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Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

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3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  37,387 Ratings  ·  3,704 Reviews
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 f
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Audio CD
Published April 7th 2008 by Brilliance Audio (first published March 17th 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Manny
(Joint review with JORDAN, who's actually finished the book)

- George?

- Mmm?

- Don't go to sleep.

- Mmm.

- You are going to sleep!

- Mm-mm.

- George, tell me something you did today.

- Um... I read a book.

- That's better! Move around a bit. Yes, that's right, put your hand there. Good. What book?

- Bonk. By Mary Roach.

- That silly book about sex?

- It's not silly! She's really got a lot of interesting things to say!

- Like?

- Ah... I liked the bit about women's orgasms.

- Guess you don't know much about tha
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Trevor
Nov 11, 2008 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Trevor by: Ginnie and Mindy
I’ve never had internet sex – there must be another word for it, cybersex, obviously, but I’m thinking more along the lines of keyboard sex. All the same, a couple of years ago (and purely as a community service, you understand) I started working on a series of words that could be typed using only the left hand. It was another of those projects that I started and fairly quickly lost interest in.

If this book is about anything I think it would be fair to say that it is about the absurdity of sex.
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Michael
Jul 24, 2011 Michael rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2000s, science
This book review has received a strong 'R' rating for disturbing sexual content. If you are eating, you might not wanna read this review right now.

DON'T go into this book thinking it'll get you in the mood. In fact, it may disturb the mood right out of you.

Did you know? Before Viagra, guys who couldn't maintain a good stiffy would often have "stilts" of some sort inserted inside of their penis skin, and they would essentially wander through life with a half-boner that never went away so they co
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Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
Mary Roach is always on her game. She is funny, and her subjects are all so interesting. The narrator of this audiobook was also on point. But while I enjoyed this book, I think my 3 star rating is mostly my own fault.

Because I apparently already knew all the freaky weird details about sex... like almost all of them covered in this book.

In this case, I guess my love of sexual oddities and all things weird conspired against me because parts of this book felt, dare I say it, boring.

I still love
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Petra X
May 05, 2015 Petra X rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medicine-science, sex
3.5 stars.

This was like cup of cocoa sex. Sex is always good but sometimes you can't help hoping it will be over soon and you can have a cup of cocoa, maybe with cream. Marshmallows even. Maybe a sprinkle of cinnamom and some grated chocolate curls. Oh there I go, mind drifted off.

Read 13 Dec. 2013 and forgotten about until now. Now what was it reminded me. Friday night. Hopeful. And if not... there is always cocoa.
jess
Jul 24, 2008 jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
i audiobook'd this, the third feature-length scientific expedition of mary roach. i love! love! love! mary roach. i have bought multiple copies of her first book, stiff, and have managed to permanently "lend" every one of them out. audiobooking the curious couplings of science and sex, however, was a very strange experience. picture this: i am walking around downtown pittsburgh, just like every morning, and there are strangers passing me left and right with serious or sleepy looks, briefcases an ...more
Geoffrey Kleinman
Jun 20, 2008 Geoffrey Kleinman rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Only Hardcore Reserach Nuts
I really wanted to like Bonk. Mary Roach seems joyous in her celebration of the science of sex. It's clear she's spent (and thoroughly enjoyed) her time researching the subject, unfortunately the book never really comes together. Mary Roach's 'signature wit' comes of more as juvenile as she seems lost in her perspective on her subject. Is Bonk a personal essay about her journey through the world of sex research? A portrait of the history of sex and the science surrounding it? Roach never settles ...more
rachel
Jun 29, 2012 rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2012, true-story
One of my favorite parts in Fifty Shades of Grey -- by which I mean, one of the parts that gave me the greatest WTF glee -- is the part where Ana, still a virgin, is watching Christian Grey become aroused and is wondering how it's going to fit, and he says to her, "Don't worry. You expand too."

My first reaction: Sexay! My second reaction: sadness for the fact that for whatever reason, there are other girls and women who also lack the knowledge of basic sexual biology because, as I lamented in my
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Michael
First she did death and now she does sex. Bonk is a perfect successor to the tour-de-force of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. She is brilliant in her ability to present to the average readers the triumphs and the twisted in the progression of scientific and medical approaches to these subjects. Roach represents a veritable cross between the styles of Malcolm Gladwell and Bill Bryson.

I learned a lot, I laughed a lot. The latter helps with the squeamish and embarrassing bits. For exam
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David
Jun 09, 2015 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely an entertaining book. Mary Roach did a lot of personal investigations; she visited sex researchers to find out what they are up to, how they do research, what are their findings. She describes the early researchers, like Kinsey and Masters and Johnson. She even volunteers herself and her husband as subjects for some of their experiments. She visits scientists who put willing couples into an MRI to take images of the proceedings. She visits sex toy factories to find out how emp ...more
Christian McKay
Jan 27, 2009 Christian McKay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: runner-ups
A book about sex. You might not want to read on.

My uncle and I have read all of Mary Roach's books together. We had stomach churning conversations about cadavers at dinner parties and discussed the after life at meant-to-be light-hearted gatherings. He approached me with red in his cheeks after he finished this. "It's raw. But good." And that was the end of our conversation.

