Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World's Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire” as Want to Read:
A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World's Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World's Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  1,200 ratings  ·  173 reviews

Two maverick neuroscientists use the world's largest psychology experiment-the Internet-to study the private activities of millions of men and women around the world, unveiling a revolutionary and shocking new vision of human desire that overturns conventional thinking.

For his groundbreaking sexual research, Alfred Kinsey and his team interviewed 18,000 people, relying o

...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published May 5th 2011 by Penguin Group (USA) (first published April 28th 2011)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Billion Wicked Thoughts, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Billion Wicked Thoughts

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Mark Desrosiers
"The world's largest experiment," as anyone who's encountered this book's hype machine knows well, is neither an experiment nor the world's largest anything. It is two neuroscientists trying to quantify and analyze online porn, and this breezy non-scientific book seems to have been written before they found out anything neurological. You can summarize their conclusions as follows:

(A) Men will shoot and fire at anything that gets them off, like Elmer Fudd, and women will analyze relationship pote
...more
Jennie
I made it roughly a quarter of the way through before I called it a day. A pathetic and nauseating piece of so-called research. The data is shoddy, the conclusions are incredibly spurious and wildly over generalized and besides that...the writing is irritating as hell. Men are "proven" to be lusty buffoons and insatiable porn hounds, while women are portrayed as perpetually swooning twits who can't get enough of romance novels and Alpha Males (including murderers). They draw these "facts" from s ...more
Jane
Haven't read it, won't read it. I was there when these jokers tried to mine LJ for 'facts' for this book through a thoroughly offensive, ethically corrupt survey (the questions of which changed constantly, rendering the data dubious to say the least) and exposed themselves as utterly clueless, patronizing, ignorant...I could go on.

A collection of links detailing what was known as 'Surveyfail' is here.

The links to the posts on the authors' LJs don't work; they deleted their journals and the comm
...more
Jasmine
when I picked this book up there weren't a lot of reviews, the negative ones seemed less about the book and more about sex negative american protestantism. While midlevel reviews took the opinion that the book was a good attempt but didn't contain enough or wasn't interesting enough.

When I opened this book on my nook I could tell it wouldn't be an interesting book, the font which has always been standardly sized was suddenly smaller on this book. I don't mean the preferences changed I mean set
...more
Charlotte Sanders
I was really excited when I heard the premise of this book, and to hear all the buzz about it. Indeed, there are things about it that I really like. The idea of using internet search data to get uncensored data about human sexual proclivities is intriguing, as is the fact that there is so much of that data available (largest-scale study since Kinsey, as the authors point out).

However, I'm dissatisfied. The authors spend a tremendous amount of time explaining already-familiar theories of human se
...more
Bludhaven
Okay, I've had to let this sink in first before I could decide what to write here about this "groundbreaking sexual research". This book has bad science written all over it. The methodology isn't even close to being sound. I'm still not sure if they every even bother to explain how anything here really relates to neuroscience without dismissing the idea that gender roles are also influenced by prevalent culture and society. Very often their conclusions border on offensive stereotyping.

This reads
...more
Ann
Those of you who are following along at home may recall our last selection on the "sex" theme--Bound and Gagged, Laura Kipnis' most excellent close reading of pornography. A Billion Wicked Thoughts approaches the question of desire from a totally different direction. Using their background in data mining and neuroscience, the authors look to hard (snicker) data from the Internet to figure out what it is that men (and women) really want. The data is both interesting and surprising, and the book i ...more
Alex Flynn
At times fascinating at times infuriating always engaging. The book starts with an excellent premise, which is that the internet has opened up a world of data which can be mined by researchers, in this case neurologists, to examine heretofore unexplored aspects of the human psyche. I have not looked much into computational behavioral science but its seems like an area ripe for discovery. They utilize vast datasets, some from the AOL search data leak, to confirm and dispel theories on human sexua ...more
Grady McCallie
If you read mainstream news stories about sexual behavior research, most of the 'revelations' in the book will seem pretty familiar, even warmed-over. To wit: men's physical and emotional arousal systems are closely aligned, and triggered by visual and other sensory input. Women's physical and emotional arousal systems are not so closely aligned, because evolutionary pressures have pushed them (over generations) to develop a finely-tuned set of cues to tell whether a potential lover will be good ...more
Eva
My Kindle highlights:

