The Scoop: The Somatica Institute is the leading certification and training body for sex coaches. Celeste Hirschman co-founded the Somatica Institute with Dr. Danielle Harel to provide potential sex coaches with high-caliber, hands-on training. The Somatica Institute uses the Somatica method while training sex coaches. During training, coaches will be immersed in a holistic method that will empower them with the tools and knowledge they need to guide clients to mind-blowing sex and authentic relationships.

I think everybody needs a go-to resource for their questions about sex. Whether it’s a technical concern or a question about the emotional aspect, your burning questions about all things sex need answers. There are many places to find advice about sex, but it’s important to find the right resources for you. Each person has a unique sense of sexuality and expresses that sexuality in a different way. When people struggle with their sexuality, they can experience hardships in all areas of their lives, not just with sex.

People need sex resources that understand where they are coming from and what they want to change in their sex lives. Sexuality goes deeper than just having sex – it’s about our backgrounds, experiences, and core identities. Because sexuality is such a significant part of what makes us unique, everyone has different outlooks, values, and desires regarding sex and sexuality. When you want to take care of your sexual self, you need help that can meet you where you are.

Sex coaching is one avenue people can take to improve their sexual wellness. Sex coaches are professionals who help individuals understand their sexuality and improve their sex lives. Sex coaching emphasizes pleasure and empowerment and regards sexual energy as a fuel for daily satisfaction. The Somatica Institute is a leading training and certification body for sex coaches. The Institute was founded in 2010 and has trained close to 1000 sex coaches in its over two decades of operation.

Celeste Hirschman, MA, co-founded the Somatica Institute with Dr. Danielle Harel. She talked to us about sex coaching, the experiential Somatica method, and the process of becoming a certified sex coach. “We believe you can’t learn intimacy from a one-way relationship,” Celeste said. “We go into mutual vulnerable connection with our clients, and we teach them, in a safe, boundaried container, how to bring more emotional and erotic intimacy into connection.”

The Power of Transformation Through Pleasure

Celeste and Dr. Danielle co-founded the Somatica Institute to give experiential sex coaches a place to go for education, training, and certification. The Somatica Institute’s mission is to fill the world with love, erotic pleasure, connection, satisfying relationships, and self-aware people who can express themselves fully. The Institute has trained sex coaches who went on to work all across the world either in private practice or in a variety of industries, including podcasts, film, and intimacy work. 

As an institution of learning, Celeste said it was very important to her and her co-founder to seek industry-recognized certification for their program. The Somatica Institute is certified by the American Board of Sexology, approved to offer CEUs by the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists, and graduates can also join the Association of Somatic and Integrative Sexologists. 

somatica institute founders and mission
The Somatica Institute empowers sex coaches with the training they need to help clients.

“The Somatica Institute trains and certifies coaches who want to help couples and individuals have the best sex lives and relationships possible,” Celeste said. “We really pride ourselves on our coaching training because so much of it is live over Zoom, rather than videos coaches can watch at their own pace. It’s hard to imagine how anyone could learn coaching without practicing coaching someone.”

Training at the Somatica Institute is done within a community of sexologists and sex coaches. “We really teach people,” Celeste told us. “We observe them, we give them feedback, and we have a certification exam, where they have to do a session with a client to prove they have the coaching skills they need.”

The Somatica Institute gives sex coaches the tools they need to help clients within an experiential space. Experiential sex coaching requires coaches to be highly trained and educated to lead clients to the changes they want to make in their lives. Celeste said the Institute’s hands-on training and supportive community gives sex coaches an extra edge in the market.

Becoming A Somatica Institute Certified Sex Coach

The Somatica Institute offers training programs yearly for individuals who want to become sex coaches trained in the Somatica method. Celeste said the Institute’s sex coaching program is one year long and familiarizes coaches with the “embodied experience, or the somatic experience, of learning new skills.”

The training curriculum focuses on mastering the tools needed for effective sex coaching. At the Somatica Institute, this includes learning to help clients explore desires, turn relationship challenges into opportunities for intimacy, clarify boundaries and consent, and explore and understand unique identities.

somatica institute logo
Aspiring sex coaches learn the valuable tools and skills they need at Somatica Institute.

Aspiring sex coaches and licensed professionals alike can find something valuable through training at the Somatica Institute. Aspiring sex coaches will move through the Institute’s comprehensive certification process, which includes six core modules, 12 experiential practice sessions, studies in two or more areas of specialization, and two advanced modules. At the end of the certification process, sex coaches will take the final exam, which they must pass to receive certification.

Celeste said the Institute recently expanded its program to allow sex coaches to become trained in a specialization. Specializations help sex coaches treat clients with specific needs. “One area is relationship design, so mono or open or poly,” Celeste explained. “We also have specializations with a curriculum focused around LGBTQIA+ identities and sex through different life stages.”

Graduates of the full Somatica Sex & Relationship Coach Certification Training who successfully complete all 300 hours of the program are also eligible to be recognized by the American Board of Sexology as certified sexologists. 

Stepping Into The Power of Sexuality

The Somatica Method combines talk-based coaching with experiential practices to help coaches and clients expand their skills and beliefs around intimacy. While sex coaching is surely about sex and sexuality, Celeste says the Somatica Institute is getting at something deeper. Intimacy defines the quality of every relationship, and that’s what the Somatica Method attends to.

The Method is based on three core beliefs. The first core belief is that pleasure is the best tool for transformation. At the Somatica Institute, this pleasure extends to both the coach and the client. The Institute trains coaches to practice new skills in a way that’s filled with joy, arousal, connection, and acceptance. 

the somatica institute community
The Somatica Institute nurtures a thriving community of sex coaches and sexologists.

The second core belief is that emotional and erotic intimacy are learnable, and everyone can gain the tools they need to step into their self-actualized sexualities. The third core belief is that one size doesn’t fit all and that individuals should practice acceptance of who they are rather than trying to change themselves.

“Our name comes from the word somatic, which means of the body,” Celeste said. “So much therapy these days is going towards body-based therapy because they have found when you make that mind-body connection, there’s a lot more transformation that can happen more quickly.” The Somatica Institute gives sex coaches the education they need to help clients connect the body and mind and then continue to fortify that connection.

When it comes to advice for individuals thinking about seeking the aid of a sex coach, Celeste encouraged open-mindedness and trust. “I want people to know if they’re going to a somatic sex coach, the coach will completely go at their pace and make sure they feel comfortable and safe,” she said. “It’s all about practicing these really fun and important tools so they can have the best sex life– and relationships– possible.”