Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

“Rich in dexterous innuendo, laugh-out-loud humor and illuminating fact. It’s compulsively readable.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review

The best-selling author of Stiff turns her outrageous curiosity and insight on the most alluring scientific subject of all: sex.

16 illustrations

List Price: $ 15.95

Price: $ 6.85


3 Comments so far »

  1. David W. Straight said,

    Wrote on November 11, 2012 @ 11:51 am

    283 of 286 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    were you ever in an MRI with a friend?, March 30, 2008
    By 
    David W. Straight (knoxville, tennessee United States) –
    (REAL NAME)
      

    This a truly great tale of a first-hand look at science and sex from both the inside and the outside! Mary Roach provides a humorous and often very personal view–both as a participant and observer–of humans, animals, and mechanical devices: there is much that you would never have imagined, and perhaps would rather never of heard of at all. She and her husband Ed have sex in a 20-inch diameter MRI tube in the interests of science. The doctor looks on, makes suggestions, and finally tells Ed “You may ejaculate now”. The author also recounts the experiments by Kinsey is his attic many years ago and tries to track down the film footage.

    The author’s great sense of humor needs to be read to be believed. She spares no one, and particularly not herself or her husband. She travels to Taiwan to watch an implant operation. In one of the funniest parts[and this says a lot, since the book will have you howling a lot] she goes to Denmark to watch artificial insemination of sows. We know this happens with cows, and you might suppose that there’s not much difference with pigs, but you’d be wrong, very wrong indeed. Suffice it to say that the best results occur, when, among other things best not mentioned here, the AI person lies down on the sow’s back and fondles her teats during the process. You may never regard your morning sausage quite the same way again.

    The author has a lot of asides that are a delight to read. If you usually skip the footnotes in a book, you’ll miss a lot here. You’ll learn a lot–for all the things that might seem frivolous, but which are not, the book is a scientific one. Roach has a curiosity, an appetite for knowledge, and has the capability that perhaps most scientists do not have, which is to mix science and humor. Stephen Gould was able to do this, but his humor was not as pervasive–his writing is, at a guess, 95% science at 5% humor, whereas with Roach it’s more like 50-50. Martin Gardner’s great Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science may be the closest similar work to Roach’s book. This book is certainly not for everyone, and there are those who will be deeply offended, but for most it should be a real treat to read!

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  2. Frederick S. Goethel "wildcatcreekbooks" said,

    Wrote on November 11, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

    49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    The Things We Do For “Love”, April 5, 2008
    By 
    Frederick S. Goethel “wildcatcreekbooks” (Central Valley, CA) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (REAL NAME)
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

    Author Mary Roach set out to find and write about sex research around the world (and about the yeilds of that research) and wound up following a lot of very strange paths. From a urologists office in Taipei to a sow furrowing operation in Denmark to a “toy” manufacturer in Chatsworth California, the author tracked down all leads that were presented to her and followed up to learn all there was about how the human anatomy works and why research on this subject is usually cloaked in euphemisms. At times she delves back into the 1800s to explain how we are where we are today and why.

    To say the book is funny is an understatement. The author has a gift for puns and uses it to maximum potential, taking material that could be somewhat dry and turning it into page turning reading. If you are interested in the science of sex and love to laugh, this is a wonderful book that will not fail to deliver.

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  3. Joseph Haschka said,

    Wrote on November 11, 2012 @ 12:17 pm

    41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Shopkeep, how much for that vaginal photoplethysmograph in the window?, July 11, 2008
    By 
    Joseph Haschka (Glendale, CA USA) –
    (VINE VOICE)
      
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)
      

    “Not everyone gets their (masturbation study) funding from research grants. Some masturbation professionals get their funding from the sales of Vibrating Port-A-Pussies and Mr. Fred Jelly Dongs.” – Mary Roach in BONK

    “To get inside a lubricated vagina, a penis needs to be hard enough to push against the opening with one to two pounds of force. That is approximately the amount of force required to open a swinging kitchen door.” – Mary Roach in BONK

    Mary Roach is the author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, the enormously instructive and entertaining book on the uses to which human cadavers are put. As far as I’m concerned, instructive AND entertaining is about as good as it gets. With BONK, Roach has outdone herself with a read that I couldn’t put down.

    Science pursues sex because, after all, it’s what makes the world turn. Roach first establishes the history of the science, which pretty much reached mainstream acceptance with researchers Alfred Kinsey and then William Masters and Virginia Johnson. (An excellent film about the former, starring Liam Neeson, is 2004’s Kinsey.)

    The meat of the book, so to speak, is the wide array of sexual behavior and physiologic functions which scientists have investigated, and which include: the sure sign of female orgasm, the location of the fabled G Spot, female orgasm as a function of clitoral-urethral separation distance, the link between female sexual pleasure and fertility, the validity of the vaginal “upsuck” concept, the validity of the penis-cervix interlock theory, cures for erectile dysfunction, the historical legal implications of male “potency”, societal perspectives on masturbation, testicular transplants, penile implants, penis restoration post amputation, the physiology and structure of the clitoris, the internal mechanics of penile erection, orgasm’s effect on overall physical health, the value of orgasm as exercise, the role of electroejaculation in people with spinal cord injuries, vaginal lubrication as an indicator of female sexual arousal, the nature of arousal in men vs. women, the physiologic trigger of male ejaculation, the role of hormones on the female libido, the existence of human sex-pheromones, and the qualitative measurement of sex. Juicy stuff, this.

    The author’s special talent, whether it be in STIFF or BONK, is her serious – but not too serious – approach to the subject matter. At any time, the reader may expect Mary to look up from her notes, cock an eyebrow, and deliver some wryly humorous aside. This is perhaps best seen in the footnotes to the text, as in the one connected to the above quote concerning the amount of penile force required for vaginal entry:

    “We have three Houston researchers to thank for this statistic. In 1985, the trio attached a pressure gauge to the tip of a penis-shaped Plexiglas rod and penetrated a small group of female volunteers. It seems to me that if they wanted to approximate the surface friction that exists in real intercourse, slippery-smooth Plexiglas was a poor stand-in for penis skin. Though I suppose that when you’re doing an experiment that involves penetrating coeds in your lab, surface friction is less of a concern than, say, human subjects review board friction.”

    As windows on otherwise esoteric or eccentric subject matter, Mary’s books are without peer as reading experiences.

    Finally, in case you’re wondering, BONK describes a photoplethysmograph as a device used to measure the amount of lubricant vaginal walls exude during sexual stimulation. As a matter of fact, I have one right here for inclusion in Mom’s Christmas basket.

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