What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire

What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire

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by Daniel Bergner
     
 

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In What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire, critically acclaimed journalist Daniel Bergne disseminates the latest scientific research and paints an unprecedented portrait of female lust: the triggers, the fantasies, the mind-body connection (and disconnection), the reasons behind the loss of libido, and, most revelatory, that this

Overview

In What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire, critically acclaimed journalist Daniel Bergne disseminates the latest scientific research and paints an unprecedented portrait of female lust: the triggers, the fantasies, the mind-body connection (and disconnection), the reasons behind the loss of libido, and, most revelatory, that this loss is not inevitable.

Bergner asks: Are women actually the less monogamous gender? Do women really crave intimacy and emotional connection? Are women more disposed to sex with strangers and multiple pairings than either science or society have ever let on? And is “the fairer sex” actually more sexually aggressive and anarchic than men?

While debunking the myths popularized by evolutionary psychology, Bergner also looks at the future of female sexuality. Pharmaceutical companies are pouring billions of dollars to develop a “Viagra” for women. But will it ever be released? Or are we not yet ready for a world in which women can become aroused at the simple popping of a pill?

Insightful and illuminating, What Do Women Want? is a deeper exploration of Daniel Bergner's provocative New York Times Magazine cover story; it will spark dynamic debates and discussions for years to come.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Bergner picks up with the questions raised in his previous book The Other Side of Desire, in which a researcher asks provocative questions about female sexual desire. What if the popular belief that females are the more monogamous, relationship-oriented gender isn't true? What if females are wired to be less monogamous than males? Taking a position similar to Christopher Ryan's Sex at Dawn, Bergner unravels vignettes from the latest research. Along the way, readers are introduced to the sexual desires of monkeys and rats, the waning of such feelings in marriage, and even the gamble for pharmaceutical research companies to be first in finding a pill that awakens female sexual desire. VERDICT There is no question that readers unfamiliar with female desire will find this book engaging, even startling, as a different image of female sexuality emerges. Nonetheless, Bergner's pop-science journalism glosses over the subject's complexity, omitting evidence of evolutionary psychology and discussion with credible critics. Recommended to readers interested in human sexuality.—Scott Vieira, Sam Houston State Univ. Lib., Huntsville, TX
Publishers Weekly
Suspicious of evolution-based assumptions about female desire—such as the views that women prefer monogamy and that women find emotional connections key to physical satisfaction—Bergner (The Other Side of Desire) looks to past and current scientific and social research, as well as interviews with everyday women, to uncover the truth behind female sexuality. In accessible and informative prose, the author addresses topics as wide-ranging as scientific studies of female rats and monkeys, the implications of biological differences between the sexes (does the fact that women have a limited quantity of reproductive material—as opposed to men’s regenerative supply of sperm—offer insight into the discrepancies between the male and female libidos?), the role of narcissism in desire, the effects of orgasm on the brain, and what happens when women—not men—are the ones to switch seats during a speed-dating session. Bergner isn’t afraid to take on the most taboo of subjects (such as rape fantasies), but he does so through a critical lens that seeks to reveal the why behind the phenomenon under investigation. This page-turning book will have readers questioning some of their most ingrained beliefs about women, men, society, and sex. Agent: Suzanne Gluck, William Morris Endeavor. (June)
Gay Talese
“Daniel Bergner has written a keenly intelligent book about a subject that often exceeds our intelligence: What Do Women Want?”
Diane Ackerman
“At last, we have a new perspective on the wilds of female desire, in rousing tableaux, as women, men, sexologists, bonobos, erotic gurus, and many others provide frank, vivid answers to the question that has haunted [us] for far too long: What do women want? The answer will fascinate all.”
Salon.com
“This book should be read by every woman on earth... a must-read for anyone with even a remote erotic interest in the female gender.”—Salon.com
Atlantic Review
“...Shatters many of our most cherished myths about desire.”—The Atlantic
New York magazine
Totally engrossing.”—New York magazine
Slate
“Fascinating.... Threatens to disrupt all the modern stereotypes of female sexuality.”—Slate
New York Post
“It’s everything you wanted to know about sex but didn’t know to ask. Daniel Bergner upends long-standing myths about women and sex—everything from nature of attraction and pursuit to prevalence of taboo fantasies to monogamy itself.”
Vogue
What Do Women Want? adds both steam and explosives into the national conversation-or preoccupation-with what it means to be a woman today.”
Elle
“Bergner lays out the history of this brainwashing and then debunks it in his entertaining new book, What do Women Want?. He recaps ingenious studies that have plumbed our desires, including those we deny or hide from ourselves.”
The Atlantic
“...Shatters many of our most cherished myths about desire.”—The Atlantic
Kirkus Reviews
Accessible, engaging inquiry into the boundaries of the female libido by New York Times Magazine contributor Bergner (The Other Side of Desire, 2009, etc.). The author's multifaceted exploration travels across varied terrain, ranging from the varieties of female orgasms and the effect of monogamy on lust to the development of a female desire drug. Bergner combines into a cogent whole vast amounts of information on female sexuality gleaned from interviews, academic papers, scores of books and data gathered from conversations with researchers. He begins with Meredith Chivers, whom Bergner describes as a bold sexologist and a careful statistician whose always-scrupulous work explores women's primal and essential selves. One of the author's provocative conclusions, arrived at after years spent talking with Chivers and her subjects, explodes one of society's ingrained concepts: "Women are supposed to be the standard's more natural allies, caretakers, defenders, their sexual beings more suited biologically, to faithfulness. We hold tight to the fairy tale." Bergner devotes a chapter to the varied ways female sexuality has been perceived since classical times, then probes societal and cultural mores that have pegged women as the less lustful gender. Using scientific studies as a scaffolding, he translates data from studies performed on monkeys and rats, explaining how its interpretation over the years has negated information regarding female sexuality. "What science had managed to miss in the monkeys--what it had effectively erased--was female desire," he writes. In another example of his adroit translation of technical material into entertaining and erudite reading for curious readers, the author distills a highly entertaining chapter on speed dating from a 2009 article titled, "Arbitrary social norms influence sex differences in romantic selectivity." Stylishly written and cogently organized, making it easy and rewarding for lay readers to understand and appreciate some fairly complex science.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062249081
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/04/2013
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
316,488
File size:
400 KB

