The eternal G-spot dispute — do women have one or don't they? — rivals the debate over the existence of God. Now, a doctor claims he's finally found the Holy Grail, although critics say his research is laughably inconclusive. Wait, haven't we heard this "news" approximately fifteen million times before? Why is our culture so obsessed with "cracking" the female orgasm?
The term "G-spot" was first coined in blah blah blah sorry, I'm not going to get into the history because every single G-spot article starts the same way, with a few Freud references and a vague metaphor likening the vagina to Xanadu. Here's the first sentence of today's groundbreaking Los Angeles Times story, "Doctor says he's found the actual G spot," which is over 1,000 words long:
Like so many explorers before him, Dr. Adam Ostrzenski has long dreamed of finding a piece of elusive territory with a reputation for near-mythic powers.
Are they just fucking with us at this point? Kind of, actually. Turns out this particular Marco Polo is a semi-retired Florida gynecologist who performs "G-spot plasty," an extreeeemely dubious plastic surgery procedure that purportedly enhances sexual pleasure. Conflict of interest alert? No way! This pioneer said he was simply inspired by the first principles of medicine — "first you have to establish the anatomy" — to muck around in an 83-year-old polish female cadaver for seven hours. He found small, grape-like clusters of what he believes is "erectile tissue" housed in a "a deep, deep structure" nestled between the vaginal wall's fifth layer, the endopelvic fascia, and its sixth, the dorsal perineal membrane.
Some (male) doctors are thrilled — one sexual medicine specialist believes the discovery of this "unique structure capable of boosting women's orgasmic powers" should once and for all silence believers who question the G-spot's existence — but others, such as Beverly Whipple, the Rutgers University sexologist who popularized the name "G-spot" as coauthor of a 1982 book on the subject (aka, she probably actually knows what she's talking about), is fed up with the hullabaloo:
Laying out a bundle of poorly defined tissues and calling them the G spot likens women's powers of sexual pleasure to the "on-off switch" that better describes men's sexuality, Whipple said. In suggesting he has found and characterized the exact structure that boosts the intensity of orgasm in women, Ostrzenski ignores research that suggests there is no single magical "spot" that does all that, she added.
Whipple and her colleagues, who probably have way better things to do, have already drafted a critique that faults Ostrzenski for failing to show that the "G-spot" he discovered has nerve tissue, is erectile tissue, or that it "has any role to play in female sexual arousal." Unsurprisingly, Ostreznski has admitted he knows next to nothing about the tissue he found, and "makes no claim that the G-spot he has found will be in the same place, nor that it will have the same powers, for every woman." So why is the LAT reporting his story? Why did Whipple even have to critique such a batshit-sounding study?
I'm sure I'm going to get called out for "science-shaming" (which is apparently a thing?) but I'm not mad at science; I'm frustrated that I'm still reading about the G-spot without actually learning anything about how any of the findings actually affect what we know about female sexuality. Search "G-spot" on this very site and, in less than a minute, you'll learn that G-spot orgasms:
- Definitely don't exist.
- Exist, but not every woman has one.
- Only exist if you want to shell out thousands of bucks.
- Might just be clitorial orgasms.
- Are part of a "G-zone," not just a G-spot. (You provincial-minded woman, you.)
- French and English (men) like to argue about it.
I'm all for studies that help us understand how our bodies work, but it doesn't seem like we're getting anywhere by trying to define female arousal in a clear-cut way. By turning the vagina into a mystical, incomprehensible treasure trove of untold yet unreachable pleasures — I mean, re-read the first sentence of this article again, it makes the G-spot sound like fucking Bigfoot — we're further dissociated from the actions that make us feel good and become even more stressed about how and why the sex we're having isn't good enough.
It's possible that this is all a vast right-wing conspiracy to deter us from thinking about reproductive rights. But it's more likely that (predominately male) scientists, obsessed with equating female sexuality with male sexuality, will never stop trying to mansplain the art of pleasure. So that's it. I'm done reading G-spot articles until someone snags an exclusive interview with a G-spot herself. Anyone know a G-spot willing to talk?
Image by Jim Cooke.