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Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex, and Relationships First Edition (1 in numberline) Edition

38 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1451611557
ISBN-10: 1451611552
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A serious, informative and highly entertaining survey of the neurobiology of sexual attraction.” (The Washington Post)

“A fun and insightful read [that] manages to evoke the feel of both a wine-laden conversation with an old friend and a great neuroscience lecture from your favorite college professor." (Scientific American Mind)

"It was the cotton-top tamarin monkeys that did it for me...Sukel's book fairly bristles with such causes to reflect on our erotic complexity." (Ben Dickinson, ELLE magazine)

"With humor and flair, Sukel takes us through the whole human drama -- loving, hating, cheating, losing, orgasming, parenting, punishment, and reward -- and at the end we realize something truly startling: it's all in our minds." (Jena Pincott, author of Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies?: The Surprising Science of Pregnancy)

"Kayt Sukel's [Dirty Minds] merges the bracing realities of science with the mysterious thrill of love and attraction. Provocative, well-researched, and compulsively readable, this book opens the mind (dirty or otherwise) and stirs the soul." (Lily Burana, author of Strip City, Try, and I Love a Man in Uniform)

"Love and sex are two of the eternal mysteries of the human experience--but in her compelling new book . . . Kayt Sukel lifts the curtain to give us a fresh and fascinating look at our intimate lives. Sukel shows us how neuroscientists are venturing into the realm once reserved for poets and songwriters, and returning with bold new knowledge about the brain in love and in the throes of pleasure. After reading this seductively interesting book, you'll never think about a date or a kiss or a breakup the same way again." (Annie Murphy Paul, author of Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Kayt Sukel’s work has appeared in myriad publications, including Atlantic Monthly, USA TODAY, The Washington Post, National Geographic Traveler, Continental, American Baby, and Cerebrum. She is a partner in the renowned family travel website, TravelSavvyMom.com, blogs about international eating for UpTake.com, and is also a frequent contributor to the Dana Foundation’s many science publications.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; First Edition (1 in numberline) edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451611552
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451611557
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #414,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kayt Sukel knows more about sex than you do. (According to Forbes, at any rate...)

A passionate traveler and science writer, she has no problem tackling interesting (and often taboo) subjects spanning love, sex, neuroscience, travel and politics. Her work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, the New Scientist, USA Today, Pacific Standard, the Washington Post, ISLANDS, Parenting, the Bark, American Baby, National Geographic Traveler, and the AARP Bulletin. She is a partner at the award-winning family travel website Travel Savvy Mom, and is also a frequent contributor to the Dana Foundation's many science publications. She has written stories about out-of-body experiences, fMRI orgasms, computer models of schizophrenia, the stigma of single motherhood, and why one should travel to exotic lands with young children.

Her first book, DIRTY MINDS: HOW OUR BRAINS INFLUENCE LOVE, SEX AND RELATIONSHIPS (retitled as THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON SEX: THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE SEARCH FOR LOVE in paperback), is an irreverent and funny tome that takes on the age-old question, "What is love?" from a neurobiological perspective. Called "a fun and insightful read," by Scientific American Mind and "a serious, informative and highly entertaining survey of the neurobiology of sexual attraction," by the Washington Post, DIRTY MINDS/THIS IS YOUR BRAIN ON SEX offers a new take on that crazy little thing called love.

Her new book, THE ART OF RISK: THE NEW SCIENCE OF COURAGE, CAUTION & CHANGE, an investigation into the science of risk-taking, will be published in November 2015.

A popular public speaker, Kayt has graced the stages of TEDMED, Chicago Ideas Week and renowned universities across the continent. She lives outside Houston, Texas (and is surprised as you are about it), and frequently overshares on Twitter as @kaytsukel.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Nick VINE VOICE on January 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Kayt Sukel's highly readable book, Dirty Minds, is one of the more unique science books I've read in quite some time. I've always wondered what love actually consists of at a scientific level - what chemicals are involved and how things actually work. What is lust? What's love? What is romance?