What People are saying about this

Gay Talese
“Daniel Bergner has written a keenly intelligent book about a subject that often exceeds our intelligence: What Do Women Want?”
Diane Ackerman
“At last, we have a new perspective on the wilds of female desire, in rousing tableaux, as women, men, sexologists, bonobos, erotic gurus, and many others provide frank, vivid answers to the question that has haunted [us] for far too long: What do women want? The answer will fascinate all.”

Meet the Author

Daniel Bergner is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and the author of three previous nonfiction books: The Other Side of Desire; In the Land of Magic Soldiers, a Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year and winner of an Overseas Press Club Award and a Lettre Ulysses Award for the Art of Reportage; and God of the Rodeo, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
KHaus More than 1 year ago
If you're looking for a self-help book, this is not it. If you want to see how science is trying to help women with disappearing lust and sexual satisfaction this is it.  It may be a few years old, but the science and psychology, alongalong with the interviewed women's stories, is fascinating.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Saw the author on the colbert report so i bought the book. Its an easy read and is all about sex
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't bother with this book.  It only offers a review of scientific literature on the topic of female sexuality, and it doesn't do a particularly good job of it.  One could simply find a recent article on the topic and read the review of literature at the beginning of the piece.  If still interested in more, you can just check out the original studies.  Also, the logic of this work is flawed.  Measuring vaginal secretions or the behavior of animals won't give much insight into what human females actually think, feel, want or will give in to.