James Sexton | Divorce Lawyer on Marriage, Relationships, Sex, Lies & Love | Lex Fridman Podcast

updated 25 Sep 2023

The conversation between Lex Fridman and Divorce Lawyer James Sexton is a thought-provoking and candid exploration of various aspects of human relationships, love, marriage, and the complexities of divorce. James Sexton, a seasoned divorce attorney, shares insights from his years of experience, shedding light on the intricacies of romantic relationships and the dynamics that often lead to divorce. The conversation delves into the significance of love, motivations driving human behavior, and the universal challenges and insecurities people face in their quest for connection. Sexton also contemplates the transformative potential of divorce, suggesting unconventional ideas for facilitating empathy and personal growth within the process. Throughout the discussion, the theme of acceptance, personal growth, and the pursuit of genuine love serves as a central thread, making this conversation a deeply reflective and insightful exploration of the human condition.

James Sexton | Divorce Lawyer on Marriage, Relationships, Sex, Lies & Love | Lex Fridman Podcast

Reasons Marriages Fail

  1. Reasons for Marital Failure: Sexton emphasizes that marriages often fail due to disconnection rather than a single major event like cheating or financial issues. He argues that it's a combination of many smaller things that lead to disconnection over time.

  2. Understanding Disconnection: The discussion delves into what causes disconnection, which is described as happening slowly and then all at once. This highlights the importance of identifying the underlying factors contributing to disconnection in a relationship.

  3. Introspection in Relationships: The conversation explores the possibility of introspection to identify when and how disconnection began in individual cases. Sexton acknowledges that relationships are complex and multivariate, making it essential to analyze both partners' actions and contributions to the situation.

  4. Weaponizing Intimacy in Divorce: Sexton talks about his role as a divorce lawyer, where he presents his clients' stories to a judge, portraying them as heroes and the other side as villains. He highlights the challenge of maintaining credibility while representing a client's perspective.

  5. Importance of Mutual Understanding: Sexton emphasizes the significance of understanding the small things that make each partner feel loved in a relationship. He encourages open communication about these small details to prevent the build-up of resentment or disconnection.

  6. Deliberate Choice for Positivity: The conversation discusses the deliberate choice to see the brilliance and beauty in one's partner. This choice can lead to a positive momentum where partners continuously appreciate each other's qualities.

  7. Criticism in Relationships: Sexton criticizes the cultural portrayal of partners criticizing each other and suggests that successful relationships involve partners who genuinely support and cheer for each other.

  8. Endurance vs. Fulfillment: The discussion challenges the idea of enduring a marriage for the sake of it, highlighting the importance of finding fulfillment and happiness in the relationship.

  9. Mindfulness in Relationships: The conversation touches upon mindfulness as a way of seeing and appreciating one's partner, and how it can become a natural part of the relationship once practiced consciously.

  10. Embracing Love Despite Its Impermanence: Sexton mentions that loving something or someone, even though you know you will lose it eventually, is part of life's beauty and worth experiencing.

  11. Being Weird and Unconventional: The conversation encourages embracing the uniqueness of one's relationship and not defining it by societal norms or expectations.

  12. Privacy and Openness in Relationships: Sexton suggests that couples should be candid with each other about their desires and fantasies, promoting open and honest communication in the relationship.

  13. Us Against the World Mentality: The discussion highlights the strength of a relationship where both partners feel like a united front, focusing on their connection rather than external influences.

  14. Acceptance and Authenticity: Sexton encourages authenticity and acceptance within relationships, allowing each partner to be their true selves without judgment.

  15. Exploration of Unconventional Interests: The conversation playfully references a section in Sexton's book about foot fetishes, showcasing the idea that couples should feel comfortable exploring each other's interests without fear of judgment.

Sex and Fetishes

  1. Marriage and Disconnection: James Sexton suggests that the main reason marriages fail is disconnection, rather than simple factors like cheating or money issues. He emphasizes the importance of understanding what causes disconnection, which is often a gradual process.

