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Book reviews

‘What Do Women Want?’ and ‘Unmastered’

Women’s sexuality — to men and sometimes to women themselves — is a variegated, powerful, and often mysterious force. Society has sought to contain it, scientists seek to explain it, and no one has yet teased out all the links between biology, emotion, social mores, and female sexual response.

Neither Daniel Bergner nor Katherine Angel manages that feat either. Bergner does, however, offer useful glimpses of the current laboratory science of female sexuality, along with a misleading caricature of evolutionary psychology and a titillating collection of fantasies. And Angel presents a meditation on desire that combines the intellectual and the confessional.

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