06 May, 2011

"Bonk" by Mary Roach

I picked up "Bonk" I think almost a year ago now at an outlet store for less than $7. It looked like my kind of read - funny, informative, and focused on my favorite topic: sex! And I found out that my original thoughts were completely on the ball, so to speak - Mary Roach is a brilliant author and she really dedicated herself to the research (including being part of the research herself) for this book. 

Sex research, as Roach says, is a really difficult field. It's hard to get funding, it's hard to get participants, and it's really difficult to avoid the stigma. Roach seems to really get what sex research is about - improving quality of life, ease of reproduction and overall health and happiness. That really means a lot to me, as someone who really values sexual health and research. 

I really enjoyed the foray into what's going on now and what has been happening for years - as always, there's tons of talk of Kinsey and his rather extensive (albeit often creeptastic) research and experimentation, but Roach also talks about the use of vibrators to treat hysteria in women when we knew virtually nothing about women, current research in ultra-conservative modern areas, and artificial insemination in animals. It's utterly fascinating. 

Her willingness (and her husbands'!) to allow themselves to be used for MRI imaging while having sex is really impressive to me. I can't honestly say I'd have the courage, but I have to wonder what will come of that research - could we learn something new? Even in that act, she's contributed to the future of sexual knowledge.

Addressing the topics of sterility, erectile dysfunction, and the female orgasm, sexual arousal in paraplegics, and (in a scene that wigged me) observing penile surgeries, Roach took me on a ride through worlds I wouldn't have ever been exposed to. I am notoriously guilty of not wanting to read or watch "educational stuff", but this book was funny, informative, and fully engaging. It took me a while to get through it only because I wanted to process what I had read (and because I lack time). 

Her footnotes are of particular interest to me, because it's like little tidbits of information that tangent off. I like tangents, and they help to make the subject more interesting. 

I am really looking forward to picking up her other books, Stiff, Spook, and Packing for Mars very soon. I think this will be one author who writes "educational stuff", speculative and informative books, that I will continue to read and enjoy. Check it out yourself! 

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex on Amazon.com

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this rec. I've added it to my to-read list, as well as Packing for Mars, which looks way fun!