In this candid and provocative interview, Esther Perel talks about the relationship between sex and power, desire and arousal, and what we need to do to heal our current sex culture.
We are currently in a crucial moment of sexual cultural revolution. The Harvey Weinstein effect and the #MeToo movement has ended the long standing silence around sexual harassment and other abuses of sex and power. Where do we go from here? Esther Perel shares some of her thoughts about what work needs to happen to heal the wound of sexual violence and create a healthier sex culture for us all. In this interview, Esther Perel also shares her thoughts about men and women’s deepest erotic wounds, what holds us all back from being more erotically alive, and how we can harness more sexual vibrancy in long term relationships.
Transcript of Esther Perel Interview
Esther Perel (EP): To change the conversation or the culture of sexuality to alleviate suffering, what’s your take when you’re being asked these days- I just did Terry Gross this morning, you know for “Fresh Air,” … And of course I was asked again about the current moment, the harassment, the assault…the purge that’s taking place, etcetera -What do you- Where do you begin? I’m just curious, as people who are more thinking about this maybe even than me. I can, you know, we’ll hear what I said, but I’m just so curious to hear something thoughtful.
Chris Maxwell Rose (CMR): Where do we begin about the conversation of sex and power?
EP: Yeah. yeah that’s what it is. Right?
CMR: Well I think we’re at this cultural watershed moment where female sexual subjectivity especially is waking up and claiming space for itself. Sex and power that has been so culturally entangled… I feel like these men really thought they were entitled to sexual access to women, especially women of lower social status and kind of claimed it as a job benefit in so many ways. And never thought that that they would be held accountable. And so starting to see that conversation move forward and that accountability start to take place I think is shocking for a lot of people. But then it leaves a lot of confusion in its wake and one of the things I want to talk to you about is how can men not be afraid of being sexual and not be perceived as predators. How can women start to feel safer in their relationships in this context of a sexually violent culture? So I think it’s a really necessary part of our cultural healing but it’s leaving us all a little confused right now.
CMR: And this piece around accountability I think it’s easy when it’s very outright sexual assault, but when we dial it back to all of the spectrum of sexual harassment and bullying, how do we maintain ourselves as sexual beings and have sexual creativity and freedom in public spheres while maintaining a real focus on consent and consensual power dynamics rather than these implicit power dynamics. What are you thinking about this current cultural moment?
EP: I mean, I think that… the questions that are being asked “is male sexuality inherently aggressive and predatory?” and sometimes it’s not even asked as a question, it is assumed, and I’m not sure that I necessarily agree with that. I think that male sexuality consistently struggles with its predatory nature and therefore it is entirely relational and dependent on the response of the partner to know that it is in the realm of pleasure versus in the realm of violence. It is the response of the other person, is the pleasure of the person, that confirms to a man that he’s not hurting and therefore I think that it’s the predatory fear that is often at the heart of male sexuality and not the intrinsic predatory nature. I think that we are confusing…. We are looking at something that has existed forever. Man has forever leveraged social power to deal with sexual insecurity or to gain sexual favors. And women have forever leveraged sexual power to deal with empowerment in the social sphere. We need to understand that this has been this has been in some way the state of affairs. And to think that these are powerful men – these are socially powerful men that use their social power to deal with their sexual insecurity. Sexually powerful men don’t harass, they seduce. And I think that you know, the conversation about sex and power in some way is not even the same as the conversation about harassment and assault because sex and power go together. I mean, you can’t take power out of sex like you can’t take power out of relationships. But there’s a difference between power to and power over. When you seduce, it’s power to, when you harass or are aggressive it’s power over. Then you’re not dealing with sex anymore, you’re dealing with violence. That is being manifested through sex. So that’s kind of the way, the place where I am going with this at this moment.
CMR: And what do you think about the element of expressed female pleasure, like when women haven’t been safe to express their desire, to show their pleasure, to be responsive in the bedroom… Does that create the stage for this kind of use of power over women and to inadvertently become predators when we’re not used to women being active subjects?
EP: I think that for most of history, men pretty much had an implicit right over women, and sex was a woman’s marital duty. If she liked it, if she wanted it, it was irrelevant.
CMR: Or her duty as a lower social status like the maid.
