Ben Nadel
On User Experience (UX) Design, JavaScript, ColdFusion, Node.js, Life, and Love.
I am the chief technical officer at InVision App, Inc - a prototyping and collaboration platform for designers, built by designers. I also rock out in JavaScript and ColdFusion 24x7.
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Ben Nadel at the New York ColdFusion User Group (Feb. 2008) with: Clark Valberg and Ray Camden

A Billion Wicked Thoughts By Ogi Ogas And Sai Gaddam

By Ben Nadel on

Did you know that Tranny porn is targeted at straight men? Did you know that gay men typically prefer straight male porn? Did you know that a "squick" is the stuff that's too kinky to be called a "kink"? Did you know that women get really turned on by watching two men make-out? I don't know about you, but I didn't know a lot of this stuff; not until I read A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What The World's Largest Experiment Reveals About Human Desire, written by Ogi Ogas, Ph.D., and Sai Gaddam, Ph.D.. This book explores hundreds of millions of recorded, anonymous online searches as way to peer into the completely unfiltered, raw, and honest desires of men, women, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. And, it does all of this in the context of what we currently understand about human sexuality, neurology, desire, and evolution.


 
 
 

 
A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What The World's Largest Experiment Reveals About Human Desire, written by Ogi Ogas, Ph.D., and Sai Gaddam, Ph.D.  
 
 
 

This book is not a freak show. While I did find myself giggling from time to time (sometimes uneasily), it's not like watching Real Sex on HBO; while it is entertaining, it's not "entertainment" - it's just an exhaustive exploration of human desire in which no topic is excluded for its perceived taboo nature. In fact, one of the things that makes the book somewhat uncomfortable to read is the extremely nonchalant way in which phrases like "Grandmother I'd Like to F**k," are mentioned as if they were common, everyday bromides.

There's far too much information in the book to even begin to cover it here; so, I'll recount just one of the many interesting topics - Brokeback Mountain. Or, why women get really turned on watching two men make out. Women have sexual cues for manliness; for alpha-male qualities. You know, the kind of things that your typical cowboy stereotype represents. But, they also have sexual cues for long-term bonding, dependability, and maturity. So, when two manly cowboys (Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) stand there and say, "I wish I knew how to quit you," it basically plays into a woman's sexuality at all levels. It's essentially a double-dose of manliness with the added bonus of deep emotional connection and love.


 
 
 

 
Brokeback Mountain features two cowboys in love - which is really hot for women!  
 
 
 

Brokeback Mountain, by the way, was more popular among women than it was among men, either gay or straight.

This double-threat - manliness and emotion - is also part of what has made "Slash" fiction such a huge success. Slash fiction as in "Frodo / Sam" or "Draco / Snape" typically stars two men who fall in love. And, while sexual content is not always present, when it is, it often presents with a strong focus on feeling and emotion.

This book is groundbreaking in that it was able to study human sexuality without having to ask participants what they were thinking (unless of course they were purposefully comparing conscious thoughts to the results of a Plethysmograph - an instrument that measures blood flow to either the penis or the vagina). As such, it is just about the most honest exploration of the continuum of human sexuality and desire that you're likely to come across. Definitely an interesting and enlightening read.




Reader Comments

While not Ben's normal style of content it's totally within his sphere of searching. Ben, you may have the largest desire to learn of anyone I know.

WOW! I love this sort of stuff! Human behavior simply amazes me. Thank you for sharing, definitely something I want to sink my teeth into and read :)

lmao @ Zad Imam...

@Ben...interesting. Just reading the description of the book makes my head spin. Methinks I am starting to get a headache. :-/ And to think I came on here to find someone's comments that I remember the other day pertaining to IN and EXISTS in database queries. :-/ You have opened the floodgates for comments with this review. :-0

I am afraid if I read this book, I would never want to have sex. Ever. Ever. I think that if I read this book, my well would run completely dry, to never be filled again with moisture, at all. It would dry up, shrivel up, and die.

I must be a prude, but seeing two men do anything together does absolutely nothing for me. Nada. I don't get turned on in the least. Not a bit.

I'm either a prude or weird, because that stuff just does not have a bit of an effect on me. And for the record, two women don't really do it for me, either. And with the one man and one woman thing, it is highly dependent upon the interaction. If it is a horrible kiss, and it makes me feel watching it like he she is getting soaked like a big slobbery dog is getting his saliva all over her (or vice versa), it won't really do anything for me either. I guess I'm not really overly fond of really wet kisses.

