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

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  1,228 ratings  ·  176 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 on
Paperback, 416 pages
Published May 29th 2012 by Plume (first published April 28th 2011)
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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
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
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
Emma Sea
Jan 18, 2015 Emma Sea marked it as hell-no  ·  review of another edition
ugh. Do you love the nice binary pink and blue opposition on the cover? /s

The reasons I will not be reading this book are here.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Rather superficial.

Anonymous, casual sex is anathema in the romance novel.
The female brain splits conscious psychological arousal apart from unconscious physical arousal while the male brain unites them.
However, men are eminently capable of mentally partitioning sex and romance.

Marta Meana warns of oversimplifying the sexual psychology of women and men.
“We could find ourselves caricaturizing both male and female sexual desire with the former portrayed as an unshakable, appetitive drive with a n
(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
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
Molly Octopus
This book was certainly interesting, but there isn't sound evidence provided for any premise in the entire book; it's all speculation. The majority of 'evidence' that IS provided (and the basis for the title of this book) doesn't even really qualify as descriptive-- internet search histories aren't case studies. And scientific theories like the ones presented here need much more than case studies.

I would also like to note that I had issues with how the authors wrote about 'black' males and their
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
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
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
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
Thomas Hale
Part evolutionary psychology, part statistical anaysis, part celebration of the weird recesses of human sexuality. I was slightly frustrated that Ogas and Gaddam went straight for the evo-psych when looking for the "why"s behind different kinks and fetishes, especially things like BDSM and other power-related sexual expression. Every few pages I wanted to stop them and insert some kind of sociological reasoning. Despite that, it's some excellent and wide-ranging research, and has plenty of laugh ...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
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
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.
"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
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
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.
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Would love your feedback on my new book about human desire. 2 26 Dec 22, 2013 05:48PM  
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  • The Other Side of Desire: Four Journeys into the Far Realms of Lust and Longing
  • What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl's Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety
  • The Multi-Orgasmic Man: Sexual Secrets Every Man Should Know
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