Mary Roach’s Bonk is about sex. The boring academic studies as well as some very interesting personal experiences involving the author, her husband, and an ultrasound wand. And she does it in as much of a non-clinical way as possible. Well, at least most of it was. From the beginning I was drawn in to her crazy world of sexual physiology and stories of how the scientists risked their academic reputations to get some of the information that we take as common place today.

I was floored that for years it was “common knowledge” that a woman needed to orgasm in order to get pregnant and if a woman was infertile that the man was to blame. Based on the misogynist history of almost every culture, this was very surprising.

There were some more scientific sections where Roach lost my interest, but then she’d often bring it back to some study where people had sex in front of researchers in Alfred Kinsey’s attic, and for the most part my interest returned. The book was a little too long to keep my interest all the way to the end. I think there’s only so much sex I care to read about before wanting to return to the world of fiction. A friend that reads a lot about the pelvic floor muscles and vaginal walls said this was the best book on the subject she’s ever read and said she laughed out loud on many of the scientific topics. I don’t read much on the topic, so many of these sections were dry to me, but very interesting to someone more versed on the topic.

Overall, I enjoyed to book and the discussion that it prompted amongst my friends and husband. The first half of the book flew by and was very enjoyable. It dragged for me by the end, but the I think if a reader has a little more interest in the science of sex, emphasis on the science part, the whole book would probably be enjoyable.

Read February 2015


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