Saturday, May 31, 2008

"Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex" by Mary Roach

Mary Roach is back! I'm very pleased to recommend her latest work, "Bonk". It's almost as good as her first book, "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Cadavers", and once again, I was entertained, amused, and instructed. Not every work of non-fiction can lay claim to that!

"Bonk" is basically about those brave, yet often shunned, individuals that study sex from a scientific view. After all, the science of intercourse has come a long way. For example, it was once thought that the cervix actually sucked in and clamped down on the penis during sex, and that if this docking sort of movement was unsuccessful, couples would be unable to conceive. Thus, the woman was blamed for any infertility problems, seeing as how it was her cervix that failed to hold on tightly enough!

Almost as interesting as the researchers are the test subjects. After all, what sort of woman agrees to let herself be filmed by a penis-cam? What sort of couple agrees to have electrodes and monitors attached to themselves during "the act"? What couple can manage to have really good sex inside an MRI tube so that scientists can actually observe the sex organs during, well, sex? The answer is very brave people, and often, the working girl (back in the day, that is).

I learned how a man obtains, and keeps, an erection. It's not nearly as simple as you'd think, and it's not really the obtaining as much as the maintaining that's a problem for most men. I learned that much of the male member is hidden inside the body, too; the author explains that after scientists did several of the MRI tests, they realized that most men can easily claim to be 10 inches long. You just can't see a lot of that 10 inches.

I learned that women are complicated, that most do not achieve any sort of orgasm with "straight, missionary-style" sex, and that women often ignore their bodies own arousal signals. So even though we say women are stimulated by talking, connecting, etc, we really are aroused by visual cues as well - we just don't pay attention to our own cues. How sad! There's also a lot of talk about hormones, pheromones, and the like.

If you've ever been curious about how it all works, this is a great book for you. If you've ever just been curious, this is also a great book for you!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One should eat to live, not live to eat.