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Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Bonk: The Curious Coupling Of Sex And Science

Reading science writer Mary Roach is always a pleasure and this new book is no different. The Californian journalist surely has an eye for quirky and the downright sensational. In 2003, she ventured into the fate of dead bodies in her hit book Stiff: The Curious Lives O...
Reading science writer Mary Roach is always a pleasure and this new book is no different. The Californian journalist surely has an eye for quirky and the downright sensational. In 2003, she ventured into the fate of dead bodies in her hit book Stiff: The Curious Lives Of Human Cadavers. After that, she wrote on theories of the soul in Six Feet Over: Adventures In The Afterlife. This time, she has outdone herself with the sexiest topic of all: well, sex itself. She takes a romp through all the history of the study of sexual physiology, tackling questions such as: Can you have an orgasm just by using your head? Why doesn't Viagra help women? Is the clitoris a tiny penis? Roach takes these juicy topics head on with painstaking research - just look at the endless entertaining footnotes - and intrepid excursions to meet some interesting personalities. For example, there is the visit to a Danish pig farm to observe farmers enhancing sow pleasure during artificial insemination for better results. She also goes to Taiwan to speak to a doctor who specializes in penis surgery. In another chapter, she and her husband volunteer as subjects in an experiment to capture a real-time image of human intercourse. Her husband chats to the officer during the observed sex to diffuse the tension while Roach takes notes. Her quip? 'I feel like a secretary in a ribald French comedy.' Indeed, it is Roach's eye for comedy and oddball interests that drive the book at a spry pace. The journey is entertaining and enlightening. Critics have said that her cleverness is a mask for bad organization and her smirky tone is a general turn-off. But one feels that real warmth and sympathy do come through in the book and Roach shows respect for research scientists who, in her words, 'endure ignorance, closed minds, righteousness and prudery'. 'Their lives are not easy. But their cocktail parties are the best.' We should not quarrel with a voice like that.

posted by Anonymous on September 17, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Not for the General Reader. Roach has a playful, but matter-of-

Not for the General Reader.

Roach has a playful, but matter-of-fact writing style making a very charged subject more comfortable –though by no means relaxed. Her genius for chapter titles and ability to put her real feelings and experiences researching and writing thi...
Not for the General Reader.

Roach has a playful, but matter-of-fact writing style making a very charged subject more comfortable –though by no means relaxed. Her genius for chapter titles and ability to put her real feelings and experiences researching and writing this book made me feel like I wasn’t alone as I wrestled with my own colorings and impressions of the info she presented.

Overall this book is quite the trip. I definitely experienced “What the hell?” moments that stuck with me. At times I laughed out loud and other times I cringed as my over active imagination supplied me with images I can never unsee. It took me awhile to get through it as I wrestled with my feelings on the wide variety of subjects and I would say this isn’t your typical one sit read. This book deserves a chance to be absorbed and thought over, not rushed through like a racer only looking for the finished line.

Caution: This is not a book for the general reader and definitely only for older somewhat(which always is relative) mature readers, but I do have to say I liked it.

posted by Whymsy on January 13, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2008

    Bonk: The Curious Coupling Of Sex And Science

    Reading science writer Mary Roach is always a pleasure and this new book is no different. The Californian journalist surely has an eye for quirky and the downright sensational. In 2003, she ventured into the fate of dead bodies in her hit book Stiff: The Curious Lives Of Human Cadavers. After that, she wrote on theories of the soul in Six Feet Over: Adventures In The Afterlife. This time, she has outdone herself with the sexiest topic of all: well, sex itself. She takes a romp through all the history of the study of sexual physiology, tackling questions such as: Can you have an orgasm just by using your head? Why doesn't Viagra help women? Is the clitoris a tiny penis? Roach takes these juicy topics head on with painstaking research - just look at the endless entertaining footnotes - and intrepid excursions to meet some interesting personalities. For example, there is the visit to a Danish pig farm to observe farmers enhancing sow pleasure during artificial insemination for better results. She also goes to Taiwan to speak to a doctor who specializes in penis surgery. In another chapter, she and her husband volunteer as subjects in an experiment to capture a real-time image of human intercourse. Her husband chats to the officer during the observed sex to diffuse the tension while Roach takes notes. Her quip? 'I feel like a secretary in a ribald French comedy.' Indeed, it is Roach's eye for comedy and oddball interests that drive the book at a spry pace. The journey is entertaining and enlightening. Critics have said that her cleverness is a mask for bad organization and her smirky tone is a general turn-off. But one feels that real warmth and sympathy do come through in the book and Roach shows respect for research scientists who, in her words, 'endure ignorance, closed minds, righteousness and prudery'. 'Their lives are not easy. But their cocktail parties are the best.' We should not quarrel with a voice like that.