EP: Yeah. Whereas a woman, as a wife, that was a wifely duty. It wasn’t necessarily always thought of it as lower. His duty was to provide, her duty was to please him. And to make him feel good and to make him be able to go into the world. But that’s just one piece. The other piece was that her duty was also to make sure that he doesn’t transgress because the body of women has never belonged to women, they belong to society. And women have to deal with their bodies, cover their bodies, you know, restrict themselves in all kinds of ways in order for men not to have their lustful urges take the better of them. As if men can’t control themselves alone, you know? So women have consistently been perceived in two directions- uber powerful or degraded. When she goes in both directions. She either is the one that is so powerful that he can’t resist her, therefore if he trespasses it’s because of her. It’s not because of him. It’s because she lured him, you know? And on the other side she has no rights, she’s his possession and he gets to do with her what he wants in return for feeding her, taking care of her children etc. etc.. And it’s her duty, it’s part of her contract, you know? I think the moment things began to change a little bit and desire became much more of a… desire replaced duty and women were able to… and sexuality was no longer just for reproduction but it was for pleasure and connection. I think in many instances, the man does not want her to just service him, actually. He doesn’t want her to just do her duty and get it over with. He wants her to want it. He wants her to enjoy it. He wants her to be into it. There is nothing that excites him more and turns him on more than to see her into it. And so he’s not, you know… his grandfather would have been happy with her just giving it to him. The young guy who is… a certain young guy who is in a committed relationship doesn’t want her to just- he doesn’t want pity sex. You know, he wants a lover. So hence infidelity. So I think it’s it’s a combination of of different things at this moment. The majority you know- I don’t know that answered your question actually because I took it from a different… a different angle- I agree with you completely that it needs to be an accountability, that it is no longer part of male privilege, to just do what they want even if it is you know, massively to compensate for their own insecurities etc. etc. That there is a major shift at play at this point about all of this. At the same time, I think the big misunderstanding maybe is to have consistently wanted to see male sexuality as biologically driven, as autonomous, as conquering, as predatory as… And I think that in fact, male sexuality is highly relational, and that is the problem for many men. It is how intensely relational it is, from the fear of rejection, to the anxiety over performance, to the anxiety over her pleasure and the authenticity of her response. These are three major relational dynamics that make men so dependent and interrelated to the experience of the woman. And I think that a lot of the deviations that you see are actual attempts to to actually circumvent this, you know? To circumvent the fact that in fact, she has quite a bit of power over him. And that’s why he needs to constantly overpower her.
CMR: How much of this behavior do you understand as shame based, as operating out of a of having shame around specific sexual desires and so we act them out in these kind of criminal ways.
EP: No, I don’t think it’s about that. I don’t think that this is about acting out fantasies. I think that masculinity has always been a more fragile identity. We are born women and we become men and men have to consistently prove that they are men. They have to consistently prove their virility and being real men means that they are not women, or feminine, or sissy, or weak, or you know, anything that they attribute to the feminine that is the abject self. And so I think that so much of this you know, that when men feel little they use women to feel bigger. And a “little” can be the literalness of their endowment and their physiology as much as “little” as it not really masc-. You know the word “emasculated” does not exist in the feminine. Neither does the word “loser,” you know? So performance and the anxiety over competence and performance in all aspects of life, so especially in sex, the fear of rejection, you know, the fact that in the end, you know, if it’s not going to be predatory or aggressive or violent, it entirely depends on her “yes,” and that dependency is never really examined. We examine the power, we don’t examine the dependency. And the power is often a response over the conflict of the dependence. That’s what I’m saying.
CMR: I hear you and I also see this other piece of it where so many women are afraid to say yes or are afraid to show their pleasure you know, their husbands are more than willing to lavish them in sexual pleasure but that receiving is the hard part. And how do we embolden women to start being more erotically vital and receiving this pleasure that’s available to them.
