My guest on today’s show is Stephanie Buehler. She’s a licensed therapist, AASECT certified sex therapist, a graduate of UCLA and Pepperdine (among others), and a best-selling writer who has authored many enlightening books on sexuality and sex therapy, including intimacy in particular which her book Counseling Couples Before, During, and After Pregnancy: Sexuality and Intimacy Issues, touches on. She has also extended her prolific leanings with more academic-centered projects for textbooks and journals.Listen to “64: Stephanie Beuhler – Fertility Issues and Sex” on Spreaker.
And most important of all, she is extremely passionate and caring towards her patients regarding topics of sexuality, cancer survivors, and infertility issues. And this episode will dive into how infertility can affect couples and the many approaches towards mitigating the challenges that can arise. Stephanie Beuhler is an amazing guest and an even more amazing provider of insight and illumination on the topic. Enjoy!
Some of the Manifestations of Infertility Issues in Sex Lives
A lot of couples who are struggling with the issue of infertility usually complain about just how robotic the act feels. You go to a doctor, you track the most opportune times for conception, and you work on it.
Stephanie says that sex than can feel like a ‘job’ for many people. Instead of sex being this freeing and liberating thing, it is largely a matter of sticking to a schedule and punching the time card. It can be very discouraging to have difficulties getting pregnant and then having the sexual issues poured on top of that.
In short, the pressure to perform on demand can lead to erectile dysfunction in men. The stress that accumulates from peers who are having kids, from parents who want grandkids, all of those factors can have very detrimental effects on the quality of relationships. Fortunately, there are solutions and ways to manage these issues and approach infertility through a healthier lens.
Same-Sex Couples and Infertility-Type Issues
Stephanie states that it is a different dynamic between same-sex couples because they go into the process knowing that they will either be getting a sperm donation, a surrogate mother or adopting. But this also comes with its fair share of complications and stresses.
Many times, it’s hard to know what choice is best for the couple. And the process for adoption can be a very time-consuming and expensive process.
While talking on this subject, Stephanie shares a very interesting stat and trend for LGBT couples and birth rates–in fact, on birth rates in general. Listen along to hear her speak on the topic.
The Most Common Sexual Problems for Women
Stephanie talks of painful vaginal intercourse for women being of the many problems that can arise for women, which leads to a lack of possibility for pregnancy. And this is described and represented under the diagnosis of vaginismus.
Vaginismus means that intercourse is not possible for women because of past traumas or often, there is no single distinguishing cause and can happen without any pattern or correlative reason. It can lead to extreme pain during sex, and even the insertion of tampons can become impossible for women with vaginismus.
Stephanie goes into much more detail during the episode. And it is important stuff to be aware of.
Sexual Problems for Men
The problems for men usually range from low desire, premature ejaculation, to erectile dysfunction. And when talking about erectile dysfunction, it can be caused by the pressure of trying to get pregnant and just how crucial the timing can be. And maybe, as Stephanie states, it can even be the result of the ambivalence of the man who may be second-guessing having children in the first place.
And even the financial aspects of having a kid can lead to erectile dysfunction. In fact, Stephanie states that it is one of the biggest reasons why many men develop erectile dysfunction, in general, is stress about finances. For this and more interesting facts, including some information on delayed ejaculation, listen along!
When All Else Fails, Take a Break!
Advice that Stephanie gives for couples often involves telling them to stop trying for pregnancy for a little bit. Sometimes all it takes is that relaxation and the stress-relief of not having to try so hard to reframe the whole obstacle and bring passionate sex back into the mix. That way disappointments and expectations are kept to a minimum as well. And who knows, it can even lead to pregnancy given the relaxed atmosphere. It can also relieve pressure in the dynamic, which can alleviate erectile dysfunction and a variety of other performance issues.
For much more on desire during pregnancy and this important topic, listen along!
Affiliate Links for her books:
Counseling Couples Before, During, and After Pregnancy: Sexuality and Intimacy Issues: https://amzn.to/2TCBNo7
What Every Mental Health Professional Needs to Know About Sex:https://amzn.to/2UDvjBJ
Sex, Love, and Mental Illness: A Couple's Guide to Staying Connected (Sex, Love, and Psychology): https://amzn.to/2XXySF7
A Heart-Pounding Guide to Passionate Sex: https://amzn.to/2CkmPse
Book and New Course – https://sexwithoutstress.com
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