I love scientist turned writer, Mary Roach. When I read her books, I feel like I'm in that college class with the professor that is such a charismatic lecturer, that any subject automatically becomes fascinating. She has a great way of making scientific subject accessible and entertaining for any reader.
I've read several of Roach's books, including my favorite, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and she is a author that I can always count on to churn our a great read. Although published in 2008, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, just made it way to my TBR list. I actually purchased it on my Kindle following a death in the family, because I knew that Roach's unique mix of humor and education would provide a good distraction during a tough time. It worked.
In Bonk, Roach explores various facets of sex research. Although Kinsey, Masters and Johnson are all key players, Roach goes beyond the usual suspects to bring a broader range to the topic, including current research being conducted around the world. Sex research can be a difficult arena in which to find willing participants and Roach often finds herself (and her husband) getting directly involved. It's proper research and her husband got a free trip to Europe!
As with her other books, there are many shocking tid-bits and facts. It's one of those reads where you find yourself constantly wanting to read aloud sections of the book to whomever is in close proximity, because it's too good not to share.
In particular, I found the sections on the penis transplants to be particularly fascinating and often grotesque. Some of the sex toys and aids on the market that Roach details are quite bizarre and funny. She, without a hint of embarrassment, gets to the bottom of certain obscure patents and their creators. I'm quite certain that she had trouble keeping a straight face during some of the conversations, especially with the devices that don't have sound scientific backing.
This is book has great sections for those interested in animal behaviorism, specifically primatology.
Honestly, this probably would not be a good pick for someone who is sensitive or shy about discussing sex. It's graphic. Roach isn't trying to go for shock value, but she does explain things in a frank manner. I appreciate her approach and found much of this book to be very interesting. I highly recommend Bonk and Roach's other books.