I borrowed this book from the library hoping to learn something useful about women's sexual desires, and I believe I have.
Society teaches men two contradictory ideas about what women want in men. One side says women want gentlemen who treat them with respect, listen empathetically to her thoughts and feelings, are good friends with them, etc. The other side says that's all lies; what women really want is a man who is controlling, emotionally distant, and only really interested in her physically. Then the first side counters that women who want what the second side says they want are psychologically flawed or emotionally wounded, and best avoided.
Young men listen to both sides, wonder which side is right, then pick a side and wonder if they chose right.
After reading this book, now I understand that both sides are right. If the scientists who's work is described in this book are correct, normal women have a fascinating sexual duality that can be baffling not only for men but for women too. Normal women desire both types of men, at different times. For me it was an eye-opener.
When a woman who has a wonderful husband who treats her with respect etc. etc loses interest in him sexually though she still loves him dearly, while longing for the sexual attention of a distant, controlling man who is only really interested in her body -- going way beyond just periodical boredom with relationship routine -- it doesn't mean something is wrong with her. It means she's a sexually NORMAL woman.
The task for men, then, is to somehow help her with both sides of her sexual duality. Of course no one man can really be both; it doesn't make sense, even if he's a great actor. But the "bad boy" side can be addressed in sexual fantasy. After all, if you've been together for years, she's probably already fantasizing about such bad boys during sex anyway. She probably doesn't want to talk about it; she may feel ashamed about having such desires, or worried that you'll feel rejected for not being that type of man, or worried that you'll take it too literally or take it outside the bedroom, or maybe she just represses the whole thing right after sex each time.
Of course it's no surprise that some women (along with some men too) fantasize about being dominated or ravished. What's surprising is that it isn't just a titillating novelty fantasy that can be enjoyed or ignored at will. Rather, this research appears to clearly indicate that a NORMAL woman in a HEALTHY long-term heterosexual relationship often (or usually, or almost always) NEEDS to fantasize about being taken forcefully by a dominant, emotionally distant man, preferably one she doesn't know well or at all, to be sexually aroused and reach orgasm.
Of course, it should go without saying that enjoying fantasies about this in no way indicates a desire for it to actually happen in real life. As one insightful counselor put it, it can be compared to how a man's fantasy of rescuing a woman from danger is not an indication that he would enjoy actually, in real life, confronting armed criminals or rushing into a towering inferno.
Like the author and the scientists who's work he describes, I'm not exactly sure where to go with this. When I talked about it with my wife she became defensive and sarcastic. However, she did agree to read the book, and I'm hopeful that something positive may come of it. Anyway, I think it's useful for any heterosexual man to know that the courteous, respectful, solicitous, gentle, egalitarian husband she wants you to be most of the time is rarely if ever the man she wants -- and needs -- you to be in bed.
So imagine this, guys. You're having sex with your wife of several years, with whom you have a great relationship. Though she doesn't feel at liberty to tell you, for her to have an orgasm she's going to need to fantasize that a man quite different from yourself is forcefully having his way with her. Do you think it helps her when you are your usual courteous, respectful, solicitous, gentle, egalitarian self? I'll bet it doesn't. In fact, I'd guess that even hearing your voice breaks the fantasy. Imagine how frustrating it must be for her that the very niceness in you that she loves so much hinders her from reaching orgasm.
I read through all the reviews and I have some comments about the negative ones. First, some say the points made in this book are so obvious that everyone should already know them, while others say those same points are completely wrong. I suspect both factions did not read the book very closely or thoughtfully.
Second, they're right that the book does not answer the fascinating questions it raises, and it is certainly disappointing not have those answers. But a book titled with a question mark, with a subtitle beginning with "Adventures in", surely shouldn't be taken to be claiming to have much in the way of final answers. Anyway, the scientists themselves don't have the answers yet. Why wait until they do have all the answers to have this useful and fascinating information? It could be a long, long wait, and maybe this knowledge can help your marriage in the meantime.
Oh, one last point. I'd have to agree with another reviewer who said that some of the lengthy descriptions of real women's sexual fantasies was in places indulgent and approached softcore porn. The same essential information could have been conveyed in a bit more clinical form. And it does get fairly salacious in places. On the other hand, I did enjoy it!
UPDATE Sept 5:
We tried it last night and WOW, that was very hot. My wife wouldn't want me to put details here, so I'll just describe the essential points in a general way:
I had her put a blindfold on, and made up a fantasy about some other guy being overwhelmed with desire for her. She said the blindfold definitely helped her imagine the fantasy, and also helped her feel less inhibited. The key points used from the book were (a) that it was another man, and (b) that imaginary man was head over heels in desire for her (to try to trigger some narcissism in her).
She wanted to be in charge of who the imaginary man was, and she did not imagine a dominant, nor emotionally distant man. The blindfold's effect was quite exciting and I would highly recommend it.