Advice from Ottawa's certified sex coach
Ottawa’s Diane Merpaw, acclaimed as Networker of the Year, is also Canada’s first certified sex coach
The first Canadian to be certified as a professional sex coach from Sex Coach University is hoping to “blow the lid off the taboo” of talking openly about sex.
Ottawa resident Diane Merpaw, who was awarded the Olga Howe Networker of the Year for 2013-14 from the Women’s Business Network last Sept. 16, graduated from the U.S.-based virtual school in August. A sex coach – which is not to be confused with a sex therapist – helps others discover their own sexual empowerment with a focus on sexual health, sex positivity and celebrating sexuality versus shaming and guilting, she said.
Merpaw is 51 and says most of her clients are in the 45-60 demographic.
“Sex sells, we hear about it and it’s out there, everyone knows about it but there’s nobody talking about it,” said Merpaw. “There’s a taboo attached to it; I really want to blow the lid off the taboo. I want to make it ok to talk about sex.”
Merpaw, who is also a life coach as well as a volunteer with the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre, sought out the training after a number of clients talked to her about sexless marriages; others wanted advice on how to become closer and more intimate with their partner; some were survivors of sexual trauma.
“I was going, ‘I don’t know how to help you.’ And I don’t bullsh** my way through things,” she said. “I didn’t have the background. I have my own sexual background but not necessarily the educational background.”
Also a survivor of sexual abuse, Merpaw experienced a lack of help from the medical community when she sought help for low sexual desire and low libido. The doctors did blood tests but they all came back normal.
“They would come back and tell me, ‘Oh your hormones are in the normal range.’ And that’s all they would say,” Merpaw said.
There were no medical solutions for the way she was feeling.
“I had a really vibrant sex life that I was happy with and all of a sudden I couldn’t care. I’d rather choose sleep or I had to force myself to be there because I knew it was important for my relationship. I couldn’t understand what was going on. I didn’t feel great. It affected my self esteem.”
All those experiences impacted her decision to become a sex coach.
“It’s difficult to talk (about sex). There are many people experiencing various sexual concerns and not knowing where to turn. Often there’s shame and guilt; we feel dysfunctional,” she said.
As a sex coach, “We take a look at the mind, we take a look at the body, we take a look at emotions and we take a look at spirit.”
The training forced her to look at cultural beliefs surrounding sex, as well as her own thoughts and values.
“You get all those mixed messages, “ Merpaw said. “Is ok to love sex? And if I do, am I bad for loving sex? This journey really allowed me to get to that place of finding who I am authentically in my sexuality and to say, ‘Yes, celebrate that.’” Her practice helps women, men and couples develop more intimate bonds and reignite the spark that can fizzle when daily life takes its toll.
For more information: dianemerpaw.com.
From Ottawa Community News.