Saturday, June 25, 2016
Love --and Bonk!--in the Time of Cancer
This blog began because of sex. Sexual frustration actually. No, not with my partner but my absolute frustration with the medical community—oncology specifically, re: Sex.
When John’s cancer treatment began no one would talk to us about sex. They talked about drugs, food, even made recommendations for footwear, but no sex talk. I tried: I asked, I joked, I tried euphemism, and I tried being very direct. Nope, no sex talky. All the caregiver literature used the “C” word though. Cuddle. Ugh. It was just so insulting, discouraging and frustrating.
So, I did what I always do when something really makes me mad: I started writing. At first I vented, then I educated. I got all the answers that no one would give me, and I shared them and then I kept writing.
This blog has become about cancer and couples, and relationships, and caregiving, and resources and research, and advocacy. But today it is—again—about sex. And some research and a resource that I think will make you say, “Wowsa!” and will make you laugh.
Over the last few years I have been writing my new book, “Never Leave Your Dead,” about military trauma so I have been reading everything about veterans. That led me to the amazing science writer, Mary Roach. I loved her new book "Grunt" about what happens to bodies in battle, But then I also found Roach’s older book, “Bonk: the Curious Coupling of Science and Sex."
So I started reading and I started laughing, and I started saying “Holy Crap!” so often I woke John up several times. In “Bonk!” Roach takes us through the stories of sexual research—not just the conclusions (clitoral versus vaginal orgasms; penis size; what impotence really is…) but also through exactly how that research is conducted.
I can truly promise that you will learn more about sex that you ever wanted to know—and you’ll learn some really good stuff too.
And you will laugh. Roach is a hysterically funny writer. Even when she is dead serious—like when she is writing about penises and corpses—her commentary and asides will make you choke.
And laughter after all, you know, is the very best medicine.