Women want to talk first, connect first, then have sex. For men, sex is the connection. Sex is man's language of intimacy

— Esther Perel

The most bumbling Esther Perel quotes that are glad to read

People cheat on each other in a hundred different ways: indifference, emotional neglect, contempt, lack of respect, years of refusal of intimacy. Cheating doesn't begin to describe the ways that people let each other down.


Love enjoys knowing everything about you; desire needs mystery.


Trouble looms when monogamy is no longer a free expression of loyalty but a form of enforced compliance.


Mystery is not always about travelling to new places, it is about looking with new eyes.


Today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning, and continuity. At the same time, we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling. Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the weight of it all?


It’s hard to feel attracted to someone who has abandoned her sense of autonomy.


Love is a vessel that contains both security and adventure, and commitment offers one of the great luxuries of life: time. Marriage is not the end of romance, it is the beginning.


There is no neediness in desire ... there is no caretaking in desire. Caretaking is mightily loving, [but] it's a powerful anti-aphrodisiac.


Erotic intelligence stretches far beyond a repertoire of sexual techniques.

It is an intelligence that celebrates curiosity and play, the power of the imagination, and our infinite fascination with what is hidden and mysterious.


Love rests on two pillars: surrender and autonomy.

Our need for togetherness exists alongside our need for separateness.


On some level we trade passion for security, that's trading one illusion for another. It's a matter of degree. We can't live in constant fear, but we can't live without any. The fear of loss is essential to love.


The mom doesn't become sexy; the woman does. You have to retrieve the woman from the mother. And she may need to separate to do that: a bath, a walk. She must cordon off an erotic space.


About Esther Perel

Quotes 65 sayings
Profession Author
Birthday 1958

Our partner's sexuality does not belong to us.

It isn't just for and about us, and we should not assume that it rightfully falls within our jurisdiction.


You know what happens to sex in marriage? Instead of inviting desire, you monitor it. Especially men: You let her sleep late, you take the kids to the park, and all that time you're thinking, "Tonight I'll get some." That doesn't work.


Acceptance doesn't mean predictability.

Sex isn't always for 11 at night - - it's also 'meet at a hotel room at noon'. What you feel during dating can exist at home, if you don't suffocate it.


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.


The very ingredients that nurture love - mutuality, reciprocity, protection, worry, responsibility for the other - are sometimes the very ingredients that stifle desire.


Romantics value intensity over stability.

Realists value security over passion. But both are often disappointed, for few people can live happily at either extreme.


For some people, a one-night stand doesn't make any difference in a seven-year love affair. I don't believe the degree of betrayal is always commensurate with the egregiousness of the behavior. They are two separate things.


Modern love is the enterprise that everyone wants to be a part of, yet there's a fifty percent divorce rate in round one and a sixty-five percent divorce rate in round two.


A peer relationship is one where the partners experience an affectionate, companionate coupledom. They are friends. They are the product of the egalitarian model; they are good life partners, but are often less sexual.


Love is at once an affirmation and a transcendence of who we are.


In desire, there must be some small amount of tension.

And that tension comes with the unknown, the unpredictable. You can close yourself off at home and say, "Whew, at last I'm in a place where I don't have to worry," or you can keep yourself open to the mystery and elusiveness of your partner.


The secret to desire in a long-term relationship


I want to engage people in an honest, enlightened, and provocative conversation about the nature of erotic desire and the intricacies of intimacy and sexuality. The object of my game is to bring nonjudgmental, multicultural understanding to the challenges and choices of modern relationships.


Today, monogamy is one person at a time.


To look at infidelity from the point of view of sex is a complete narrowing of the phenomenon. There's a reason that the commandment is repeated twice in the Bible - once for doing it and once for thinking about it. We have always created structures and broken structures. It is essential to the human spirit.


Women - - and men - - need to understand that a woman's transition is often much longer. The caretaker must leave the place of orientation to the needs of others to the place where she focuses on herself.


I think love is often a bit selfish, even before we had consumerism.

That's not new. A consumer society gives you the illusion of having massive amounts of choice and saddles you with the freedom of being able to dabble in that choice. And at the same time, you are left with the tyranny of self-doubt and uncertainty about whether you made the right choice.


One of the most amazing abilities of sexuality is to momentarily transcend the borders of Self into something that is no longer defined by physical property and that is utterly unique. It's really what many call a religious experience.


The power of transgression is the archetypal, foundational story of the Bible.

We want to break our own codes - sometimes of morality, sometimes of ethics, sometimes of the power structure, sometimes of the institution of marriage - because there is freedom and power in transgression.


Sex is about where you can take me, not what you can do to me.


There is no sex without a cue. People who date have their cues at home, before they meet. You think about where to go, what to eat, what to do and say. Sometimes the cue is short - - just before we reach the bar - - but sex is never just spontaneous. Spontaneity is a myth.


It's our imagination that's responsible for love, not the other person.


Eroticism thrives in the space between the self and the other.


It isn’t so much that we want to leave the person we are with as we want to leave the person we have become.


The kiss that you have never given is just as powerful as hours of actual lovemaking. The erotic isn't just what is happening between people's legs. It is also what's happening in their erotic mind.


For me, the constitutive element of an affair is the secrecy.

It is the secrecy that leads to the lying, to the deception, to the duplicity. It is the structure of an affair - not the sexual or emotional behavior or what people actually are doing.


Everyone should cultivate a secret garden.


Marriage isn't meant to make you happy - it's there because it gives you a life in which you can find happiness.


There's something very full in knowing that your partner accepts you as is.


I have more than thirty thousand hours of family and relationship counseling experience under my belt. Over the years, I have seen changes in relationship trends walk through my therapy office doors. My richest gifts are translating the complexities of love and desire in modern relationships into something simple and accessible. I can offer informed advice that makes people feel comfortable, knowledgeable, and confident.


We used to moralize; today we normalize, and performance anxiety is the secular version of our old religious guilt.


In committed sex, in marriage, people don't feel the need to seduce or to build anticipation - - that's an effort they think they no longer need to do now that they have conquered their partner. If they're in the mood, their partner should be too.


The attraction of dating is that you don't take yes for granted - - you're fully engaged, there's seductiveness, tension.


You never know your partner as well as you think.


In dating, if you say no, your lover goes on to the next person.

In marriage, if you say no, the person stays.


If you start to feel that you have given up too many parts of yourself to be with your partner, then one day you will end up looking for another person in order to reconnect with those lost parts.


Are you asking a question because you want to know the answer or are you asking the question because you want your partner to know that you are having this question?