Finally, Science for Grownups

by Biology Editor, Jeanne Garbarino

Wild. Sex. For some, those two words might conjure up a steamy scene set in the boudoir, or if you take what you can get, perhaps the back seat of a car. But for Dr. Carin Bondar, Biologist with a Twist, “wild sex” takes on a literal translation. In her new series, aptly named Wild Sex, which debuted in the US on November 21st on Earth Touch TV, Dr. Bondar tackles topics of taboo in the animal kingdom, highlighting that humans aren’t the only species to get a little kinky.

A few weeks ago, the world was presented with the trailer for the series, leading many to rise up (with applause, of course). But it isn’t just Dr. Bondar’s comfort with sexuality that should be applauded (because, really, we can be a little uptight sometimes) – this woman means business. Dr. Bondar, a native of Canada, earned her PhD in population ecology from the University of British Columbia. Her experiences as a scientist have spilled over to the world of science communications, and Dr. Bondar has established herself, through hard work and dedication, as a leading expert on sex-ed in the animal kingdom.

2012-11-21-mantishead.jpg
A decapitated male praying mantis.  On the bright
side, his genes will make an appearance in future generations.

In the premier episode of Wild Sex, Dr. Bondar provides a provocative explanation of cannibalism among mating insects, describing the process by which a female praying mantis decapitates her male mate, and continues to engage in sexual intercourse while eating his head. And then there is the male redback spider, who willingly surrenders to his female mate, but not without engaging an evolutionary adaptation to help ensure that his genes are passed on to the next generation. Pretty neat, right? But what sets this particular explanation apart from what you might see on Animal Planet is the context in which this information is presented (think Barry White and a corset).

In my opinion, Dr. Bondar beautifully balances science and sexuality, educating while she entertains. And, she’s not afraid to include the outtakes.  I think we need more of this in science, especially since a certain stereotypical image of what a scientist looks like is so deeply ingrained into our society. I admire Dr. Bondar for her creativity and humor, and for showing that science doesn’t have to be boring or unattractive. Plus, who doesn’t want to know which species reigns supreme when it comes to penis size? A whopping 45ft is obscene enough for me to at least want to take a glance… for science, of course.

Definitely check out Dr. Bondar’s new series, Wild Sex, which can be found on Earth Touch TV. You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe, and most importantly, you’ll learn. But, just because it is educational, doesn’t mean you should watch it with your kids. Seriously – it’s not PG, and that’s OK!

The opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily agree or conflict with those of the DXS editorial team and contributors.

This entry was posted in Biology, Everything else, Science education by Jeanne Garbarino. Bookmark the permalink.
Jeanne Garbarino

About Jeanne Garbarino

Double X Science Biology Editor Jeanne Garbarino is a Bronx native, mother, and wife. She is also a metabolic biologist - turned Director of Science Outreach at The Rockefeller University (RU). In this role, she helps bridge the gap between scientists and educators, and also creates scientific programming to help engage K-12 students. Jeanne began her research career as a PhD candidate using yeast as a model system to study the molecular basis of fat metabolism, and continued her studies as a postdoc in the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism at RU, where she tracked how cholesterol molecules move inside of a cell. Outside of the lab, Jeanne is involved in science communication initiatives, such as the monthly science discussion series, SpotOn NYC(#SoNYC). These events are open to anyone who is interested about how science is conducted, and are hosted at RU. She also spearheaded the creation of The Incubator - a science blog written by the RU community. Jeanne has contributed to several scientific outlets, including Scientific American, The Huffington Post, and Double X Science. You will never catch Jeanne eating meatloaf or brussel sprouts. Ever.