On the subject of sex, a subject that makes so many stammer, clam up or crack wise, Esther Perel, a couples therapist and author, is uncommonly eloquent, even rhapsodic. That particular rhetorical gift is apparently in high demand: Last July, Ms. Perel gave an opening talk at Summit Outside, a three-day meeting of 900 entrepreneurs and creative types held on Powder Mountain in Eden, Utah.
“Think of a moment when you have an experience of major adventure, of novelty, of surprise, of mystery, of risk,” Ms. Perel, 55, asked the audience, which was seated on a grassy lawn stretching out in front of the stage. “A moment perhaps where you express desires in your body that you usually don’t allow yourself to know.” Ms. Perel, a Belgian who speaks nine languages, has a French-sounding accent that implicitly seems to bolster her authority. A video of this event captured the response: At one point, a young man looked around nervously, as if he found the exercise uncomfortable, but some of the guests, their name tags hanging around their necks, closed their eyes, luxuriating in their moment of reflection.