Freud's Big Question: What Do Women Want?

There's a new movie about Sigmund Freud on Netflix, Freud's Last Session

It's set when the world is on the brink of WW2. Freud invites C.S. Lewis over for a "charged conversation about love, family and the existence of God."

I wish they'd included a scene where Freud famously said, "The great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is 'What does a woman want?' "

Geez. Freud was married to his wife for 53 years. Did he ever ask her that question? Or was the question exasperation at not being able to figure out what she wanted or what women in general wanted? (He probably thought it had something to do with sex, right?)

Maybe he left off three words. "What does a woman want in a man?"

If he had asked his wife, Mrs. Freud might have said, "For heaven's sake, pick up after yourself, Siggy." Or she might have giggled and said, "Romance me into bed." (Maybe?)


As a romance author, the characters I create have wants hidden deep inside. Allowing the heroine to voice her wants and needs is part of her growth from the beginning to the end. 

In romance novels, the heroine's wants and needs are often confessed to the man who becomes important to her. 

Sometimes, the hero recognizes what she wants and needs to be happy in life without the heroine saying a word.

By the way, those wants and needs are usually NOT about sex. In my book, Deceptively Yours, Tatiana wants Declan, but she won't—can't—take action to get him.

Declan knows what she wants and also suspects what she needs—acceptance. The reason for her specific wants and needs is revealed in the book of course.


Here's what some wise women have said about that issue, and most of it is also NOT about sex.

"Every woman wants a man who'll fall in love with her soul as well as her body." —Rainbow Rowell

"What women want is what men want. They want respect." —Marilyn vos Savant

"Women want to see the truth. They don't want to see some perfect girl." —Reese Witherspoon

"Women want love to be a novel, men want it to be a short story." —Daphne du Maurier

"Women want to talk first, connect first, then have sex. For men, sex is the connection. Sex is man's language of intimacy." —Esther Perel

"Women want to be treated as equals, not sequels."—Kathy Lette

"Many men honestly do not know what women want, and women honestly do not know why men find what they want so hard to comprehend and deliver." —Deborah Tannen

"I don't think any woman wants to be known for being beautiful or busty. I think you want to be known for who you are." —Jamie Lee Curtis

"Every woman wants to be first to someone, sometime in her life and that desire is the explanation for many strange things women do." —Eleanor Roosevelt


All of the above are true. Dave Barry also had something to say, and it seems he has some understanding of women. "What women want: To be loved, to be listened to, to be desired, to be respected, to be needed, to be trusted, and sometimes, just to be held."

P.S. Show this post to the man in your life.

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