Forget everything you think you know about female sexuality: You've been lied to.
Or so the premise of the new book What Do Women Want?: Adventures in the Science of Female Desire by Daniel Bergner instructs. In a glowing review of the book and interview with the author, Salon's Tracy Clark-Flory writes that it "represents a complete paradigm shift... [it] reveals how gender stereotypes have shaped scientific research and blinded researchers to evidence of female lust and sexual initiation throughout the animal kingdom, including among humans. It reveals how society’s repression of female sexuality has reshaped women’s desires and sex lives." Consider us very, very intrigued: An analysis of the "science" that made the box that female sexuality is historically put in sounds like just what the doctor ordered. We don't know why no one wrote this book sooner (but we're not complaining).
So, what does the book say female desire is actually like? The answer may not surprise you if you're female-identified, though having it put into words – scientifically-backed words, at that — certainly feels groundbreaking. As Bergner writes, “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.” This and other fairytales about what women want are scientifically debunked in the book, which is probably why Clark-Flory says, "This book should be read by every woman on earth."
Bergner writes, “Women’s desire — its inherent range and innate power — is an underestimated and constrained force, even in our times, when all can seem so sexually inundated, so far beyond restriction." We can't wait to learn all about our internalized repression of our own desire and unleash its "innate power." Who's with us? (Salon.)
Photo: Courtesy of Salon.