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Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and…
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Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Mary Roach (Author)

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3,6682002,569 (3.81)289
Roach shows how and why sexual arousal and orgasm can be so hard to achieve and what science is doing to make the bedroom a more satisfying place.
Member:robynclark
Title:Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex
Authors:Mary Roach (Author)
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (2009), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
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Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach (2008)

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English (199)  Dutch (1)  All languages (200)
Showing 1-5 of 199 (next | show all)
This is a breezy, funny overview of the science of sex. Possibly a little too light, if you think about it. The author is nothing if not determined to go the distance, as it were, with providing info for you. A visit to a penile surgeon in Taiwan? Trying to get in touch with Virginia Johnson? She does it.

This book will provide you with many amusing anecdotes to share at dinner parties, such as "the volume of pig ejaculate is over 200ml." Possibly this is why I am not invited to dinner parties. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
Mary Roach has a knack for distilling complicated scientific topics into prose that the general reader can understand. She does it with her own sense of curiosity and humor, which makes the learning fun. Previously, I’ve chortled my way through books that examined the afterlife for human cadavers (2003’s Stiff), and human spirits (2005’s Spooks), space exploration (2010’s Packing for Mars), the digestive system (2013’s Gulp), and the military (2016’s Grunt). Somehow I had missed reading her second book, Bonk (2008), although not from a sense of squeamishness about the subject. Or at least, not my squeamishness; for a long time it was the only Mary Roach book my local library did not have on the shelves.

Happily, that was no longer the case when I checked the ebook catalog earlier this year, and I was quick to add myself to the holds list. I can report that the expected mix of knowledge and good humor were present in the usual abundance for a Roach production, even as the subject once again would not seem to lend itself to jocularity. Sure, people take death and war seriously, but sex occupies a particularly fraught place, at least in modern American culture. For proof, you’ve only to look at the fact that a movie is much more likely to receive an R rating for showing a woman’s bare breasts than for showing crowds of people getting mown down with an automatic rifle.

The idea of studying sex as a scientific topic, in a lab with experiments involving real people, seems particularly fascinating. Roach provides a good overview of the difficulty in quantitatively measuring something whose most notable effects seem psychological rather than physiological. And that’s not even to get into the aversion of funders in providing money to study such a ticklish subject (no pun intended). Roach’s interest was piqued years ago when she stumbled on a medical journal article about a 1980s UCLA study that measured human sexual response. One group of men were asked to manipulate “the more usual suspect” during the experiment, while the control group was asked to rub their kneecaps at measured intervals:

Requesting that a study subject twiddle his knees is not immoral or indecent, but it is very hard to explain. And even harder to fund. Who sponsors these studies, I wondered. Who volunteers for them?

One of my favorite features of Roach’s work is how she cheerfully submits herself to observing and sometimes participating in the scientific research, the better to understand and explain it to her readers. And Bonk is no exception, although I’ll leave it to you to discover exactly how she accomplishes it. (All I’ll say here is her husband Ed must be a singularly good-natured and accommodating spouse.)

I can’t say Bonk is my favorite Mary Roach book (that’s a tie between Gulp and Stiff), but it was an enjoyable romp through the laboratories of sexuality. ( )
  rosalita | Jul 8, 2021 |
Adult nonfiction. Mary Roach's latest does not disappoint. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Very interesting. Not for the squeamish though, there is some fairly cringeworthy description of surgery for impotence that even made me cross my legs. I can't say that I learned a great deal but I was certainly entertained. ( )
  CharlotteBurt | Feb 1, 2021 |
I learned more history than science from this book (ymmv). Not quite as much fun as Stiff - I suspect it's difficult to be gleeful about sex without sounding puerile. Many of the footnotes could (& should) have been incorporated into the main body of text, as they often contained information that was at least as interesting & entertaining as the main text itself - and this would also have made reading on kindle a far less choppy experience. ( )
  DebsDd | Jan 18, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 199 (next | show all)
Ms. Roach does, however, clutter “Bonk” with so many long, chatty footnotes that she underscores how spotty and disorganized her material is
 
Surprisingly fun & informative, best when enjoyed with friends/spouse/significant other
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roach, Maryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burr, SandraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A man sits in a room, manipulating his kneecaps.
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The first prize must go to the Deodorizing and Sound-Muffling Anal Pad. The patent's background material details the sad decline of the human anal sphincter muscle, whose gripping capacity fades as we age. The absorbing Layer is said to "trap the sound of a flatus," as though one might later drive it to a less populated area and release it.
There are also inflatable, rather than malleable, penile implants. Here you don't bend the penis, you pump it up. The surgeon implants a small bladder of saline or air above the pubic bone. This gets pumped into the implant by means of a hollow, squeezable bulb implanted in the scrotum and attached to the prothesis by a plastic tube. Inflatables are more popular because—unlike a malleable implant—they enlarge the girth of a penis, as would happen in an unaided erection. To many men, it seems more natural—except, of course, for the scrotum-squeezing aspect of the event
This book is a tribute to the men and women who dared. Who, to this day, endure ignorance, closed minds, righteousness, and prudery. Their lives are not easy. But their cocktail parties are the best.
Cheese crumbs spread in front of a copulating pair of rats may distract the female, but not the male.
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Roach shows how and why sexual arousal and orgasm can be so hard to achieve and what science is doing to make the bedroom a more satisfying place.

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W.W. Norton

2 editions of this book were published by W.W. Norton.

Editions: 0393064646, 0393334791

Canongate Books

2 editions of this book were published by Canongate Books.

Editions: 1847672264, 1847672361

Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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