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  • Writer's pictureCathy Stones

Esther Perel: Couples And Intimacy - Relationship Counselling

Couples Counselling


Relationship Counselling

Esther Perel is a psychotherapist, speaker, and author known for her groundbreaking work on relationships, intimacy, and sexuality. Born in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1958, she completed her studies in psychology and international relations at the University of Brussels and later received her Master’s degree in psychology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She then went on to complete her postgraduate training in family therapy at the Ackerman Institute for the Family in New York City.


Perel is best known for her work in the field of couples counselling, where she has developed a unique approach that blends psychoanalytic theory with a focus on the cultural and societal factors that impact relationships. She is also a popular speaker and author, having written several books and given numerous talks on the subject of relationships and intimacy.


Perel’s approach to couples therapy emphasises the importance of understanding and addressing the various layers of intimacy and desire that exist within a relationship. She has identified several key factors that contribute to the success or failure of a relationship, including communication, trust, emotional connection, and sexual compatibility.


One of the central themes in Perel’s work is with in couples counselling and the tension between intimacy and desire. According to Perel, intimacy and desire are often at odds with one another, and it can be challenging to maintain both within a long-term relationship. She suggests that intimacy involves a sense of closeness, emotional connection, and familiarity, while desire is more about excitement, novelty, and mystery.


Perel argues that in order for couples to maintain a strong and passionate connection, they must cultivate an understanding of the erotic needs and desires of both themselves and their partner. This involves exploring and embracing the complexities of intimacy and desire, rather than suppressing or ignoring them.


Perel has written extensively on the subject of intimacy and desire in relationships. Her first book, “Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence,” was published in 2006 and became a bestseller. In this book, Perel explores the tensions that arise between intimacy and desire in long-term relationships and provides strategies for couples to reignite the passion in their relationships.


One of the key concepts that Perel introduces in “Mating in Captivity” is the idea of “erotic intelligence.” Perel argues that in order to maintain a strong and healthy sexual connection within a relationship, couples must cultivate an understanding of their own erotic needs and desires, as well as those of their partner. This involves exploring and embracing the complexities of intimacy and desire, rather than suppressing or ignoring them.


Perel also suggests that couples can use eroticism to deepen their emotional connection and strengthen their relationship. She argues that eroticism involves a sense of playfulness, curiosity, and spontaneity, which can help to break down barriers and create a deeper sense of intimacy.


Perel’s work has been praised for its compassionate and insightful approach to the complexities of relationships and desire. She has challenged traditional views of sexuality and relationships, and has provided a fresh perspective on how to navigate the challenges that arise within long-term relationships.


Perel’s second book, “The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity,” was published in 2017 and examines the complex and often taboo subject of infidelity in relationships. In this book, Perel challenges the traditional view of infidelity as a moral failing or a sign of a failed relationship. Instead, she argues that infidelity is often a symptom of deeper issues within the relationship, such as a lack of intimacy or a sense of emotional disconnection.


Perel suggests that rather than simply condemning or forgiving infidelity, couples should use it as an opportunity to examine and address the underlying issues that led to the infidelity. She argues that infidelity can be a catalyst for growth and healing within a relationship, and that couples can use it as an opportunity to reconnect and deepen their emotional and sexual bond.


Perel’s approach to infidelity is both compassionate and practical, and has been well-received by many couples struggling with issues of trust and betrayal. She encourages couples to approach infidelity with curiosity and a willingness to explore the underlying issues that may have contributed to it, rather than simply assigning blame or attempting to sweep it under the rug. In addition to this Esther found that Couples and Intimacy issues are wide spread, meaning that it is more normal that we first think.


Perel’s work has had a significant impact on the field of couples counselling and has helped to shift the conversation around sexuality and relationships. She has challenged traditional views of monogamy and fidelity, and has provided a fresh perspective on how to navigate the complexities of intimacy and desire within long-term relationships.


In addition to her work in couples and intimacy, Perel is also a popular speaker and educator. She has given numerous talks and lectures on the subject of relationships and sexuality, and has been a guest on many popular podcasts and television shows.


One of the key themes in Perel’s speaking and teaching is the importance of understanding the cultural and societal factors that impact relationships. She argues that our ideas about love, sex, and relationships are shaped by the culture and society in which we live, and that it is important to examine and challenge these ideas in order to create more fulfilling and meaningful relationships.


Perel’s work has been particularly impactful in the context of modern relationships, where people are increasingly seeking to redefine traditional norms and expectations around monogamy, fidelity, and gender roles. She has helped to create a new dialogue around these issues, and has provided a fresh perspective on how to navigate the challenges and opportunities of modern relationships.


One of the reasons that Perel’s work has been so influential is her ability to connect with a wide range of audiences. She is able to translate complex psychological concepts into accessible and engaging language, and is able to provide practical advice and strategies for improving relationships.


Perel is also known for her compassionate and non-judgmental approach to working with clients. She emphasises the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment in which couples can explore their issues and vulnerabilities without fear of judgment or shame.


Overall, Esther Perel’s work has had a profound impact on the field of couples therapy and has helped to shift the conversation around relationships and sexuality. She has challenged traditional views of monogamy and fidelity, and has provided a fresh perspective on how to navigate the complexities of intimacy and desire within long-term relationships.


Perel’s emphasis on understanding the cultural and societal factors that impact relationships has helped to create a new dialogue around issues such as monogamy, gender roles, and intimacy. Her compassionate and non-judgmental approach to working with clients has also helped to create a more supportive and accepting environment for couples seeking therapy.


Finally, Perel’s work has helped to empower couples to take ownership of their own sexuality and desire, and to embrace the complexities and challenges that come with long-term relationships. Her couples counselling has provided a roadmap for couples seeking to reignite the passion and connection in their relationships, and has helped to create a new paradigm for healthy and fulfilling relationships in the modern world.


Please read more on Couples Counselling Techniques

www.nhs.uk (Mental Health Helpline)

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