Bonk Book Summary - Bonk Book explained in key points

Bonk summary

Mary Roach

The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

Brief summary

Bonk by Mary Roach is an entertaining and well-researched book about the science of sex. Through humor and curiosity, Roach explores the history and modern approaches to studying sex, including unconventional experiments and surprising discoveries.

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    It’s very difficult to get funding for sex research.

    Considering how valuable sex is to our culture and even to our very existence, it’s surprising how difficult it is to study. Sex happens every day all over the world and yet the scientific community seems reluctant to dive into the topic. But why?

    The fundamental problem is that it’s hard to procure funding for research projects that don’t lead directly to the development of new drugs. While a vast amount of studies search for pharmaceutical solutions to increase women’s sexual desire, it’s difficult to get funding for the research to answer questions regarding the health benefits of masturbation.

    Take one University of Chicago study that aimed to evaluate the therapeutic value of a vibrator called Eros. Roach asked one of the researchers why they couldn’t conduct their research by simply giving women the vibrator and letting them masturbate, to which the researcher quipped, “Can you imagine if I tried to get funding for a study that had masturbation in the title?”

    Researchers who want funding to investigate these kinds of intimate questions have to get funding from the sales of sex toys themselves, such as Vibrating Port-A-Pussies and Mr. Fred Jelly Dongs.

    Compounding this problem is the fact that the gatekeepers of family values hinder research efforts on taboo topics. We see this, for example, in the way politicians make funding decisions based on pressure from religious leaders.

    As we’ve seen, it’s quite difficult to scientifically examine masturbation, at least formally. However, it’s even more difficult for journalists to gain access to the labs in which women are masturbating. To get around this, Roach herself became a test subject. By persuading her husband Ed Rachels to participate with her in a study in which sexual intercourse was measured with ultrasound, she was able to get a first-hand look into the science of sex.

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    What is Bonk about?

    Bonk offers a humorous look at how scientific researchers go about investigating one of the most important yet taboo topics of all: sex. Describing everything from the history of sex research to the many contraptions scientists have developed to give men’s penises a lift, Bonk is as informative as it is hilarious.

    Bonk Review

    Bonk (2008) by Mary Roach is an eye-opening exploration of the science behind sex and the fascinating and sometimes bizarre experiments conducted in the pursuit of sexual knowledge. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Discover the secrets behind human sexual behavior and the curious lengths scientists have gone to understand it.
    • Explore taboo topics like the history of sexuality research, orgasm, and the complexities of human anatomy in an informative and engaging way.
    • Roach's humorous and witty approach to the subject matter keeps the book entertaining and ensures that it is anything but boring.

    Best quote from Bonk

    Masturbation is a touchy area.

    —Mary Roach
    example alt text

    Who should read Bonk?

    • Anyone who likes having sex
    • Anyone interested in learning more about their own body
    • Anyone looking for anecdotes for the next cocktail party

    About the Author

    Mary Roach is the author of several critically acclaimed books such as Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers (also available in blinks) and Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. In addition, her writings have appeared in numerous publications such as Outside, Wired, National Geographic and the New York Times Magazine.

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    Bonk FAQs 

    What is the main message of Bonk?

    Discover the science of sex, exploring everything from historical sexual research to modern-day studies and surprising discoveries.

    How long does it take to read Bonk?

    Reading Bonk will take a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Bonk a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Bonk is a fascinating and educational read. Uncover the mysteries of human sexuality.

    Who is the author of Bonk?

    The author of Bonk is Mary Roach.