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

The Fourth of July landed on a Friday this year. My husband left town for a fishing trip with a buddy, and I spent the day doing what I love–writing all day, in my happy oblivion. Right now, that happy oblivion is Mark of the Pterren, though sometimes I think I might rename this novel My Biggest Pain in the A** because it has now morphed into a trilogy– or maybe four books, I can’t really tell at this point.

Regardless of how frustrating my revisions can be, I love Mark of the Pterren, and Friday was a good day of writing. At 9:15 p.m., the fireworks in Durango began, so I opened the window in front of my computer to watch, and while I was entertaining myself with loud sparkly pretties, I told myself I should do at least one thing other than writing all day. So I read articles on The New York Times Book Review, because I am a junkie and that is my fix. Plus, reading about books went well with the fireworks.

I discovered this nonfiction book by Daniel Bergner:








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

This book was given a short blurb under July 3rd’s “Paperback Row,” which features brief write-ups on recently-published paperback books of note.

I read the short blurb and bought this book immediately, which cost $10.34 for my kindle-on-PC desktop library.

Best. Amazon. Purchase. EVER.

This book blew my mind.

I loved it.


I devoured this book. Total reading time: 1.5 days.

I had a book club meeting on Monday night, and this book was the only thing I wanted to talk about.

I hosted a critique group meeting tonight, and this book was still the only thing I wanted to talk about.

Daniel Bergner answered questions about this book for Lifestyle Mirror, and you can read his short interview here. That interview was published June 10, 2013.

He also gave a TEDxEast talk about his book, which has a total running time of 17 minutes, 24 seconds, and can be watched here.

Anyone interested in learning more about this book should check out that interview or the video (or read that very short blurb on Paperback Row)– and please be warned, this book is not for people who get easily enraged when conventional wisdom is questioned. In fact, if you are someone who cherishes conventional wisdom, DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. Bake brownies, walk the dog, call a relative, play with the baby, watch a movie, read your Facebook wall, do the dishes. But DO NOT READ THIS BOOK. (And don’t read anymore of this blog post! Stop reading now!!)

Because What Do Women Want? is the most empowering book I’ve read in a long time. I gush about all kinds of books that I read, but I got something like a heroin rush from this one, or maybe I should say heroin, cocaine, and meth all mixed together– because mind = blown.

Why do I love this book so much? Because women are amazing. Because understanding desire is key to understanding who we are, as women, as men, as transgender people. And that’s all this book is doing– talking about how science blinded itself for so long, and how some scientists are taking off their blinders.

There are so many things I learned in this book. I learned that scientists still don’t really understand how female genitalia work. I learned how scientists ignored, for so long, how big the clitoris really is (which holds true for the public today). And how women have so many different pathways to orgasm. How even paralyzed women can still have orgasms. How women are much more able to orgasm without even touching themselves than men are. (Seriously. Women’s bodies are just amazing.) I learned that birth control significantly diminishes a woman’s testosterone levels, and scientists still don’t understand why that kills desire in some women, but doesn’t matter to others.

And I learned about monkeys. I learned stuff about monkeys I have never read before.

I was fascinated by these monkeys.

And I learned that monogamy is actually harder for women than it is for men. I learned that the loss of desire is so profound in some women that they just feel dead inside. I learned all these things women are doing to try to regain their desire. How incredibly difficult that can be.

I listened to women talk about their lives. Their real lives. And their sexual lives. I was simply amazed. In the best way possible.

Mind = blown.

I’m so glad I read Paperback Row on the Fourth of July. So glad.

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1 Response to What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire

  1. Pingback: » Sex, All the Sex, Sex Here, Sex Now, Yes to Sex!

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