Reminding me of the first french (or maybe it was the 2nd)? I could swear the guy was trying to stab the tonsils out of my mouth with his tongue. I remember thinking...hmmmm...I don't remember scheduling an operation to remove my tonsils to take care of tonsilitis. And to contrast, a french kiss later, the guy just stuck his tongue in my mouth and just left it there. I found myself wondering what exactly I was supposed to do with said tongue.

Strangely enough, when I watched soldier's boy (or maybe it was soldier's girl...I don't know), I remember being fascinated to the point of stimulation whenever I saw a male on there with breasts. I am not sure why. But man, that dude had better breasts than me! That was awesome. I do find myself often envious of men getting to play with breasts. It's unfair that you guys get all the fun...the fun parts...to play with. And what do we get exactly? lol.

Because I am definitely straight. I go out with and date men. If I were actively dating and interested, I would be interested in men. And I don't go searching for women, and I have no real interest in being invovled with a woman in that way. But something about a man with breasts? I don't know. It's just very intriguing to me.

I don't know. I kind of just like breasts. I think they are very nice to look at. I'm not necessarily saying I am interested in being involved with the women they are attached to, I just think they make really nice things to look at.

@Anna,

First off, I don't think anyone has to feel awkward about fitting into or not fitting into a particular category. These things are all painted with broad-strokes. They have to be generalizations since there is such a large continuum. But, there are some underlying basic principles at play.

For instance, in the book, he talks about sexual cues and their parallels in men and women. Typically, in straight men, there is a sexual cue for breasts. However, in gay men, there is a sexual cue for manly chests. The cue seems to be for the area of the body, not necessarily the specifics; and this makes for good sense as there is such a wide variety of phenomes in the human race (size, shape, color, etc.).

That said, I wouldn't worry about "drying" up. From what they were saying in the book, there doesn't seem to be any "extinction" of cued sexual appeal. That is, things we are wired to enjoy don't seem to lose their appeal over time. This is to be contrasted with non-cued traits, such as pairing sexual imagery with non-sexual objects (the non-sexual objects lose their appeal over time - this is "extinction").

Also, one of the most fascinating things they talked about in the book was the typical separation between a woman's mental arousal and her physical arousal. Even when a woman's body is turned on, she may never "feel" turned on. From an evolutionary standpoint, this is hugely advantageous as there is an exponentially greater burden to women for pregnancy. As such, it becomes strategically smart to be able to think coherently about a situation regardless of what the body is doing.

Like I said, a really interesting book.

@Andy Matthews,

and to learn about a wide range and variety of topics! :-)

@Ben,

hmmmm...interesting. Sounds like Rene Descartes's mind and body connection and distinction. An interesting tie to the above response to @Andy Mathews in terms of Descartes is that his thought process marked a different from the Scholastics' approach of relying on sensation for knowledge (and this ties into much of the commentary above).

The fact of women being separate in their arousal in physical and mental terms is possibly an allowance made by many aspects of female arousal, including, but perhaps not exclusively, the fact that it is 100% natural and normal for a woman to become physiologically aroused during breastfeeding...that is, when she is feeding her young, the physical arousal signs are present. The nipples harden, blood is rushed to areas of the body where blood is normally increased by arousal, etc...and there are possibly other signs as well. But she doesn't 'feel' turned on. In order for women to breastfeed, this is necessary. It'd probably be considered deviant for a woman to in fact 'feel' turned on by her baby suckling from her breast. And there are many women who feel uncomfortable and awkward about this, and there are even women who feel so much so, that they make the decision not to breastfeed.

Maybe that's why I find the breasts fascinating...because they are capable of producing something so necessary to human life, and something that is highly beneficial and crucial to another human being.

On the subject of parts, I find breasts attractive on women, and abs attractive on men. I like to see nice breasts on a woman, but I don't really care that much about the chest area on a man. I do like to see nice abs on a man, though. Followed by nice legs. So it's not exactly the same, the body parts I find attractive on each of the different genders.

@Ben,

I first got a glance at your tweet this morning and didn't have time to read your blog.. my initial thoughts were "some women may get turned on by gay sex and I wouldn't consider myself one of them"... and now just read your blog.. and it does resonate with me that it's enchanting to see the keenship between two men, it's the feelings and thoughtfulness that women always look for. It's definitely a huge turn on. I think it appeals to men and women equally, that may also be the case why we all love war stories where men sacrifice their lives for fellow men.

The book definitely sounds interesting, I have to add this to my someday-to-read list...:)

I'll add that while I do not get turned on by two men making out, I know plenty of women who do, so I guess I do seem to be in the minority here, but I am still straight.

Also, I will add, that there are tons of things I like about gay men, and I do actually like gay men as people...most of the ones I know (not that I know too many of them, but the ones I know, I like their personalities, for the most part). I just don't get turned on watching them make out with their lovers.

