A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World's Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire

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Two maverick neuroscientists use the world's largest psychology experiment-the Internet-to study the private activities of millions of men and women around the world, unveiling a revolutionary and shocking new vision of human desire that overturns conventional thinking.

For his groundbreaking sexual research, Alfred Kinsey and his team interviewed 18,000 people, relying on them to honestly report their most intimate experiences. Using the Internet, the neuroscientists Ogas and ...

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Overview


Two maverick neuroscientists use the world's largest psychology experiment-the Internet-to study the private activities of millions of men and women around the world, unveiling a revolutionary and shocking new vision of human desire that overturns conventional thinking.

For his groundbreaking sexual research, Alfred Kinsey and his team interviewed 18,000 people, relying on them to honestly report their most intimate experiences. Using the Internet, the neuroscientists Ogas and Gaddam quietly observed the raw sexual behaviors of half a billion people. By combining their observations with neuroscience and animal research, these two young neuroscientists finally answer the long-disputed question: what do people really like? Ogas and Gaddam's findings are transforming the way scientists and therapists think about sexual desire.

In their startling book, Ogas and Gaddam analyze a "billion wicked thoughts" on the Internet: a billion Web searches, a million individual search histories, a million erotic stories, a half-million erotic videos, a million Web sites, millions of online personal ads, and many other enormous sources of sexual data in order to understand the true differences between male and female desires, including:

?Men and women have hardwired sexual cues analogous to our hardwired tastes-there are sexual versions of sweet, sour, salty, savory, and bitter. But men and women are wired with different sets of cues.

?The male sexual brain resembles a reckless hunter, while the female sexual brain resembles a cautious detective agency.

?Men form their sexual interests during adolescence and rarely change. Women's sexual interests are plastic and change frequently.

?The male sexual brain is an "or gate": A single stimulus can arouse it. The female sexual brain is an "and gate": It requires many simultaneous stimuli to arouse it.

?When it comes to sexual arousal, men prefer overweight women to underweight women, and a significant number of men seek out erotic images of women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s.

?Women enjoy writing and sharing erotic stories with other women. The fastest growing genre of erotic stories for women are stories about two heterosexual men having sex.

?Though the male sexual brain is much more different from the female sexual brain than is commonly believed, the sexual brain of gay men is virtually identical to that of straight men.

Featuring cutting-edge, jaw-dropping science, this wildly entertaining and controversial book helps readers understand their partner's sexual desires with a depth of knowledge unavailable from any other source. Its fascinating and occasionally disturbing findings will rock our modern understanding of sexuality, just as Kinsey's reports did sixty years ago.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Behavioral scientists Ogas and Gaddam used the Internet—sifting through a billion Web searches, analyzing hundreds of thousands of online erotic stories, the 40,000 most trafficked adult Web sites, five million sexual solicitations posted on online classifieds, and a great deal more online sexual expressions—to determine the secret desires of a billion anonymous men and women. Their less surprising findings are that male desire is instantly activated by visual cues and directed toward orgasm. Women are more aroused by psychological cues, and the vast majority of romance readers like a "strong, confident, swaggering alpha" hero. More unusual findings are that straight men and masculine professions are the dominant motif in gay male porn, and gay men like the same things in their porn as straight guys: youth, graphic details of the body, and anonymous, emotionless, nonmonogamous sex. Viewers of porn sites directed at women prefer foreplay and intercourse, and many men are aroused by the thought of their wives cheating on them. Although striving to titillate and be cute (using Elmer Fudd and Miss Marple as male and female metaphors, for example), this study can be maddeningly vague ("many men," "very popular") as it offers some insights amid mostly familiar observations. (May)
Library Journal
Experts in information technology and neuroscience, Ogas and Gaddam present research on Internet porn site usage. Not for prudes or children, the book identifies websites presenting a great variety of sexual practices—tame to violent; hetero-, homo- and bisexual; teen to granny. The approach is based on evolutionary psychology: males want to spread their genes, hence are easily and diversely aroused; females seek partners who will protect them and their offspring over time. The findings show that men prefer pictures, and women generally read stories. More surprising conclusions come from the authors' analysis of sites on cuckolds, gay, interracial, and granny porn (older women/younger men). The authors assume—unjustifiably—that the brain is a computer, the mind is software, and that evolutionary psychology is the key to understanding relationships. VERDICT While the numbers are large, porn site users are an unrepresentative sample, hence generalizations must be qualified. Sex educators and therapists will find much of interest here—as in the early 20th-century pioneering work of Havelock Ellis.—E. James Lieberman, George Washington Univ. Sch. of Medicine, Washington, DC
Kirkus Reviews

An in-depth look at the variety of forms in which human sexual desire manifests, based on an analysis of 500 million people and their anonymous—thus, likely truthful—online revelations.

Every day, millions of people voluntarilyreveal intimate details about their sexual preferences online through search queries, adult websites, classified ads, stories and videos. During the course of their research into the nature of human sexual desire, neuroscientists Ogas and Gaddam analyzed half a billion of these and, combined with the latest findings in conceptual neuroscience, discovered that the data yielded some unexpected information about sexual preference. Some quirkier examples include the Japanese fascination with a woman's "absolute territory" (the space of exposed skin between the bottom of a skirt and the top of knee-high stockings); the fact that fantasies of older women are very popular among straight men; and that paranormal erotic literature isincreasingly popular among women.Also intriguing is the authors' analysis of the relatively small divergence of sexual preference between straight and gay men (excepting the obvious masculine/feminine aspects) and the surprising discovery about which faction is most curious about transsexuals.More expected results also abound: Men are aroused visually, whereas women prefer to have their imaginations stimulated; men desire sex, and woman desire the feeling of being desired; men have a direct mind-body connection when it comes to arousal, and women experience a more complex series of thoughts and emotions, often displaying an intellectual distaste for stimuli that might simultaneously excite them physically. Perhaps partly as a result of this, there exists no pharmaceutical equivalent of Viagra for women. From cartoon porn to foot fetishes, the authors write with enthusiasm and in engaging detail, often incorporating the neuroscientific basis for results, yet retaining an accessible vernacular throughout that references pop culture as often as thelaboratory.

An enjoyable, exhaustive and often insightfullook at what turns us on—sure to excite readers.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525952091
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/5/2011
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.22 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Ogi Ogas received his PhD in computational neuroscience from Boston University, where he designed mathematical models of learning, memory, and vision. Ogi was a Department of Homeland Security Fellow and conducted biodefense research at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. He resides in Boston.

Sai Gaddam, PhD, conducted his doctoral research at Boston University on biologically inspired models of machine learning. He collaborated with Hewlett- Packard to design nanoscale processors that mimic noisy, massively parallel brain computations, and now offers his data mining expertise to companies looking to understand customer preferences. He splits his time between Boston and Hyderabad, India.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012

    Very insightful. Glad to have a look into where so many human ac

    Very insightful. Glad to have a look into where so many human actions stem from. Great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2011

    Love the title, love the book

    How can geeks write so well? I laughed while I learned a lot. Bought a copy for my daughter.

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