- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books (July 10, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0738234958
- ISBN-13: 978-0738234953
- Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Tell Me What You Want: The Science of Sexual Desire and How It Can Help You Improve Your Sex Life Hardcover – July 10, 2018
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"Thirteen" by Steve Cavanagh
"A dead bang BEAST of a book that expertly combines Cavanagh’s authority on the law with an absolutely great thrill ride. Books this ingenious don’t come along very often." ―Michael Connelly | Learn more
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"A penetrating, erotic X-ray into the hidden recesses of our sexual psyches. Illuminating and incisive, Lehmiller lays bare the gray matter of great sex."
―Ian Kerner, PhD, New York Times bestselling author of She Comes First
"Have a deep, dark sex fantasy that you've never shared with anyone? Turns out, you're not alone. Most people are afraid their sex fantasies are abnormal, but Justin Lehmiller's newest book reveals that understanding your erotic imaginings, and sharing them with your sex partner might be the best, healthiest thing you do all year. Tell Me What You Want educates, titillates, thrills and guides us down a marvelous, sexy path that ends in acceptance of those naughty secrets in the basements of our minds."
―David J. Ley, PhD, author of The Myth of Sex Addiction
" Lehmiller's smart, warm, sex-positive book breaks the toxic silence around our sexual fantasies. Reading it may be the best thing you ever do for your sex life, your relationships and your self-acceptance."―Geoffrey Miller, author of The Mating Mind, Spent, and Mate
"Lehmiller's groundbreaking book points to an alarming divide between the conversations we're having about sex and the conversation we should be having about sex. It provides the nudge we need to change the conversation--and, in doing so, to live healthier, hotter lives."―Eli J. Finkel, Professor of Psychology, Northwestern University
"Tell Me What You Want provides a scientifically grounded, non-judgmental assessment of where things stand in the sexual lives and fantasies of Americans. With an open-minded approach and fluid prose, this book is highly recommended for anyone looking for a road-map of where American sexuality is at the moment, and where many Americans would like to be going soon."―Christopher Ryan, PhD, co-author of the New York Times bestseller Sex at Dawn
"Sheds some light on the topic of fantasies, including who has them, how common they are and how they change over a person's lifetime."―Wall Street Journal
"A treasure trove of nuggets about the American sexual psyche...Engaging, provocative, and easy to read."―Dr. Michael Aaron's Psychology Today blog, "Standard Deviations"
"[An] illuminating book...Armed with research, [Dr. Lehmiller] describes our collective fantasies and helps make sense of what they might mean, tackling everything from how they're connected to personalities to how our sexual histories shape desires."―Goop
"The book we've all needed, even if we didn't know it...[A] barrier-smashing book...Whether you're interested in the world of sex research, or you just want to understand your own sex fantasies better, or you're looking for tips for communicating better with your partner, you'll enjoy and learn from Tell Me What You Want."―Naked at Our Age blog
"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."―Library Journal
About the Author
Dr. Justin J. Lehmiller is a social psychologist and one of the country's leading experts on human sexuality. He is currently the Director of the Social Psychology Program at Ball State University and a Faculty Affiliate of The Kinsey Institute. Formerly, he served on the faculty at Harvard University.
In addition to being an award-winning educator, Dr. Lehmiller is a prolific scholar who conducts research on sexual fantasy, casual sex, secret relationships, and safer-sex practices. He has authored dozens of scientific publications and is the author of the sexuality textbook The Psychology of Human Sexuality. Dr. Lehmiller is on the editorial boards of several prominent academic journals in the fields of relationships and sexuality, including the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, and he is an elected full member of the International Academy of Sex Research.
Dr. Lehmiller holds advanced degrees in psychology, including a Master of Science from Villanova University and a Ph.D. from Purdue University.
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The main takeaway: this could be a good educational resource if you have not had very good sexual education. But otherwise, it falls short of what I would recommend. I really feel it would have been better presented and just as easily digestible as a 2,000-word Atlantic article or written as a publication in a similar other outlet.
I actually do recommend this book if you feel ashamed about your sexual identity or fetishes, you have a hard time communicating with their partners about sex, or you don't know a lot about specific sexual taboos, including but not limited to BDSM, group sex, and gender-bending (cross-dressing, for example). For sexually conservative or shy Americans, this is an excellent book that could greatly help people better understand their sexuality and what defines being "normal," as well as get some ideas for how to communicate in relationships in a healthy way.
Having said that, this is not a well-written book. Specifically, the editing fails spectacularly. Honestly, this book should be about half the length it is. It is extremely pedantic and nearly every concept is over-explained to the point of exhaustion. I'm not exactly a sexual deviant, but I did not need the level of detail for each fantasy explained this extensively. Ask yourself: do you need a 6-page primer on what the acronym BDSM stands for? If the answer is yes, then you should definitely read this book. If not, then this book might not be for you. If you need a book that reminds you every 3-4 pages that a specific fantasy is "not weird, and okay to have as long as everyone is safe and you aren't hurting anyone," then you should buy this book. I, personally, don't need that much coaching. Perhaps I drastically over-estimate the common sense of most Americans, but to me, the insights gleamed from the giant research study which resulted in this book are interwoven too tightly with what I feel are obvious statements like "it's illegal to expose yourself to strangers," and that makes the book frustrating to read.
My other problem is that the book advises looking for outlets to help explore certain fantasies like nonmonogamy, group sex, and BDSM, but does not go into detail about any specific meetup groups, dungeons, clubs, sex parties, sex toys, or online communities to facilitate that. The author only off-handedly mentions FetLife once and does not otherwise point you towards any particular resources to help you find what he says you should look for. Every time an interesting point was made or my ears perked up at a research finding, the book failed to follow up with any real details. And while specific sexual fantasies from the study are quoted near the beginning of the book, that goes away entirely after the second or third chapter, leaving you with somewhat vague findings. The author doesn't even really commit to any of the broad advice given near the end of the book, adding a paragraph-long caveat after every single idea that says "but this might not work" or "but I'm not saying this is definitely the answer." One disclaimer at the beginning of the book could have replaced literally 20 percent of this book that consists entirely of disclaimers. I'm not exaggerating.
Finally, the science is nearly all correlation, and a huge chunk of the causation is speculative. The phrase "this may be because..." is everywhere, and even more disclaimers are given when the author guesses as to why something might be. Granted, some citations are made when explaining concepts rooted in previous research, but this is the exception, not the rule. And he also leans on evolutionary biology quite a bit for some claims, which can actually be somewhat contentious in the scientific community. So while you'll learn what's "normal" and what fantasies people have, the "science" behind it all is a bit smoke-and-mirrors. More research will need to take place before many of the ideas in this book are validated.
This review is coming from a relatively liberal young adult with a lot of familiarity in the fields of science and sexuality, so you might love the book if you're not me. I hope you find this review helpful, and that future editions fix some of the issues with this first run.
The book is much too wordy. The author makes some interesting points and observations but he goes on much too long. A lot of it deals with BDSM which has zero interest for me. I did a lot of skipping over paragraphs. I can't say I found the to be as interesting as I thought it would be.