Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex - Mary Roach This book explores human sexuality backwards and forwards, up side down and inside out. From the pioneers in the field such as Alfred Kinsey and Masters and Johnson who published openly to little known, third world researchers such as Ahmed Shafik, who had to do his research under the covers (literally) through crazies and crackpots Ms. Roach manages to unearth them all. Nothing is off limits in this book, with Ms. Roach going so far as to involve her husband and herself in some experiments. But, if you are looking for a sexual how-to this is not the book to read. This is more of a tale about the difficulty of doing research about human sexuality; the difficult guidelines about what is acceptable and what is not, the difficulty in getting funding and the creativity of people seriously involved in the field. It answers some interesting questions and uncovers some little known facts throughout the history of human sexuality.

Ms. Roach approaches this book with her usual sense of humour and relaxed writing style, but most certainly does not skimp on her own research. She plowed through patent office records for information on sexual “aids” and “toys”, attended fetish meetings, visited sex museums and observed experiments involving artificial insemination of sows. She combed history books and science texts, spoke people who worked with Kinsey and Masters and Johnson, endlessly trying to get in touch with Virginia Johnson herself, and traveled the world to speak to participants in various testing and research. She literally left no stone unturned.

In reading this book it was very clear that sometimes her findings left her scratching her head in confusion or mystification and she shares that too! As entertaining and enlightening as I found this book to be, I did feel that a few less pages could have been devoted to subject of the sows … interesting, but definitely more than I ever needed or wanted to know about Norwegian animal husbandry practices.