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Esther Perel Responds To Woman Who Found Her BF's Sex Tape With His Ex

In the latest episode of the U Up? podcast, special guest Esther Perel, the relationships therapist and New York Times bestselling author, responds to listener’s email about a devolving sexual connection with her boyfriend, leading to her finding something unsettling from his past relationship. Should she confront him and admit to violating his privacy? Or live with the secret?

Dear Esther,

Let’s get down to it. My boyfriend and I have been together for about two years, living together for one. He’s 32, I’m 28. Lately, he has seemed a bit distant and not nearly as sexual as at the beginning of our relationship. While he says he still loves me and wants to be with me, and nothing has happened to make him feel differently – I’m very anxious and feel like I have to take matters into my own hands to investigate. (Bad idea, of course.)

I went through his phone, and when I couldn’t find anything, I then went through his laptop (I feel crazy) and found a home sex video of him and his ex-girlfriend that was accessed pretty recently. Now, I feel like I can’t bring this up to him, but I also can’t get this horrifying image out of my head. I feel like it’s weird for him to keep videos like this and continue to watch it YEARS later. Should I own up to what I’ve done, confront him, and potentially ruin our relationship? Or keep quiet? I don’t know what to do here.


A Very Regretful Betch

Dear A Very Regretful Betch, 

You start the conversation with your boyfriend with a question. You say, “I experience your distance. You don’t seem to be so into it. The point is not if you love me or if you don’t love me. The point is, how is our sex? Can we talk about that?”

And you can clarify, “I don’t think I am off when I experience you as less interested. You can try to pretend it’s nothing. You can try to reassure me, but that’s not really what I want. If we’re going to be together, I want us to have a relationship where we can have honest sexual conversations. Are you up for that? Is there things that you’re missing with us? Are there things that you would like for us? And if you’re not getting it from me, where are you getting it? Is there something that you haven’t told me that’s been with us for a long time and that should have been said long before?”

Basically: Don’t make it all about you and your insecurity! It’s not “What’s missing in me?” Very Regretful Betch, it sounds like you haven’t been in a relationship where the couple actually talks openly about their sexuality. Maybe when it starts to not go too well you leave and move on.

So, tell him: “If you say you want to be together, then we need to talk about this because we’re not going to talk about cars and houses and job and 401ks and not talk about our sex life.”

Edited for clarity. To listen to the rest of what Esther Perel had to say on the matter, plus her findings about eroticism and sustaining relationships, watch the rest of the U Up? episode on Youtube or Spotify. Want to hear more from the mental health icon? Enter the U Up? giveaway by liking this post and tag your bestie in the comments for a chance to win two tickets to Esther Perel’s tour in a city of your choice! 


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Melanie Whyte
Melanie Whyte
Melanie Whyte (she/her) leads the lifestyle and relationship content at Betches. As an amateur New Yorker and professional bisexual, she enjoys writing about the bane of sex and relationships in the city. She is also perpetually in her messy house era despite spending all of her money on Instagram ads.