EP: Right, so now we are moving to the issue of the woman, right? So everything so far in a way that I’ve said this is more from the point of view- is more of a reflection, my reflections on men. You know they’re just thoughts, they’re not truths. But if I think about the women, I think that women on many levels still struggle quite a bit with sexual pleasure and struggle with claiming their sexuality, period. Having just written a book about infidelity, it’s like you really see how much women act not by what they want but by what they value. And they choose by virtue of what they value, they don’t choose by virtue of what they want or desire or certainly not by what turns them on. Interestingly, it’s often in the dark corners of her affairs that you see a woman who really claims her sexuality and often for the first time. That’s where she’s really doing what she wants. And interestingly she’s doing it in a secret form. I think that there is still an internalized slut shaming that is massive for women, regardless of if they’re swiping or not for that matter. I think that there is still an enormous amount of women who confuse not wanting sex with not wanting the sex they can have, and the willingness to see themselves as less sexual rather than as more demanding. Meaning, if I’m not interested it’s not because I don’t like it or because I don’t need it, but it’s because it’s not interesting enough and pleasurable enough, and to my liking enough. And that response of it is not to say “I’m not interested” but to say “in order for me to be interested it has to be something different or a lot different.” I think that if indeed women’s sexuality is more fluid and more volatile and more contextual and all of these- I don’t know if more but it’s a matter of degree, I would say more. But as a degree, then then it needs more intensity, more excitement, more risque, more imagination, in order to remain connected, in order to remain stoked, and not less! And I think that in that sense women are willing to cut themselves short. Then comes the piece about safety. You know the safety of expressing what she enjoys and what she wants. The safety of asking him, of telling him, she still fakes it way too much. She still protects his ego way too much. She still pretends so that he would feel good about himself. And I mean all of these old tricks that women have done forever which you thought with feminism and with the empowerment of women and with the economic independence of women those things would have changed. And what is interesting is to realize how much they have and how much they haven’t.
CMR: And how much do you think caretaking plays into this especially with these generations who are caretaking young children and older parents at the same time often a partner is ill. You’ve talked about caretaking as an anti-erotic-
CMR: And yet many of us by necessity are caretakers so how do we balance that?
EP: So see what’s very interesting is that sometimes the woman who has an affair is exactly in that role.
EP: So she’s not too busy, too tired, and too stressed. The context in which she’s caretaking is one that she experiences as erotically numbing.
EP: She cannot think about herself in the place where she’s busy thinking about everybody else, as the consummate caretaker that she is. And hence when she creates a space that is secluded for herself, in which she can express her own desires, as in an affair- and this is not to justify it or to condone it- this is really to- because it’s been a major piece of my understanding of this phenomenon- she connects to her sexuality quite wonderfully. Or to her sensuality or to her erotic self. However we want to name it. I think that when I look fundamentally at what are the two main blocks that men or/and women need to confront in order to be able to experience a healthy, free, and unencumbered sexuality, I would say for the man, it is the freedom of the predatory fear. He needs to know he’s not hurting. And that therefore- and then he can- and that she’s enjoying- and then he knows that he’s in the realm of pleasure and sensuality and sex. And for her, it is the freedom of the burdens of caretaking. If she is constantly thinking about the wellbeing of the other- him- or her- it can be between two women, this is not a heterosexually scripted only. If she’s constantly thinking about her sense of responsibility, her selflessness, her sacrificial nature, her putting herself aside in order to be there for everybody else- she cannot tap into her erotic self. She needs to be freed from the burdens of caretaking in order to be able to focus on herself. And for that, in order to turn towards her, you know, to be able to focus on her own body, pleasures, mounting sensations etc. I keep coming back to those two pillars. I hear – and this is more of a heterosexual script – I hear men telling me so often, you know, “nothing turns me on more than to see her turned on.” Yet I don’t hear many straight women ever say anything like this. It’s irrelevant if he is turned on. You know what turns her on is to BE the turn on. And I think that the social role of women is so much to think about others that the erotic self of women must become more narcissistic – as in more self-centered, more self reflective. And that is actually something that we have never thought about – that in fact female sexuality may be much more narcissistic because the female social role is so other other-directed.
CMR: And we seek that balance in the erotic life.
EP: If she mothers him- or mothers her- mother’s her partner- she is at any moment a feeling that she’s into, you know, that when he says “How was it?” or when she says “How was it?” her experience is not “What was the experience like for you?” but it’s a veiled way of saying “How was I?” Then she knows that she’s in reassurance mode, and reassurance mode is mothering mode. And that is very loving, but not very sexy.
CMR: And does some of this suffering also come out of a too-limited definition of sexuality and not enough focus on eroticism throughout our lives?
