Mary Roach

Bonk: The Curious Coupling Of Science And Sex

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292 printed pages
Original publication



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    Мариhas quotedlast year
    Even the language of anatomy imbues the organ with an innlike hospitality, the entrance to the structure being named the “vaginal vestibule.” Take off your coat and stay awhile. Gynecologist Robert Latou Dickinson, circa 1910, documented its wondrously accommodating nature, using his fingers as a measuring tool. The volume of the virgin vagina is “one finger”; the married woman rates “two full fingers.” Once the babies start coming, it’s “three fingers” and up, all the way to Subject No. 163, whose vestibule (and parlor) appear in a pen-and-ink rendering in Dickinson’s Atlas of Human Sex Anatomy with the doctor’s entire hand submerged
    Мариhas quotedlast year
    The spinal reflex known as the Lazarus sign has been spooking doctors for centuries. If you trigger the right spot on the spinal cord of a freshly dead body or a beating-heart cadaver—meaning someone brain-dead but breathing via a respirator, pending the removal of organs for transplant—it will stretch out its arms and then raise them up and cross them over its chest.
    Мариhas quotedlast year
    electronics term for circuitry mix-ups is crosstalk: a signal traveling along one circuit strays from its appointed route and creates an unexpected effect along a neighboring circuit. Crosstalk explains the faint voices from someone else’s conversation in the background of a telephone call. Crosstalk in the human nervous system explains not only the man who enjoyed his toilette, but also why heart attack pain is sometimes felt in the arm, and why the sensations of childbirth have been known to include orgasmic feelings or, rarely, an urge to defecate. Orgasms from nursing (or nipple foreplay) are another example of crosstalk. The same group of neurons in the brain receive sensory input both from the nipples and the genitals. They’re the feel-good neurons: the ones involved in the secretion of oxytocin, the “joy hormone.” (Oxytocin is involved in both orgasm and the milk-letdown reflex in nursing mothers.)
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