Book #31: Bonk

My first exposure (the puns only get sillier from here) to Mary Roach a writer for Wired, National Geographic, and the New York Times Magazine as well as online sites like Salon.com, came from her first book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. You see a book with a title like and you have to pick it up. At least I had to, anyway. Glad I did - Roach's shtick, if you can call it that, it to investigate things that interest her, combining a healthy dose of humor and sass to the very heavily researched science end of things. Her second book, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (sense a theme here?) was equally fascinating, but let's face it - three's probably nothing else on Earth that fascinates us more than the crazy mixed-up roller coaster ride that is human sexuality.

Bonk travels all over the map, covering items like using an electric probe to induce orgasm in spinal injury victims, to myths, studies and "cures" from impotence, frigidity and other issues that plague the modern 21st Century person. But selling Bonk as a book about science is a gross disservice to the wit and humor on display here. Roach goes above and beyond the call of duty in investigating all the weird studies, devices, and experiments that have been conducted on sex over the years, even going so far as to volunteer herself (and her husband, much to his chagrin) for many of the things in the book.

G-Spot myths and facts? Check. Penis pumps? Check. Experiments involving monkey sex and gently massaging a pig? Check. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, much like Mary Roach's other books, is a gem of a read, and highly recommended to anyone curious as to the lengths we'll go through to ensure our sexual happiness. I'll close by letting Mary explain the book in her own words, from her website:

The study of sexual physiology—what happens, and why, and how to make it happen better—has been going on for centuries, behind the closed doors of laboratories, brothels, Alfred Kinsey's attic, and, more recently, MRI centers, pig farms, and sex-toy R&D labs. I spent two years wheedling and conniving my way behind those doors to bring you the answers to the questions Dr. Ruth never asked. Is your penis three inches longer than you think? Is vaginal orgasm a myth? Can a dead man get an erection? Why doesn't Viagra help women—or, for that matter, pandas?