To learn more about the Les 3 sex* editorial line and the review process, click here.
☛ Cette chronique est aussi disponible en français [➦].
Translated by Audrey Morabito
The overwhelming majority of studies on the G-spot focus on cis women. Thus, the term "woman" will be favoured within this article. However, the author would like to point out that some people with a vagina (and thus, possibly, a G-spot) may not identify with this gender.
It is the key to pleasure for some, a myth for others or even the ultimate mystery of the female anatomy. You probably guessed it, we are talking about the G-spot. That’s right, it is impossible to write for a sexological journal and not bring up the subject at least once.
It is an oh-so-popular subject in women’s magazines. It is impossible to count the amount of “G-spot: myth or reality?” or “Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the G-spot” or even “How to find your G-spot in 3 simple steps” articles. Popular yes, but still poorly understood by many.
By asking around, I was impressed by how many people had heard of the G-spot, yet how few were able to give any specifics on the subject. When people learned I was researching the subject, I was asked dozens and dozens of questions with a half-shy and half-curious air. My father even asked me, very seriously, to teach him how to find my mother’s G-spot, once I find the universal path that leads to it.
Sorry to disappoint you Dad (especially Mom actually...), but I still don’t have a definitive answer to give you. And believe me when I tell you I’ve scoured several books and dozens and dozens of articles on the subject (scientific, of course, not the ones from Cosmo, rest assured).
When my grandmother, discouraged from seeing me buried in books even on the weekend, asked me what I was working on and I answered that I was researching the G-spot, she said (I swear, I have witnesses): “What? My sweet girl, don’t need to spend so much time on that, I’ll show you how to find it and it won’t take long either!” Awkward. Good to know that my grandmother knows her own anatomical map so well, but this doesn’t help me on my journey to deciphering the ins and outs of the G-spot’s existence.
I was able to gather that the scientific community doesn’t agree on what the G-spot is, if it actually exists and if so, what its use is.
In fact, there is no consensus in sight.
Dear readers, I can hear your cries of desperation, “Will you tell us, you, after all these hours spent studying the subject, what is this famous G-spot?” Yes, but be patient. Let’s start at the beginning and do a quick historical overview of the subject.
History of the G-Spot
Although the particularly sensitive zone situated on the anterior wall of the vagina, which is now known as the G-spot, was already known in ancient Greece, we were able to rediscover this zone in the modern era thanks to the work of Dr. Ernst Gräfenberg in the 1950s (Whipple, 1992). It is the name of this physician that will be used to designate the area (G-spot for Gräfenberg). However, it was not until the 1980s that the G-spot acquired the reputation that it has today. Thanks to the work of researchers Ladas, Whipple and Perry, summarized in their famous book The G Spot and Other Discoveries about Human Sexuality (which I recommend that you read), the reputation of the famous G-spot continues to grow, especially in the West. There is increasing talk of a “new dimension of sexual pleasure” (Ladas et al., 1982) for women; a democratization of the vaginal orgasm and no longer purely the clitoral orgasm (Ladas et al., 1982).
For those who are less familiar with the G-spot and have thus far resisted the urge to go see it on Wikipedia, the G-spot (fun fact, it was almost called “the Whipple tickle” in honour of Beverly Whipple) is an area situated on the anterior wall of the vagina, more sensitive and erogenous than the rest of the other vaginal walls. This zone is situated close to the entry of the vagina and would be easier to stimulate if the subject is squatting or sitting (like on a toilet bowl). The stimulation of this zone situated on the suburethral surface of the anterior wall of the vagina would procure pleasurable sensations. Gräfenberg describes this zone as being surrounded by erectile tissue. The best way to stimulate the G-spot during penetration would be posteriorly, or from behind (Ladas et al., 1982).
Gräfenberg wrote that this position is the one adopted by most quadrupeds, insinuating that the G-spot plays an important role in evolution and reproduction: females would be more inclined to consent to sexual intercourse if it is pleasurable (Gräfenberg, 1953).
However, it is still impossible to establish, out of all reasonable doubt, the existence of the G-spot given that there is no consensus on this subject in the scientific community. Hypotheses are plenty for both camps, but none permit us to draw a clear conclusion regarding its existence. This ever so popular spot, which may not even exist.
First, there is the anatomical hypothesis. It makes it reasonable to think that if the G-spot existed, we could identify it by specific anatomical structures; either by a local structure which would indicate the location of a sensitive zone like the Skene’s glands, or by a uniform structure that activates different zones of the cerebral cortex, or either by a different innervation of the present structures.
The Skene’s glands hypothesis is pretty popular amongst the scientific community. The teams of Darling (1990) and Wimpissinger (2007) attest that the G-spot is, in fact, a regrouping of glands (Skene’s glands) and ducts on the anterior wall of the vagina and that stimulating these structures can lead to orgasm.
However, several studies attest that Skene’s glands have no sensory receptors (Kilchevsky et al., 2012). The engorgement of these glands situated on the anterior wall of the vagina would simply be caused by increased blood flow to the area due to arousal (Puppo, 2011) rather than direct stimulation of the glands. In addition, the teams of Alzate (1985) and Levin (2008) show that stimulating the lateral/posterior walls of the vagina can also lead to orgasm (Kilchevsky et al., 2012).
Areas of the Cortex
Another way to approach the hypothesis of a G-spot specific morphology is by studying, through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the activation of the areas of the cortex during different types of stimulation. According to the study by Komisaruk and colleagues (2011), the fact that different areas of the sensory cortex are activated depending on the stimulated area (clitoris, vagina, cervix) is proof that stimulation of the different zones of the vagina is independent of other known sensitive areas. However, it is impossible to confirm the existence of the G-spot based on this study because the entire anterior wall of the vagina was stimulated as opposed to the area particularly ascribed to the G-spot.