In 2006, AOL released a data set containing the search histories for 657,426 different people. Each search history contains all the searches made by a particular AOL user over three months, from March 1, 2006, to May 31, 2006. For example, here’s the abbreviated search history for “Mr. Bikinis,” our name for user #2027268: college cheerleaders cheerleaders in Hawaii pics of bikinis and girls the sin of masturbation pretty girls in bikinis girls suntanning in bikinis college
...more
Jamie
The most interesting part of the book was the premise - how little research is done on sex and sexuality based mostly on our puritanical society. The book has nearly 100 pages of notes, many of which I wanted to track down. The actual book has some interesting information - I enjoy seeing the ranking of things searched for online in terms of porn (granny might be higher than you think). But as the book wore on I felt there were some conclusions being drawn that were a bit too pat and not represe ...more
jen8998
Authors use data mining on a large scale to try to better understand human sexual behavior. Despite vast amounts of data at their disposal, there's not much new here. One chapter reads like a recap of a recent book on romance novels. And there's the ethical considerations of using data derived from Internet searches without user consent. Authors claim it was all anonymous but one wonders.
(Kelly)~Got Fiction?~ Oakes
Certainly this book of 416 fact filled pages isn't a "light" read, but more of an enlightning one. Never before has non-fiction literally grabbed hold of my mind and refused to leave it alone.

I guess you can compare reading a billion wicked thoughts to being present during the actual moment of a train wreck or better a tornado. Appearing seeminly out of nowhere, being swept away, taken on an amazing journey, safely deposited as a changed person and overwelmed with emotion from the things you've
...more
Ariel
A Billion Wicked Thoughts, by Sai Gaddama and Ogi Ogas is interesting simply because it addresses taboo topics within the realm of sex. It is one of the first studies completed on human sexual desire since Kinsey, so I had to read it. The researchers teamed up with porn sites and internet search engines to analyze the most popular terms found in online erotica, porn, and search histories based upon the sociological descriptors of the searcher. The book didn't reveal anything terribly earth shatt ...more
Caterina Deforza
Another book on the evolutionary biology of sexual impulses. Written by two neurologists with backgrounds in computer programming and statistics, this one takes the novel approach of data-mining the Internet to determine what the population is interested in...not necessarily what is out there to find, but what sexual interests web searches express. The methods are explained clearly and the writing is interesting without being overly complex. There are some new insights into the brain patterns of ...more
Caitlinleah
this was a really easy read for non-fiction. it was clever and funny, and really made all the science relatable. It's chock full of interesting info, but most of it i either have already heard from reading about the book or it's obvious. I knocked off a star for all the gender essentialism. I know the point of the book is how women and men think about sex (and have desire) differently, but it seemed like there was no room for variance. maybe it's just because there was a chapter on straight men ...more
Martin Crim
The authors have an extremely irritating extended metaphor, comparing male sexuality to Elmer Fudd and female sexuality to Miss Marple's Detective Agency. The Miss Marple metaphor in part tries to make lemonade out of the research showing that many straight women don't know what turns them on, although at least as reasonable an interpretation would be that such women are sexually disabled. The authors would have benefited from reading "Sex at Dawn," which would have challenged some of their ster ...more
Brian
I was extremely disappointed in this book. Looked forward to an interesting look at how internet searching could be used for behavior analysis in regards to sex. Not even close.
What this book is:
1. Description of what people are looking for in regards to sex.
2. Stories and anecdotes for those interested in Porn.
3. Lack of any scientific analysis. Lots of hypothesis, but no serious study to determine anything past observation.

In the end, if you are looking for a catalog of porn sites with anecdo
...more
Adam
Not too bad as a popular intro to ev-psych perspectives on sex, but there's nothing new here. The authors are sloppy researchers at best, and as writers, they are seriously in need of a better editor. Awkwardly, they often rely on quotations from celebrities, comedians, and even fictional characters to back up their points. Their theoretical framework is taken whole-cloth from Donald Symons, whose "Evolution of Human Sexuality" is a much better read than this, and covered all the same ground thi ...more
Marshall Cain
What an amazing read. I know there aren't many who want to sit around reading about the science behind porn consumption, but for those of you that do, this is going to be the book for you. It has colored my opinions on quite a few behaviors and issues, as well as giving me a deeper insight into friends, family, and strangers.

