The Princess Who Couldn’t Come

Hi there, sweet thing. Would you like to hear a fairy tale today? Okay, I’ll tell you one, but beware, like all fairy tales, there is something relatively horrific in it.

It’s not as bad as dear little Hansel and Gretel violently shoving a witch into a hot oven or the Three Little Pigs boiling the Big Bad Wolf alive. (“And as the wolf felt his flesh sear, he howled in the throes of the very deepest agony, while the pigs did a happy little dance and shouted ‘Hooray!’ Good night kids, sweet dreams….”).

But it does involve–and please know that I can barely stand to type this–surgery to move the clitoris. Surgery to move the clitoris two times, after a first unsuccessful surgery. Primitive early 1900s surgery, which I suspect probably involved an ice pick, a rusty hook and unlicensed mesmerism.

Anyway, let us begin with our tale, shall we?

There was once a beautiful (enough) princess named Marie Bonaparte. Even though she was a great-niece of Napoleon and a princess and all, she wasn’t happy because well, my friends, poor Marie couldn’t have an orgasm.

Part of this probably had to do with the unfortunate (for her, at least) fact that her husband, Prince George of Greece, was a latent homosexual. According to Mary Roach in her completely delightful book Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, the bad marital sex kicked off on their wedding night. In Marie’s diary, she wrote that George mounted her “in a short brutal gesture, as if forcing [himself]…and apologized “I hate it as much as you do. But we must do it if we want children.”

But Marie was a plucky sort and was determined to come. She decided she would solve her problem by taking other lovers. Several of them. But they too left her cold. Finally, she tried the most decidedly non-Princess-like move of putting her delicate fingers between her own legs, and found that lo! she could come!

Our plucky princess was also scientifically-minded and, though most of her blood by now busy throbbing desperately through her unfulfilled loins, she still had enough brain power to come up with a hypothesis. Perhaps, she thought, her problem was that her clitoris was too far from her vagina.

A royal experiment was in order. The princess found 243 willing subjects, asked them about their sex lives and somehow convinced them to let her measure the distance between their clitoris and vagina, or C-V distance. In 1924 she published her findings under the pseudonym A.E. Narjani because then, as it probably still is, Princesses don’t go around sticking rulers between other women’s legs and talking about it. According to this “Narjani”:

–21% of women had a C-V distance of more than an inch (that translates to 2.5 centimeters for those of you in progressive countries that have somehow managed to grasp the intricacies of the metric system.). These women couldn’t have an orgasm via vaginal intercourse, or did only rarely. The Princess termed them teleclitoridiennes. As Roach writes: “Teleclitoridienne means simply ‘female of the distant clitoris,’ but it had a lovely, aristocratic ring to it–calling to mind a career women in heels and a sweater set, cabling reports from her home in Biarritz. At the very least, it had a nicer ring to it than ‘frigid.’

–69% were paraclitoridiennes, with a C-V distance of less than an inch. These lucky-ass women were much more likely to have orgasms with vaginal intercourse.

–10% were mesoclitoridiennes, with a C-V distance of exactly an inch. These women might come…or might not, depending on a variety of factors (gay husband using “short, brutal gesture” VS. delightfully hot lover using torturously languid gestures + memories of recently seen Rudolph Valentio movie.)

The Princess’s research gibes with modern data that finds that there is indeed a correlation between C-V distance and ease of orgasm during the deed. BUT, despite what porn films show and show and show, no way are 69% of modern women coming via regular ol’ P in V sex. According to ABC News (and I must say it is pleasing to me to see ABC News using the phrase “sex toys, hands or tongue”):

About 75 percent of all women never reach orgasm from intercourse alone — that is without the extra help of sex toys, hands or tongue. And 10 to 15 percent never climax under any circumstances.

But back to our story. Marie, perhaps her thinking clouded by unresolved lust, decided that the best cure for her condition was to have her clitoris surgically moved.

And when this didn’t work, she tried surgery a-fucking-gain! Which also didn’t work.

BUT this tale has a happy ending (and can for you as well, if you’re a sweater set-wearing teleclitoridiennes.) Marie finally figured out some twisty Kama Sutra-ish positions, unfortunately lost to the ages, that did indeed get her off.

And our little Princess came and came and lived happily ever after.

P.S. There is a trick to discovering your C-V distance. An inch just happens to be the distance between the tip of your thumb and your first knuckle. So, if you measure using this “rule of thumb”… Oh…you left already?



(photo: Albert Arthur Allen, 1929, source) Note: This is actually not a photo of Marie Bonaparte, but c’mon, the chick looks unsatisfied and she’s wearing a friggin’ crown. I HAD to use it.

Jill Hamilton

I write In Bed With Married Women, a blog about sex in all its boring, funny, strange, smokin' hot glory. Before I got all smutty, my work appeared in Rolling Stone, Jezebel, Entertainment Weekly, Mad magazine, Time Out New York, Games, the Los Angeles Times, and the occasional boring reference book. My music column for the now-defunct Ann Arbor News won an award from The National Society of Newspaper Columnists. And this is kind of off-topic, but I once interviewed John Cusack and can report that his breath was minty.

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