Book Review: A Billion Wicked Thoughts

A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the Internet Tells Us About Sexual Relationships

I give this book a 2 out of 5 stars. Honestly, I was dying to get to the end. I don’t recommend the kindle version – 50% of the ebook is notes and bibliography, which is misleading as hell when you’re trying to get through it. It’s overly wordy and a bit too technical and slightly repetitive. Moreover, it was disappointing – the title and premise would imply a lot of intriguing findings and statistics, but it really came out to common sense and generalizations with some scientific studies thrown in haphazardly.

That aside, my takeaways:

“WEIRD: Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic.” 96% of subjects in psych experiments fall into this category. I was interested because it’s an acronym I haven’t heard used before.

“Internet Rule #34: There is porn of it.” I swear, I saw this reference on OkCupid not a day after reading this.

“Men prefer images. Women prefer stories. Men prefer graphic sex. Women prefer relationships and romance.” This is the crux of the book. Shocker, I know.

“There are more sexual searches for grannies (#19 most searched) than for spanking (#25).” This shocked and horrified me a bit. Didn’t realize how much in the minority my interests were.

“For every search for a ‘skinny’ girl, there are almost three searches for a ‘fat’ girl.” Apparently they are harder to find in mainstream, so are searched for more. Again, the logic is shocking. Not.

“There was a dissociation between the conscious arousal of the mind and the unconscious or subconscious arousal of the body. When the exact same experiment was conducted with male subjects, there was virtually no dissociation between the two types of arousal. If a man was physically turned on, he was also psychologically turned on.” This is a huge male/female difference – brain and body are less connected in terms of sexuality for men, according to this book. Not surprising.

“100 million men in the US and Canada accessed online porn in 2008 – just slightly more than the number of romance readers.” Romance novels are female porn, and I should not have been allowed to read them at age 13.

Whereas male exhibitionism is usually considered a psychiatric disorder and a crime, female exhibitionism is rarely considered a social problem. Indeed, it’s frequently exploited commercially.” Equality of the sexes fails here, apparently.

“Ultimately, a woman wants to feel that a man loves her, and her alone, unconditionally and forever– and that none of a man’s previous women ever rose to anywhere near the same level.”

“Men strive for control and domination, while women strive for consensus and equality.” 

“Social dominance does not imply sexual dominance — only an increased sex drive.”

“BDSM might simply be a very sophisticated means of accessing the reward mechanisms associated with the psychological mechanisms of social dominance that guide all primates.”


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