What Do Women Want? Book Summary - What Do Women Want? Book explained in key points
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What Do Women Want? summary

Daniel Bergner

Adventures in the Science of Female Desire

4 (145 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

What Do Women Want? by Daniel Bergner is an eye-opening book that explores the complexity of female desire. Based on research, it challenges the idea of women being less sexual and highlights their desire for variety.

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    What Do Women Want?
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    Social norms often dictate women’s sexuality – and inevitably simplify it.

    Throughout history, women’s sexuality has never received the attention it deserves. This, in large part, is because the story has always been told from a male perspective. What we claim to know about women and desire, therefore, should be taken with a liberal pinch of salt.

    Ancient texts and religions reveal that the repression of women’s sexuality is pretty much coeval with its arrival. Just take Greek mythology, according to which Pandora, the first woman, is responsible for unleashing all of the world’s evils.

    Later, in the sixteenth century, male scientists discovered the role of the ovum for reproduction; after this discovery, the female libido was regarded as being of minor importance. Because women could conceive regardless of whether they felt desire, men concluded that there was little reason to pay attention to female pleasure.

    As well as being repressed, women’s sexuality was, in more recent history, mislabeled.

    Assuming that genes regulated women's behavior, evolutionary psychologists claimed that genes made women desire security in relationships. Thus, evolutionary psychologists developed the parental investment theory, which states the following: because men have unlimited sperm and invest little effort in reproduction, and because women have a finite number of eggs and do more work in the reproductive process, men are programmed to spread their seed, while women must carefully select long-term providers.

    Nowadays, such claims go more or less unquestioned. Women are supposedly the more restrained sex, a stereotype that just encourages women to behave in the way we think they should.

    The problem is: whether it’s through religion, social convention or science, women are told how to feel and act. It’s a combination of these influences that perpetuate the status quo.

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    What is What Do Women Want? about?

    In What Do Women Want? (2011) Daniel Bergner casts doubt on common preconceptions about women’s desires. Drawing on history and recent scientific research, Bergner exposes the myths about, and the ingrained societal norms that often dictate, women’s sexuality. We may only just be beginning to uncover what women really want.

    What Do Women Want? Review

    What Do Women Want? (2013) explores the complex and often misunderstood world of female desire. Here's why this book is worth a read:

    • With research-backed insights and thought-provoking interviews, it unveils the hidden depths of women's sexual desires, challenging conventional wisdom.
    • By delving into taboo topics and debunking myths, it invites readers to question and reevaluate their own assumptions about female sexuality.
    • The author's engaging storytelling and candid approach help to demystify female desire, making the book entertaining and enlightening.

    Who should read What Do Women Want??

    • Anyone who wants to understand women better
    • People seeking different perspective on sex and relationships
    • Women with questions about their own sexuality

    About the Author

    Daniel Bergner is a writer for The New York Times Magazine, and has authored several nonfiction books, including The Other Side of Desire and In the Land of Magic Soldiers: A Story of White and Black in West Africa. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Harper’s Magazine and The Atlantic.

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    What Do Women Want? FAQs 

    What is the main message of What Do Women Want??

    Discover the truth about female desire and the complexities of women's sexual preferences.

    How long does it take to read What Do Women Want??

    It takes a few hours to read What Do Women Want? The Blinkist summary can be read in 15 minutes.

    Is What Do Women Want? a good book? Is it worth reading?

    What Do Women Want? is a thought-provoking read that challenges societal misconceptions and provides valuable insights into female desire.

    Who is the author of What Do Women Want??

    Daniel Bergner is the author of What Do Women Want?

    What to read after What Do Women Want??

    If you're wondering what to read next after What Do Women Want?, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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