In her eroticism talk, Esther Perel examines the distinction between sexuality and eroticism.
Perel defines sex as something primal and instinctive; something animalistic. On the other hand, eroticism has more to do with our imagination. Our erotic life is founded upon the idea of cultivating pleasure for pleasure's sake, as opposed to fulfilling a procreative need. Unfortunately, Perel argues, our current social climate has diminished eroticism, reducing it to its most basic sexual function. This is a far departure from the view of the mystics, who regarded eroticism as a form of vitality.
When advising couples on their sex life, Perel focuses on developing what she refers to as "erotic intelligence," a state of being that exists between realms of productivity. Utilizing erotic intelligence means tearing down boundaries and creating a new reality, or rather, unreality. This experience, which is rooted in curiosity, playfulness and mystery, reaches beyond our self-definition, resulting in a moment of transcendence.