One of my very favorite authors on sex, Daniel Bergner, has come out with a new book, What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire. What differentiates Bergner’s books from the other seemingly endless stream of “new” books about sex is… believe it or not… that he has something new to say!
You have no doubt heard it all. Women need love in order to connect. Women need to feel comfortable and safe in order to connect. Women need time to relax. Women need sexy underwear and massage oil. Partners should have date nights. Men are from Mars, women are from the nunnery. Blah…blah…blah…
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it. I’m tired of reading another book on sex which takes all the very same ideas and rehashes them with new case studies or new scented candles!
Daniel Bergner’s book is smart, scientific and surprising. Basically, his thesis is that women have been pigeon-holed into a sexual role which bears limited resemblance to reality (bear with me here because I’m trying to put 200 pages of an extremely interesting book into 3 sentences!). Bergner claims women are no more suited for monogamy than men. In fact, sexual boredom and routine might play out worse for women than their male partners. Women are turned on by a wide variety of stimulus, their bodies respond to any number of sexual options even if they may not be aware of it and women would function better if they weren’t so busy trying to stifle their libidos in an attempt to fit communal roles and norms. And maybe we, as a community, need to think more outside the box if we want women to want sex. Go Bergner!!
I am honestly wondering if someone that doesn’t work in the field of female sexuality would find the book as fascinating as I do. And I don’t know. Time will tell. The author weaves in personal stories in his usual warm and sympathetic way and tries as best as he can to give real faces to the women who are characterized, but in the end this is a theoretical book, not such a practical one. So the book might help you understand yourself (or your partner) in a new and interesting way. But it’s not going to give you too many answers.
There’s much to discuss about this book and future blog entries will focus on specifics, but if you are someone interested in trying to understand the female libido, this is a MUST-READ!