EP: Ab-so-lutely. Absolutely. I mean the focus is often on sexual performance and not on sexual satisfaction or sexual pleasure. The focus is on measurable outcomes, frequency, lengths, amount of orgasms, all that, you know… it’s really the perfect performance industry like in every other thing. What you can measure and count, rather than the aura, the energy, the… yes, the erotic that which is much more a part of the imagination than a part of activities and bodily physicality only. The model is still heavily masculine, heavily genitally focused, heavily intercourse driven, heavily frequency driven, and the model by the way stops- many couples in their 60s stop not because of the women but because of men, because of the male driven model. That is the story that is very untold that so many couples who stop being sexual after a certain age, it is not because of the woman. In fact often the woman who finally is liberated from children, from caretaking, from all of these things, she goes in two directions. She either says “Now that’s it- shop is closed, I’m done servicing everybody and this included,” or she says “Now, my turn. Now me. I’ve developed every other part of me, this is the one aspect of myself that I still have not fully developed, fully befriended, fully explored, and now I want to get to know that side of me.” And he is dealing with a very different story. So often when sexuality is interrupted, sexuality as in sexual activity, as in being together- it is because it was so focused on the male genital performance model and it is very unsatisfying to her, actually. Which is why I always come back to this idea that if the mother does not include her own imagination and preferences and predilections she will not be interested and we will misinterpret it as “the sexual desire of women is lesser than that of men” rather than “the sexual desire of women is more fluctuating than that of men.” Maybe. Or it simply is more fluctuating and therefore in order for it to remain interesting and burning and stoked, it needs a lot more imagination and playfulness and novelty to actually remain engaged. And so it’s not that she’s not interested but it’s that what she has available doesn’t interest her.
CMR: So I guess this is where I see the shame come in because so many people have a really creative diversity of desires but are so ashamed to admit it. That couple sex lives end up very limited when they’re both fantasizing quite wildly in secrecy.
CMR: So this piece- if more of our sexuality is free from shame within our relationships, would there be less transgression outside of the relationships that could then leak into harassment and acting out our sexuality rather than it being an integrated part of us that we’re in control of?
EP: So I will split these two things up.
EP: If more parts of me could be brought into my relationship, it may be that I’m less likely to go look for those parts of me somewhere else. But in the realm of infidelity, we are talking about consensual relationships. I don’t believe that it is the sexual frustration at home that leads you to become a sexual predator and a free flowing harassment person. That, I think, are two different things. You can be frustrated at home and seek somebody who is perfectly willing to be with you. Harassment is an abuse of power. It is a degradation. It is a misreading of the other people. It is violent, it is oppressive, humiliating, threatening intimidating, it’s all of that. You know, sex is the second piece of this plot. All of this comes first. Power first via sex, you know. Infidelity is a different story, but I do think- to go back to the first part of what you say- that many couples settle very early on, for what doesn’t bother you and what doesn’t bother me.
CMR: (laughs) The Venn diagram is very small.
EP: You know, and in a way, we do not know each other. One person once said something, the other one didn’t respond to it well and they never brought it up again. One person once put their hand on the throat of the other and the other person said “What are you doing?” and from that moment they took all their kink elsewhere. One person, you know? It’s that! There is a lot of people having sex, there are not that many people having deep erotic intimacy. And erotic intimacy is the revelation of the many parts of us through the language of sex. That’s not the same as being engaged in the act of sex together. You know? I can cook for you, and I just made you a meal. But I can cook a meal in which I expressed so many parts of me- my whimsicalness, my creativity, my playfulness, my taste for strange things combined, my exploratory self to create fusion in things, my devotion to you, you know, that’s a very different kind of cooking in which I expressed many parts of me that are very personal and very sensitive. Erotic intimacy is that- it’s the ability, it’s the way in which we reveal ourselves and many parts of us and hidden parts of us to another person- in this case, through the language of sex. And that is missing in many people because it requires less of the doing and more of the thinking. It’s the erotic mind that gets brought in here, our imagination. And if people don’t talk much about what they do, they talk even less about what they’re thinking about while they’re doing it. And yet, this thing called “sexual fantasy” or our “erotic imagination” that is one of the most complex and poorly understood productions of our minds, is where so many of our truths like our deepest emotional needs are expressed in our sexual fantasies. It’s not about sexual fantasies, it’s actually emotional needs through the language of sexual fantasies. I love the sentence of Michael Bader, that “A good fantasy states the problem and offers the solution.” And if you understand people’s fantasies you really understand their deepest wishes in sex and that level of communication is often not present between partners. It’s it’s an interesting thing. Why? Why the fear? And the fear is the shame, sometimes. The fear is the fact that “I don’t understand why this turns me on,” and “this is so weird,” and “why would I want something like this?” and “this is so the opposite of what I would normally want,” and “what are you going to think about me?” and “you once said that you think that is dirty,” or “that is debased,” or “that is primitive” or “that is disgusting, and therefore I never brought any of this to you again.” And in that way you have a lot of people who spend years making love to each other and don’t know who they’re making love to. From that point of view.