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 7, 2010

    Sex, sex, sex, and, oh yeah, science

    Saw Mary Roach on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart (she was a riot!) and bought all her books to read. "Bonk" (as in 'he bonked her') is about sex and the science practiced on the subject over the past 150 years. Somehow Roach found just about every scientific and medical experiment and study done on anything to do with sex and digested them all into this brief book (it could have been volumes.) She goes with the best stuff, the weird and funny stuff, and throws in her own wit and sometimes gross humor. The things some people have done in the name of research is mind-blowing. The 'results' are fascinating. Roach's take on it all makes you laugh out loud. I learned a few things, too. I might mention that we also saw Mary Roach give a TED lecture some time ago on the subject of orgasms. A 15 minute digest on the topic for the TED annual convention (you can find it and watch it on the TED web site). That, too, was a riot! And, unless you're a prude, you'll probably love this book and the lecture.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 13, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Not for the General Reader. Roach has a playful, but matter-of-

    Not for the General Reader.

    Roach has a playful, but matter-of-fact writing style making a very charged subject more comfortable –though by no means relaxed. Her genius for chapter titles and ability to put her real feelings and experiences researching and writing this book made me feel like I wasn’t alone as I wrestled with my own colorings and impressions of the info she presented.

    Overall this book is quite the trip. I definitely experienced “What the hell?” moments that stuck with me. At times I laughed out loud and other times I cringed as my over active imagination supplied me with images I can never unsee. It took me awhile to get through it as I wrestled with my feelings on the wide variety of subjects and I would say this isn’t your typical one sit read. This book deserves a chance to be absorbed and thought over, not rushed through like a racer only looking for the finished line.

    Caution: This is not a book for the general reader and definitely only for older somewhat(which always is relative) mature readers, but I do have to say I liked it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2012

    A funny look at human sexuality

    I had read and loved her book Stiff and was excited to find this book at a Body Worlds exhibit. This book was not a disappointment. Mary Roach and her hubby throw themselves into her research, and the results are hilarious. Another win for Mary Roach. Not a book for anyine who is not interested in human body function or for the prudish.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2011

    Excellent coupling

    While the title certainly seems titilating, the book swings from funny to gross to amazing to unbelievable, and back again, too often to notice there's not much here for those seeking a cheap thrill.

    Instead, expect to find a new appreciation for those bold enough to study what are often taboo subjects, and she who was bold enough to write about them.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2011

    The best book anot sex and it was not dirty

    Ihave to tip my hat to mary roach for this book. I like the way she talked about sex in a way that was funny as well as informative. I will say this book opened my eyes in more eays than one. This is a must read, its not for kids but one book that will stick with you for awhile

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Fun and educational read

    Mary Roach's book is a fun, quirky, entertaining exploration of sex science. It includes lots of interesting facts and stories.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2014

    .

    .

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2013

    Bonk is awesome

    Mary Roach approaches every subject with curiosity and humor. I love her writing! The footnotes may be my favrite parts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2013

    GREAT Read

    Love Mary Roach's work and this book was especially entertaining! Who doesn't like reading about sex? For purely scientific purposes of course!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 19, 2013

    Very interesting and informative

    This is a great read, especially if you love facts with story telling. I was afraid this would be a dry but factual account of the history of sex research! But it really is an interesting and most amusing and somewhat titilating story of the study of sex research. Although I am not sure i would have participated in the research in the same manner as the author. This is a fast and entertaining read, we'll worth the time and cost. Still the subject matter stirs controversy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2013

    Wonderful

    Loved this......so informative and hilarious as usual.

