“In my workshops, I teach people who are anywhere from 18 to their late eighties,” Boehm told The Daily Beast. “I have one woman in my group who is 89, and in that same group I teach someone who just turned 19. I get to hear about both Tinder dating and what happens in the old age home. Believe me, the problems don’t change.”
Since moving to Los Angeles from her native Austria in 1996, Boehm has advised celebrities like Paltrow, who recently told The Times that she doesn’t live full-time with her husband, television writer Brad Falchuck.
The newlyweds spend four nights a week under the same roof, after which Falchuck absconds to his second home, where he lives with children from his first marriage. Paltrow credits Boehm, 51, for inspiring this unconscious coupling of houses.
It's not the strangest thing Paltrow has done in the name of “wellness.” Lest we forget, this is Gwyneth of Goop, who has championed pseudoscientific products like jade vagina eggs, “biofrequency” stickers, vaginal steaming, and at-home colonic irrigation.
“I don’t recommend [separate houses] for everyone,” Boehm said over the phone, having just landed in Manchester, U.K. (and learning that the airline had lost her luggage somewhere over the Atlantic). “I am a believer that the more space is taken between people, the better or stronger their erotic bond can be.”
According to Boehm, the modern relationship cycle—first comes love, then comes an all-consuming need to spend every waking moment in your boo thing’s presence—can turn into an accidental buzzkill.
“It’s all very wonderful, but one day you’ll be sitting next to each other on the sofa in sweatpants, eating chips, watching Game of Thrones,” Boehm said. “No one wants to get it on after that, right?” (Exceptions perhaps made for millions of potato chip fans and those people compelled to name their babies Khaleesi).
Boehm herself keeps a “separate house” from her husband. “When we come together now, we can maintain that kind of excitement that we first had when we were dating,” she explained. She makes it sound like a girl’s night out for the mega-rich—just some healthy hours spent apart.
The counselor says she has logged around 42,000 client hours “in this lifetime.” A consultant to lovelorn A-listers, Boehm is a media-savvy intimacy coach in the same ilk as television personality Dr. Ruth, former The Doctors co-host Dr. Jennifer Berman, and Belgian psychotherapist Esther Perel.
Many of Boehm's sessions were conducted in her former office in West Hollywood. “It was pretty much a five-minute walk from CBS Studios,” Boehm recalled.
Pre-Times Up, it was impossible for Boehm to ignore the whispered rumors about the executives’ misconduct that took place almost next door. “Of course I heard about those things for my entire career,” Boehm admitted.
“I remember from my twenties, I would go to meetings and everything would seem fine, but then I would leave and in the car, on the way home, I’d think, ‘Uh, that wasn’t OK. I actually don’t feel good about that. I wish I had said something,’” she said.
These days, Boehm speaks an oft-repeated mantra in class. “Your yes means nothing until you can say a clear no,” she said. “Unless you can set a proper boundary, you can’t actually say yes—a true yes—to anything.”
Boehm’s tutoring includes a three-hour, $40 introductory course, weekend workshops that cost $350-$450, and a $2400 five-day, 60-hour immersion class. Pick your poison, but keep your clothes on. Boehm’s fare is strictly PG-13.
“There is absolutely no sexual contact in my public classes. You’re learning skills, not just getting your rocks off. Do that at home,” she said.
Boehm encourages self-pleasure, but noted it can take a variety of forms. “Sensual engagement with your own body goes all the way from masturbation to just putting moisturizer on after you’ve had a shower,” she decreed.
One caveat? “When you use an external stimulus [to get off], you’re leaving yourself behind a bit,” Boehm said. That means no porn or, in Boehm's words, “using a vibrator just to get it over with.” She recommends trying it the old fashioned way: using your hands and some imagination.
Boehm has dubbed her back-to-nature mentality “rewilding.” She instructs all clients—whether they’re lovelorn Oscar-winners or anonymous students—to “spend some time” with their bodies every morning. But not like that.
“It can be done in one song,” Boehm explained. “Put it on and move with whatever you’re feeling. Think, ‘How am I today? Who am I today? What’s happening in there?’”
“Your body does not exist to be parked in a chair so you can be on a computer,” Boehm told me as I sat in a chair, typing on a computer. “Our body is where we find wisdom, intuition, energy, and pleasure. Constantly being on a device disconnects us from our body, which makes intimate connection between people more challenging than ever before.”
If the Hallmark card adage of dancing like no one’s watching sounds too woo-woo, consider this: it’s partly how Boehm rebuilt after losing her Ojai, California home to The Thomas Fire of 2017.
“It’s pretty strange to lose absolutely everything you’ve ever owned, particularly when you’re 50 and collected a lifetime of travel memories,” Boehm said.
While sifting through the wreckage, she decided to follow the advice she gives her clients going through a divorce. Along with throwing herself into finishing her book proposal by its deadline—without electricity or internet—Boehm worked to cope with the trauma of losing her home and dogs by reconnecting with her body.
Every morning, she would wake up in the Airbnb she had rented, slide out of her bed, and rest on her hands and knees. “I would start crying, moving, doing those things you do when you start feeling,” Boehm remembered. “I am so pro-crying. Only when I felt like I had arrived in whatever I was feeling would I get up and go on with my day.”
Armed with a few blue flower pots and some poinsettias—the only plants she could find on sale during the Christmastime fire—Boehm planted a garden, next to the foot of ashes that was once her home.
“I made a little area that looked pretty, and I would go there and tend to those plants whenever I would get really, really upset,” she said.
Boehm is currently rebuilding her home, and estimates she'll be done in about six months. Until then, she continues to travel the world with her teaching partner, Steve James. Next up is Amsterdam, or “a city almost obsessed with sexual expression.”
“My mission is to overhaul the fairytale,” Boehm declared. “It's so brutal to see people try and enact something that isn't working anymore. But people still want love.”