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Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

by

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex Cover

 

Staff Pick

Following her usual template, Mary Roach finds a subject in the scientific community that is equal parts fascinating and scandalous, and writes an extensively researched and thoroughly amusing book about it. Beyond the initial titillation stemming from a frank book about sex, in Bonk, Roach entertains and informs, both hallmarks of a successful popular-science writer.
Recommended by Lorraine, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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

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.

Review:

"Roach is not like other science writers. She doesn't write about genes or black holes or Schrdinger's cat. Instead, she ventures out to the fringes of science, where the oddballs ponder how cadavers decay (in her debut, Stiff) and whether you can weigh a person's soul (in Spook). Now she explores the sexiest subject of all: sex, and such questions as, what is an orgasm? How is it possible for paraplegics to have them? What does woman want, and can a man give it to her if her clitoris is too far from her vagina? At times the narrative feels insubstantial and digressive (how much do you need to know about inseminating sows?), but Roach's ever-present eye and ear for the absurd and her loopy sense of humor make her a delectable guide through this unesteemed scientific outback. The payoff comes with subjects like female orgasm (yes, it's complicated), and characters like Ahmed Shafik, who defies Cairo's religious repressiveness to conduct his sex research. Roach's forays offer fascinating evidence of the full range of human weirdness, the nonsense that has often passed for medical science and, more poignantly, the extreme lengths to which people will go to find sexual satisfaction." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"The New Yorker dubbed Roach the funniest science writer in the country....[E]ven if there were thousands of science-humor writers, [Roach] would be the sidesplitting favorite....[S]ome of her best writing." Booklist (Starred Review)

Review:

"A lively, hilarious and informative look at science's dirty secrets." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

Review:

"Readers will find that Roach's informative and witty footnotes skillfully anticipate questions the text will stimulate....Highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"It's odd that Bonk arouses less morbid interest than Ms. Roach did with her earlier books....Ms. Roach...clutter[s] Bonk with so many long, chatty footnotes that she underscores how spotty and disorganized her material is." Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Review:

"[A] greatly satisfying romp. And as a woman who could make an earthworm evisceration riveting and a hemispherectomy seem downright jolly, Roach can't be faulted for having fun with sex. Even if purely for the purposes of research." Pamela Paul, The New York Times Book Review

Review:

"Bonk is a fun and enlightening go at a subject that could stand a great deal more productive investigation, in labs and in bedrooms." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"An irrepressible eagerness shines throughout Bonk, the joyful urge to show off the fruits of the journey....[A] wonderful read..." The San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"[R]ich in dexterous innuendo, laugh-out-loud humor and illuminating fact. It's a compulsively readable, informative history of the scientific inquiry into the hows and wherefores of engorged tissues and sweaty palms." Los Angeles Times

Book News Annotation:

The best-selling author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife obviously gravitates toward the unusual. In tracing the history of sex research, Roach provides a balanced review of its quirkier aspects (e.g., sex machines, the Eros Clitoral Therapy Device, and the effects of polyester pants on sexual activity in rats) with a primer on sexual functioning in the able-bodied and disabled. In the interests of science, she and her husband "bonked" under lab conditions. The book is well-referenced but lacks an index. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

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

Synopsis:

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.

Video

About the Author

Mary Roach is the author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. Her writing has appeared in such publications as Salon, GQ, Vogue, and the New York Times Magazine. She lives in Oakland, California.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

