“[T]he essay form … makes for a winning combination when it comes to crafting a nonfiction thriller.
“What constitutes nonfiction thriller short works? Consider ‘Some Like it Too Hot’. The opening gambit to this piece makes it intriguing, absorbing, and hard to quit reading— all the elements of a fictional thriller approach nicely applied to science fact:
Imagine a medical advisory discreetly mailed to unfaithful men everywhere. “Warning,” it says. “Extramarital sex can kill.” The medical staff of the Andrology Clinic at the University of Florence has never distributed any such advisory. But maybe someone should.
“Readers who pursue this piece beyond its compelling opener will discover “…intriguing evidence that sudden coital death in men is largely the problem of adulterers.” The cold analytical realm of science just got a lot more upfront and personal – and this is just one example of an article that reflects the latest research, yet adds a profoundly revealing twist to science, linking it to modern human habits and conundrums.
“Or, take ‘Was It Good for You, Too?’ Apparently males are the primary askers of this question. And the answer too often can’t be trusted. But why would women understate or misjudge the extent of their own arousal? Despite extensive research and testing, perhaps science itself is not yet in a place where women’s sexuality can be accurately measured.
“These and other essays push the boundaries of sexual understanding and perceptions of differences and desires between men and women, analyzing the sources of much confusion between the sexes.
“Any reader interested in human sexuality who eschews the normally dry scientific study on the matter will relish this absorbing read which puts the ‘lively’ back into matters and draws direct connections between modern sexual activities, dilemmas and questions, and the latest scientific findings.”—Midwest Book Review
“The interplay of love, lust, and science can be unpredictable. Even the most absurd experiments can yield fascinating results. In Science and Lust, by Rebecca Coffey, one sees that when expectations go awry, with a sense of humor one might have a good laugh and a good story to tell. What does this little gem hold? To name just a few: An experiment of polyester clad mice, historical research on red hot lips, Anna Freud psychoanalyzed on her father’s couch, and how to improve your sex appeal. The chapters are layered and laced with fun-filled facts, information and an extensive bibliography. It is a gift to all who appreciate solid research portrayed in breezy, page-turner fashion.”—Rita Watson, journalist and Associate Fellow at Yale’s Ezra Stiles College and co-author of six books.
“With wit and verve, Science and Lust makes a significant contribution to the literature dedicated to our need to understand what it means to be sexpositive. This book discusses pornography, lesbian love, masturbation, and illuminates an elegant rebuttal to Freud’s perspective on Civilizations and its Discontents. And much much more. Highly recommended.”—Marty Babits, LCSW, BCD, Author of I’m Not a Mind Reader (HCI Books, 2015) and The Power of the Middle Ground (Prometheus, 2008)
“How does Rebecca Coffey do it? I read Science and Lust in one sitting, as if I were savoring one appetizing morsel after another, enough to leave me magically both sated and wanting more. I learned answers to questions I’d never thought to pose (What is the impact of polyester on sex drive? or: What is the advantage for men of having facial scars?), and plausible answers to ones I’d often mused over (Why is the color red so important? How important, among married heterosexuals, is male height for female sexual desire?). And because Coffey returns us again to Freud, to his daughter Anna, and to their intimate conversation as he—in complete violation of his own rules and orthodoxy—analyzed her on his couch, while developing his theories of penis envy and femininity and homosexuality … well, you can imagine, the plot thickens and inspires intrigue. Aroused? Dip in and enjoy the feast.”—Jill Gentile, psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist, Associate Professor at N.Y.U., and author of Feminine Law: Freud, Free Speech, and the Voice of Desire (Karnac Books, 2016)