If the video hangs please try lowering the video quality by clicking the icon on the player toolbar

Esther Perel – Sex & Infidelity

Bored in your relationships? Lost the real ‘spark’ and settling for less? Marriage or long-term relationships can very quickly decay into become suffocating and emotionally draining, far from the liberating and erotic dizziness that first drove your courtship. You’re not dominated by routine, sex is stale. The adventure is gone, the passion is dead and the eroticism has evapourated.

It’s part culture and part our fault. Our consumer attitude has seemingly perforated even our approach to one another. We take what we need and head on our way – and it’s killing not only our relationships but our ability to be happy. We have a contentment crisis on our hands.

It’s at this precise point that most affairs happen, as an attempt to reawaken desire. The thrill of the chase, the connection and the mystery of someone you don’t know. “Desire is fuelled by the unknown” says this week’s London Real guest Esther Perel. That’s why when people cheat they feel not only free, but alive.

It’s precisely here that Esther is a world expert. It doesn’t have to be this way. Eroticism, mystery and romance are possible in long term relationships. How? Well, she’ll go into that on the show.

Connect with your vitality and creativity and revitalise your relationships this Sunday.

00:00 Trailer
03:50 Brian’s introduction
06:58 Background influences which contributed to Esther becoming a cross cultural psychologist.
09:53 A chance encounter on Liberation Day following a very dark time.
10:47 Learning from a young age of the brutality in the world, but also the possibilities for a positive life.
12:35 Circumstances can knock one person down, whilst for another, it is the catalyst to build them up.
14:57 How those who take risks manage to insulate feelings of danger so it doesn’t control them.
16:03 Why Esther is willing to question rigid certainties or authoritarianism with no room for ‘disruption’.
18:16 The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships.
19:46 The changing reasons for working in men’s lives.
26:53 Esther’s bold statement that women’s lives are not going to change until men’s lives change.
28:43 Men are constantly having to prove they are men. Where male bonding is normative.
31:15 How the male millennial generation is seeking ways to change the need to prove masculinity.
34:09 Technology has its place but nothing surpasses face to face contact.
35:10 Love and desire relate but maybe they also conflict.
39:00 Retaining desire in a long term relationship.
40:19 Desire needs space: when couples desire their partner most.
43:12 How couples can engineer their own happiness and moments which generate desire.
45:34 We are asking one person to give us what once an entire village used to provide.
48:51 It is tragic that the average American today, in times of crisis, has only one and a half people to turn to.
49:29 Esther’s response to people who say ‘My wife is my best friend’.
51:17 What Esther wanted to facilitate with her book and first Ted talk, that was male friendly.
52:38 Why was it important for her to want it to be male-friendly?
54:53 Men don’t have a space nor language to express things about the male experience.
55:13 Brian answers Esther’s query as to how he responds to what she says in her Ted talk.
56:04 If you want comfy and safe, fine, but if you want spark, you need to get off the cosy sofa.and innovate.
59:50 Why did Esther give a second Ted talk so soon after the very successful first talk?
1:02:51 How Esther approached a talk on Infidelity.
1:07:50 Audience reaction.
1:08:33 The counter intuitive perceptions of infidelity she spoke of. The power of transgression.
1:15:14 Showing the audience alternative perspectives from the polarisation of views on infidelity.
1:16:51 What do we learn about love, lust and commitment by studying infidelity?
1:18:49 Some of the myths on male and female sexuality we don’t talk about or understand.
1:22:01 Facilitating talk amongst children about sex by making it a non-issue.
1:24:13 Adopting Dutch model of sex education would stop children learning through pornographic sex which is not normal.
1:26:15 Success secrets.
1:27:13 On her own death bed how will Esther evaluate her life?
1:28:21 Esther loves connecting people and growing the network of social connections.
1:29:04 Why Esther will continue to see patients as well as lecture and write books.
1:32:05 Your old relationship is over, would you like to start another, together or with someone else?
1:35:49 Phone call to the twenty year old Esther.
1:39:53 Best advice ever received.
1:41:40 Advice to the 20 year old who wants to get their own message across.
1:47:34 Brian’s summing up.
1:48:49 Esther asks Brian what one thing he took for talking with her.
1:49:59 Tell your partner ‘Thank you’.
1:52:04 Brian’s thanks.

