I’d heard about Mary Roach on and off and thought her books sounded interesting, but I never actually took the time to track down one of her books to read it. When I found Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void at the library, I picked it up, took it home and read it in a weekend. Roach is a funny, wry observer who takes her subject (however strange it might seem) very seriously and writes well. I have since read Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife as well. I was just waiting for the spare cash to pick up this one, the only book of hers I hadn’t read, when I discovered it in the library ebook catalogue. Brilliant; library book and electronic book.
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.