The world needs more research into what makes us work, and that includes our most intimate moments alone, or the things we hide in the dark. It is a shame these things are s
...more
Frank Jude
A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire is a fascinating investigation into human (sexual) desire undertaken by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, two neuroscientists through extensive internet research. If anything, it proves that human sexual desire doesn’t seem to give a shit about political correctness!

It’s often been remarked upon – and criticized – that most psychological research has been done with self-reporting undergraduate students, perhaps not
...more
Eve
About 75 pages in so far. Recommended by a friend who works in the field of sexual addiction. So far, the book is focusing on men . . . I'm learning stuff but not sure that I love the tone - like two college frat boys suddenly got their hands on this great trove of data. And maybe that is what happened. we shall see . . .
Some interesting stuff in here, but I also feel that I don't know enough about evolutionary biology and psychology to evaluate the contents. The authors absolutely believe that
...more
Carlamary McNamara
Overall I was dissapointed with this book. Even though it contains a lot of information, it doesn't come to any groundbreaking conclusions, and most of main points are things we already know about male and female sexuality. Also I thought some of the ideas about how women prefer Alpha-males was a little exzageratory. All in all, I'm sad to say that I don't think this book is worth the 29 dollars Ipaid for it.
piranha
"A Billion Well-Worn Tropes" would be my preferred title.

"Maverick" neuroscientists? On which planet? There is no actual neuroscience in this book (though I skimmed a lot after I ran out of patience, do tell if I blinked and missed it). And nothing here is in any way ground-breaking, or challenging to the status quo. This is mostly about the authors' unsophisticated analysis of web searches, and I am using the term "analysis" lightly.

Exceptionally shoddy research that retreads (the scientists' o
...more
julia
The authors took sex and data and produced a very readable book that I can't quite settle on a rating for. This is another one of those times when I'd really appreciate half stars because neither three nor four stars feels right. There was some information that was new to me but a lot that has been covered by others.

Here's some of what I took away: 1. straight men like seeing lady parts; seeing any or all of these parts usually makes their penises and brains want to have sex; 2. straight women l
...more
Jane Ryder
Other folks have gone into sufficient detail about the book's deficiencies, so I'll just say it's an interesting read despite the problems, since I do think the fact that they're culling information from the Internet makes it one of the more honest assessments of human sexuality.
Zeke
nothing overly shocking and a fair amount of stating the obvious but still entertaining and fascinating (at times).

Overall---an interesting view into human sexuality.

And as someone else mentioned--some unfortunate use of metaphors, using Miss Marple and Elmer Fudd.
Kristin
The methodology was somewhat questionable, but it was an amusing read. It's not often we get a peek into others' tastes in Internet porn.
David
This book is brilliant, wicked, funny, mind-bending, and fun. I liked the view of different male and female "software." I think I learned more about the perspective of a homosexual man than I have anywhere else. I deeply appreciated the use of Elmer Fudd to stand in for male desire. I couldn't have found a more apt analogy. And, I love the use of such unusual source material for study, and, I do think they were always quite clear on how they validated their conclusions. I'll admit I had some une ...more
Christian
Ogas and Gaddam use the internet to form observations about human sexual desire. Although their ideas might not seem entirely new, the explanations were novel for me. I found the sections about heterosexual female desire to be especially informative particularly when they were backed up by examples in evolution from the animal kingdom. It makes me wonder how, we as a species, ever manage to get together; heterosexual male and female desire seem to be so different. It was very interesting to read ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Would love your feedback on my new book about human desire. 2 25 Dec 22, 2013 08:48AM  
  • Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivations from Adventure to Revenge (and Everything in Between)
  • The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction
  • Straight: The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality
  • Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America
  • Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray
  • Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic + the Domestic
  • A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis
  • The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World
  • The Optimism Bias: A Tour of the Irrationally Positive Brain
  • The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating
  • The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People
  • Who's Been Sleeping in Your Head?: The Secret World of Sexual Fantasy
  • Sex and Punishment: Four Thousand Years of Judging Desire
  • What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl's Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety
  • Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex
  • Dirty Minds: How Our Brains Influence Love, Sex, and Relationships
  • The Other Side of Desire: Four Journeys into the Far Realms of Lust and Longing
  • The Multi-Orgasmic Man: Sexual Secrets Every Man Should Know
Unlocking the Sexy in Surrender: Using the Neuroscience of Power to Recharge Your Sex Life

Share This Book

“For every search for a “skinny” girl, there are almost three searches for a “fat” girl.” 0 likes
More quotes…