This was the kind of book that kept me laughing so hard people around me had to ask, "What, what?" and then I would reitera
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~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~
~3.5~

There's nothing here I didn't already know. Should I be alarmed? Take heed: you can learn a lot about the science of sex from smutty books.

Roach is a very engaging writer. She does an incredible amount of research for her books and makes science approachable and FUN.

One tidbit; if you need a penis reattached, Thailand is the place to go:

Two of the wives flushed the penises down the toilet, forcing their husbands to grope for their lost manhood inside the septic tank. (Incredibly, both we
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Jim
Sep 04, 2010 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2non-fiction, 1paper
I didn't think she could write a better book than Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, but I was wrong. "Bonk" is fantastic. I read it because I love Roach's style, especially on tough subjects. I'm over 50, grew up on a farm, had an active sexual life before & after I got married almost 30 years ago & have raised 3 kids to adulthood. I'm a sysadmin & there isn't much I haven't seen on the Internet. So, how much new material could there be?

Plenty, but that wasn't what shocked
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Rachel (BAVR)
Mar 11, 2014 Rachel (BAVR) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Shocking news: It's really difficult to get funding for sex research even in these enlightened times. I know. A real travesty, right? What strikes me is that there's still a lot we don't know about sex. The female orgasm is harder to figure out than quantum physics because the experience is so subjective, and the various remedies for erectile dysfunction are varied and disputed. In Bonk, Mary Roach, with her customary wit and fearless approach to asking TMI questions, details the relationship be ...more
Coco Prato
Sep 01, 2011 Coco Prato rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
In a few words, this book is poorly written and less than informative. The information, IF YOU CAN FIND ANY, in this book is mostly trivial and/or useless. (The actual amount of info in the book might have made a long magazine article in Cosmo.) The book is shamelessly padded with jokes and cutesy side remarks, found both in the text and in anecdotes in textual footnotes. Since they often have nothing to do either with the book's subject or the material on the page at hand, they quickly become f ...more
Jen
Feb 23, 2010 Jen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: interested bonkers
Recommended to Jen by: sex needs no recommendation
Bonk. Bang. Scrump. Everyone has a different word for it. Sometimes there aren't even words; a wink-wink, nudge-nudge, and an eyebrow lift or two can be enough. But what's behind it? The science of it? And hasn't everyone wondered about what happens if a guy loses a ball (or two) and needs another? Where to go? What to do? It's all in this book.

That written, this book is not as interesting as Roach's book on cadavers. But before I'm called a prude, I want to make sure that all have the opportu
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Jim
Jan 07, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This is another great book by Mary Roach. I have to hand it to this lady, she leaves no stone unturned in her mission to shed some light on our favourite topic. Mary travelled great distances to watch foreplay between inseminators and sows, voyeuristically spied on mating monkeys, and even went so far as to offer to put a gent's new penile implant to the squeeze test. Heck, she even recruited her husband to do (it) under observation, becoming a research subject in the process.

Her research is exh
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Muhammed Hebala
Roach strikes a nice balance between science, history and humor to keep the book interesting and readable.

I think that the best of this book – like Stiff – is acknowledging that life, death and sex are all a bit absurd and for that we really should be very grateful.

if you're looking for a forthright and humorous scientific break-down of erotic encounters, the clit, the g-spot, the erection.... well, this may not be the book for you.

roach focuses her special, special attentions on the sex resear
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Lori Whitwam
Jun 26, 2008 Lori Whitwam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
(Review starts with a recent blog post, written mid-book, then my conclusion)

Well, maybe it is, just a little bit.

As I've often stated here, I read very little non-fiction. Too dry, too dull, too fact-intensive. Just too. A couple of months ago, I read Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. Roach's good-natured obsession with researching anything and everything that interests her is infectious. Plus, I'm fairly morbid, so the topic appealed to me. Seriously, I can watch surger
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Megan
Feb 07, 2013 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, reviewed
Well thank god that's over. (That's what she said.) This book had lots of interesting studies and facts and tidbits about sex and how our body parts work and what turns people on and off, but after a while I just started to get bored with it so it took me forever to finish. There's only so much discussion about vajayjays and penii functions that a girl can take before she feels like she's reading a medical journal. Or some kind of really weird, specific porn. This is definitely way more entertai ...more
Sandy
One in every 5000 women is born without a vaginal canal.
who knew?

this is the kind of fact mary roach loves to ferret out of medical journals and research papers--and then, she loves to create puns and laugh out loud smarty-pants remarks about the sexologists and their crazy ideas and inventions. she's a science writer for the masses who footnotes like a fiend.

but hey, it's not all penis cameras, pyrex tubes and statistics about ER visits for 'object retrieval'. Roach visits implant surgeons in
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Alex
Oct 31, 2015 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Mary Roach is always entertaining - possibly our best living author just for "shit that might be fun to talk about at a party" - but this isn't her best work.