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  • Posted February 15, 2012

    Let's talk about sex

    Bees do it, birds do it, heck we even do it. What am I talking about … SEX!
    In Bonk, Mary Roach uses her tenacious research style to see out the true nitty-gritty of this taboo subject. More than a mere salacious tale, Bonk delves into every imaginable area to human sexuality.
    From the traditional to the bizarre to the technical, Roach jumps right in with gusto in finding out the why.
    It can get a little bit technical at times for my taste, I did learn many new things that relate to the one thing we must do to survive, have lots of sex to foster a new generation. She covers the most complex phenomenal of the world- the orgasm.
    Bonk is a must read to those that want to get the skinny on SEX.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2010

    Check it out!

    Great read! The science behind sex in less "weird" way!

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  • Posted August 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Little know information delivered in an enjoyable read

    Not as well put together book as her work "Stiff" but still a good read. A semi-random collection of little know information about ... well, Bonking. But, it doesn't read as crisply as her other works. A bit disjointed and jumps around to different topics. None the less, good stuff.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2010

    Skip the Book; Just Bonk Instead

    I had high expectations for this book. I was disappointed.

    The author is adventurous, and I'd probably like to meet her for dinner sometime. She participated in a number of the experiments she described in the book, so her presence was, naturally, mandatory. However, when she was giving a historical background or explaining something second- or third-hand, she inserted herself (pun intended) far too much. I didn't need to hear her quip about the news that Alfred Kinsey enjoyed sounding* with a toothbrush; my reaction was quite enough!

    That said, I found the mini-history lessons far superior to any of the stories about what's going on currently in laboratories and operating rooms around the world. I also learned... something, I'm sure. What, I couldn't say.

    Bottom line: I'll check out her other book, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (about dead bodies, and not about what it sounds like in this context), but I wouldn't go around recommending this to others.

    (*I chose to use the slang here for an action that Ms. Roach describes in anatomical detail. I did this hoping that everyone who doesn't know what this is will not look it up. I didn't do an internet search for it, but I can assure you that it's definitely NSFW.)

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Could also have been titled 'Stiff'

    I read this book in 2 sittings. Just like the last 2 books, it's laugh out loud funny and it's full of 'who would have thought of that' information. My friends think I'm weird for reading Mary Roach's books but they've been enlightened many times over by what I've learned, especially from Bonk. The funniest chapter title is 'The lady penis'.
    The author knows how to write about science and make it fun and approachable. The fact that she participates in some of the experiments makes it even more hilarious. You'll love it.

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  • Posted June 13, 2009

    Sex!!

    Covers some of the more unusual and lesser known tidbits about both animal and human sex. It is not comprehensive but it was intended to be more about a few specifics than a complete encyclopedia. Well-written and detailed like her earlier books.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    Great read!

    I've read every one of Mary Roach's books, and I recommend them all. She deals with often taboo subjects like religion, death, and sex with a no nonsense approach that is very refreshing, humorous, entertaining and definitely educational.<BR/>I have bought every one of her books at least twice. One for me, and one for a friend as a gift. So far I have bought three copies of Stiff, my favorite so far of all of her books.

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  • Posted December 31, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Hit

    As a fan of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers(less so of Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. I received this book as a Christmas gift and read it over the course of a single day. Mary Roach has certainly scratched my itch for strange and unusual topics. <BR/><BR/>I found this to be a very brave book on her part. The willingness to lift the corner of the curtain and to even at times participate herself revealed the passion for her work as an author. In addition, as with Stiff and Spook, her writing style has just the right touch. <BR/><BR/>I don't know the subject of her current research but I will be standing in line to buy it. <BR/><BR/>Michael L. Gooch, Author of Wingtips with Spurs

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