CMR: Yeah. And how do you feel. We often make a distinction between fantasy and desire, so allowing fantasy to be total imagination where you’re free, versus desire- what you actually want- and learning to tell that difference. Does that feel important to you to give yourself permission to be more creative in your fantasies where it doesn’t mean that it’s actually what you want in everyday life?
EP: Yes, yes, completely. I mean a fantasy is anything that enhances excitement and pleasure. It’s not just about a script or accoutrements. It’s the weather, it’s the time of the day, it’s where you are, it’s anything that enhances the experience. It’s the poetics of sex. And without fantasy, it would be very, very boring. The fantasy is how I’m imagining me, how I imagine you… All of that goes into fantasy. I think we often narrow the definition, you know, into an explicit script or things like that. And from that moment, yes! What we fantasize about in our erotic mind is sometimes the very things that we will demonstrate against during the day, you know? We understand it about children very well, kids play fantasy play. It’s play. Fantasy is play. That’s the most important thing. Fantasy is not what you want in reality. And when kids play doctor, or patient, or policeman, or teacher, or student, or mother and child, they are not wanting to be punished in real life, or put in jail in real life, or burned and saved by the fire, but in real life they’re playing, you know? And the same is true for adults. It’s very important to understand that the purpose of fantasy is pleasure. Nobody gets hurt in a fantasy. In reality, yeah? It’s like there is not a single fantasy in which women want to be hurt. Their experience, they use a certain script but the purpose of the fantasy is to feel irresistible, to feel desirable, to feel wanted, to feel powerful, to feel needful, to feel the hunger… It’s all of that, to feel taken care of by someone whose persistence proves her irresistibility. Desire is about owning the wanting. And you don’t always have what you desire, and the desire, in a way, can only be realized if it involves another person, if the other person is willing, willing to enter into that desire with you. I think desire and fantasy are different things.
CMR: Yeah. And as you tour and go on podcasts and do interviews about The State of Affairs, what question is not being asked that you think we should be talking about?
EP: Ah, that’s a beautiful question. You know, I’ll give you an example of that. This subject is ubiquitous. Infidelity is a subject that is ubiquitous, so common, and often so poorly understood, and often treated in black and white and try to make it simple when in fact, it is really complex and it is intertwined with some of our greatest existential challenges about love and desire and morality and what we owe others and how much of the right we have to do the things that are good for ourselves if can hurt others and the nature of betrayal and the breaches of trust and the violations and all of that. I mean, it’s the entire human drama that you find in the story of infidelity. When I ask in the U.S. for people to free associate the word affair or tryst or adventure or hook-up or fuck buddy or love affair, people will often give me dozens and dozens of associations and words, and the word “love” will rarely feature. And the word “passion” will not feature that much, it will be more “excitement” and this and that. And the word “jealousy” will not feature that much. And when I asked the same question in the Latin continent, all the way starting from the Mexican border all the way down, the first five words will often include the word “love,” the word “jealousy,” the word “passion,” and the word “vengeance.” And I think the thing that is not often asked enough is when it is so framed from the point of view only of the cheating, it misses the other part of the story sometimes which is the longing and the yearning and the love. And affairs are really this combination of both. It’s the impact as well as the meanings and the motives. It’s what it did to you, but also what it meant for me. The way the question is asked precludes to even think that it could be something, you know, it’s murky. If love is messy, infidelity is even more so.
CMR: What does this focus on the infraction or the betrayal of a contract versus the passionate jealousy of love lost- what does that say about American sex culture right now?