Leave a Reply

70 Comment threads
13 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
69 Comment authors
Ralf Five Point Boxingbojintaylor143Sylviaalexisga21127Tiffany Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Ralf Five Point Boxing
Ralf Five Point Boxing

Awesome production. So many good tidbits in there.


Hi Brian, Your show should come with a mop and broom. My mind is just blown after listening to this. The conversation is so deep, I’ve had to stop, think, replay and still gasp at the perspective she presents.
Thank you so much for sharing. Once I get this mess cleaned up I will watch another.
be well


Thank I want to thank Londonreal for sharing this kind of valuable knowledge. Esther is a good example for many who bring out her important message to let love in the relationship stand out. warm regards, Sylvia by profession coach


She is a goddess!


The advice she gives to her younger self, and to younger women, is exactly the set of affirmations and wisdoms I just realized I needed. I’m so grateful for her contribution to discussions around sexuality and to modern relationships.


Amazing interview I learnt alot. Is there a way to email Esther?


Hi, you can reach out to Esther through her Twitter, Facebook or Instagram accounts.
Links are on the Show Notes tab. ?


Short sighted! Social issues require social participatory solutions. Individual choices as solutions to social issues could be merely based on individualism and self serving. There are cascading consequences to even the most insignificant social behaviour. Lets examine a parallel human behaviour. We, especially male human get angry in much less frequency in peaceful environments. But we do get angry. Can you imagine if we get the green light to go ahead and act under duress. There will be even more road rage killings and spouse flying the balconies and chairs thrown at the windows and pencils inserted at the eyes… Read more »


Excellent interview. I have many years of experience as both client and psychotherapist. This women is courageous and
a breath of fresh air in a world full of hucksters selling psychological snake oil. She has the ability to cut through the official discourses and theoretical blinders of much psychological theory and culture. Brian, congratulations on your interviewing skills and thanks for making available this excellent interview.

Andrew Highland

Mixed thoughts about this interview – on the one hand I am supportive of applying skepticism to rigidity in gender roles. On the other hand, if we stray too far from gender roles, I think that everyone will feel less connected their their animal nature, which will cause more dysfunction and less satisfaction. For example, we see women attending college more than men now. So what will the effect be on the forthcoming families? Either the women will work towards a great career, and throw it away by spending the optimal first 4 years with the child, or they will… Read more »


I don’t think she very deeply thought about topics she talks about. Its mostly preconceptions, she’s responding to. She can’t even recognise value of so called traditional values, which of course should be understood for what they are targeting and shouldn’t be overdone on superficial level. If I’m struggle to refine myself this doesn’t mean the rules are bad.


I don’t think she very deeply thought about topics she talks about. Its mostly preconceptions, she’s responding to. She can’t even recognise value of so called traditional values, which of course should be understood for what they good for and not overdone on superficial level.


I don’t think she very deeply thought about topics she talks about. Its mostly preconceptions, she’s responding to.

Gaynor London

This interview is pure gold. I knew of Esther from her phenomenal TED talks. Brian, I love how you take us deeper.

Esther’s history with her post-Holocaust family blew my mind. Grateful to hear that. I respect the bejeezus out of people who’ve faced that kind of hell and come out the other side to thrive.

Esther’s thoughts on relationships are not for the faint hearted. I’m going to ask her to write my online dating profile :))))

Nissa Williams

I admire her insight. Thanks LondonReal for hosting this talk!

Coco Jones

I was longing for a speaker like this- completely adore her!! Huge gratitude from a little island on the west coast of Canada !!!

Jenny Olivo

Amazing talk! Hello from Baja California, Mexico.


“we’re all born XX and then turn XY” – “Desire needs space”
Thank you for facilitating a great woman.

Rob Nowlin

Brian, thank you for introducing me to Esther Perel; she has a wealth of knowledge. She is someone that has the ability and drive to make a positive impact on the people she comes into contact with.

Cathy Spence

Great interview. It was wonderful to hear the complexities of long term relationships articulated in a way that respects and affirms both sexes.

Pascalus Magnus

Thank you for this.