Bundle of Nerves
Yet another way to distinguish a specific and more sensitive area of the anterior wall of the vagina would be to study the type and amount of nerve bundles situated on the vaginal walls. This is what Kilchevsky’s team did in 2012. According to them, the anterior and lateral walls of the vagina are more densely innervated by fibres of the autonomic nervous system (O’Connell et al., 2005), especially the distal part (Song, 2009), giving a strong defence to the believers of the G-spot. Don’t jump to conclusions just yet, because another team of researchers (Pauls et al., 2006) found no significant difference between the different zones of the vagina in regard to the distribution of nerve bundles.
Proximity to Other Sensitive Areas
Another theory that could explain the highly sensitive nature of the anterior wall of the vagina, without necessarily confirming the existence of the G-spot, is based on the proximity of this area to other highly sensitive areas. The sensitivity of the anterior wall of the vagina could be due to its physical proximity to the periurethral tissues: stimulating the G-spot would stimulate, indirectly, the clitoridal structures (O’Connell et al., 1998) which descend the anterior wall of the vagina during sexual relations (Buisson et al., 2008). This hypothesis is very popular in the scientific community, yet still not unanimous. Puppo and colleagues (2014), for their part, state that there is no correlation between the vagina and the clitoral structures.
As you can probably tell, it is impossible to confirm the existence of the G-spot based on anatomical evidence alone. Hence the idea to explore the embryological side: certain theories, such as the theory of ectodermal origin, could support the existence of a sensitive zone on the anterior wall of the vagina.
Terence Hines (2001), drawing on the work of Westrom and colleagues (1998), explains that the vestibulum, bladder and urethra originate from the endoderm and that the rest of the vagina and the vulva originate from the ectoderm (the origin of skin). The latter could have more nerve endings, thus increasing its sensitivity. Approximately 20% of the vagina, including the lower part where the G-spot is presumably located, is from ectodermal origin (Heath, 1984). However, Hilliges and colleagues (1995) conclude that the anterior wall of the vagina is more innervated subepithelial (and not intraepithelial, which would indicate an increased sensitivity) than the posterior part, contradicting the existence of the G-spot. However, we should be wary of such conclusions as Hilliges and colleagues did not fully explore the anterior wall (Hines, 2001).
This is all well and good, but there still is a plethora of testimonials from women, couples and men assuring us that the G-spot exists. The work of Ladas, Whipple and Perry (1982) is filled with anecdotes from the average Joe and Jane who praise the area which, with time, has acquired such a grand reputation that it has become difficult to deny its existence. Texts advocating the existence of the G-spot are abundant and end up influencing us, whether we like it or not. It is hard to cast aside these testimonies when we are trying to prove the existence of the G-spot. However, these have very little scientific value because of their low degree of reliability and validity (not surprising coming from a student who swears only by quantitative studies...). The conclusions drawn from case studies are also very variable and do not reach a consensus. In short, it is difficult to prove the existence of the G-spot with only the help of testimonials, even without diminishing their impact.
Yes, but What Else?
Now that I have exposed the four truths about the G-spot, I want to (finally) get to the ultimate goal of the article: to warn you. I find there is immense pressure on women (and also men) to find and enjoy the G-spot. As if a sex life without having found you or your partners’ G-spot couldn’t be considered fulfilling. As if it is necessary to look for the G-spot. As if it were the holy grail of sexual pleasure, that without it, our sexual pleasure would be in vain and our sex life incomplete.
In a world where performance anxiety has become the norm among young people (and even the not so young) (Hedon, 2003; Kenny, 2011; Mazzone et al., 2007; Smith & Smoll, 1990), I find it very delicate to describe the G-spot as a standard that must be reached in order to have a “good” sex life. The norms society imposes are numerous as it is, we must be careful not to add to the list. Beware, I am not saying that we should settle with what we already know, to have sex every Tuesday, in the missionary position, during the second advertising break of Unité 9 (although there is nothing wrong with that type of sex life). I just want to say that finding the G-spot is not a standard or an obligation.
Some find it and like to stimulate it, some find it but prefer clitoral stimulation and others don’t find it and it is fine either way.
The key is not to impose additional norms or standards. In this sense, we must share the knowledge we have on the subject in order to educate and explain certain phenomena to women and their partners without giving them the impression that the search and discovery of the G-spot is an obligation or an opportunity not to be missed.
The goal is to promote a healthy sex life leading to personal growth, regardless of whether women know where their G-spot is or not. There is enough pressure by the media to be thin, muscular and tanned, no need to add to it. If both partners are fulfilled in their intimate lives, they shouldn’t be made to feel like they have to access the next level at all costs, as if it were a race or a competition.
Some women go as far as getting collagen injected into the anterior wall of their vagina in order to amplify their G-spot and ultimately increase the sensitivity of the area. It is a practice that many doctors condemn, and for great reason. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stated, in 2007, that they disapprove of the practice because it is not safe and has not been proven to be effective (Pan et al., 2015). It can cause many side effects (loss of sensation, infections, scar tissue, etc.) and serious complications (Puppo, 2011).
As B. Whipple would say, the best is the enemy of the good.
To cite this article:
Gareau, E. (2016, September 20). No Use Searching for It, Its Existence Isn’t Even Proven . Les 3 sex*. https://les3sex.com/en/news/102/chronique-rien-ne-sert-de-le-chercher-son-existence-n-est-meme-pas-prouvee