Desire and sex is one of the most common issues that people present with in my sex therapy practice.  Issues or concerns about desire and sex, “mismatched” desire, low desire, and lack of desire, are some of the most common concerns that clients are coming to me with and seeking out sex therapy for.

Recently, at the 2018 Texas Association for Marriage and Family Therapists (TAMFT) Conference in Irving, TX, I had the pleasure of hearing Esther Perel speak about fidelity, desire, sexuality, and relationships.  She is such an eloquent speaker, I wanted to bring home a few of her “one liners” and points around sex and desire that really impacted the audience and hopefully will impact you and contribute to your sexual desire.

If you like what you read, you should check out some of her books.  She is a leading expert on desire, intimacy, relationships and infidelity and is an incredible speaker and mind.



People are drawn to their partners when their partner is doing something in their element. 

Esther says that people are most turned on and drawn to their partners when their partners are in their elements.  If you don’t need me, I can want you.  If you need me, I can take care of you.  That will be deeply loving, but not necessarily exciting.  Love and desire are related, but not the same.  When I see you do something when you are in your element, I see the otherness of you.  For a moment I am looking at you, in this space between you and me, this is where the erotic lies.  For a moment, someone I know very well is different, mysterious, and unknown.

People are drawn to their partners when their partner surprises them. 

This is the unknown and the mysterious- being surprised can improve sex and build desire.

People are drawn to their partners when they see their partner talking to other people.

Seeing your partner interact with other people builds desire- it is that otherness that is unknown, mysterious, and connects to sex and desire.

People are drawn to their partners when they are apart: when they are away from each other and when they reunite.  Desire is present in absences and longing. 

Desire can be built when your partner spends time away, is not available, and is absence and there is longing.


If you need me to take care of you, that is loving and meaningful, but the woman leaves and the mother appears.  The mother in me, is not a sexual being.  The woman goes backstage and is not at the forefront. 

mother photoIt’s hard to expect a woman to be mothering and be sexual, especially if she is mothering her children AND her partner.

As a sex therapist, I often hear “At the end of the day, I have nothing left to give” when it comes to desire, especially for mothers with children.    Esther offers a reframe, “that at the end of the day, there is nothing more I need.  I am satiated.”

I don’t want to nurture the little boy, and then have sex with him.

Men often say it’s a turn on to see women turned on.  Women rarely ever say that it is a turn on to see a man turned on.  It is irrelevant to her.  But nothing turns a woman on more than to BE the turn on.  

I’m not sure everyone would agree with the last statement. I have found that some women actually say they don’t want to be objectified, but objectification is sometimes strongly connected to the erotic.

When women say “All he wants is sex” what he really wants is what he has access to when he has sex.

Sex is the door in which he needs to pass to access vulnerability and the aspects of his own masculinity he cannot access unless through sex.  Sexuality is the place where he can go to feel these feelings.  When men are able to access those feelings sexually, they don’t have to worry about feeling like little boys, they can feel it and be a man at the same time.

There is no greater power than voluntary surrender.  It is the reclaiming of the power that has been robbed from us.  For people who have experienced trauma, abuse, and rape, this is actually how the erotic mind takes back control of the imagination. 

When we find someone who emotionally meets their needs, they don’t always meet their sexual needs.  

Esther Perel is the FUTURE of the way we think about monogamy, infidelity, desire in long-term relationships, love, and lust.  In 2018, she was the KEYNOTE speaker at South by Southwest, an annual festival that integrates technology, music, film, and current issues and is the most progressive and interesting festivals in the country.  The fact that ESTHER was the keynote shows the interest that our country and our culture has in this topic and she is a force.   Join me in celebrating her work and contributions on sexual desire

If desire is a concern for you, or if anything I wrote seems interesting and you think I might be a good fit for you in a therapeutic setting, please feel free to contact me using the form below and we can set up an appointment.