This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Being part of a couple can be a wondrous thing. It can also be hell on earth. But sometimes it can just be plain boring as in boring as hell which I suppose could be construed as hell on Earth. Ms. Perel starts her talk in the video below by saying, "So why does good sex so often fade even for couples who continue to love each other as much as ever? And why does good intimacy not guarantee good sex contrary to popular belief?" She then asks what she calls the million dollar question: "Can we want what we already have?" From the Ted Talks page describing the video:
In long-term relationships, we often expect our beloved to be both best friend and erotic partner. But as Esther Perel argues, good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise. So how do you sustain desire?
The author talks about the mystery of erotic intelligence, navigating between the comfort of happy relationships and the thrilling uncertainty of sexual attraction.
How to be in love and have a fulfilling sex life? She points out that for the first time in human history, couples aren't having sex just to have kids; there's room for sustained desire, for couples to cultivate long-term sexual relationships.
Quotes from the video:
"The very ingredients that nurture love — mutuality, reciprocity, protection, worry, responsibility for the other — are sometimes the very ingredients that stifle desire."
"What is the relationship between love and desire? How do they relate, and how do they conflict? … Therein lies the mystery of eroticism."
"‘When I look at my partner radiant and confident,’ — [that's] probably the biggest turn-on across the board."
"There is no neediness in desire … there is no caretaking in desire. Caretaking is mightily loving, [but] it's a powerful anti-aphrodisiac."
"Most of us will get turned on at night by the very same things that we will demonstrate against during the day — the erotic mind is not very politically correct."
Published on Feb 14, 2013 by TEDtalksDirector
Esther Perel: The secret to desire in a long-term relationship
In long-term relationships, we often expect our beloved to be both best friend and erotic partner. But as Esther Perel argues, good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise. So how do you sustain desire? With wit and eloquence, Perel lets us in on the mystery of erotic intelligence.
I have read a great deal about our situations later in life: the lack of interest, the loss of spark, the sheer utter boredom. I have read (and experienced) a great about divorce. I have to ask why and I have to ask if there isn't something more to be had out of life, out of our lives, and when I say "our lives", I am talking about us collectively and about us as couples. Esther Perel raises some interesting ideas about the paradoxes we all seem to live with. We want security but we want some spice (danger). We want familiarity but we want novelty. We like the old but crave the new. It is an old joke about "the honeymoon is over". Does it have to be? What is that element that drives us wild with not just love but lust in the beginning of our relationships / marriages? Where does it go? Can it be sustained? Can it be recaptured? Esther Perel: "As Proust says, 'Sometimes mystery is not traveling to new places but looking with new eyes.'"
I think of this old saying: "Never regret anything because at one time it was exactly what you wanted." At one time, that other person was exactly who we wanted. In my estimation, sex is the primordial glue which binds us together. Has Ms. Perel hit upon some ideas to keep that glue as sticky as possible? From a review of the book "Mating in Captivity" by Esther Perel: "[She] suggests YOU to have an affair with YOUR partner. " Gee, with this in mind, I might be able to predict happier marriages and maybe, just maybe less divorce.
Google search: "Esther Perel"
official web site: Esther Perel
Psychologist Esther Perel is recognized as one of the world’s most original and insightful voices on couples and sexuality across cultures. Fluent in nine languages, the Belgian native is a celebrated speaker sought around the globe for her expertise in emotional and erotic intelligence, work-life balance, cross-cultural relations, conflict resolution and identity of modern marriage and family. Her best-selling and award-winning book, Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic, has been translated into 24 languages.
Amazon: published 2007
Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence by Esther Perel
One of the world’s most respected voices on erotic intelligence, Esther Perel offers a bold, provocative new take on intimacy and sex. Mating in Captivity invites us to explore the paradoxical union of domesticity and sexual desire, and explains what it takes to bring lust home.
Drawing on more than twenty years of experience as a couples therapist, Perel examines the complexities of sustaining desire. Through case studies and lively discussion, Perel demonstrates how more exciting, playful, and even poetic sex is possible in long-term relationships. Wise, witty, and as revelatory as it is straightforward, Mating in Captivity is a sensational book that will transform the way you live and love.
The Succulent Wife – Mar 8/2013
Can a Marriage Have Both, Love AND Desire? By Audrey van Petegem, Chief Editor
I was recently on a short flight from Toronto to Chicago and sat beside a gentleman from France. I normally have casual chats with the person sitting beside me that either end as quickly as they start or we find a common interest and talk the whole flight.
This chance encounter was different. I do need to preface this post with the fact the I have been happily married to the same man for almost 27 years.
This man ignited something in me that has left me seeing myself in a very different way. In the one and half hour flight we felt intense attraction for each other. Here was this man who was flirting with me and making me feel wonderful about myself. It was neither sleazy nor lewd. He boosted my confidence. He made me feel wanted, not needed. I felt ageless, desirable and worthy of attention. It was quite honestly the most surreal situation of my life.
Your Tango – Dec 15/2012
What is fantasy? by Esther Perel
Our fantasies allow us to negate and undo the limits put upon us by our conscience, by our culture, and by our self-image. If we feel insecure and unattractive, in our fantasies we are irresistible. If we anticipate a withholding woman, in fantasy she’s insatiable; if we fear our own aggression, in our internal reveries we can feel powerful without worrying we might hurt another. If we don’t dare ask, in our erotic imaginings the other knows our needs even before we do; if we feel we shouldn’t have sex, in our private theater we can surrender to a lustful other without having to bear the responsibility—we did what he wanted, it wasn’t us. Fantasy expresses the problem and provides the solution. It is a fervid space, where our inhibiting fear is transformed into brazenness. What a relief to find our shame now curiosity, our timidity now assertiveness, our helplessness now sovereignty.