Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach

book coverBonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach
Published by W. W. Norton and Company

From the publisher:

The study of sexual physiology—what happens, and why, and how to make it happen better—has been a paying career or a diverting sideline for scientists as far-ranging as Leonardo da Vinci and James Watson. The research has taken place behind the closed doors of laboratories, brothels, MRI centers, pig farms, sex-toy R&D labs, and Alfred Kinsey’s attic. Mary Roach, “the funniest science writer in the country” (Burkhard Bilger of The New Yorker), devoted the past two years to stepping behind those doors. Can a person think herself to orgasm? Can a dead man get an erection? Is vaginal orgasm a myth? Why doesn’t Viagra help women—or, for that matter, pandas? In Bonk, Roach shows us how and why sexual arousal and orgasm, two of the most complex, delightful, and amazing scientific phenomena on earth, can be so hard to achieve and what science is doing to slowly make the bedroom a more satisfying place.

This is my second experience with Mary Roach’s work (the first being the book she wrote about space, can’t recall the title) and I got exactly what I expected with this book. By that I mean an interesting, sometimes comical, but incredibly well-researched book about a relatively obscure subject … in this case, the science of studying sex and what sex researchers have learned over the years.

Rocah’s style is pretty unique and I think her books lend themselves to a lot of different kinds of readers. You definitely have to be okay with nonfiction, but at the same time her style is very witty and at times conversational – she brings her own personality to the book at every chance she gets.

In this case, it’s a book about sex, which is a subject of interest for just about every human being I know, making this appeal to a pretty wide audience. What is revealed about the research that has been done over the years into various aspects of sex is extremely interesting and definitely held my attention. It’s funny, for a book about sex, there is nothing arousing in the book whatsoever – it’s completely focused on the science, research aspect of it, which held my attention and definitely gave me some knowledge I didn’t have before!

I listened to the audio of Bonk, which is narrated by Sandra Burr, a voice I didn’t really love. She has this sort of flat, emotionless quality to her voice that you would expect to be quite appropriate for the material she’s reading, but in all truthfulness would cause me to get bored and zone out from time to time. I think I actually would have liked this one in print better, which is a shame because nonfiction usually works really well for me in audio.

Anyway, Bonk is really good! I found it interesting and packed full of facts about sex I never thought to explore or even think about!

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