Malory, November 8, 2014 (view all comments by Malory)
Mary Roach isn't a scientist, but she is a writer and for each book she approaches a topic, in this case sex, with curiosity and a large amount of humor. Fun read that got me through a book slump.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
TheLibertine, January 3, 2011 (view all comments by TheLibertine)
Roach asks the questions that most of us wouldn't have the courage to ask! Informative and entertaining.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)
Margareto, August 5, 2010 (view all comments by Margareto)
Mary Roach is the latest addition to my list of authors to keep an eye on. In Bonk, Ms. Roach manages to make science (a subject I just can't get in to) seem accessible and endlessly funny! I laughed (and cringed) my way through whole chapters on erectile dysfunction, penile implants, and swine insemination. You just can't beat that!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(8 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 6 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780393064643
Author:
Roach, Mary
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company
Subject:
Life Sciences - Biology - General
Subject:
Sex (biology)
Subject:
Life Sciences - Human Anatomy & Physiology
Subject:
Human Sexuality
Subject:
Sexuality
Subject:
Biology
Subject:
Human Physiology
Subject:
Health and Medicine-Anatomy and Physiology
Copyright:
Publication Date:
April 2008
Binding:
Hardcover
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.6 x 5.9 x 1.1 in 1.03 lb

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Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Anatomy and Physiology
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » General
Health and Self-Help » Health and Medicine » Sex
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » General
Health and Self-Help » Psychology » Sexuality
Health and Self-Help » Sexuality » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Ethology and Animal Behavior
Science and Mathematics » Featured Titles in Tech » General

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$24.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages W. W. Norton & Company - English 9780393064643 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

Following her usual template, Mary Roach finds a subject in the scientific community that is equal parts fascinating and scandalous, and writes an extensively researched and thoroughly amusing book about it. Beyond the initial titillation stemming from a frank book about sex, in Bonk, Roach entertains and informs, both hallmarks of a successful popular-science writer.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Roach is not like other science writers. She doesn't write about genes or black holes or Schrdinger's cat. Instead, she ventures out to the fringes of science, where the oddballs ponder how cadavers decay (in her debut, Stiff) and whether you can weigh a person's soul (in Spook). Now she explores the sexiest subject of all: sex, and such questions as, what is an orgasm? How is it possible for paraplegics to have them? What does woman want, and can a man give it to her if her clitoris is too far from her vagina? At times the narrative feels insubstantial and digressive (how much do you need to know about inseminating sows?), but Roach's ever-present eye and ear for the absurd and her loopy sense of humor make her a delectable guide through this unesteemed scientific outback. The payoff comes with subjects like female orgasm (yes, it's complicated), and characters like Ahmed Shafik, who defies Cairo's religious repressiveness to conduct his sex research. Roach's forays offer fascinating evidence of the full range of human weirdness, the nonsense that has often passed for medical science and, more poignantly, the extreme lengths to which people will go to find sexual satisfaction." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "The New Yorker dubbed Roach the funniest science writer in the country....[E]ven if there were thousands of science-humor writers, [Roach] would be the sidesplitting favorite....[S]ome of her best writing."
"Review" by , "A lively, hilarious and informative look at science's dirty secrets."
"Review" by , "Readers will find that Roach's informative and witty footnotes skillfully anticipate questions the text will stimulate....Highly recommended."
"Review" by , "It's odd that Bonk arouses less morbid interest than Ms. Roach did with her earlier books....Ms. Roach...clutter[s] Bonk with so many long, chatty footnotes that she underscores how spotty and disorganized her material is."
"Review" by , "[A] greatly satisfying romp. And as a woman who could make an earthworm evisceration riveting and a hemispherectomy seem downright jolly, Roach can't be faulted for having fun with sex. Even if purely for the purposes of research."
"Review" by , "Bonk is a fun and enlightening go at a subject that could stand a great deal more productive investigation, in labs and in bedrooms."
"Review" by , "An irrepressible eagerness shines throughout Bonk, the joyful urge to show off the fruits of the journey....[A] wonderful read..."
"Review" by , "[R]ich in dexterous innuendo, laugh-out-loud humor and illuminating fact. It's a compulsively readable, informative history of the scientific inquiry into the hows and wherefores of engorged tissues and sweaty palms."
"Synopsis" by , The best-selling author of turns her outrageous curiosity and infectious wit on the most alluring scientific subject of all: sex.
"Synopsis" by , 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.
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