And to clarify also, I do not like 'man boobs'. I guess I would if they were good-looking 'man boobs', but I don't find most 'man boobs' good-looking.

Is this the one that researched Google search patterns to discover what porn people want to watch? I can't find that article now, but I remember those researchers were surprised at a couple of things:

- Mature porn is almost as popular as "teen/underage" porn. Go MILFs!
- While you ask any guy about a threesome, they'd say MFF, when it comes to porn, it's all about FMM+. (Sexual competition is a turn-on?)
- We're not as kinky as we think, most porn is pretty mainstream.

You might also be interested in: http://www.amazon.com/Bonk-Curious-Coupling-Science-Sex/dp/0393064646

Even when a woman's body is turned on, she may never "feel" turned on. From an evolutionary standpoint, this is hugely advantageous as there is an exponentially greater burden to women for pregnancy. As such, it becomes strategically smart to be able to think coherently about a situation regardless of what the body is doing.

I do believe that this was when researchers discovered that women *are* visually stimulated by porn. They *reported* that they weren't turned on, but...ahem...physical responses indicated otherwise.

@Sharon,

That's pretty revealing... and true I think...:) I think all sorts of porn would be stimulating to various extent, hard to think anyone would be immune to it. But there must be a difference as to what feels good and what just makes you feel uneasy. Anyway all porn makes me feel pretty uneasy.. that's why I just love romantic movies...:)

If I were a mother who had more than one child, and a mix of genders, I will admit that I would treat them differently and raise them differently. Now, as this is a completley hypothetical situation, I don't know 100% as an absolute fact that when faced with the actual situation in real life that this would hold true...if it happens/happened, I might would find myself treating them all exactly the same, or at least trying to.

But I have very strong feelings about the seperation of the genders and the responsibility of each to society.

This ties into the above, I promise. When it comes to sex, I wouldn't know where to begin with my boys. I would hope the dad would be alive and would just be able to take care of most of that stuff. I honestly don't know how I am going to handle changing his diapers if I have a little guy. I am sure if I have boys, I will step up to the plate, or will have to, and will learn to change the diapers, but I don't even care to think about that right now.

But my girls...the above mentioned underage/teenage porn. With girls, I would feel it was my duty 100% to always protect them. I would be very protective of girls. And the thought of some man porking my little girl as an underage girl or a teenager creates this homicidal rage within me. I have no doubt that if I came upon that situation and actually saw/experienced it happening, that I could be brought to a point of rage where I blacked out completely and killed the guy. And especially if the child was much younger. I have heard of men raping 2 year olds, and 5 year olds, and if I were the mother of one of those girls, and was to come upon that happening, I simply couldn't be stopped in terms of the amount of rage that would build up in a very short time.

I know a lot of people these days are into the "acceptance" crap and the "harmonious" crap and the "everything's alright, everybody's just different" crap and the "non-judgmental" crap, but I'm telling you now that if I had girls, and was to come upon a situation like this, I wouldn't really care...and would snap.

The first time I ever was exposed to porn was when I didn't realize what the video was that they were popping in. So although it wasn't 'forced' upon me technically, I also didn't really have much of a choice of watching it, at least in the first few seconds before I 'realized' what it was. And I have to tell you, I was completely disgusted by it at this first viewing. Not turned on. At all. I do think that has a lot to do with the fact that it wasn't my actual choice to watch it, and if I had actually chosen to watch it, it may have been a different story.

I'll be the first to admit that I have a lot of negative feelings about sex. And I am sure a lot of that has to do with this stuff being imposed on me, for example, the porn...if it has actually been my choice to watch it, I may not have been quite disgusted at it. I remember looking at the screen and wondering if this is what mankind was reduced to?

I think women are turned off really easily, or especially some women, like me. And with women, especially women like me, it is a whole heck of a lot easier to turn us OFF than on. And another thing...a woman can be turned on, and then something happens that just totally kills the mood. I don't think this happens as much with men, and I think there are a lot more mood killers with women than with men.

There are way more things that turn me OFF than that turn me on, and a lot of things that would kill the mood even if something intially excited me. An example would be long hair (on a guy), earrings, and tats. There isn't much that is completely all-inclusive; that is to say, there are some things that would turn me off if I wasn't REALLY into the guy, but maybe not if I was into him anyway. For example, if I was really into a guy, and he happened to have 1 tat in an obscure place, and it was tasteful, that may not turn me off. But in general, I just don't like tats. And for me, there are a lot of things like that.

