Every Saturday the CSPH highlights news or recent research in the field of human sexuality. This week we’re discussing a new study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine wherein one gynecologist claims he has anatomical proof the G-Spot exists.
Discussions about the elusive female G-Spot, or the Gräfenberg Spot, have been in high circulation for decades, but there has been no definitive conclusion about its distinct structure or location. Some women report that it is a small erogenous zone located inside and to the front (anterior) of the vaginal wall which, when stimulated, can lead to strong sexual arousal, powerful orgasms and/or female ejaculation. Studies asking women about their subjective experiences related to the G-Spot have been inconclusive. Other studies using ultrasound have found some physiological evidence of the G-Spot in women who report having orgasms during intercourse. It has been hypothesized that the G-Spot is an extension of the clitoris or could be proof of the existence of a female prostate, but ultimately, the G-Spot phenomenon has failed to be anatomically determined.
Adam Ostrzenski, M.D., Ph.D., of the Institute of Gynecology in St. Petersburg, Florida, decided to confirm the anatomical existence of the G-Spot by dissecting a fresh cadaver. He conducted a stratum-by-stratum anterior vaginal wall dissection (examination of each layer of the vaginal wall) on an 83-year-old female body, which had died from head trauma. The dissection found a well-delineated sac structure located on the dorsal (back) perineal membrane. This sac was identified as the G-spot. “This study confirmed the anatomic existence of the G-spot, which may lead to a better understanding and improvement of female sexual function,” Ostrzenski concluded.
While Dr. Ostrzenki’s findings are intriguing, sexologists and other researchers are concerned that women may consider themselves to be dysfunctional if they do not experience or are unable to identify their own G-Spot. Dr. Petra Boynton, Lecturer in Health Services Research at the University College London, released a statement in reaction to Dr. Ostrzenki’s study stating, “The current study is based on an autopsy of one woman. This is not going to be representative of all women. But rather than using it to add to the debate of do/don’t women have a g-spot, journalists could use this opportunity to ask critical questions about the quality of existing research, what problems this can cause women and their partners, who benefits from the continued g-spot debate, and examine how we might instead celebrate diversity in sexual pleasure.”
Dr. Boynton refers to a series of papers published over the past five years claiming to prove or disprove the existence of the g-spot and how, despite the limitations of all of these studies, the media has responded with enthusiasm and without critique. She claims the media’s reaction has rehearsed misleading stereotypes such as that women are unreliable in their sexual response or that there are superior forms of orgasm that can be related to specific parts of the body spawning new trends in “female sexual enhancements” including a plastic surgery procedure called G-Spot amplification – a procedure determined by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to be untested and unsafe including risks for sexual dysfunction, infection, altered sensation, dyspareunia, adhesions and scarring. “We know that men experience pleasure and the sensation of orgasm in different parts of their genitals …and we know that some men prefer to orgasm via oral sex or anal sex rather than penis-in-vagina sex. Yet we do not have numerous conflicting studies suggesting men who report pleasure from testicular stimulation are deluded, missing out, or need to learn to experience pleasure in other parts of their genitals,” she states.
Sex researcher Debby Herbenick, PhD also believes that Ostrzenki’s study should not be considered “groundbreaking.” In her recent column she states, “It’s a single case study involving the dissection of the body of one woman whose sexual experiences are unknown to us. Did she enjoy vaginal penetration? Did she find G-spot stimulation to be pleasurable or erotic or more or less likely to lead to orgasm? We don’t know.” Dr. Herbenick also questions Ostrzenki’s labeling of the “well-delineated sac structure.” She claims that there isn’t any real proof that what he found was a “G-Spot” or if it had anything to do with this particular woman’s sexual pleasure, erotic sensations, or orgasm.
Things that we do know about the G-Spot through past research are mostly subjective, gathered from individual women’s reports. We know that some women have identified an area (usually in the upper-front wall of the vagina) they call their “G-Spot” and that this area feels good when stimulated. The more accurate and productive way to interpret this study is to support continued research and curiosity around sexual health, but to not read this as a breakthrough in female sexual functioning.