SOCIAL SCIENCES

Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life

Da Capo: Perseus. Jul. 2018. 288p. notes. index. ISBN 9780738234953. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780738234977. PSYCH
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Social psychologist Lehmiller (research fellow, Kinsey Inst.; The Psychology of Human Sexuality) looks at American sexual desire on a large scale to see what people want to do with whom and how. When it comes to sexual desire and fantasy, we quickly judge what is acceptable and deviant. Incomplete or inaccurate sexual knowledge mixed with a society that pathologizes desire outside the narrow window of "normal" keeps people from fully enjoying sexuality consensually, legally, and ethically. After unpacking survey methodology, the author discusses common sexual fantasies and explores gender differences. Readers also learn the risks (STIs, rocky emotions) and benefits (greater intimacy and acceptance in our relationships, greater sexual satisfaction) of disclosing and acting out our passions so long as they are consensual and legal. Lehmiller closes by encouraging readers that their sexual interests are probably normal but that professional help exists if our desires cause us angst. He also advocates for comprehensive sexual education and suspending judgment on ourselves and others.
VERDICT An excellent choice for readers wanting to know more about their own fantasies as well as those who are simply curious about American sexual desires in general.

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