EP: I mean, so much of the sex culture moment is often quite disaffiliated. I mean, hook-up culture is quite disaffiliated. You know, the whole thing is not to get attached. The notion that relationships deprive you of your freedom and of your independence and of your ability to develop yourself and to develop your career and all of these things, but basically that relationships are not solidifiers that build us, but to the contrary. That is a very interesting moment in time, you know? I think the sexual culture often enters in that. It’s we have sex first and we say hello to each other next. And it’s meant to mean nothing. And at the same time when you put such psychological investment in making something mean nothing actually means a lot. There are feelings attached to experiences that are meant to be meaningless. So, that’s probably one of the big things that I think is happening right now.
CMR: And I see it in friendships too. It’s almost a fear of feeling needy, of feeling desperate. And so people withdraw rather than reach out for contact.
EP: Yes, yes, and then, we find out that the number one public health crisis in America is loneliness, not obesity.
EP: This has become- Americans have lost in the last 40 years, 30-60% of their social capital; people to turn to when they have, you know, in life, for problems, for crisis, for support, for help, for celebration. I mean this is an amazing thing. It’s like these two things are connected. The utter fear that relationships are a loss of self rather than relationships are the platform for a self that is growing and thriving and enriched- it’s really interesting. And then from there, yes, people do it with friends, they’re all too busy. They’re so busy, especially in cities, you know? And being busy means that you have a really interesting life, you’re so that you don’t have time for relationships, when in fact, your relationships are at the core. I mean, the quality of your relationships determines the quality of your life. Not the quality of your busy-ness.
CMR: So in closing, what is your highest hope for this moment in our sexual culture? Like what do you hope we- how do we move forward from here? If you were looking back in 25 years to this sexual moment what do you hope is the outcome?
EP: Oh many different things, I would say… I think that relationship norms are shifting at full speed under our feet.
EP: We have never been more free. We have never been more uncertain, and we have never been crippled by so much self-doubt. You know, if you have to pick between a thousand people, how will you know? How will you know that this is the one? And what does it mean to be the one these days? Does it mean just the one for whom you delete your apps? You know, it’s like you are so extraordinaire that for you, I will stop searching. I think that’s my wish is to create spaces for the difficult conversations. To create a conversation about sexuality certainly in the United States that isn’t either smut or sanctimony, but in which sexuality is seen as a lens for understanding society’s current zeitgeist. The most archaic, rooted aspects of a culture are manifested around its attitudes and beliefs around sex, and the most radical progressive changes take place in its attitudes and beliefs around sex and particularly for children and women… and men, I think at this point as well. I think that the lives of women will not change until the men come along. We took a long time to finally establish that the intrinsic nature of female sexuality isn’t masochistic and I think it is time that we also begin to challenge the notion that the intrinsic nature of male sexuality is aggressive and predatory. We have the opportunity for both men and women and everybody in between or men- and women- identified to experience a sense of wholeness and a sense of wholeness at this moment means for women to claim their power and their agency and for men to claim their dependence and their vulnerability and their need for the connection to others. And when both genders can experience something more whole and can incorporate the piece that they have so far either rejected or struggled with, then we will have a more gender equal society in which sexuality takes a whole new life. I could say something about what I would hope is that we not wait until age 18 to have young people sign consent forms after they have had 18 years of utter ignorance in a complete desert. That we need comprehensive sex education, that we need public health campaigns around sexuality, that sexual health is part of overall health, and part of relational health, and that these things are integrated and not just that you have sex as this thing that is dirty, dangerous, dysfunctional, disease and all of that. There’s so much to do to create a culture that understands the concept of sexual health and doesn’t constantly only focus on sexual problems, sexual crisis, sexual dangers, sexual addiction. You know, we need a model of sexual health so we know what we are working towards not only what we’re trying to eradicate. Like in all other health. It’s one thing to know what not to eat, it’s another thing to know what to eat! You do need a model of how to relate to people not just- and the focus is not on what to do, the focus is really kind of a unanimous cry which is a useful important cry but it doesn’t stop there against the abuses. You also need a model for what is desired, for what will create a different playing field between men and women.
CMR: Beautiful. Alright, well I want to thank you for being courageous and for being an erotic philosopher of our time. Your words are so nourishing to so many and I’m really grateful that you do the work you do. So thank you so much.
EP: Thank you it’s my pleasure.
CMR: Esther Perel, Thank you for this conversation and we will link up a cornucopia of your work over at pleasuremechanics.com Thank you so much. EP: Thank you very much yourself.