  2. The Slow Process of Disconnection: Disconnection in relationships tends to happen gradually and then suddenly. It's not just about the big, dramatic moments like cheating; it's about the accumulation of smaller issues and the failure to address them over time.

  3. Communication in Relationships: Sexton emphasizes the importance of open and honest communication in relationships. He believes that people should be fearless in their communication and should not be afraid to discuss even small issues or concerns with their partner.

  4. Avoiding Criticism: Sexton advises against criticizing one's partner in front of others or behind their back. He suggests that successful relationships are built on mutual support and not tearing each other down.

  5. Choosing to Love: Sexton believes that choosing to love someone, flaws and all, is a conscious choice. He encourages individuals to embrace the idea of going all-in on a relationship and appreciating the unique qualities of their partner.

  6. Sexuality and Fetishes: The conversation touches on the topic of sexuality and fetishes. Sexton acknowledges that people may have unique sexual preferences or fetishes and suggests that it's important to communicate with one's partner about such preferences rather than hiding them, as keeping secrets can lead to distance and misunderstandings in relationships.

  7. Vulnerability in Relationships: Sexton highlights the significance of vulnerability in building intimacy in relationships. He suggests that exposing one's true self, fears, desires, and vulnerabilities is essential for creating a strong connection with a partner.

  8. Courage in Love: Sexton believes that love is an act of courage because it involves opening oneself up to potential pain and rejection. Loving someone is brave when done despite the fear and uncertainty that comes with it.

  9. Jiu Jitsu Metaphor: Sexton uses a metaphor from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to illustrate his point about vulnerability and progress in relationships. He likens love to a continuous process of creating vulnerabilities and opportunities for growth and progress.


  1. The Impact of Relationships: James Sexton discusses how even physically and mentally tough individuals can be profoundly affected by their romantic relationships. He emphasizes the leverage that partners have over each other, leading to significant life changes.

  2. Lack of Relationship Education: Sexton mentions that there is little formal education on relationships, especially in school. He highlights the absence of comprehensive discussions about love, relationships, and breakups in formal education.

  3. Idealized vs. Realistic Views: Sexton points out that much of the literature and art around love tends to idealize it. He suggests that there's a need for a more genuine and realistic understanding of love and its complexities.

  4. Appreciating the Good Times: The conversation touches on the importance of appreciating the positive aspects of a relationship, even when it ends in tragedy or drama. Sexton encourages people to remember the beautiful moments they shared with their partners.

  5. Memory and Relationships: Sexton draws parallels between remembering past relationships and the way we remember our loved ones who have passed away. He suggests that memory tends to soften negative experiences over time, allowing us to focus on the positive aspects.

  6. Complexity of Infidelity: The discussion delves into the complexity of infidelity in relationships. Sexton believes that infidelity is often a symptom of deeper issues within a relationship and not necessarily the fault of one party.

  7. Communication Through Text: The conversation explores how text messages can be used for both candid and emotional communication. Sexton and Fridman discuss the risks and rewards of communicating through text, including the potential for misinterpretation.

  8. Owning Mistakes: Sexton shares anecdotes about clients who have admitted their mistakes and how this can sometimes be more powerful and defuse tension in legal proceedings.

  9. Text-Based Arguments: The conversation touches on the peculiar nature of arguments conducted through text, where nuance and tone can be easily lost, leading to misunderstandings.

  10. Risk and Humor in Texts: Sexton and Fridman discuss the humorous aspects of text-based communication, including the risks of sending sarcastic or dry statements and the anticipation of responses.

  11. Waiting for a Response: Sexton describes the suspense of sending a risky text and waiting for a response, comparing it to the thrill of hanging between two trapezes.

  12. Emojis and Memes: The conversation mentions the use of emojis and memes in text communication, which can add humor and context to messages.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard

  1. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's Relationship: The conversation begins with a discussion of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's highly publicized and tumultuous relationship. They both agree that this relationship exemplified the idea that in such conflicts, nobody appears as a hero; instead, they are flawed humans.

