Esther Perel — Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence

The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives. 

– Esther Perel

I’m a huge fan of Esther Perel ‘s work. Her book Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence is a must read for anyone single, already in relationship, or anyone in between. This book clearly explains how to create different levels of “Intimacy” and “Desire”. Desire is different from “Wanting”. You can’t desire what you already have. This book has been the revelation for me to understand the significance of separateness to create desire. Too much closeness can dissipate the desire. I think “too much” of anything isn’t good in any area of life. Too much of closeness in a relationship can cause temporary boredom. We get to learn to dance between separateness and closeness.

I contacted Esther’s team to get the permission to publish 300 words from the book Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence so that I can spread the word and help people build a deep meaningful relationships and desire for more. We need to learn the fundamentals and philosophy to enter into relationships or enhance our existing relationships. As Esther says — “The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives.

For folks who don’t know Esther, she is a Psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author. Recognized as one of today’s most insightful and original voices on modern relationships. Fluent in nine languages, she helms a therapy practice in New York City and serves as an organizational consultant for Fortune 500 companies around the world. Her celebrated TED talks have garnered more than 20 million views and her international bestseller Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence became a global phenomenon translated into 25 languages. Her newest book is the New York Times bestseller The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity (HarperCollins). Esther is also an executive producer and host of the popular podcast Where Should We Begin

Here is a short summary from the book:

“As a couple’s therapist, I have inverted the usual therapeutic priorities. In my field, we are taught to inquire about the state of the union first and then ask how this is manifested in the bedroom. Seen this way, the sexual relationship is a metaphor for the overall relationship. The underlying assumption is that if we can improve the relationship, the sex will follow. But in my experience, this is often not the case.

The real questions are these: Can we have love and desire in the same relationship over time? How? What exactly would that kind of relationship be?

The challenge for modern couples lies in reconciling the need for what is safe and predictable with the wish to pursue what is exciting, mysterious, and awe-inspiring.

Seeking excitement in the same relationship in which we establish permanence is a tall order. Unfortunately, too many love stories develop in such a way that we sacrifice passion as to achieve stability.

Modern life has deprived us of our traditional resources, and has created a situation in which we turn to one person for the protection and emotional connections that as multitude of social networks used to provide. Adult intimacy has become overburdened with expectations.

If we are to maintain desire with one person over time, we must be able to bring a sense of unknown into a familiar space. In the words of Proust, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes”.

I had long assumed about the correlation between intimacy and sexuality. Rather than looking at sex as an exclusive outgrowth of the emotional relationship, I have come to see it as a separate entity. Sexuality is more than a metaphor for the relationship – it stands on its own as a parallel narrative.”

If you’re intrigued by this reading, get the book Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, or at least check her blogs and resource here.

Also, check out her Intimacy Inventory to journal: https://thestateofaffairs.estherperel.com/intimacy-inventory/


The Nishant Garg Show:

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