Napoleon Bonaparte's granddaughter's unique orgasm study

Marie Bonaparte

Napoleon's granddaughter, Marie Bonaparte (1882 - 1962), in addition to being a princess of Greece and Denmark, was a French writer and psychoanalyst who had close professional ties with Sigmund Freud. Her first contact with him took place as a result of her suffering from frigidity and wanting to receive advice on her sexual dysfunction.

From then on, Marie felt so interested in psychoanalysis that she chose not only to support Freud financially but also to become a psychoanalyst. Among other things, Marie carried out a pioneering study on orgasms and how they were influenced by the distance between the clitoris and the urethra.

Masturbation and orgasms

Marie's problem is that although she had orgasms when she masturbated, it was impossible for her to reach them during intercourse. Her first hypothesis was that perhaps the clitoris was too far away from her vagina and that, therefore, her husband could not reproduce the same friction on the clitoris that she achieved during masturbation.

Marie was at a time when there was hardly any scientific literature on orgasms, let alone on the clitoris, the organ of the female genital system whose tip or glans appears at the top of the vulva, but extends inside the labia majora, the perineum and surrounds the lower third of the vagina.

To find out whether the arrangement of her clitoris was normal or abnormal (and therefore obtaining orgasms through penetration was equally difficult for other women like her), Marie teamed up with a doctor to conduct a unique scientific study for the time.

After recruiting 243 women, she measured all of them for the distance between their clitoris and their vaginas, as well as asked them about the frequency of their orgasms during intercourse.

In 1924, Marie Bonaparte published the results of her study under a pseudonym (A. E. Narjani) in the scientific journal Bruxelles-Médical, concluding that the distance between the clitoris and the vagina did indeed influence the frequency of orgasms.

Marie thus divided women into three types: the mesoclitorian (those with the clitoris located about 2.5 cm from their urethra), the teleclitorian (a distance greater than 2.5 cm) and the paraclitorian (a distance less than 2.5 cm).

The most surprising thing about Marie's study is that, despite its limitations, her intuition was correct, as subsequent analyses confirmed that a shorter distance between the clitoris and the vagina made it easier to achieve orgasm during intercourse.

One of the most recent studies on this subject is from 2011: it was published in the journal Hormones and Behaviour and was carried out by researchers Kim Wallen of Emory University and Elisabeth Lloyd of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, probably the most important centre for research on human sexuality. Their starting point was precisely the review of data published almost a century ago by Napoleon Bonaparte's granddaughter.

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