  2. Complex Relationships Laid Bare: James Sexton expresses that the trial between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard laid out a complicated relationship in its raw form, with the fights and disputes of the relationship being made public.

  3. Public vs. Private: They discuss the concept of keeping relationship issues private and not airing one's problems publicly. Steve Harvey's advice of not taking sides against the family is mentioned, suggesting that airing one's problems can negatively impact how others perceive the relationship.

  4. Private Joy: The conversation touches upon the idea that not everything needs to be made public, and there is value in having private, deep, and meaningful connections with loved ones. They highlight the importance of the warmth of human connection.

  5. Empathy in Divorce Law: James Sexton emphasizes the role of empathy in his work as a divorce lawyer. He explains that he must deeply understand and empathize with his clients' stories, considering every vulnerability and strength to navigate divorce cases effectively.

  6. Connection and Love: The conversation delves into the value of connection and love in human lives. They agree that despite the pain and impermanence of love, the capacity for love is infinite, and experiencing it is a vital part of life.

  7. Impermanence of Love: James Sexton shares insights from his experience as a hospice volunteer, where he learned about the impermanence of life and love. He suggests that understanding the impermanence intensifies the feeling of love and connection.

  8. Infinite Capacity for Love: The conversation concludes by asserting that the heart has an infinite capacity for love, even when faced with loss and pain. They discuss how dogs, with their short lifespans, can teach us valuable lessons about the nature of connection, loss, and love.

Complicated Divorce Cases

  1. Introduction to Complicated Cases: The conversation begins with Lex Fridman asking James Sexton about the craziest and most complicated divorce cases he has worked on. Sexton mentions that craziness and complexity can differ in divorce cases.

  2. Variations of Complex Cases: James Sexton highlights that divorce cases often involve bizarre fact patterns, including infidelity, polyamorous relationships, and secrecy. These variations can create emotional and legal complexities.

  3. Emotional Complexity in Custody Cases: The discussion turns to the emotional complexity of custody battles. Sexton explains that custody cases are emotionally charged because they revolve around parenting issues, and determining what makes a good parent can be subjective.

  4. Maternal Presumption: The conversation briefly touches upon the historical concept of the maternal presumption, where a child under the age of seven was presumed to be in the custody of the mother unless she was proven unfit. This concept has evolved over time.

  5. Private Negotiations: Most custody cases are private negotiations between divorcing parents who prioritize their children's well-being over their disputes. They discuss how decisions about schooling, medical care, and parenting time are made during these negotiations.

  6. Counseling Clients: Sexton's role as a divorce lawyer often involves counseling clients to help them navigate custody disputes. He provides examples of guiding clients to reframe their perspectives and adapt to new family dynamics.

  7. Changing Traditions: The conversation touches on the idea that divorcing parents may need to create new traditions and routines for their children, adapting to the changing family structure.

  8. Interest in Dramatic Stories: Sexton acknowledges that people are often more interested in hearing dramatic divorce stories involving infidelity, scandal, or unusual circumstances, rather than amicable and cooperative divorce settlements.

  9. The Allure of Scandalous Stories: James Sexton mentions that people are drawn to stories of infidelity, like affairs with nannies, which are captivating and sensational, making them appealing topics for conversation.

Cheating with the Nanny

  1. Cheating with the Nanny: James Sexton mentions that he has encountered several cases where people have cheated with the nanny. He describes various scenarios involving affairs and marriages with nannies.

  2. Threesome with the Nanny: Sexton narrates a particular case where a husband convinced his wife to have a threesome with the nanny, which ultimately led to the nanny and the wife pairing up and leaving the husband. Despite the unconventional outcome, everyone involved appears to be happy except for the husband.

