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

Summary of: What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire
By: Daniel Bergner


In ‘What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire,’ author Daniel Bergner delves into the fascinating and often misrepresented world of women’s sexuality. From ancient myths to modern science, women’s desires have been marginalized and misunderstood for millennia. The author challenges traditionally held beliefs and explores groundbreaking research that unveils the complexities of female desire. This summary offers insights into how social conditioning, biology, and evolutionary psychology have shaped our understanding of women’s sexuality.

Repression of Women’s Sexuality

Women’s sexuality has been suppressed and misunderstood throughout history. The lack of attention on the female perspective has led to misconceptions regarding female pleasure and desire. From Greek mythology to evolutionary psychology, women’s sexuality has been seen as a secondary concern. Evolutionary psychology’s parental investment theory further perpetuates stereotypes about women’s behavior, encouraging them to conform to societal norms. Women are told how to feel and act, and these influences perpetuate the status quo. It’s time to challenge these beliefs and give women the agency to explore their sexuality without shame or judgment.

Female Desire Unveiled

Women’s desires are complex and often misunderstood, with society underestimating the range and power of their libido. Contrary to popular belief, men are not the only ones who seek sexual pleasure, emotional safety and monogamy. Women’s sexuality are more than social conventions let on, with science now attempting to delve into the complexities of female desire. Dr. Chivers, a specialist in sexology, conducted a study that debunked the myth that female desire is straightforward, as women reacted to all kinds of footage regardless of sexual orientation. Even more intriguingly, the results showed that women often misunderstand their own desires, with their ratings failing to match their physical arousal.

Sex Differences Demystified

Men’s and women’s sexuality have stark differences that are influenced by both anatomy and social environments. Men’s feedback loop between their body and mind helps them understand their desires. Women’s interpretation is either unclear or influenced by societal norms, making it harder to understand their own desires. Women do not fit into societal standards since they can find pleasure in sexual encounters that do not involve emotional connections.

Reversal of Gender Roles in Animal Sex

Animals exhibit reversal of traditional gender roles in mating, with females often initiating sex and displaying bullying behavior. This challenges the assumption that reproduction, not pleasure, is the primary motivator for animal mating. Rhesus monkeys select and invite males to copulate, regardless of ovulation. In rats, females run away from their partners to enjoy prolonged mating. These behaviors suggest that desire and pleasure play a significant role in animal mating. Interestingly, recent studies show a trend of sexual awareness among women, with one in every three porn users being female and mass retailers selling vibrators. This suggests a possible shift in gender roles in human sexuality.

The Complexity of Female Desire

Studies reveal that female fantasies sometimes involve themes of assault and coercion. This could be due to the desire to feel desired, the effects of fear on arousal and the search for release from guilt and societal constraints.

The issue of female desire has long been a controversial topic, and recent surveys reveal that women’s fantasies can be both shocking and complex. Surveys show that a significant number of women fantasize about assault and coercion, themes that may trigger arousal. But what factors could account for this phenomenon?

Meana’s research suggests that women’s sexual desire revolves around feeling desired by their partners. Similarly, women who incorporate themes of assault into their fantasies may be seeking the ultimate expression of desire: an offender willing to break laws and social norms to have sex with them.

Another possible explanation is that fear plays a role in the arousal of certain women. Participants in an experiment reported heightened levels of sexual arousal after experiencing fear on an amusement park ride. Excitation transfer is the idea that the brain circuits involved in fear and sexual arousal are interconnected, thereby triggering a response in the latter.

Lastly, Bivona and Critelli suggest that such fantasies may help women reconcile their desires with culturally imposed shame and guilt. In some cultures, sex remains a taboo topic, and women may be reluctant to express their sexual desires. By turning to fantasies involving assault and coercion, women may be able to avoid societal constraints and fully embrace their sexuality.

In conclusion, the complex nature of female desire can manifest in various ways, including fantasies involving assault and coercion. While these fantasies may seem alarming to some, they may be the ultimate expression of women’s desire to feel desired, the effects of fear on arousal, and the search for release from societal constraints.

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