Mary Roach Introduces Her Book ‘Bonk’

Science Journalist and Author
The author was led to write her book by colposcopic research from the 1950s.
  • Transcript


Question: What inspired Bonk?



Mary Roach: I came across a reference to a technique that... Masters and Johnson essentially...They were the first to document the whole sexual response cycle from arousal through orgasm.  And they want to document, like, what happens in the human body, male and female.  And with women, a lot of that's going on inside so they're like, "we got to figure out a way to see what's going on."  Actually, they built a penis camera in essence and women would come into their lab and essentially have sex with this penis camera, which will document their responses from the inside.  And I just remember, thinking, "sex research, next book." Just because that is such a, you know, a technological challenge or logistical, ethical, weird challenge to how, you know, to figure out how do you... how do you study something like that in a scientific setting.  So that was actually just a reference in Film Quarterly of all places to the colposcopic films of Masters and Johnson.  I remember... Colposcopic, that means, like, cervical... And looking it up and doing all the research and finding out about that whole project, which is... And this was the 1950s too, which is incredible, that they were, you know, bringing...finding people who would come into a lab and be willing to be documented in that way.  So that's what got me rolling.   


Recorded on: May 7, 2009