  3. Nanny Fascination: There is a discussion about the fascination with nannies in divorce cases. Sexton suggests that in many cases, the husband may idealize the characteristics of the wife that have been overshadowed by the responsibilities of motherhood. The presence of a nanny can rekindle these qualities.

  4. Maintaining Individuality in Marriage: Sexton shares his perspective that in a marriage, it's important for both partners, especially mothers, to remember that they are individuals outside of their parental roles. He suggests that women should stay in touch with the part of themselves that is independent and interested to keep the marriage vibrant.

  5. Positive Divorce Experiences: Sexton talks about his positive experience with divorce, emphasizing that when done right, it can lead to a fulfilling co-parenting relationship. He highlights the benefits of sharing responsibilities and having free time to focus on oneself.

Relationship Advice

  1. The Importance of Presence and Connection: James Sexton emphasizes the significance of being fully present and emotionally connected in a romantic relationship. He suggests that people generally desire genuine affection and mindfulness from their partners, rather than mere superficial connections.

  2. Balancing Individuality and Togetherness: Sexton discusses the balance between individuality and being in a relationship. He argues that in a successful relationship, there should be room for both partners to maintain their individuality and engage in personal adventures while coming together to share experiences and stories.

  3. Friendship in Romantic Relationships: Sexton touches on the concept of friendship within romantic relationships. He defines the ideal friendship as one where you can rely on the other person, even in challenging situations. He humorously likens this level of friendship to the scenario where you can call them and say, "I need you to help me hide a body," and they respond positively.

  4. Sensitivity and Deep Feelings: Both Sexton and Lex Fridman share their perspectives on being highly sensitive individuals who feel emotions deeply. They suggest that this sensitivity can be both a challenge and a superpower, enabling individuals to connect with others on a profound level and use their empathy productively in professions that require it.

  5. The Power of Vulnerability: The conversation underscores the idea that embracing one's sensitivity and vulnerability can lead to meaningful and fulfilling relationships and careers. It is seen as a gift that allows individuals to connect with others and contribute positively to their lives.

  6. Embracing Complexity: Sexton acknowledges the complexity of human emotions and relationships, drawing parallels to themes found in Pink Floyd's "The Wall." He suggests that the journey from emotional detachment to embracing deep feelings can be both challenging and transformative.

Cost of Divorce

  1. Differences in Divorce Cases: Sexton discusses how divorce cases can vary significantly in terms of cost. The least expensive divorces may involve couples who amicably agree on the division of assets and custody arrangements, and they simply need legal documentation to formalize their agreement.

  2. High-Performing Individuals and Divorce: High-performing individuals, whether they are high net worth or successful in their careers, face unique challenges in divorce. Their divorces can be technically challenging due to complex financial portfolios and investments that need to be divided.

  3. Financial Success and Fame: Sexton distinguishes between financial success and fame. He mentions that fame does not necessarily equate to financial wealth, and he has represented clients who are famous but don't have significant liquidity. Divorces involving famous individuals can also be challenging.

  4. Control and Disruption: Divorce is described as a process that disrupts a person's life and control. High-performing individuals are often used to having control over their lives, and divorce can take that control away, which can be emotionally challenging.

  5. The Cost of Divorce: When asked about the average cost of divorce, Sexton mentions that it's a difficult question to answer because divorce costs can vary widely. He uses an analogy of asking a doctor how long a headache will last—it depends on many factors. He highlights that the complexity of the case, the willingness to cooperate, and the issues involved all play a role in determining the cost.

  6. Forgiveness and Letting Go: Sexton emphasizes the importance of forgiveness and letting go of anger in the divorce process. He suggests that forgiveness can be a personal benefit, making individuals feel lighter and finding peace.

  7. Parental Alienation: Sexton discusses the issue of parental alienation, where children can be used as tools in a divorce to manipulate or damage the relationship with the other parent. He acknowledges that it's a challenging problem to prove in court due to its subtlety.

