Esther Perel is a licensed marriage and family therapist and author of Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence. She has spent half her life treating patients and the other half coaching, consulting, and training for organizations and lay and professional audiences. An acknowledged authority on cultural identity, cross-cultural relations and ethic and religious intermarriage, she has led private and public interventions around the world. For nearly a quarter of a century, her expertise in wartime, postwar and refugee families has been sought after by victims of conflict as well as by therapists and crisis counselors in training.
Perel has a private psychotherapy practice in New York, with multilingual clients, and she is fluent in eight languages. Her clinical teaching and interests center on culture and sexuality with a focus on couples. A frequent keynoter, she regularly addresses the therapeutic and lay community at conferences, cross-cultural forums and workshops. In New York, Perel hosts Downtown Salon, a capacity crowd forum on zeitgeist issues that grew out of the Ideas Café she launched at the Skirball Center in 2003.
A frequently referenced author, Perel’s book, Mating in Captivity was published to critical acclaim across the globe. Her 2002 essay, “Erotic Intelligence: Reconciling Sensuality and Domesticity,” was featured on the front cover of the Utne Reader and was included in the anthology, Best Erotic Writings 2004. She has written numerous articles and chapters about intermarriage, the families of Holocaust survivors, cross-cultural couples, and cultural and religious identity.
Perel’s innovative strategies and models for leadership have won her an international clientele of non-profit organizations, foundations, schools, community groups, and corporations, including New York University Medical Center, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Psycho-social Center for Refugees and the University of Oslo, Norway, the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute, The Wexner Foundation, The 92nd Street Y, The Skirball Center, and United Jewish Communities.
Born and raised in Belgium, Perel holds degrees from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Lesley College. She was trained and supervised in family therapy by Dr. Salvador Minuchin and serves on the faculties of the Department of Psychiatry, New York University Medical School, and Columbia University’s International Trauma Studies Program, Mailman School of Public Health.
A popular media commentator, Perel has been interviewed in leading publications such as the Washington Post, Tikkun, New York , The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Observer, Vogue, Self, Salon.com, Health Parent, and Working Woman, and has appeared on television programs including Oprah, the Today Show, CBC News, Good Day New York, CNN This Morning, Women Aloud, and CBS This Morning. She has also been a guest on popular radio shows such as The Brian Lehrer Show, Jim Richards, Dan Gresham, and the Mancow Show.
Praise for Mating in Captivity
“Mating in Captivity takes a hard line against one of the most time-honored institutions in human history: the sexless marriage… It reads like a cross between the works of Jacques Lacan and French Women Don’t Get Fat."
—The New Yorker
“Perel tells us why intimacy can feel imprisoning and how we can embrace the erotic—without leaving home. Her writing is fresh and provocative, in a class by itself.”
—Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D., author of After the Affair: Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful
“Her advice is refreshingly counterintuitive.”
“Perel says the kind of things that are so contrary to popular wisdom, they actually sound blasphemous – and yet, at precisely the same moment that you’re being shocked by her, you’re also acknowledging the validity of her ideas. Perel’s ideas are... instantly familiar because they resonate deeply. It’s all rather terrifying in its intuitiveness and its pure rightness.”
—The Observer (England)
Esther Perel is a fearless writer and thinker who will challenge your views about sex in a radical and fundamental way. She has the most original, edgy, intelligent, and high-spirited voice out there on passionless sex versus erotic vitality. She writes like a dream, making it nearly impossible to put down this book even when you want to.
—Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., author of Dance of Anger
“Perel’s main point is that a happy marriage is a sexy one... Far from being smug, Perel’s position on the matter is almost survivalist.”
—The Guardian (London)
“Part sociological study, part voyeurism, and elegantly, if not erotically, written... There’s a tableau of sexual conundrums laid out in Mating in Captivity that covers most bases. You’ll be sure to find yourself in there somewhere.”
“Well argued points written with considerable eloquence.”
“So honest it hurts.”