A little over a week ago, the media began reporting that the g-spot - or, as it's less sexily known, the Gräfenberg spot - does not exist. Our commenters immediately called bullshit, as did many experts.
The study, titled Genetic and Environmental Inﬂuences on self-reported G-Spots in
Women: A Twin Study, set out to determine whether or not identical twins were more likely to report having a g-spot than fraternal twins. This, science blogger Scicurious, explains, could indicate there is a biological basis for the g-spot. If the g-spot is a biological fact, then identical twins should either both have it or neither should, or so the logic goes. While half the women questioned claimed they do have a g-spot, there was no correlation between twins. The authors of the study took this to conclude that there was no genetic basis for the g-spot. This quickly became the story Scientists prove the g-spot is a myth! Call of the search! and spawned a lot of unhappiness among women everywhere.
But there are problems, which is only natural, considering the fact that there are few topics more fraught with stereotypes and misinformation than female sexuality. Scicurious breaks down several of the issues with the study into three points: the average age of participants (55) may have skewed the information, the study excluded homosexual and bisexual women, focusing instead on what is apparently most important about women's sexuality (the penis, duh) and finally, the authors of the study never defined the g-spot. They handed out surveys with questions like "do you have a g-spot?" but they did not provide an accurate description of exactly what that means. Bloggers for the Sundance Channel report that the women were asked if they had a "so called G spot, a small area the size of a 20p coin on the front wall of your vagina that is sensitive to deep pressure?" (I'd love to see a study asking men if they have a "so called dick?" and other such leading questions). This was, sadly, all the guidance they received.
To further complicate matters, Scicurious correctly points out that the idea of the g-spot has been inflated to epic proportions, until many people (women and men) no longer really know what it means (if they ever did):
Any woman who's looked at a Cosmo has seen the headlines, and see the crap they have to say about what a G-spot is. Thus, unless you define what the G-spot is supposed to be, the results you're going to get from a survey saying "do you have a G-spot" are going to be pretty variable. Many women may not have even looked for it. Some women may think it's a magic button to orgasm, and figure if they don't orgasm instantly, they don't have one. This probably isn't the case. It may be a highly sensitive area, but probably doesn't just magically cause an orgasm.
The phrase "magic button" also pops up in Rachel Kramer Brussel's exploration of the area for the Daily Beast. She spoke with several experts, including Violet Blue, author of The Smart Girl's Guide to the G-Spot, about the whole g-spot brouhaha:
Blue cautions women to not believe the hype. "Part of the problem is that when people started talking more openly about the G-spot, a lot of [untrained] entrepreneurs rushed in to ‘sell' the magic button of the G-spot," she explains. "People need to screen the source of their information. Random, self-made ‘sex experts' trying to sell videos, books and sex toys might make the G-spot out to be the Holy Grail of orgasms, like this magic, mysterious button that once you find it and press it gives you unlimited mind-blowing orgasms." Cue The G-SHOT, billed as "a simple, nonsurgical, physician-administered treatment that can temporarily augment the Gräfenberg spot (G-Spot) in sexually active women with normal sexual function." Because "human-engineered collagen" is clearly the path to a better sex life...but just as, say, anal sex isn't for everyone neither is delving deep into the G-spot.
"With this thinking, any woman who can't find ‘it' with two hands and a flashlight must be broken," says Blue. "While all women have the tissue in varying forms, it's going to feel really great for some women or really unpleasant for others. Headlines that read ‘G-Spot is a Myth' fuel sexist notions around women's orgasms being mysterious, shame women who enjoy G-spot stimulation, and set us back about 100 years." This doesn't contradict the women who didn't report having a G-spot; it's possible they didn't know about the term or where it's located, had never had it stimulated, didn't like having it touched, etc.
So, there you have it. The existence of the g-spot has been neither affirmed or denied by this study. And yet, reporters still seemed to jump on the it's a myth! bandwagon with nary a thought to the sexism behind the statements. Unfortunately, a study that could have helped demystify a part of the female anatomy has only served to thicken the mists that obscure the elusive area. For now, we can turn back to Scicurious for a succinct, non-sexified description of the spot:
The G-spot, first described by Ernst Granfenberg in 1950, is hypothesized (not proven yet) to be a group of sensitive nerves along the anterior (that's the front) wall of the vagina. Other groups have hypothesized that they sensitivity of the area is due to the presence of residual prostate tissue in some women (the prostate in men surrounds the urethra, which in women is anterior to the vagina, hence the possible placement), and that stimulation of this area can lead, not only to orgasm, but also to female ejaculation.
The "Reality" Of The G Spot And The Mainstream Media [Science Blogs]
Yes, There Is A G-Spot [The Daily Beast]
Reports Of The G-Spot's Nonexistence Are Vastly Exaggerated [SUNfiltered]
Image via XKCD