  8. Complex Financial Cases: Some divorces involving high net worth individuals can become extremely complex, with issues such as hidden assets, offshore accounts, and complex financial structures that need to be unraveled during the divorce proceedings.

  9. Structures and Tax Planning: Sexton explains how some high net worth individuals use complex financial structures and trusts for tax planning purposes. These structures can make the division of assets during divorce more complicated.


  1. Prenuptial Agreements (Prenups): Sexton emphasizes that prenuptial agreements are an excellent idea. They are contracts between two people that define their respective rights and obligations in the event of a divorce, primarily focusing on financial issues.

  2. Legally Binding: Properly crafted prenuptial agreements are legally binding. They are enforceable as long as they include some minimal asset disclosure and are understood by the parties involved.

  3. Crafting a Prenup: Sexton cautions against using prenuptial agreement templates found on the internet, emphasizing the importance of having a lawyer draft the agreement. This ensures that the document adheres to legal requirements.

  4. Customizable: Prenuptial agreements are highly customizable and can include various provisions that dictate how assets and liabilities will be treated during and after the marriage.

  5. "Yours, Mine, and Ours" Approach: Sexton mentions a common approach where assets and liabilities are categorized as "yours" if they are in your name, "mine" if they are in your spouse's name, and "ours" if they are held jointly.

  6. Rule Setting: Prenups are like setting the rules of the game before entering into a marriage, allowing couples to agree on how certain financial matters will be handled during the marriage.

  7. Normalization of Prenups: Sexton emphasizes the need to normalize prenuptial agreements and highlights that having one doesn't mean a lack of love or commitment. Instead, it's a realistic and honest approach to understanding the legal implications of marriage.

  8. Incentives and Fidelity Clauses: The conversation touches on the idea of using prenups to incentivize certain behaviors, such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Sexton mentions that some prenuptial agreements include fidelity clauses, but he discourages their use as they can lead to legal disputes regarding what constitutes cheating.

  9. Sunset Clauses: Another topic discussed is sunset clauses, which stipulate that certain terms in the prenup expire after a specified period of marriage. Sexton explains that these can lead to uncomfortable decision points for couples, as they force a reevaluation of the relationship.

  10. Legal Expertise: Sexton highlights the role of lawyers in drafting prenuptial agreements, noting that their job is to anticipate future scenarios and provide guidance to clients.

  11. Importance of Education: The conversation underscores the importance of educating individuals about the legal implications of marriage, as many people enter into marriage without a full understanding of their rights and obligations.

Cheating and Different Types Infidelity

  1. Different Types of Infidelity: Sexton discusses how infidelity is not a one-size-fits-all concept and categorizes it into various types:

  2. Impact of Infidelity: The discussion touches on the profound impact of infidelity, which can vary between men and women. When men discover their partners cheating, they often ask about the physical act itself, while women often focus on emotional involvement and whether their partner loves the other person.

  3. Changing Dynamics: Sexton acknowledges the progress made in accepting LGBTQ+ relationships and how it has affected infidelity dynamics. He reflects on the difference in reactions when a partner leaves for someone of the same gender, as it doesn't imply a direct comparison to the current partner.

  4. Mistake Infidelity and Temptation: People sometimes make poor choices driven by temptation or impulse, even if they genuinely love their spouse. Sexton emphasizes that human beings can sometimes succumb to temptation, leading to actions that do not reflect their morality or feelings for their spouse.

  5. Ethical Non-Monogamy: The conversation briefly touches on ethical non-monogamy and questions whether marriage should solely revolve around sexual fidelity. It raises the broader issue of whether marriage is primarily about building a life together or strictly about sexual exclusivity.

Open Marriages and Threesomes

  1. Open Marriages and Relationships:

  2. Challenges in Open Relationships:

  3. Threesomes:

  4. Complexity and Consequences:

  5. Expectations and Disappointment:

  6. The Nature of Love:

  7. Realistic Expectations:

Sex and Fighting

  1. Conflict and Fighting in Relationships: They discuss the role of conflict and fighting in relationships and how much is considered acceptable. James Sexton mentions that he's witnessed epic fights in his career as a divorce lawyer and is often shocked by the disrespect, insults, profanity, and degradation that can occur between romantic partners. He emphasizes the importance of healthy communication in resolving conflicts.

