pleasure principle

A sex and intimacy coach shares what he thinks more gay men should be doing

Court Vox
Court Vox (Photo: Rachel Marie Castillo)

How does one become a ‘Sex and Intimacy Consultant’? For Court Vox, 41, the path was far from direct.

Vox grew up in Las Vegas, before relocating to Los Angeles to study theatre, film and television at UCLA in 1999. He now lives in West Hollywood. “Gay and pan”, he has been with his partner, Adaris, for the past five years. He also has a 17-year-old son.

From his university days onwards, Vox played in bands (one, Mirror Talk, had some minor success but never broke through). He also worked for major tech companies on the casting and creative development of beauty and lifestyle videos. Then, in his mid-30s, he faced redundancy.

By this stage, Vox felt, “tired of working in corporate, and really tired of working in the beauty space. I’d been doing that for a really long time. And I was going on my own sexual journey in my 30s. As I was turning 35, I was really looking at sex differently and processing things with my therapist.

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“I had started to study shibari [Japanese] rope bondage and I met a woman there who ended up becoming a practice partner, and she was a psychotherapist who worked with the nervous system.

“I told her what I was doing and what I wanted to do, and she said, well what do you want to do with your life? And I said, ‘I want to be a sex therapist but not one that talks to people. I want to be a therapist who helps people learn through their bodies and learn through touch and experience. I’m not sure that exists’.”

“And she said, have you heard of sexological body work? I had not, and immediately went to my car and Googled it.”

Within a week, Vox had enrolled at a specialist school in Canada to learn more.

Court Vox is an intimacy coach
(Photo: Andrew Graham)

“And I spent two years studying with them. In that time, I also studied and became a surrogate partner intern. I kept studying and continue to study rope bondage, and I’ve studied elements and modalities of tantra.

“In a four-year period, between starting studying and seeing clients, to now, I’ve dedicated myself to learning a lot, and continue to learn and get better at some of the skills I started with.”

When it comes to explaining what a sex and intimacy consultant does, Vox emphasizes his physical approach: “I work with the body. Somatic means of the body. So unlike a traditional coach or therapist who just talks to you, I facilitate learning through touch. I facilitate learning through body-based exercises.”

He coaches in breath, movement, and sound, addressing—according to his website—the concerns of clients around “body shame & awareness, boundary-setting, communication, ageism, anatomy, sensate focus, intentional touch, erotic trance, kink, feeling stuck in sexual roles and identities (are you always dominant, always submissive?), and other teachings about sex. My work is designed to nurture, deepen and/or awaken the sensual self.”

Vox also works as a Surrogate Partner. Surrogate partner therapy, as defined by the International Professional Surrogate Association (IPSA), is a three-way therapeutic relationship between a licensed therapist, a client, and a partner surrogate.

 

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Vox has dealt with many queer clients. What common problems do gay men come to him with?

“It varies. I would say I get a lot of ‘I’m having erectile dysfunction issues’, or ‘I’m having rapid ejaculation issues’. Body dysmorphia or body issues is a big one, something gay men deal with quite a bit, myself included!

“I think the other one, and this is common with a lot of the women I work with, too, is low libido. And low libido usually ends up manifesting more, when we dig into it, as boredom.

“People are bored, and they don’t feel safe enough to go to their partner or go into the world and ask for something different, and many times people don’t know what’s available to them that could be new.

“So they’re doing the same thing over and over again, it gets very boring, but also they don’t know what the options are to create newness for them, and so that is something I offer in my space: Let’s explore sensation together. Let’s explore power dynamics. Is that something that turns you on? What about narrative or fantasy or dirty talk? Or writing erotica?

 

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Vox works with both individuals and couples. Is there something he wishes more gay men were doing or practicing?

“There are a lot of things. I think we’re in a really interesting time, specifically with gay men. AIDS and HIV really played a huge part in our non-sexual lives. That’s something I deal with a lot with men who are 40 or above, working through this cultural or collective trauma they have experienced, whether they have HIV themselves and have lived through the stigma themselves and the rejection, or have watched many of their friends die.

“And that is a real, somatic experience, something felt in the body.

“Cut to the early 2000s, when Truvada was introduced, and around the same time, when Grindr, Scruff and sex apps were introduced, so you had this sexual revolution for gay people where it was eating à la carte at the fast-food place. Sex became possible again. It became possible without the fear of death attached to it, which is a really heavy statement but it’s true.

“There are many people, myself included, who have equated sex with death, and so when you remove that, it’s like coming out, a little bit, from famine. We’ve been starving, and the floodgates are open. We can have all the sex we want with anyone we want and we’re not going to die anymore. I feel like that’s been the last decade.

“And now I feel like there’s something else is bubbling up: a collective conscious even beyond gay men, bringing consciousness to sexuality. I hear from a lot of men that they have hookups and they spend all this time chasing the actual sex, and then once they’re there they can’t wait to leave. Or they felt like they were just a fuck toy that was used.

“And for some people that’s hot, but for many people, it’s not, so to answer your question, I think, what I would invite for gay men to look at intimacy in different ways. To also look at intimacy within containers.”

When Vox talks of “containers”, he means within specific settings.

“For example, I can have a very intimate experience with a stranger, with a client, with someone that I met online. I can allow myself to be intimate with that person in that container and then leave it there.

“I can also have a really intimate experience with my partner which carries outside of the bedroom, right? So I think noticing where we can be a little more intimate with each other. And also kinder, in terms of sex. Like, stay for a little aftercare.

“By aftercare I mean, once you cum, it’s not time to go. Notice how uncomfortable it is for you to stay, and if you need aftercare, right? If you need to be touched and given affection after being fucked or whatever it is, to be vulnerable enough to ask that person: ‘Hey, it would feel really good for me if we could just cuddle for a minute? Will you do that with me?’ Even me saying it right now feels…”

… A little uncomfortable. And he’s right. Many of us find it easy to ask a guy to fuck us, but it feels awkward to ask that same person to hold us for a couple of minutes afterward.

“And I feel like that might be the piece people need more than fucking. But the fucking is easier,” says Vox.

Easier, and sometimes a little mechanical.

“We want closeness. That’s something that all humans desire: to be seen, to be valued, and to have closeness with other people.”

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