Many traditional approaches to couples therapy are built on the assumption that if you help a couple clear up the emotional issues in their relationship, sex will automatically get better.

But it doesn’t always seem to work that way.

According to therapist and bestselling author Esther Perel, a couple’s sexual issues frequently have their roots in the erotic blocks, family history, or shame of individual partners. 

Here, Perel explains how she helps couples break out of stale sexual routines, reignite desire, and reclaim a vibrant erotic life.

Notice how Esther introduces the topic of sex—not as the most important element in the relationship—but as one of many dimensions essential to a vibrant, intimate partnership. Her use of language gives a couple new ways to talk about sex, desire, and eroticism.

Because couples today want long term intimate partnerships that combine commitment and safety with sexual vitality and erotic exploration, a therapist’s ability to talk about these topics easily is essential.



Esther Perel

Longtime contributor and speaker at the Psychotherapy Networker Symposium, Esther Perel, MA, LMFT, is recognized as one of the most insightful and provocative voices on personal and professional relationships and the complex science behind human interaction. She is the best-selling author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence (translated into 25 languages) and producer of the online training continuation, Rekindling Desire. Fluent in nine languages, the Belgian native is a practicing psychotherapist, celebrated speaker and organization consultant to Fortune 500 companies. The New York Times, in a cover story, named her the most important game changer on sexuality and relationships since Dr. Ruth. Her critically acclaimed viral TED Talks have collectively reached over 14 million viewers. For more information about her educational programs and resources, please visit



Rich Simon

Richard Simon, PhD, founded Psychotherapy Networker and served as the editor for more than 40 years. He received every major magazine industry honor, including the National Magazine Award. Rich passed away November 2020, and we honor his memory and contributions to the field every day.