  2. Individual Differences: They highlight that the threshold for acceptable conflict varies from one couple to another based on their individual preferences and dynamics. What might be too much fighting for one couple may be normal for another.

  3. Changing Dynamics: James Sexton draws a parallel between the beginning of a relationship and its later stages, suggesting that the amount of sex or fighting may change over time. He implies that comparing the early stages to later stages can provide insight into relationship dynamics.

  4. Enjoyment of Conflict: They discuss how some people seem to enjoy fighting or arguing, while others prefer discussion over intense arguments. James Sexton mentions that he personally doesn't enjoy argumentation in his free time.

  5. Interviewing Skills: Lex Fridman asks if there are transferable skills from the courtroom to conducting interviews or conversations effectively. James Sexton suggests that skills such as distillation, considering the other side's perspective, and understanding the other party's strengths and weaknesses can be valuable in interviews.

  6. Judicial Role: They discuss the challenging role of judges in the courtroom, where they must remain impartial, listen to arguments, and make difficult decisions. James Sexton emphasizes the importance of credibility and rules in legal proceedings.

  7. Divorce Lawyers' Reputation: James Sexton acknowledges that divorce lawyers often have a challenging reputation because they are associated with difficult chapters in people's lives. He explains that some actions taken by divorce lawyers may appear aggressive but are meant to protect clients and their interests.

  8. Conflict Minimization: They mention that experienced divorce lawyers often work to minimize conflict, find common ground, and resolve issues efficiently to avoid lengthy and costly legal battles.

  9. Individual Reputation: Both Lex Fridman and James Sexton emphasize the importance of reputation in their respective fields, whether it's being a divorce lawyer or conducting interviews.

  10. Perception of Divorce: They talk about the societal perception of divorce and how it's different from other life choices or events. Divorce is often seen as a significant and emotionally charged event.

Kevin Costners Divorce

  1. Kevin Costner's Divorce: They briefly discuss Kevin Costner's divorce, highlighting that he had a very expensive divorce from his first wife but had a well-crafted and enforceable prenuptial agreement in his more recent divorce.

  2. Prenuptial Agreements: They emphasize the importance of prenuptial agreements, especially in the entertainment industry where careers can be unpredictable. Kevin Costner's case serves as an example of how prenuptial agreements can protect one's assets.

  3. Matthew McConaughey's Career and Personal Life: They talk about Matthew McConaughey's career and relationships, mentioning that he managed to exit past relationships without any negative comments from his ex-partners in the media. This demonstrates the value of handling breakups with dignity and positivity.

  4. Talking Positively About Ex-Partners: They discuss the value of speaking positively about ex-partners, especially when there are children involved. Even if you may have negative feelings internally, maintaining a positive and respectful discourse for the sake of the children can be important.

  5. Honesty in Relationships: They touch upon the idea of honesty in relationships and how sometimes a little white lie can be acceptable, especially when it comes to children.

  6. Privacy of Artists: The conversation also delves into how some artists, like Tom Waits, Cormac McCarthy, and Maynard James Keenan, prefer to stay out of the spotlight and let their art speak for itself. They mention that these artists are private and that pursuing interviews with them might not be what they want.

  7. Genius and Artistic Expression: They express admiration for certain artists and acknowledge that genius can sometimes coincide with a desire to stay away from the spotlight.


  1. Honesty and Fraud: They discuss the difference between honesty and fraud in legal terms. Fraud involves a material misrepresentation of fact, whereas "puffery" is a term used for hyperbolic statements that people wouldn't necessarily believe as truth. They highlight that in advertising and marketing, puffery is common, but crossing the line into fraud is illegal.

