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The Short Version: Even in today’s modern society, issues regarding sex are often cloaked in shame, making it difficult for people to seek professional help to address their problems. Dr. Stephanie Buehler specializes in treating common sexual problems that are often left unchecked, such as a low sex drive, fear of intimacy, or the need to rediscover sexuality after cancer. Dr. Buehler’s practice is based in Orange County, California, and, in addition to treating patients, she also trains other therapists and writes scientific articles on intimacy. Her goal is to help people find the joy in sex during any phase of life.
Years ago, I lived with a man who would not sleep in the same bed as me. He was a wonderful person who was fun, smart, artistic, handsome, and caring — but he wasn’t intimate.
In fact, he had a substantial porn addiction that I confronted him about early on in our relationship. That addiction eventually proved bigger than my love for him — or his for me. For too long, evenings involved me going to bed by myself and him staying up late only to fall asleep on the couch. At the time, it was the elephant in the room in our otherwise pleasant relationship.
But it took me years to understand how his behavior had very little to do with me.
None of my friends knew about my situation, nor did my family. I didn’t even talk to my ex-boyfriend about it after those initial conversations. It was embarrassing, and I was so ashamed that I never sought help and, eventually, our relationship ended.
Dr. Stephanie Buehler, a Certified Sex Therapist and Supervisor, works with patients to resolve those issues — and many more. She runs The Buehler Institute for Sex & Relationship Therapy to help clients address and overcome their barriers to intimacy.
“I do good work, but it is humbling because I am witnessing people who are at a low point in their lives,” she said. “When someone resolves a long-standing problem and takes a turn for the better, that’s a good moment in treatment.”
People struggle with sex and intimacy for many reasons, and even physical problems, like painful sex or erectile dysfunction, can grow into serious concerns that impact mental health.
Sometimes major life events, like cancer or infidelity, can be significant setbacks to a person’s sex life, and mismatched sex drives are a common, but difficult, challenge that many couples face.
Dr. Buehler’s goal is to help people understand that these issues don’t have to be the end of their relationships. They just may need a little help.
For more than a decade, Dr. Buehler has worked with patients to help them overcome sexual and intimacy issues that impact their happiness and relationships.
“My mission is to help people experience intimacy, in and out of the bedroom,” she said. “I accomplish that by working within a hospital setting helping primarily women experiencing sexual pain disorders, breast cancer survivors, and women with the BRCA mutation for breast or ovarian cancer.”
She is a licensed psychologist and is certified as both a sex therapist and supervisor by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. Her practice is in Orange County, California, with locations in the Hoag Pelvic Health Program in Newport Beach and Irvine.
Dr. Buehler reaches people who are suffering outside of her office by writing numerous articles, books, and blogs on the subjects of sex and intimacy.
Dr. Buehler uses a combination of deep listening, thorough assessment, and a solution-focused approach to help hundreds of men and women work through issues that act as barriers to their happiness in sex and relationships.
“I offer compassionate, insightful therapy based on research,” she said. “I don’t so much give advice as I help my patients look within to find their own solutions.”
Men, women, and couples, ranging in age from 18 to 80, can find that inner guidance with help from The Buehler Institute. Because her practice is based in Orange County, California, many of her patients are well-educated, ambitious and affluent. On the surface, they seem to have it all.
“I need to make sure that I am not distracted by a patient’s great wealth, but can connect with him or her on an emotional or soulful level,” she said. “We need to look behind the surface to understand what might be getting in the way of enjoying life’s pleasures — including sex.”
A wide variety of issues cause dissatisfaction in intimacy and sex. Common problems include a mismatch in sex drives between partners and problems with orgasm or arousal.
Men often struggle with ejaculation or erectile dysfunction while women can battle painful sex and lack of sexual appetite during and after pregnancy.
Underlying psychological causes can be at the root of sexual concerns, as can medications that don’t work. Trauma may also play a significant role in an individual’s inability to maintain a healthy sex life, and those trying to reestablish their sexuality after a battle with cancer or a chronic illness can benefit greatly from the help of a professional.
“My work with patients who have all types of cancer is especially fulfilling,” Dr. Buehler said.
She has written books about sex and published many articles for scientific journals and popular magazines on the subject. From “A Heart-Pounding Guide to Passionate Sex” to “What Every Mental Health Professional Needs to Know about Sex,” Dr. Buehler’s books allow couples to learn about their intimacy issues from the privacy of their home.
Many therapists and counselors encounter patients facing serious issues but lack the training or tools to help them. That’s why The Buehler Institute also oversees an internationally recognized certification program.
The online structure of the program makes it valuable to any professional who needs to fulfill continuing education requirements — or seeks to better serve their patients. Course topics include everything from the theory of sexual therapy to the debate surrounding cybersex.
“I also offer online and live continuing education opportunities for therapists, nurses, pelvic floor PTs, and more,” Dr. Buehler said.
For professionals, couples, and individuals alike, Dr. Buehler addresses some of the more common issues on her blog. One post, “Making 2018 New Year’s Resolutions for a Loving Relationship,” offers advice on planning for romance, being polite to one another, and being affectionate. My favorite piece of advice? Be kind.
“For the majority of couples, making even just one or two New Year’s relationship resolutions may get romance rolling in the right direction,” she writes. “If you are compassionate, then you will see that your partner is just like you, doing the best they can to get through the day. Treat your partner as you would like to be treated, with understanding and compassion.”
And Dr. Buehler stands ready to help her clients keep their commitments to intimacy — for both themselves and their partners.