The study of sexual physiology--what happens, and why, and how to make it happen better--has been a paying career or a diverting sideline for scientists as far-ranging as Leonardo da Vinci and James Watson. The research has taken place behind the closed doors of laboratories, brothels, MRI centers, pig farms, sex-toy R&D labs, and Alfred Kinsey's attic.
Mary Roach, "the funniest science writer in the country," devoted the past two years to stepping behind those doors. Can a person think herself to orgasm? Can a dead man get an erection? Is vaginal orgasm a myth? Why doesn't Viagra help women--or, for that matter, pandas? In Bonk, Roach shows us how and why sexual arousal and orgasm, two of the most complex, delightful, and amazing scientific phenomena on earth, can be so hard to achieve and what science is doing to slowly make the bedroom a more satisfying place. Mary Roach is the author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers and Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife.
From "The Princess and Her Pea: The woman who moved her clitoris, and other ruminations on intercourse orgasms"
Once upon a time, there was a princess named Marie. She had long, thick curls and beautiful brown eyes, and her clitoris was three centimeters away from her vagina. This last bit was very depressing for the princess. She could never manage an orgasm during intercourse, and she felt certain that the far-off placement of her clitoris was the reason. Princess Marie— whose last name was Bonaparte and whose great grand-uncle was Napoleon—was a passionate woman with a commanding libido. Yet sex left her unsatisfied. Her troubles had partly to do with her husband Prince George of Greece, a latent homosexual, who, she wrote in her diary, took her on their wedding night "in a short, brutal gesture, as if forcing [himself] ... and apologized, 'I hate it as much as you do. But we must do it if we want children.'" But you could not hang the princess's discontent entirely upon the gigantic handlebar moustaches of Prince George. For intercourse with the Prime Minister of France also left her cold, as did intercourse with her husband's aide-de-camp and the three other lovers that she took while married to George.
Marie, who disliked Greece and lived mainly in France, went so far as to seek scientific proof for her anatomical theory of frigidity. ...
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2. Dating the Penis-Camera: Can a woman find happiness with a machine?
3. The Princess and Her Pea: The woman who moved her clitoris, and other ruminations on intercourse orgasms
4. The Upsuck Chronicles: Does orgasm boost fertility, and what do pigs know about it?
5. What's Going On In There? The diverting world of coital imaging
6. The Taiwanese Fix and the Penile Pricking Ring: Creative approaches to impotence
7. The Testicle Pushers: If two are good, would three be better:
8. Re-Member Me: Transplants, implants, and other penises of last resort
9. The Lady's Boner: Is the clitoris a tiny penis?
10. The Prescription-Strength Vibrator: Masturbating for health
11. The Immaculate Orgasm: Who needs genitals?
12. Mind over Vagina: Women are complicated
13. Would Would Allah Say? The strange, brave career of Ahmed Shafik
14. Monkey Do: The secret sway of hormones
15. "Persons Studied in Pairs": The lab that uncovered great sex