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What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire [Format Kindle]

Daniel Bergner

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

“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 (Salon.com)

“...Shatters many of our most cherished myths about desire.”--The Atlantic (The Atlantic)

“Daniel Bergner has written a keenly intelligent book about a subject that often exceeds our intelligence: What Do Women Want?” (Gay Talese)

Totally engrossing.”--New York magazine (New York magazine)

“Fascinating.... Threatens to disrupt all the modern stereotypes of female sexuality.”--Slate (Slate)

“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.” (Diane Ackerman, author of A Natural History of Love)

“Accessible and informative prose . . . this page-turning book will have readers questioning some of their most ingrained beliefs about women, men, society, and sex.” (Publishers Weekly)

“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.” (New York Post)

What Do Women Want? adds both steam and explosives into the national conversation-or preoccupation-with what it means to be a woman today.” (Vogue)

“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.” (Elle)

Présentation de l'éditeur

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.


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Amazon.com: 4.1 étoiles sur 5  131 commentaires
85 internautes sur 92 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Some parts good, some disappoint 5 juillet 2013
Par M. Hyman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
I think it is always hard to write a book about sex research, because the book is bound to be overhyped. In this case, I didn't feel that the book lived up to the hype. It sets out to explore some recent studies in female sexuality -- how do women think, what turns women on, how do people research it. There are several sections that I found quite interesting -- the physical versus self reported reactions women have to pornography, for example, and the research into female aggression within a variety of primates. These chapters, and a few others, raise some interesting questions.

On the other hand, other sections felt rather disconnected. There are a variety of interludes with women's fantasy's, but it isn't tied to research, nor is it clear whether these fantasies happen to be ones the author liked, or are representative as a whole -- for example, do most women fantasize about being raped or having sex with strangers, or were these chosen simply to counter the idea that women are demure?

The general thesis tends to be -- women are a lot more sexually oriented than society likes to think -- although I'm not sure one really needs a book to come to that conclusion. I would have liked more discussion about research and its findings, instead of profiles of a few researches and skimming into what they are studying.

In short, excerpts from this book are quite interesting, but it didn't live up to my hopes. It is approachable popular science, but doesn't have the follow up depth that could have made it much better. It certainly isn't something like The Signal and The Noise for sex. Rather, it is a bit more like a series of enhanced magazine articles... interesting, but not great.
80 internautes sur 90 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Useful insights for heterosexual men 30 août 2013
Par Greg J. Lovern - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
I borrowed this book from the library hoping to learn something useful about women's sexual desires, and I believe I have.

Society teaches men two contradictory ideas about what women want in men. One side says women want gentlemen who treat them with respect, listen empathetically to her thoughts and feelings, are good friends with them, etc. The other side says that's all lies; what women really want is a man who is controlling, emotionally distant, and only really interested in her physically. Then the first side counters that women who want what the second side says they want are psychologically flawed or emotionally wounded, and best avoided.

Young men listen to both sides, wonder which side is right, then pick a side and wonder if they chose right.

After reading this book, now I understand that both sides are right. If the scientists who's work is described in this book are correct, normal women have a fascinating sexual duality that can be baffling not only for men but for women too. Normal women desire both types of men, at different times. For me it was an eye-opener.

When a woman who has a wonderful husband who treats her with respect etc. etc loses interest in him sexually though she still loves him dearly, while longing for the sexual attention of a distant, controlling man who is only really interested in her body -- going way beyond just periodical boredom with relationship routine -- it doesn't mean something is wrong with her. It means she's a sexually NORMAL woman.

The task for men, then, is to somehow help her with both sides of her sexual duality. Of course no one man can really be both; it doesn't make sense, even if he's a great actor. But the "bad boy" side can be addressed in sexual fantasy. After all, if you've been together for years, she's probably already fantasizing about such bad boys during sex anyway. She probably doesn't want to talk about it; she may feel ashamed about having such desires, or worried that you'll feel rejected for not being that type of man, or worried that you'll take it too literally or take it outside the bedroom, or maybe she just represses the whole thing right after sex each time.