The same can be applied to porn. There is so much in it that I don't like, I get totally distracted and turned off watching it. It's kind of like, what's the point? Like, when you're trucking along, watching the porn, and then they pop something in there that turns you off to the point of killing the mood...like someone starts disposing of bodily waste on the other person, or one person throws up all over ther other person (I guess that is kind of the same thing). But that just totally kills the mood, and then, it's like, what's the point?

I am way analytical when I watch porn. I can't imagine it is too fun for anyone to watch it with me, because I am analyzing it the whole time.

I heard also, that there has been a huge increase in women watching porn and it's not just for men anymore. That probably can contribute to numbers being up for mature porn versus underage porn. I don't know many women who enjoy watching children getting porked, but some men just have no standards whatsoever.

The thing about MMF...yeah, a guy offered me that once, trying to get me to have sex with him. No thanks.

@Sharon,

This might be that book. In the book they did mention looking at an aggregated search site like DogPile. But also, they mentioned that a number of search engines donated anonymized query data for them as research.

As far as the physical vs. mental arousal, they did have a quote from one woman that was like:

"It's hard not to notice when your panties are soaking wet; it's just being aroused by something that disgusts you is very, very unpleasant."

@Anna,

I think with spectrum / continuum of human experience, you can't be too worried about how you experience things in comparison to other people. All you need to concentrate is on how you feel about your own experiences and how or if you would like them to change.

I know I personally spend a lot of time wondering why I don't see things like other people... and then I spend a lot of time wondering why I even *care* that I don't see things like other people.

The more I think about it, the more I come to believe that we use "should" and "shouldn't" simply as a way to either vilify or rationalize things. You *should* do this because that's what XYZ does... or you *shouldn't* do that because that's not proper.

It's really hard to fight this, though. I think there's a hard-coded desire to group things into a known, predictable structure. I think, to some degree, that's what allows us to process such a huge amount of information that we are exposed to. But, I often think I would be happier if I didn't care about labeling.

@Ben, thank you for your words, they were encouraging! Sometimes I feel really weird about just how different things I am experiencing are to the way that other people experience them, and sometimes I feel like I am a mutant. Well, I know I am a mutant, but sometimes, I feel like I am a mutant emotionally, and I think I should be experiencing emotional things the same way others are.

There are groups of people I identify strongly with, each for different reasons, but even with that, I don't do or feel the same way about everything. An example is, I regarded with great disdain when I was in law school the way the other law school students treated other people. They acted like they were the smartest people on earth, and anyone else was just dumb. That was ridiculous. It made me not want to associate with that group of people. Don't get me wrong, there were some really good people I met in law school, but they were in the minority. The majority of people there treated others as if they thought they were better than anyone else. I was never your typical law school student. I didn't have the cut-throat competition mentality. I was just there doing my thing, trying to get by and just survive. It's one of the reasons I dropped it.

Same with Christianity...I am not your typical Christian. I do a lot of things that other people, even people aren't Christians think Christians "shouldn't" do. I am an adventurous "thrill-seeker". Unfortunately, I have at times applied this trait of mine to guys, and of course, that ended in disaster. But live and learn, right? I know that Christians are supposedly only supposed to date other Christians. It's hard when you're like me, though, and it makes it tough, because other Christians don't really like me. So I have no one. :-/ I've found great pleasure in being alone, and peace with it, but it's very difficult for someone like me. I'm a peg that doesn't fit into anyone's hole. :-/

Since turning on was part of the point of this post, I'll point something out. Turning on for me isn't necessarily a sexual thing. I am turned on sometimes by inanimate objects. It doesn't mean I want to go have sex with anything, it just means that I am physically stimulated by those things. Two examples I can think of right off are water and heights. From a great height, viewing water, that is one of the most exciting things in the world to me, and my heart races, I can feel my blood pumping, and all of the other physiological indicators of stimulation are there...but it doesn't mean I want to go have sex with anybody or any thing.

And this really doesn't have anything to do with a person. I'll tell you what would probably turn me on. If a man who was afraid of heights took me somewhere that was safe, but where I could experience the "height" thing, that would probably really turn me on, because I would feel he was going out of his comfort zone for me, and to do something he knew would excite me.

That's really the only way I could think of where this would apply to a person.

"I'm a peg that doesn't fit into anyone's hole. :-/"

<GrouchoMarx waving his cigar>
And nobody's peg is getting in to your hole.
</gmwhc> <raises_eyebrows_three_times/>

I work in the adult entertainment industry and it is absolutely true what you say there are some dark desires that people are just able to satisfy with the online porn, because the anonimity gives them the freedom they can't achiev in the offline world.

I really think that human sexuality is one of hte most complex topics and one of the most inexplored areas of our psyque and I think that many people having a real hard time due the definition of "healthy" sexual lifes (I know I am sounding to Freudian, but I really think that)