Sexy Times Pt. I
Finally! A book about rats in polyester pants!
I bumped into an old friend of mine late last year and, after the usual, polite chit-chat about how life is good and things are going well and how the holidays are fast approaching, she asked if I was reading anything worth recommending. The answer was “No” – disappointingly and unequivocally “No”. In fact, I hadn’t read anything all that affecting since reading the 60’s cult-classic Stranger in a Strange Land and that was way back at the beginning of LAST year. I suppose the exceptions were the natural science books I love digging into, but most non-fiction of the science kind is exciting in its own geeky way and that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement when someone’s asking for a captivating new read. It was that last point about geeky science books that had my friend so eager to suggest Bonk – because what could be more awesome than a book that touts the tagline, “The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex”? Rhetorical question – the answer is nothing. Well, I might be exaggerating a bit, but so long as science and the natural world continue to peak my interests, the science of sex might be the most exciting and stimulating of them all! EPIC MINDGASM!
Bonk, written by Stiff author Mary Roach, at the very least is smart, funny, and original (all words commonly used to describe lowbrow comedy sitcoms just before fall sweeps), but what’s most endearing is how unpretentious the book reads while still digging deep into some complicated scientific research. That’s the trouble with non-fiction – it’s tough to be original when you’re just relaying the facts and even harder to simplify the information without jeopardizing the integrity of the subject. Roach is able to do both and I’ll go one step further in applauding her for her willingness to go the extra mile in the spirit of investigative reporting of the sexy kind (see: “coitus” in an MRI machine with spouse). I realize that most people might not be as adventuresome as Roach in unlocking the mysteries of sex, but even the most prudish can discretely read this book in the comfort of their own bedroom. And once that step is made, our author takes over from there, guiding you through taboo topics with great insights, illustrative anecdotes, and a wonderful sense of humor. She eases your anxiety and then DESTROYS your preconceptions! Your mind will be blown by your new-found open mindedness!
And for that reason I believe books like this are important. I’m of the opinion that people (at least here in America) had taken a step back during the 40’s and 50’s once sexuality became a hush-hush thing and, putting the sexual revolution of the 60’s aside, it’s something we haven’t totally recovered from. While some continue to push for better sex education for the sake of our youth and more open and honest conversations about sexuality within the general public (talk of STDs still makes even me blush), there are many who are just as vehemently opposed and perpetuate the idea that such talk is lewd, inappropriate and even taboo.
Though everyone is entitled to their opinion, I find it difficult to extricate sex from the conversation when it is such an important part of our existence! For that reason, Mary Roach has done a great service in writing a book that anyone will enjoy reading; a book that is so stacked with exciting and interesting tidbits of information that maybe, just maybe, it can help ease people into talking about sex without shame. It was a tall order, but Roach delivered, and I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone. Even you, Mom…even you.*
*Seriously though, Ma, you don’t have to read it. But might I suggest, There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom? Scandalous…