Of course it's no surprise that some women (along with some men too) fantasize about being dominated or ravished. What's surprising is that it isn't just a titillating novelty fantasy that can be enjoyed or ignored at will. Rather, this research appears to clearly indicate that a NORMAL woman in a HEALTHY long-term heterosexual relationship often (or usually, or almost always) NEEDS to fantasize about being taken forcefully by a dominant, emotionally distant man, preferably one she doesn't know well or at all, to be sexually aroused and reach orgasm.

Of course, it should go without saying that enjoying fantasies about this in no way indicates a desire for it to actually happen in real life. As one insightful counselor put it, it can be compared to how a man's fantasy of rescuing a woman from danger is not an indication that he would enjoy actually, in real life, confronting armed criminals or rushing into a towering inferno.

Like the author and the scientists who's work he describes, I'm not exactly sure where to go with this. When I talked about it with my wife she became defensive and sarcastic. However, she did agree to read the book, and I'm hopeful that something positive may come of it. Anyway, I think it's useful for any heterosexual man to know that the courteous, respectful, solicitous, gentle, egalitarian husband she wants you to be most of the time is rarely if ever the man she wants -- and needs -- you to be in bed.

So imagine this, guys. You're having sex with your wife of several years, with whom you have a great relationship. Though she doesn't feel at liberty to tell you, for her to have an orgasm she's going to need to fantasize that a man quite different from yourself is forcefully having his way with her. Do you think it helps her when you are your usual courteous, respectful, solicitous, gentle, egalitarian self? I'll bet it doesn't. In fact, I'd guess that even hearing your voice breaks the fantasy. Imagine how frustrating it must be for her that the very niceness in you that she loves so much hinders her from reaching orgasm.

I read through all the reviews and I have some comments about the negative ones. First, some say the points made in this book are so obvious that everyone should already know them, while others say those same points are completely wrong. I suspect both factions did not read the book very closely or thoughtfully.

Second, they're right that the book does not answer the fascinating questions it raises, and it is certainly disappointing not have those answers. But a book titled with a question mark, with a subtitle beginning with "Adventures in", surely shouldn't be taken to be claiming to have much in the way of final answers. Anyway, the scientists themselves don't have the answers yet. Why wait until they do have all the answers to have this useful and fascinating information? It could be a long, long wait, and maybe this knowledge can help your marriage in the meantime.

Oh, one last point. I'd have to agree with another reviewer who said that some of the lengthy descriptions of real women's sexual fantasies was in places indulgent and approached softcore porn. The same essential information could have been conveyed in a bit more clinical form. And it does get fairly salacious in places. On the other hand, I did enjoy it!

UPDATE Sept 5:
We tried it last night and WOW, that was very hot. My wife wouldn't want me to put details here, so I'll just describe the essential points in a general way:

I had her put a blindfold on, and made up a fantasy about some other guy being overwhelmed with desire for her. She said the blindfold definitely helped her imagine the fantasy, and also helped her feel less inhibited. The key points used from the book were (a) that it was another man, and (b) that imaginary man was head over heels in desire for her (to try to trigger some narcissism in her).

