickly affected by visuals. But, if women aren’t titillated by visuals, then why are there Chippendales? Why do women get lap dances from other women?"

You do a lot of guided sessions where you watch people have sex and give them feedback. What sort of things go down in a session? Any strange requests? Are people asking you to participate?
"Oh yeah, people ask me to participate. But not that often. It’s usually after they get to know me, after a few sessions. They get to a more advanced sexual place, and they learn more things. Then, they start thinking, ‘What would it be like to do this stuff that he’s teaching to me with him?’ I get it.”

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(Illustration: Anna Sudit)

So, people assume you’re a master in bed, automatically?
"I don’t know about ‘master,’ because it doesn’t quite work like that, but — I’m not bad. I’ll put it to you that way. I know a lot of stuff, and can do a lot of stuff. But, sex isn’t like playing a piano and being a virtuoso. A piano can be tuned perfectly, so you know what it’s going to feel like and what it’s going to do. You can’t do that with a person. If it’s your first time having sex with someone, you have no idea how their notes are going to play. When I’m having sex for the first time with someone, they might say, ‘You’re a god’…there have been other women in my past who say, ‘You’re definitely pretty good, but I’ve had better.’ It matters where they’re at mentally, and how they look at sex."

Is pillow talk just as essential as the actual act?
"Yes. But, it’s how you pillow talk. You can’t just say, ‘You know, you need to fuck me a little harder.’ Tone of voice is important — how you put it across. That’s part of what I teach, too. Even then, you don’t have any guarantees it won’t make them mad. But, if that person has a massive ego, consider moving along to someone who wants to work with you, instead of it just being their show."

Has there ever been a time when you’re working with a couple and you realize you can’t help them with their sexual problems?
"There have not been many. With one couple, and I don’t know if it’s improved since I stopped working with them, but he just couldn’t get the gumption to make improvements. She made it very clear what she wanted, and we went into details [about] how to create that for her. He just could not or would not move forward and attack it and make it happen. That happens with any kind of coaching. If somebody is not on board, you’re not going to make it happen. Piano lessons, macrame, you name it."

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There are plenty of couples who become bored with sex and have fantasies about infidelity. Do you see sex coaching as a way to make monogamy more realistic?
"It’s fine to play with sleeping-with-other-people fantasies when everyone’s comfortable with that. It’s the circumstances they’re fantasizing about that are the problem. Usually, most infidelities happen when one person is not pulling their weight. Or both. It’s about getting needs met. When people cheat, it’s not that they fall out of love with their partner. It’s about, ‘You can’t fuck me decently.’ So, when stuff is aired with coaching, now you don’t have to get divorced. Most people would rather have an amazing sex life with their spouse [than cheat], if there is a door to that — and that’s what I provide."

What’s one of the essential mistakes people are making during sex?
"On a physical level, there are small details you have to get right to make something feel really good for somebody’s sex organs. And, you have to practice those details, and really take them seriously. So, I’d say one of the biggest blunders is when I show a client what to do, and they try to leave the details out, then wonder why it’s not working out. They’re surprised, like, ‘I can’t believe this has to be so detailed.’ You want to have amazing sex? You need extra details. It’s like French cuisine; do you know how many details go into a dish? And, the details are hot! It’s not about a chore. It’s about when you see her bucking her hips and breathing hard; you want that skill. Some people whine that they shouldn’t have to ‘practice’ sex, which is so fucking pathetic. You’re cheating yourself and your partner out of something huge."

Speaking of huge, what’s a layered orgasm, and how do you have one?
"It’s when you combine two different types of female orgasms so they’re going off at the same time. Like, when you have a clitoral orgasm and a G-spot orgasm at the same time. It would be the equivalent of a man’s testicles being able to have massive explosions of pleasure, plus his normal penis orgasm at the same time. Which we can’t do, but women can. But, it’s not easy; you have to first be able to orgasm in those two different ways, then you can learn to line them up with practice. When it happens — imagine these two huge blasts coursing through your pelvis. It’s massive. And, when you can do that for someone, it brings about a massive amount of appreciation for that person. It trickles out to how she sees the world, and sex becomes an oasis after a hard day. It does more for life than just big genital booms. People will say, ‘This is better than sex,’ and I silently think to myself, You don’t know the kind of sex I’m talking about. Fuck that chocolate chip cookie.

By Kate Hakala

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