In 1982 Dr. John D. Perry, Beverly Whipple & Alice Kahn Ladas published “The G-Spot,” a book which created a great deal of controversy (aff link to updated version). Perry and company said there was an area in the vagina which responded to stimulation, and that some women were capable of having an orgasm from this stimulation alone. They named this area the Grafenberg spot, or G-spot, after Ernest Grafenberg, who noted the erotic sensitivity of this location in the 1950’s. The well-known, and well-published, “sex experts” of the time rejected the book’s findings out of hand, and since then there’s been an on-going debate about the G-spot. Before we can discuss what the G-spot is, and what it does, we need to address questions about its existence.
Contrary to what some detractors claim, the G-spot is not a “new discovery”:
In 1880, Dr. Skene noted the existence of glandular structures in the area.
In 1672, de Graaf drew a sketch that showed ducts in the area.
Medical mention of the area goes all the way back to ancient Rome.
Mention of the ability of producing pleasure by stimulating this area is found in non-Western texts going back to before the time of Christ.
Why the dispute about the G-spot? Blame it on Sigmund. Dr. Freud popularised the idea that women had two kinds of orgasms: an immature “clitoral orgasm”, and a mature “vaginal orgasm.” Despite the fact that biology was against this “theory,” many people believed it, and kept teaching it to others. Those who set out to teach the truth about human sexuality in the 1950’s and 1960’s spent a good deal of effort trying to debunk the two kinds of orgasm idea. Therefore, when Whipple, Ladas, and Perry came along and said there was a spot in the vagina that could cause orgasm, the “experts” naturally saw it as a reincarnation of Freud’s vaginal orgasm. Some did incomplete or faulty studies, which they said disproved the existence of the G-spot, while others rejected the idea without even looking at the evidence. The “debate” between the two sides continues, even though there is a large body of evidence that there is something there.1
If we accept that it exists, what is it, where is it, and what does it do? The G-spot is a mass of nerves and glandular tissue, known as the paraurethral glands. The G-spot lies between the urethra and the vagina, and is not actually a part of the vagina. Normally it’s unnoticeable, but as a woman becomes aroused the area swells, making it possible to feel it through the vaginal wall. The G-spot is located 1.5 to 3 inches (3 to 8 cm) inside the vagina on the upper wall. When aroused it’s ¾ of an inch (2 cm) in size, usually a bit longer than it is wide. Placement, size, and shape vary from woman to woman, adding to the confusion. The position of the G-spot makes it difficult or impossible for most women to get a finger to it, but her husband can find it by inserting one or two fingers into the vagina after she is aroused. The palm of the hand should be up if the woman is on her back, and down if she is on her front; initially finding the spot may be easier if the woman lies on her front. The man should be able to feel the G-spot with his finger(s) as a small lump in the vaginal wall. If he feels nothing, rubbing the area should cause the G-spot to firm up.
Once the spot has been located, the man can stimulate it by moving his finger(s) in very small circles, or by doing a “come hither” motion with his finger(s). Initial stimulation of the G-spot often causes the woman to experience a sudden and strong feeling of needing to urinate; this feeling soon passes, and may be replaced by pleasant and arousing sensations.
While most women feel stimulation of the G-spot, their response to it varies. Some women can orgasm from G-spot stimulation alone, others can’t. Some women have strong orgasms from a combination of G-spot and clitoral stimulation, and some women have powerful orgasms when having intercourse in positions which stimulate the G-spot (rear entry is good for this). Other women don’t find G-spot stimulation particularly enjoyable, and for some it’s never anything but annoying or uncomfortable. Several studies have shown various amounts of tissue in the G-spots of different women, and this may be part of why some women feel more than others. Some have suggested that repeat stimulation causes the G-spot to grow, but we are not aware of any good studies that have shown this.
Women who experience orgasm from G-spot stimulation alone say it feels different than clitoral orgasms, and there seems to be a good reason for that. Research has shown that the nerves that serve the G-spot are very different from the nerves that serve the clitoris and the vulva.2 This supports the hypothesis that the G-spot is a separate pathway for orgasm. It also suggests that having a G-spot orgasm may be a learned experience, and may explain why some women don’t find stimulation of the G-spot enjoyable.
Because it can only be detected when aroused, gynaecologists don’t see or feel it when doing exams. For the same reason, the G-spot is not obvious in cadaver studies.
Several studies that determined it did not exist were the result of asking women if they thought they had one, or if they had ever found it, or had an orgasm from it. Such studies are not science!
Some well-meaning folks don’t want women to feel abnormal if they don’t find or can’t have an orgasm from their G-spot. While we agree no woman should feel there is something wrong with her, this is no reason to deny that the G-spot exists.3
Much of the debate is about what the G-spot is. The popular media sometimes reports this as a debate about if it exists.
Some have exaggerated the G-spot and what it can do. When these exaggerations are found to be false, it’s natural to throw out the whole idea.
The popular press tends to look at all data, rather than only data which was collected in a way which ensures good quality information. This means junk science studies are given the same importance as well done studies, with the winner being the side that has the most studies. This may make for a good story, but it does not reveal truth.4
We think the G-spot should be seen as one more way God gave us to share in the pleasure of sex. Each woman responds differently, and each couple needs to take the time to discover how this hidden spot might fit into their sex life. In theory all women should be able to learn to enjoy stimulation of the G-spot, but a woman who is happy with her sex life may not see any reason to work at something that is not initially enjoyable.
Finally, many scientists believe the G-spot is composed of the same embryonic tissue that becomes the prostate in men, and this brings us to female ejaculation.
1 3-D volumetric and vascular analysis of the urethrovaginal space in young women with or without vaginal orgasm. J Sex Med. 2010 Apr;7(4 Pt 1):1445-53
2 Link Pending
3 Dr. Andrea Burri who did research that supposedly found the G-spot does not exist, has said that she wanted to “remove feelings of ‘inadequacy or underachievement’ that might affect women who fear they lacked a G-spot.” (Last paragraph here)
4 Who’s Afraid of the G-spot? The Journal of Sexual Medicine Volume 7, Issue 1pt1, pages 25–34, January 2010
splash of ink © Ljerka Glavanic-Heise / Pixabay.com