What Do Women Want?

  • by Daniel Bergner
  • Narrated by Charles Pasternak
  • 6 hrs and 45 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When it comes to sex, common wisdom holds that men roam while women crave closeness and commitment. But in this provocative, headline-making book, Daniel Bergner turns everything we thought we knew about women's arousal and desire inside out. Drawing on extensive research and interviews with renowned behavioral scientists, sexologists, psychologists, and everyday women, he forces us to reconsider long-held notions about female sexuality.
This bold and captivating journey into the world of female desire explores answers to such thought-provoking questions as: Are women perhaps the less monogamous sex? What effect do intimacy and emotional connection really have on lust? What is the role of narcissism - the desire to be desired - in female sexuality? Are political gains for women ("No means no") detrimental in the bedroom? And is the hunt for a "female Viagra" anything but a search for the cure for monogamy?
Bergner goes behind the scenes of some of the most groundbreaking experiments on sexuality today and confronts us with controversial, sometimes uncomfortable findings. Incendiary, profoundly insightful, and brilliantly illuminating, What Do Women Want? will change the conversation about women and sex, and is sure to spark dynamic discussion for years to come.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Masterfully read, depressing yet thoughtful book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. But I came to this book from Dan Savage's recommendation. So I'd say anyone who reads it better be pretty sex positive and open mined, taboo breaking and advanced, because it isn't for the faint of heart.


If you’ve listened to books by Daniel Bergner before, how does this one compare?

Nope, I had never heard of him before this Wednesday, Oct 8 2014.


What about Charles Pasternak’s performance did you like?

Haunting. Passionate. He does an absolutely masterful job with this book. He has a very effective way of channeling the insecure guy, the older, expoerienced woman, the professor, the college-educated woman - all with excellent voice and - I guess 'acting'. You can tell when he is speaking through the true material of the book, versus a quote from a test subject or an authority. My first move after finishing this the second time, was to see what other books he had narrated and found nonw.


If you could give What Do Women Want? a new subtitle, what would it be?

"Women Want Variety and Don't Want Monogamy
Hold on to your donuts, men"


Any additional comments?

I saw another comment on here that talked about how they listened to the book and said that he never answers "what they wan't. I said to myself, 'what'? The book beats on the point from the first moments and first vingette. Daniel Bergner starts from the very beginning about what they want. What do they want? Just like 50 Shades of Grey - they want to be taken, and they sure as s*it don't want monogamy, at their core instinct level. They want options. Not covered in the book are the external forces cause the monogamy to work - the security, the money, the house/boat/car/yard and percieved & debated long-term mental health and stability of their children. I am a child of a divorced couple and recently my own divorce was finalized. Kind of disenchanted with long term stuff at the moment. In this book, it is explained that studies show women are as virile and interested in variety of partners as men are, if not more so. **At least** as much as men are. For what it's worth I actually agree with that premise.

I am pretty good looking man in my 30's and with this book in mind and on my third play through I watched yesterday when I was out & about how women with their husbands in tow, would look at me, hold their stare and all but approach me. Absolutely looking and sizing me up, wanting to try me out. I know that "look" - like - "Geesh Dianne I'd sure like to give that one a try". I know I am superior in every possible way to many men, but that their are some who are superior in every way to me, and no amount of counseling, cologne, haircuts, trips to the Balenciaga/Dolce & Gabanna, Givenchy outlet stores will ever change that. Exercise and grooming is the only tool we have to make ourselves - all things being equal - superior at least to a certain percentage of men, or superior to the former versions of ourselves. It's just a hard life fact. But I think that it's dangerous to compare us to primates and rats, because if we did that - and justified our acts that way - then murder and all sort of other things would then be somehow justified. I think of it like this - the author spends so much time comparing us to rats and primates. It's a slippery slope there. Rats and primates can commit rape, murder and theft without repercussions. We humans have big powerful brains that "know better" and that applies to sexuality.

For me, as a divorced guy who had to get married and divorced, then a failed relationship immediately after, to understand what they want (and I still don't know fully) this book just helped strengthen stuff I basically already thought. And that thought is that many if not all women get bored. Even if they are married to a Tom Brady super stud. They'll fantasize about the whole team, or a cheerleader. Or an opposing quarterback taking her from him, even if he's more attractive than the new guy. And that is ok! My fantasies are sometimes super awful. I found the book enlightening, interesting, convincing, and very depressing actually - but I was more ready for that than the average guy, I think. I am a man who actually likes a long term partner. Someone to really get to know, and then the sex gets better with time because I get more comfortable experimenting and. I am a more attentive and inventive and generous lover than most men (or so I am told). So I see this book as a tool. It's telling us it's ok for women to want to switch things up. He talks about the drugs that were being researched as the 'cure to monogamy' and I think that was a little over the top. It somehow weakened the whole point and him calling it that was a little too "on the nose" for me. It's well worth the money, it's something people should know about. And I wish it was longer than 6 hours. Felt too abbreviated in parts and I had to check if I had bought the abridged version, and I didn't. Kind of a novella maybe. Good book. And as I said in the other part of this review, the narrator, Charles Pasternak, is incredible in his narration. Almost kind of sensual in parts. I hope to read more by Bergner and hear more from Pasternak.

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- Boom Depleter

Ok, but there are better books to read

If you are just looking for a book to learn about women, then this book might be ok for you. But if you are interested in sex and sexual behavior from an evolutionary biology/human behavior standpoint, there are much better reads than What do Women Want. Available on Audible, I recommend The Red Queen by Matt Ridley and Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan. Stick to those!
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- Scott

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-18-2013
  • Publisher: HarperAudio