Ashley's Reviews > Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

Bonk by Mary Roach
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Jun 02, 12

bookshelves: non-fiction, science-and-stuff, not-quite-five-stars-but-sooo-close
Read in May, 2012

Curiosity seems to be Mary Roach's raison d'etre, and bless her heart for that.

In our culture, especially outside the hallowed halls of science and academia, sex is viewed as titillating and scandalous -- not to be talked about, no matter the context. And while I'm not going to get political here -- because I super hate it when people do that in inappropriate places -- I think that's a huge detriment to our culture, and to us as participants in that culture. So props to Mary Roach for writing this book, and for making it so dang readable.

Bonk chronicles Roach's investigations into the long and interesting history of science and sex. Specifically it's a funny and matter of fact history of people who -- like Roach -- were curious about sex and the way things worked, and decided to do something about it. The book is pretty large in scope, covering everything from Alfred Kinsey to bicycle dildo cameras. In a couple of memorable incidents, she even goes so far as to make herself (and her good-sprited husband) research subjects when it becomes clear that she won't be able to witness experiments in any other way.

It's been almost a month since I finished this book, so the details have largely slipped my mind, but what remains memorable (aside from a few details that I will make sure to pop out at inappropriate times disguised as small talk) is the way that Roach insists on asking the questions that everyone wants to know but are too embarrassed to ask.

This was my second Mary Roach book (finished Stiff a couple weeks later) after reading Packing For Mars last year, and although she definitely has a formula at this point, it's a fun formula, and I'm in for whatever wacky avenue of inquiry she thinks up next. I totally want to hang out with her and go on weird research adventures, but I guess reading her books are the next best thing.
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