  2. Honesty and Candor in Relationships: They explore the balance between being honest and being overly candid in relationships. While honesty is important, they suggest that there are situations where complete candor may be indelicate or hurtful. They provide an example of how to address sensitive questions about appearance without being hurtful.

  3. Middle Ground in Communication: They emphasize the importance of finding a middle ground in communication, especially in relationships. Instead of providing simple "yes" or "no" answers to sensitive questions, it's better to provide nuanced and constructive feedback.

  4. Specific Relationship Advice: James Sexton discusses the challenge of providing specific relationship advice when people often seek measurable and practical suggestions. He mentions that in his book, he offers practical tips, such as leaving notes and making small gestures to show affection.

  5. Managing Marital Finances: They briefly touch upon the importance of managing marital finances effectively. They highlight the need for open communication and discussions about financial matters, comparing it to the importance of proceeding carefully in intimate matters.

  6. Finances and Relationship Stress: Sexton discusses how financial matters can be a significant source of stress in relationships. They delve into various aspects of financial stress, including the desire to make things seem effortless, power dynamics, and how different financial styles can affect relationships.

  7. Power Dynamics and Divorce: They touch upon the power dynamics in relationships and how financial matters can become particularly contentious during divorce. There's a discussion about the irony of maintaining a financial obligation that contributed to the marriage's downfall.


  1. Productive Schedule: James Sexton follows an exceptionally productive schedule. He typically wakes up at 4 AM, which is his natural wake-up time, and starts his day early.

  2. Morning Routine: He begins his day by checking his phone for work-related emergencies. Given his profession as a divorce lawyer, there might be urgent matters that require his attention even in the early morning hours.

  3. Exercise: Sexton emphasizes the importance of exercise for managing stress. He used to engage in intensive weight training and Jiu-Jitsu but has shifted to more cardio workouts since herniating his L5 S1 disc. Exercise is followed by a sauna or steam session and a cold plunge or cold shower.

  4. Breakfast: After his morning exercise routine, Sexton has a simple, uncontroversial breakfast. He follows a slow-carb diet similar to Tim Ferriss' recommendations.

  5. Work and Court: Sexton's most productive time for writing and speaking is from 4 AM until noon or 1 PM. He focuses on drafting documents, such as prenups, motions, and settlement proposals, during this time. Court sessions typically run from 9 AM to noon.

  6. Trial Experiences: Sexton shares that trials are both exhilarating and exhausting. He describes the intense focus required during trials, which can last for hours without a break.

  7. Legal Time Tracking: He mentions that he lives his life in six-minute increments (tenths of an hour) due to the legal billing system. Lawyers bill their clients in increments, and Sexton logs his time meticulously throughout the day.

  8. Work Discipline: Sexton's discipline helps him manage his workload effectively. He acknowledges that the legal profession can be all-consuming, but he tries to maintain boundaries and not overwork himself.

  9. The Feeling of Completion: Sexton mentions a conversation with his son, who is also a lawyer, about the feeling of completion at the end of the day. He reflects on how, in the legal profession, the work is never truly finished, and lawyers often have to set boundaries to maintain work-life balance.

  10. Jiu-Jitsu: Sexton briefly mentions his passion for Jiu-Jitsu and how he used to train with law enforcement officers at 5 AM, finding it to be an enjoyable and fulfilling activity.

Jiu Jitsu

  1. Sexton's Love for Jiu-Jitsu: James Sexton expresses his deep love for Jiu-Jitsu and mentions that he has been involved in martial arts since childhood. He describes how he returned to martial arts, specifically Jiu-Jitsu, after going through a divorce when he was still relatively young.

  2. Return to Martial Arts: After his divorce, Sexton faced a choice of following stereotypical mid-life crisis behaviors, such as growing a goatee and buying a convertible, or pursuing something more productive. He decided to return to martial arts, choosing Muay Thai kickboxing and later adding Jiu-Jitsu to his routine.

