Esther Perel – Sex & Infidelity – London Real

Esther Perel – Sex & Infidelity

Bored in your relationships? Lost the ‘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 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.

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74 Comments on "Esther Perel – Sex & Infidelity"

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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.

Mariela Madzharova

Great interview! Thank you, Brian, for bringing these amazing people to us!

Annabella Ranalletta

She is the best!!!!! fresh! new! amazing! with such a good information!!! loved it!!!!!
Ella es la mejor!!! fresca! nueva! increíble!!! con información muy muy buena! amé esta platica. Felicidades y que la inspiración divina te siga llegando de esa forma. El entrevistador espectacular!!!!!

Joanne Matz

Esther Perel is a humanitarian. This generous interview allowed her to speak not just about sex but about how we can make a better world. I inspired!!!— Thank you so much!

TheFirm Sandton

I absolutely Love Esther …. Great interview! Thank you .Thank you .

I saw Esther Perel do her second TED talk first, and just from that 20 minute presentation, was completely hypnotized by her incredibly astute observations. The subject matter is very present in my life and so I was especially drawn to what she had to say. Now, after seeing other videos of her on YouTube, and especially this AMAZING interview, I know that I MUST meet her one day and speak to her face to face!! I just love how articulate she is and how she drives home so many relevant and oft-ignored points that affect us all – to… Read more »
Dominic Jones

Very interesting. Thank you 🙂

Such a waste of time for me watching this…, she seems to be a nice person, but wrong on so many levels I can’t even start. I didn’t learn anything from her. If you want the real, harsh true, follow Roosh V, or the red pill movement (see Rollo Tomassi work) your mind will explode. And Brian, I really like you and think you are good in what your doing, but must say you look like a fool explaining what her TED talk meant to you (I think bit more masculine real man enerygy will do). BTW, so now TED… Read more »
Tracey Cambridge

Esther is highly intelligent, articulate, talks faster than the average person, and uses a very extensive vocabulary. You have to know the definition of the words she uses to completely understand and follow what she is saying, and she is a skillful speaker able to put several complex ideas into one sentence. It is possible that the people who do not like Esther or what she says, do not like her simply because they do not understand some of the big words she uses. It is not her accent, or her ideas, or her beliefs, it is simply the vocabulary.

Yeah, bring more hate ! I think my comment has the lowest rating ever (lets clarify something, I might be a bit troll, but I love London Real, and respect Brian). But seriously, you people use your brain. You all seem to be different than the rest mainstream, sophisticated human beings, but cannot stand the other opinion. Everything has to be be great and perfect, which is obviously not. Brian, please, invite Roosh V to the studio. You want to be challenged and go out of your comfort zone, bring it on baby ! lets hear what he has to… Read more »
Simone Bosi

For everyone else who’s still not into objectifying people out of insecurity: no, do not follow Roosh V, he’s a creep.
Esther Perel is a gift from the heavens.

Sometimes truth hurts, you have no idea how much I’d like him (Roosh, or Mr. Tomassi) to be wrong, but, its not the case, once you deep dive into his work, cross reference your own experience there is no going back to ‘now knowing’, you’ve seen what is on the other side and what crap we are fed from the childhood. This is going out of your comfort zone, big time my friend. I think Esther Perel is just yet another woman who believes into what she saying, but this is basically not true. Shes preaching that the earth is… Read more »
Petra Jordan

Wonderful interview, just the video and audio was cutting out at the end. I’ve seen it happen at London Real, mostly with Vimeo format…