Mary Roach Researches Fetishes

Science Journalist and Author

Mary Roach grew up in a small house in Etna, New Hampshire. She graduated from Wesleyan in 1981, and then moved out to San Francisco. She spent a few years working as a freelance copy editor before landing a half-time PR job at the SF Zoo. During that time she wrote freelance articles for the local newspaper's Sunday magazine.

Though she mostly focuses on writing books, she writes the occasional magazine piece. These have run in Outside, National Geographic, New Scientist, Wired, and The New York Times Magazine, as well as many others. A 1995 article of herse called "How to Win at Germ Warfare" was a National Magazine Award Finalist, and in 1996, her article on earthquake-proof bamboo houses took the Engineering Journalism Award in the general interest magazine category. Mary Roach also reviews books for The New York Times.

Her first book, Stiff, was an offshoot of a column she wrote for Salon.com. Her other books include Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, and Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War.

 

  • Transcript

TRANSCRIPT

Question: Why are fetishes more common with men than with women?

Mary Roach: Fetishes... I did talk to a researcher who had... who got interested... Fetishes are something like ten times more prevalent than males and females. Somebody did actually tried--this was at UT Austin--tried to create a fetish by showing sexually stimulating images while the voice of the head of the psychology department was playing in the background. It was like... I think it was sort of an in-joke on campus. Like, they want to get the students also sexually aroused by the voice of the head, of the chairman. So they really tried... They did a study with, like, pictures of boots and shoes and they were, yes, able to create an arousal response to a boot. You can create fetishes pretty easily. It's much easier with men than with women for some reason. Anyway, but they try to get the...It was like, "hello, welcome to the psychology department" in this guy's voice. And they try very hard to get the situation... All the students, like, would follow him around, just sort of moonily.

Recorded on: April 6, 2009

 


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