What the world’s largest experiment reveals about human desire – That is the tagline of this book.
I read a recommendation for or about this book on some blog and though I should check it out. Here is a brief description from Amazon about this book which made me want to read it more:
Two maverick neuroscientists use the world’s largest psychology experiment-the Internet-to study the private activities of millions of men and women around the world, unveiling a revolutionary and shocking new vision of human desire that overturns conventional thinking.
In their startling book, Ogas and Gaddam analyze a “billion wicked thoughts” on the Internet: a billion Web searches, a million individual search histories, a million erotic stories, a half-million erotic videos, a million Web sites, millions of online personal ads, and many other enormous sources of sexual data in order to understand the true differences between male and female desires.
Sounds cool eh? Sifting through billion data? But trust me after reading the book or rather skimming through the rest of the book after 4 chapters I was not impressed very much.
There are 11 chapters in the book and by the time I was at end of chapter 2, I lost my interest. I read through Chapter 3 & 4 because they were talking about female sexuality and I wanted to read it well before I commented. I skimmed through the rest of the book.
What did I think? – Well, they did compile some facts, used few examples from animal kingdom to support their results but I was not impressed.
For starters, have you heard of Dogpile? All the data they show for internet searches is from Dogpile. I have never heard of this search engine and it is the 770th most popular site in USA according to wikipedia. The data for internet searches may be reliable but what kind of sub group use this search engine. This would result in skewing of data.
I found some of their explanations (using scientific studies or data) to support their results weak.
The biggest flaw in their arguments – They did not take into account a very big variable: cultural, social and religious conditioning.
They tried to justify a lot of their results using example from animal kingdom but that cannot suffice to explain human sexuality without taking into account conditioning. They quoted from romantic literature for women and again of course the stress on virginity. Seriously and they look for biological explanations?! So, they make it sound like men are looking to spread their seed (what’s new?) and women are holding back sex, waiting, judging to see if he is a long term partner before committing, that female are less sexual than men, that they have more problems with sex than men, that they have lesser orgasms than men. I believe there is a huge huge social and cultural component to this than a result of biology. Sounds patriarchal to me.
Primates are generally polygamous (not only the males) and research has shown that women cheat as much as men sexually, only that they are more discreet.
The female romance book ” the flame and the flower” they quote often from in the chapters on female sexuality and the passage they quoted in the book shows how the female was virgin and a a burning pain spread through her loins when penetrated.
In the earlier parts of the book, they say that their research is more sound because they rely on internet searches, rather than asking people questions about sexuality as people often do not reveal their true thoughts in questionnaires but they use the answers of similar questions from okcupid to support their results when they need it. But then, isn’t okcupid answers also modified due to conditioning and by the fact that people can view your answers and see your photos from your profile?
Overall, the book is a mixed bag, few known facts, a few new things, a few conclusions or ideas I disagree with and definitely a very poor analysis of female sexuality apart from a few good facts which are not a result of their own studies anyway.
Nothing startled me in this book.
P.S: Uncle’s Review: Just by glancing at this book and fa ew notes, I knew it was rubbish and had poor methodology. Uncle knows best 🙂