Wednesday, October 6, 2010

CBR Book#61: Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach

I love Mary Roach. It was with great curiosity and high recommendations that I read her book Stiff. I was not disappointed. I looked for her books every time that I visited the library before realizing that I would need to specifically request her books and make the library ship them to me. So I did. Once again, I'm glad that I read a book by Mary Roach.

As one might glean from the title of this book, Roach explores the science of sex. I was unsure about how detailed Roach might get, but I should have known that I would be given lots of description and even more humor. Roach has done her research and even taken part in a couple of studies because of the taboo nature of sex in our society and the inability to always find subjects willing to speak about their experiences. Even more difficult for Roach was finding scientists willing to share their studies with her, as funding and committee reviews can be quite, um, hard on studies focusing on sex between humans.

Roach starts us off with an odd human sexual response study that requires a man to play with his kneecaps in order to have a control for the experiment. She takes us through Kinsey's research and up to modern studies self-funded by a man living in Egypt. All of it is tremendously detailed, interesting, at times painful, and always filtered through Roach's unique and funny perspective. Especially those studies that required mice to wear polyester pants or had women penetrated by Pyrex glass tubes.

If you have not read Roach, you may want to think about what disturbs you more: what happens to the bodies of the dead or what happens to people when they have sex. If both disturb you, then really? Really? If not, then I suggest picking up Roach's books and finding out the answers to these queries.

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