Sunday, 13 April 2014

Bonk by Mary Roach

Mary Roach takes her practically patented whirlwind tour through the world of sex research. And for the most part, it's very fun. And occasionally cringe-inducing. But less so than Stiff, which had me avoiding that book any time I was eating. Bonk never gave me the same problems.

On the other hand, it's going to be a bitch to write this review without double entendres. Maybe I should just give up on that particular goal now.

I think all my nitpicks are because I know more about sex and sexuality than I do about death and the body-disposal business. Whereas Stiff was all stuff I didn't know, in Bonk I knew enough to want MORE about all sorts of the topics.

Like sex research itself. She alludes all the time to how hard it is to get sex research funding, but it's piecemeal and not a coherent topic. Why not focus a few pages just on that? What kinds of projects are being funded and why and how and what are the stumbling points? How do our conceptions of sex and sexuality both steer the research in certain ways while making other ways utterly taboo? To what degree do we have a body of literature on the topic that has been shaped by prevailing political concerns, and how do the men and women who research this deal with it? (Again, it's not that this isn't touched on, but only lightly, and not brought together as a theme.)

There were a few other sections that I wanted more depth in. But for the most part, Bonk was fun, it was interesting, it was fairly light. Sex is a fascinating topic, and I applaud the brave men and women who keep doing research in the area, despite the breezes of political winds that insist that the less we know about it, the better off we'll all be. How utterly ridiculous.

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