She wanted to be in charge of who the imaginary man was, and she did not imagine a dominant, nor emotionally distant man. The blindfold's effect was quite exciting and I would highly recommend it.
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Science Shows Complexity but Conversation Can Reveal the Truth 28 janvier 2014
Par B. Dale - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
As a clergy I have seen my share of bored, if not sexless, marriages and counseled more than a few who had affairs to find desire again and rejuvenate their sex lives. But regardless of the book’s title it fails to provide sufficient guidelines for bored spouses or hope for monogamous couples whose sizzle inevitably has turned to fizzle. But while the answer to Bergner’s question is far too complicated to be answered easily or completely by science, it is a fascinating summary of what the experts know (or not) about women’s desire.
In summary, women’s sexual response is incredibly (and marvelously) complex. Bergner interviews sex researchers studying the sexual functioning in the animal kingdom, such as monkeys, mice, rats, and spiders, as well as women. Focusing on arousal they study a variety of social factors, such as the ways initiation impacts desire, and the physical, such as the brain’s neurotransmitters and how dopamine increases desire but yet interacts with serotonin and testosterone in a complicated way. They find the body responds even when the mind is unaware of it and study to whom we are aroused and when. And, while most people are aware of the clitoris and the g spot, (even if they can’t find the latter,) few are aware of the nerve-dense clitoral extensions and wings or the four nerve pathways that carry signals to a woman’s brain via the spine. The complexity of arousal is apparent when women are orgasmic even though spinal injuries dictate they should be physically unable to be so. Surely these various research studies are enough reason to read this book in order to fully appreciate the female’s sexual complexity as a miracle.
But there is no magic pill…yet… It is a dizzying scientific problem that drug companies are heavily funding as they breathlessly wait for a multi-billion dollar pill to match Viagra’s success with men. Yet female desire is not only physiology but socially constructed and Bergner notes we have a societal prejudice that appropriates male lust in the animal realm but, in contrast, keeps female sexuality relegated toward the civilized. Our bias assumes females are driven by relationship and intimacy rather than lust and desire because this keeps “women the preordained if imperfect guardians of monogamy.” Indeed, scientists note that more than a few people fear that, if science successfully develops such a pill it would unleash too much female sexual aggression as to create societal breakdown! (Note presidential contender Mike Huckabee’s concern about women's uncontrollable libidos in Washington Post 1/23/14)
In summary, Bergner is frustrated that although sexual desire is the essential core of what it is to be human, where there should be “an abundance of exploration, there is, instead, common assumptions, unproven theory, political constraint, varieties of blindness.”
I share Bergner’s frustration for, until we begin to talk honestly about the absurdity of strict gender roles, our sexless marriages, the distinctions between love and lust, and the ways erotic desire is subdued by the longing for long term commitment we shall continue to marry ill-advisedly (to justify sex and live the thrill) and divorce needlessly (because the thrill is gone). We will remain ignorant about and ill-prepared for the stages of relationship development. I have no faith in a “magic pill” to improve women’s desire but a cultural conversation might help us name what is, or rather, what is not happening in our bedrooms and identify the myths we have constructed that ultimately ensure sexual dissatisfaction. Until that happens the answer to what women really want will continue to evade us.
33 internautes sur 44 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Some Good Research but Ultimately Unsatisfying 27 juin 2013
Par Book Shark - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire by Daniel Bergner

"What Do Women Want?" is the unsatisfying science book on female sexual desires. A surprisingly neglected area of science, this book covers the latest scientific research on female lust. The book however suffers from being uneven, lack of flow and quite frankly scientific negligence. There is some interesting research and some findings are enlightening but ultimately this book fails to answer the premise of this ill-titled book to satisfaction. This disappointing 224-page book is composed of the following ten chapters: 1. Animals, 2. Bodies and Minds, 3. The Sexual Fable of Evolutionary Science, 4. Monkeys and Rats, 5. Narcissism, 6. The Alley, 7. Monogamy, 8. Four Orgasms, 9. Magic, and 10. A Beginning.

Positives:
1. A fascinating topic.
2. A welcomed book on a neglected area of science, female sexual lust.
3. Debunking myths. "And that one of our most comforting assumptions, soothing perhaps above all to men but clung to by both sexes, that female eros is much better made for monogamy than the male libido, is scarcely more than a fairy tale."
4. Use of some of the most recent scientific fields to come up with models of behavior. "Sticking with neuropsychology, she wound up doing a thesis experiment that added to fledgling evidence: that homosexual men perform less well than heterosexuals on a type of test involving three-dimensional shapes, just as females, on average, perform less well than males."
5. There are some interesting stories and findings. "Freud didn't make a career out of hunting homosexuals. Early on, he tried to cure gays through psychoanalysis; eventually he called in his patients and gave their money back."
6. A brief history of sexuality, the prevailing ethos of some eras. The thinking behind what was meant to be female.
7. Parental investment theory under the magnifying glass. Not afraid to be critical of other pop-science books.
8. Does a good job of putting functional magnetic resonance imagining (fMRI) in the proper perspective.
9. Does point out some missed opportunities in science. "What science had managed to miss in the monkeys--what it had effectively erased--was female desire."
10. Some interesting social observations. "Female desire is not governed by the relational factors that, we like to think, rule women's sexuality in contrast to men's."
11. The thrill of fear and sexuality. Fantasies.
12. The relationship between marriage and monogamy toward women's libidos.
13. An interesting discussion on the anatomical origins on the varieties of bliss.
14. A discussion on how science and in particular pharmaceutical companies are searching for female libido enhancement medication.
15. Readings provided.

