This book was on promo so I was intrigued by it's titillating premise. It's actually a really fun ramble thru some of the more interesting historical and recent sex research. And some of it is really good to know, such as, Penile Erection Dysfunction is really a misfiring of nerve impulses. So guys and gals of PED, it's not your fault!
The author narrates well, and her asides or footnotes are a hoot.
I loved her earlier book Stiff, and expected that this one would be even more enjoyable - isn't sex better than death???
Unfortunately, this is not the case.
The prose is terse, and there's just no feeling beind the book. Sentences get lost as she tries hard not to be too Anglo-Saxon and use a naughty word
Stiff engaged you because she cared. Bonk does not because she can't seem to care. Haven't been able to bring myself to finish it
Save your credit, but try Stiff.
Bonk was an interesting exploration of the history of sex research. It wasn't quite as well organized as Stiff, and it's not quite as comprehensive as I would have wanted. Whereas Stiff has reams of information about cadavers going back hundreds and thousands of years, Bonk is almost entirely focused on the last century.
The author's tone irritated me quite a bit; she was reverent in Stiff, while still having a baseline of humor to get through difficult material. In this book, she's just out-and-out insulting to the many people mentioned, with many cheap jokes at their expense. For a book that's written to help us overcome to squeamishness of sex, this is juvenile and dissappointing. I also was unhappy at the many times she left things undescribed - once again, in a book written help us overcome the squeamish, she squeams out of quite a few topics/situations.
The book also very female-centric, probably a good two thirds of it focuses on women. This is probably because the author is female, and the few times she subjects herself to sex research, of course she can only describe it from a female point of view. But even when discussing Kinsey's research, she still talks more about his study of Female Sexuality.
The reader is also very meh; she tries, but just doesn't quite get the author's tone.
Overall, I would say if you're interested in this, read Stiff first, see if you like Mary Roach, and if you do, read this. If you don't like her, I don't think this will convert you. A tepid recommendation. And for the love of god, make sure that your phone autopauses if your headphones fall out. The last thing you need is everyone at work hearing a completely out of context line on fetishes or whatnot.
There is some interesting material in here, but the author herself seems to be embarrassed about all of this - she finds the whole thing a bit unseemly. That gets to be a bit cloying. A real, critical analysis of this material would be much more interesting.
It a good book if you ready for the nitty gritty physiology of human sexuality. Its not too easy of a listen if your not into the science of it. Would be a better read for the common folk.