The thing that's fun about her is that she gets hands-on with her research. She visits corpse farms and goes into low-earth orbit. And there just wasn't as much of that here. I'm all "I just want to read about Mary Roach fucking things," I know, and why am I complaining? She nails her husband in an MRI tube! - but that's sortof about it, an
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Meen
Nov 02, 2008 Meen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Oh, everybody, it's just that much fun!
Recommended to Meen by: It was on the $1 shelf at Page & Palette
Unlike any science book I've ever read--enlightening and hilarious! I can't remember the last time I laughed so much with a book. (OK, I don't really read a lot of funny stuff. Occupational hazard?) Almost every footnote made me LOL and want to mark the page so I could post it on GR somewhere, but there were just too many good ones. But you know what stuck with me most about this book? How revolutionary it is for women to have control of their bodies, sexually, reproductively, to be intellectual ...more
Ben Babcock
As I recently noted on Twitter, there is an uncomfortable amount of talk about inserting stuff into bodily orifices that shouldn’t be inserted there. This is not a book for the faint of heart.

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex is the third book in the #bangingbookclub, run by Hannah Witton, Leena Norms, and Lucy Moon. Check out the Twitter feed to see what everyone else is saying about Bonk and the other reads (last month’s was The Vagina Monologues ). This book club focuses on books
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Michael
Bonk is a look into the history and study of sexual physiology. Mary Roach takes an interesting and humorous look into the world of sex research, exploring the weird methods used and the evolution of the field of study. Mary Roach has a unique style that has turned her into a household name. From a book about cadavers (Stiff), to more recently a look into the digestive track (Gulp).

This is my first Mary Roach book and I was immediately drawn to her writing style. I have never read her before, bu
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Amanda
Oct 27, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If ever there were a book about sex that were less sexy than Bonk, it would have to have been written specifically for that purpose. A veritable calliope of penis especially, vaginas, engorged... everythings and extremely graphic, medical detail, this is not for the faint of heart. Yes, you'll need to gird your loins for this one.
(Sorry).

If you're interested in a scientific look at sex and how it works (or doesn't work, as is often so lamentably the case), then this is probably the book for you
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Chloe
Jul 28, 2009 Chloe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, audiobook
The eminent sage and philosopher Donald Rumsfeld once said "As we know,
There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know." Now I never gave that phrase much thought, other than requisite snort of derision, until recently when I began listening to the audiobook for Mary Roach's Bonk. It was only then that I understoo
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Books Ring Mah Bell
This book has it all!!!!
-A little history of studies on sex (Kinsey! Masters and Johnson)
-Erections
-Use of erections in martial arts (go rent Iron Crotch!)
-Surgery for erection enhancement. (Graphic. It made my stomach churn)
-Dildos (or use of electric toothbrushes as dildos.)
-Orgasms (and a lady who has orgasms when she brushes her teeth… awesome!)
-Failure to orgasm (Princess Bonaparte blamed it on a distant clitoris for the ladies. If the clitoris is more than an inch away from the vagina, cha
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AlcoholBooksCinema
May 05, 2016 AlcoholBooksCinema rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
If the book was endlessly going to be over the sexual anatomy and responses of the human female, I would've easily fallen back asleep. Mary Roach has the talent to play with words and she implied it to make sure the readers don't turn off the lights.

As open-mindedness is a notion too hard to comprehend, especially when banal practices and religions still largely dictate the forms of an acceptable profession, people who judge a book for its strong foul language will easily condemn to read this bo

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Mairita
Feb 15, 2015 Mairita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Pat nezinu, ko vēl pie 5 zvaigznēm piebilst. Ļoti interesanti, uzjautrinoši, dīvaini un izglītojoši. Ja visas zinātniskās grāmatas būtu tādas, es vairāk lasītu non-fiction.
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add/update details 3 13 Mar 07, 2016 04:36PM  
Play Book Tag: Bonk / Mary Roach - 3.5 stars 2 10 Feb 21, 2016 02:05PM  
Science and Inquiry: * July 2015 - Bonk 10 59 Jul 13, 2015 03:01PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex 1 4 Jul 03, 2013 08:21PM  
LSPL Book Junkies: Bonk meeting 1 7 Mar 20, 2013 05:24PM  
LSPL Book Junkies: Monday Question #4 4 14 Mar 19, 2013 08:48PM  
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  • Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed
  • Straight: The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality
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  • A History Of Celibacy
  • The Search for the Giant Squid: The Biology and Mythology of the World's Most Elusive Sea Creature
  • The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters
  • Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex
  • How Sex Works: Why We Look, Smell, Taste, Feel, and Act the Way We Do
  • The Myth of Monogamy: Fidelity and Infidelity in Animals and People
  • Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born
  • New Topping Book
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Mary Roach is the author of the New York Times bestsellers STIFF: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers; GULP: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, PACKING FOR MARS: The Curious Science of Life in the Void; and BONK: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex.

Her most recent book, GRUNT: The Curious Science of Humans at War, is out in June 2016.

Mary has written for National Geographic, Wired, Discover
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“It is the mind that speaks a woman's heart, not the vaginal walls.” 44 likes
“Hormones are nature's three bottles of beer.” 33 likes
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