  3. Gracie Academy and Purple Belt: He talks about his introduction to Jiu-Jitsu at a Gracie Academy and the experience of being "ragdolled" by a 120-pound practitioner. This encounter motivated him to learn Jiu-Jitsu, and he began his journey under the guidance of Professor Louvin Tolaro, who helped him progress to a purple belt.

  4. Move to Manhattan and Marcelo Garcia: After achieving his purple belt, Sexton moved to Manhattan, choosing an apartment near Marcelo Garcia's academy. He became part of Marcelo's Jiu-Jitsu community, where he continued to train and learn.

  5. Respect for Jiu-Jitsu Community: Sexton speaks highly of the innovation and teaching quality within the Jiu-Jitsu community. He mentions notable figures like Eddie Cummings, John Danaher, Bernardo Faria, and Marcos Tinoco, all of whom he holds in high regard.

  6. Humility and Learning: Sexton emphasizes the value of Jiu-Jitsu in teaching humility and the impossibility of ever perfecting it. He mentions how the sport constantly challenges him and provides opportunities for growth.

  7. Conflict with Gordon Ryan: Sexton briefly discusses a past conflict with Gordon Ryan, highlighting that he didn't personally know Gordon at the time. He describes how the conflict arose from online interactions, where he defended a friend whom Gordon had criticized. Sexton acknowledges that, in hindsight, his response was inappropriate, given the context of online trash talk.

  8. Apology: He takes the opportunity to publicly apologize to Gordon Ryan, expressing deep regret for his actions and words during the conflict. He clarifies that he doesn't seek any personal gain or reconciliation but genuinely regrets his behavior and comments towards a young and aspiring Jiu-Jitsu athlete.

  9. Love and Relationships: The conversation briefly touches on the topic of love, with Lex Fridman commenting on Sexton's romantic side. However, the discussion moves away from this topic at this point in the conversation.

Sex, Love and Marriage

  1. The Significance of Love: Love is described as a central element in the human experience. It plays a significant role in wars, empires, and personal lives. The pursuit of love is compared to chasing a rush or a "dragon."

  2. Motivation for Success: Sexton suggests that a lot of what people, especially men, do is driven by the desire to be more attractive to potential partners. Success, wealth, and nice possessions are often seen as means to attract the opposite sex.

  3. Relationships as Equalizers: Sexton reflects on his experience as a divorce lawyer, highlighting that relationships, regardless of social status or wealth, involve similar dynamics. He notes that the problems and insecurities that arise in relationships are common to all.

  4. Insecurity and Desires: Relationships bring about feelings of insecurity, sadness, and the need for validation. Sexton observes that people often talk about how they don't need romantic relationships, yet their actions and discussions indicate otherwise.

  5. Value in Mistakes: Sexton views divorce as a practice that highlights the unpredictability of life. He suggests that what may initially seem like a mistake can lead to unforeseen blessings, similar to how he views his father's journey through alcoholism.

  6. Unpredictable Blessings: Sexton acknowledges that even though he wouldn't want anyone to go through a difficult situation like divorce, it can lead to unanticipated positive outcomes, such as personal growth.

  7. The Potential for Transformative Divorce Work: Sexton mentions an unconventional idea of using psilocybin (psychedelic mushrooms) to facilitate transformative divorce experiences. He speculates that the enhanced empathy resulting from such experiences could be beneficial for conflict resolution.

  8. Divorce as a Catalyst for Growth: Sexton sees divorce as an opportunity for individuals to engage in self-discovery and personal growth. It presents a chance for radical reinvention and a new beginning.

  9. Acceptance and Moving Forward: Sexton emphasizes the importance of letting go, accepting that love is abundant, and acknowledging that everyone can find the right lid for their "pot." He encourages viewing the search for love as a positive and ongoing journey.

  10. Closing Thoughts: The segment closes with a quote from Rumi, emphasizing the idea that the task is not to seek love externally but to remove internal barriers against it.