The prince was afraid of his genitals. He was so sheltered he lacked even the words to describe his primary instrument: He pronounced it penn-is, as if it were an Italian pasta, instead of penis. If asked to describe his scrotum or prostate, he would curl up in a ball.
Yes, our young hero dated - he wooed and gave his affections to a promising handful. But when it came to taking off his pants and running around the bases, the prince would freeze, unable to turn the corner. He'd call his parents, "Mom! Dad! What's wrong with me?"
They adored their sweet son, and always answered, "Honey, you're just a late bloomer."
The young hunter decided if he couldn't come to sexual self-knowledge by fate, he'd investigate it with his intellectual prowess and social connections. The prince would treat his "condition" as a science project; he'd climb the mountain and entreat the Orgasm Gurus. He'd discover the Big O, and when he found it, he'd tremble from head to toe.
Our young sire spoke to the Wizards of Orgasm, and they gave him their best. They handed him the keys to the kingdom. Sad to say, our young pilgrim dropped the keys down the grate, over and over again.
My prince's tale is a memoir that has not been written. If it were, it would be held up as an anomaly, like an Oliver Sacks investigation: "The Man Who Mistook His Penis for a Book Deal!"
And yet every season we find a book like Mara Altman's "Thanks for Coming," a memoir by a woman who fumbles in the dark.
This gender distinction in adult sexual development is profound. One finds no comfort in Altman's exploration. She thinks of herself as an odd but endearing bird, the sweet young thing who can't climax - gee-whiz.
Among her peers, however, she is not uncommon. There are millions of females in their 20s who do not masturbate and have never had an orgasm. Their disdain and cheeky humor about "not getting it" is a mainstream media gambit.
What does this lack of female orgasm mean? Is it like missing the Grand Tour of Europe - or the crosstown bus? Is it overrated?