Negatives:
1. An uneven and in my opinion a poorly written book.
2. The book just wasn't fun to read; a waste of a fascinating topic.
3. Not a criticism directed toward the author but the truth is that we know so little about our sexuality. As a society we should back more studies in this fascinating field.
4. Some minor spelling issues.
5. Some readers will have issues with the at times necessary explicit nature of the book and some topics are difficult or uncomfortable.
6. It doesn't answer the premise of the title to a satisfactory level.
7. Weak explanations on neuroscience. Poor use of good science.
8. No links to end sources or reading material.

In summary, I'm very disappointed in this book, such a waste of a fascinating topic. The uneven writing style coupled with scientific negligence left me, well...unsatisfied. Simply, I didn't enjoy this book. During the ride on this rollercoaster of a book, there are some interesting findings, some myths were debunked but it ultimately brings you right back where you started and it never answers to satisfaction the premise of the title, What Do Women Want? In a mild defense of the author, he is not afraid to be critical of some well-known pop science findings and putting fMRIs in perspective. That being said, I'm sorry, I can't recommend this book. Thankfully, it's a short ride if you so desire to get on this unsatisfying rollercoaster.

Further suggestions: "The Science of Love" Robin Dunbar, "The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature" by Matt Ridley, "Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire" Eric Berkowitz, "Work with Me: The 8 Blind Spots Between Men and Women in Business" by Barbara Annis and John Gray, "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us" by Daniel H. Pink, and "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn.
5 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 An adventure, but not in science. 29 décembre 2013
Par Gwen Murdock - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This book is more about what turns women on, rather than “what women want.” I was hoping and expecting this book to challenge my ideas about evolutionary psychology, but Bergner, the author, rarely addressed the arguments and never addressed any evidence that evolutionary psychology offers. The author described, then dismissed, parental investment theory. It actually would have strengthened some of the ideas in this book if Bergner had discussed long-term vs. short-term mating strategies in women. For example, Baker and Bellis (1995) found that women having affairs are more likely to have intercourse with the non-husband when ovulating. Also, when women engage in extramarital copulations, they are more likely to have orgasms, which results in retaining more sperm in the women’s bodies and less flow back (Buss, 2003). The two facts are consistent with Bergner’s main premise that women “want”—really more turned on by—new lovers.
Bergner argued that human sexual behavior is not determined by evolution or genetics, on the one hand, and then suggested that research on mating behavior in macaque monkeys and rats are somehow generalizable to humans, on the other hand. Bergner suggested that contemporary society’s construction of monogamous relationships is death to women’s desire, but never addressed the broad acceptance of polygamy, not polyandry, world-wide and over time. He suggested that monogamy is a social-cultural construction, but by also rejecting evolutionary influences on human and other animal mating systems, left the reader with no alternative explanation.
While looking for the science in this book, I found myself skipping over the “good parts” that were written more to titillate than to inform. Bergner’s language in describing animal mating behaviors was just as erotic as his quotation from Fifty Shades of Gray. Both detracted from the science.
There is a certain amount of truth in Bergner’s argument that women want to be desired in the most narcissistic way. Exploring ways that men could do that creatively would be a good theme for a book, but is missing in this one.
I suggest readers enjoy this book for its novel titillation and forget about gleaning from it much science. If someone wants to explore the science of human sexual interactions, I recommend reading the original sources listed in the very helpful “Readings” at the end of the book.
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