Sukel jumps headlong into the science of it all - from the brain juggling hormones and neurochemicals and what goes on in the brain at the chemical level and the brain's reward system. What about romance and love (of all types)? Or even just attraction? Well, that's a bit more complicated. The book takes us on a journey from models to nuns to what exactly goes on during sex.

What I liked about the book is that it's not only an easy read due to the author's handling of scientific jargon, but that the book is also a self-discovery. Sukel learns along with us as we read in order to figure out what is going on between our ears. She also puts a good number of personal anecdotes into the book, making it also a personal odyssey as well as a scientific journey to understand one of the greatest mysteries out there: love and sex.

(review based off of an author-provided advanced release copy)
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Carole Moore on January 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was one of those kids who took biology because the instructor was cute; I was more of a history gal. But this book has changed my mind about both science and its suitability for recreational reading. This is not a dry, by-the-numbers read, but instead Sukel writes about the sciences of attraction and sex and emotion and how they intersect with verve, style and a whole lot of courage. The description of having an organism "for the record" is priceless and fascinating.

I recommend Dirty Minds to readers who love science, to readers who think science is boring (Sukel proves that it's not at all boring!) and to anyone with an inquiring mind. It's sassy, fun, educational and informative all at one time.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By gingerpenny95 on January 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I did not expect to be so entertained by such a book that is primarily about brain research but the author's witty style, laced with personal experiences made this an absorbing read that was, at times, laugh out loud funny. I had enjoyed the author's travel pieces on her travelsavvymom website so based on that, I purchased this, her first book. I thought reading about brain science would be a character building experience for me but it was actually quite fun and I learned something along the way.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By CLK CarolLee Kidd on January 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had so been waiting for this book to come out and it didn't disappoint. After growing up in a somewhat - hello more than somewhat - dysfunctional family and having really bad relationships pretty much all my life, I looked to this book as a guide to help myself overcome the usual habits I follow when in a relationship - any relationship.

This isn't a relationship book per se. This is a source to understand our relationships and how our brains react or don't react to what we think our heart wants and body desires. Just knowing and understanding the science of what is going on gives me peace of mind that it isn't that I am unloveable but I have been placing so much weight on how someone reacts to me that I neglected how I truly felt and reacted to myself and to them, and I just haven't found the one who I can be me with and let go of the games I play with myself, much less the games we play with each other. Where was this book 30 years ago?

I have read the book and am reading it a second time - with my current boyfriend, and my male and female friends alike - and the discussions we have been able to hold about the book and each other are witty, open, informative, and so looked forward to by all.

Learning something new is always a great thing for everybody - learning something new and understanding more about yourself at the same time is the topping on the cake.

It's a whole new way to understand who you are and why you love the way you do.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Every book is written from a perspective. This one is from the perspective of a divorced mother of a five-year-old who is still quite interested in sex and/or marriage. Kayt Sukel is a thoroughly modern woman. She is career-oriented and successful. She has made a mark in the highly competitive world of authoring articles for quality magazines, and with this she makes her book debut.

Although her mastery of the science of sex sets her apart, Sukel's thinking is quite mainstream for modern American campuses. There is nothing that will challenge prevailing views. She starts out by defining love. Rather, she discourses at length on how difficult it is to arrive at a single definition.

One theme that recurs in several chapters in his the idea that sexual love involves at least three separate elements. One is pure lust, which can most closely be explained by the brain chemicals, hormones and genetic factors that she describes. Second is the feeling of being in love, the butterflies in the stomach, distracted sort of feeling that comes of being head over heels. The third is the deep, long-term commitment.

She explains all of these through the use of diagrams of areas of the brain. Our reptilian brains are in control of our most basic functions, and more lately evolved portions drive the reasoning processes which channel and control the reptilian. Although it may not be interesting exactly which areas light up under which stimuli, the very fact that sexologists and neurologists can develop that accurate picture of what's going on in the brain is really pretty amazing. In her chapter on orgasm, she modestly presents a time series of images of her own brain as she was wired into an MRI. Scientists definitely have a clue what's going on in there.
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