[lit-ideas] Re: Not Imagining Sex, or The Whipple Spot

  • From: Ursula Stange <Ursula@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2009 16:31:53 -0400

Now that is strange...my daughter gave this book (complete with toe tag) to us this past Christmas. I've been poking around in it now and again, but never started at the beginning. Odd coincidence....maybe intelligent daughters are like that...

in North Bay (now that school has started again)

John McCreery wrote:
A few years back, my daughter recommended "Stiff" to her parents. A book about corpses and how they are treated in medical and other contexts, it has many of the virtues David attributes to "Bonk." And, in any case, from "Stiff" to "Bonk" is simply irresistible.

Sweet dreams,


On Thu, Sep 10, 2009 at 9:31 PM, David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>> wrote:

    I have a book to recommend, "Bonk."  "Bonking" is English slang
    for having sex.  I found said vol. in our library, on the new
    non-fiction shelf.  I wondered what the book might be about.
     Subtitle, "The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex."  It's a
    history of scientific investigations of sex, written by one Mary
    Roach, "bestselling author of 'Stiff,'" which is about death and

    This woman is funny.  She notes that the Center for Sexual Therapy
    in Haifa is located at the Rambam Medical Center.  She writes that
    the G-spot was named by Beverly Whipple, who contemplated calling
    it the "Whipple Spot."  And she has this to say about Marie
    Bonaparte's husband, Prince George of Greece, "Marie was unaware
    of her prince's proclivities when they married.  Her suspicions
    were roused by the drawings of Greek athletes that George hung on
    his dressing room walls and, later, by his decision to serve as
    the gymnastics examiner at the Panhellenic Games."

    Not only is she funny, she is sensitive and sensible.  "There are
    times when the only way to gain entree into the world of
    laboratory sex is to be the queasy one yourself: to volunteer.
     These passages make up a tiny sliver of the book, but writing
    them was a challenge.  All the more so for having dragged my
    husband into it.  My solution was to apply the stepdaughter test.
     I imagined Lily and Phoebe reading these passages, and I tried to
    write in a way that wouldn't mortify them.  Though I've surely
    failed that test, I remain hopeful that the rest of you won't have
    reason to cringe."

    One example: Marie Bonaparte had a theory that the distance
    between the urethra and the clitoris varies and that there is a
    relationship between the size of this gap and the forms and ease
    of female orgasm.  A contemporary study asks participants to make
    this exact measurement, which is difficult for one person to do.
     "If you try this yourself, I recommend doing so when no one is
    home.  Otherwise, you will run the risk of someone walking in on
    you and having to witness a scene that includes a mirror, the
    husband's Stanley Powerlock tape measure, and the half-undressed
    self, squatting.  No one should have to see that.  It's bad enough
    you just had to read it.  Also, put the tape measure away when
    you're done.  My husband saw it on the bedside table and said,
    'What were you measuring?'"

    And the tentative conclusion that has resulted from all this
    measuring?  "The stereotypical ideal female--Barbie tall with
    Barbie big breasts--is the one least likely to respond to a manly

    Find somewhere quiet, read the book.  You may be amused.

    BTW. a guy who died in a small town out on the coast, our obits
    column says, was named W.A.Ter Har.  He is described as a "Seaside
    businessman."  Seaside can be a pretty wet place.  His
    daughters-in-law are D'Lorah Ter Har and Paivi Ter Har.  His sons,
    their husbands, are plain Peter and Jeff.  He was in the Marines,
    and went by "Bud."

    Carry on.

    David Ritchie,
    not dead yet, in
    Portland, Oregon

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John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324
jlm@xxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:jlm@xxxxxxxxxxxx>

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