In long-term relationships, we often expect our beloved to be both best friend and erotic partner.

In her TED talk, filmed in 2013 at TEDSalon NY2013, Belgian psychotherapist Esther Perel argues that good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise.

She explores why sex with the same lover often cools out after a while. The culprit is often getting too wrapped up in our worries and responsibilities to fully surrender to passion, or even to make time for it in the first place.

So how do you sustain desire?

With wit and eloquence, Perel (author of the book Mating in Captivity) lets us in on the mystery of erotic intelligence. 

To keep the “erotic spark” of desire burning bright over the long haul, Perel suggests boldly expressing what turns you on to your partner, without fear or shame. 

“Basically most of us will get turned on at night by the very same things that we will demonstrate against during the day,” Perel says. “You know, the erotic mind is not very politically correct.”

Perel travelled more than 20 countries exploring the nature of erotic desire and its concomitant dilemmas in modern love.

What she discovered is that seeing your partner from a distance, as an independent individual, is what rekindles attraction…

“But it’s also not when the other person is that far apart that you no longer see them. It’s when I’m looking at my partner from a comfortable distance, where this person that is already so familiar, so known, is momentarily once again somewhat mysterious, somewhat elusive. And in this space between me and the other lies the erotic élan, lies that movement toward the other. Because sometimes, as Proust says, mystery is not about traveling to new places, but it’s about looking with new eyes. And so, when I see my partner on his own or her own, doing something in which they are enveloped, I look at this person and I momentarily get a shift in perception, and I stay open to the mysteries that are living right next to me.”


We are delighted that Esther Perel will be taking the stage at A-Fest Ibiza: Love & Relationships, taking place Wednesday May 17 until Saturday, May 20.

We will explore new ideas, models and systems to become the best you can be as a friend, child, parent, spouse, lover, or partner. This is truly life-changing, results-exploding, transformative stuff…

There’s still a chance to join our global tribe of 350+ change makers, leaders, cultural creatives and passionate entrepreneurs who are excited about creating big changes in their relationships.

Apply to Attend A-Fest in Ibiza in 2017 here.

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