Learn About Sexuality

The story behind the G-spot myth (1982)

In the 1980s, Beverly Whipple and John Perry were teaching women Kegel exercises for urinary stress incontinence. They identified a patch of erectile tissue that can be felt through the front wall of the vagina, directly behind the pubic bone. Whipple and Perry named this the Gräfenberg spot after Dr Ernst Gräfenberg, who wrote about the area in 1950. Together with sex therapist Alice Khan Ladas, they published a book: ‘The G Spot: And Other Discoveries about Human Sexuality’ in 1982. Apparently the publisher suggested shortening the name to the G-spot.

Men were already known to have a G-spot, which is situated at the base of the prostate gland. This was clever thinking because it implied symmetry between the sexes, which is popular especially for those insisting on sexual equality in all things. However, these anatomical parallels are erroneous. The only sexual anatomy that men and women have in common is the sex organ (penis or clitoris). The male glands (including the prostate) develop from ducts that waste away in the female. So it is impossible for a woman to have the exact same internal reproductive anatomy as a man. It is also impossible for them to ejaculate as men do.

In much the same way, the vagina (all of it including the anterior wall) develops from ducts that waste away in the male. So if women were capable of orgasm through stimulation of the vagina (any part of it) this would need to have evolved quite separately from the male’s orgasmic capacity. But there is no biological justification for women ever having an orgasm. They do not ejaculate.

Any stimulation of the female g-spot during intercourse would need to stop as soon as a woman had her orgasm. It is not comfortable for anyone to continue stimulation (that leads to orgasm) once orgasm is achieved. Yet we never hear of this issue. It would certainly not be popular with men if women reached a state when intercourse ended before a man had reached his own orgasm. The G-spot is an explanation for the orgasms some women think they have. Consequently, it only works one way. This explains is why it is futile for a woman (or her lover) to try to use information about the G-spot to have an orgasm.

As part of a project at Kings College, London the Swiss researcher Andrea Burri talked to 3,000 women in 2010 and found no evidence for the G-spot. There was no physical examination. More than 3,000 women, all pairs of identical and non-identical twins, completed a survey. Among other questions, they were asked if they believed they had a small area on the front of the vagina that was sensitive to deep pressure. The study (the biggest of its kind to date) concluded that the G-spot as a well-defined area did not exist. The findings appeared in the Journal of Sexual Medicine yet they have had little impact compared with the success of the original theory.

Sexology is the only ‘scientific’ discipline where theories are proposed and accepted on the basis of sensationalism rather than any solid evidence. There is no formal process for scientists to propose theories and then have them proved or dis-proved. Any other area of science involves proposing theories that must then be tested and supported by considerable evidence before they are accepted.

Yet the G-spot (which has never been described as a theory) continues to be promoted despite widespread cynicism and contrary evidence. The G-spot has succeeded for this reason. Men want to believe in the ability of the vagina to cause orgasm no matter how ridiculous the theory.

No one tries to accumulate a consistent understanding of sexuality. A body of research work gains credibility over time as more recent findings are reconciled to earlier work or justifications are proposed (and accepted) for why the older findings can be discounted.

There is no governing body that oversees the publication and acceptance of authoritative knowledge about human sexuality. Research is done on an ad hoc basis, papers are published and archived. There is no agreement or consistency and the general public gets to hear very little except the most sensational. No one selects the more relevant research and collects a body of accepted cumulative evidence that could explain our sexuality.

Women’s key sexual behaviour is to attract male attention. So any theory that suggests women can orgasm through intercourse is a winner not just with men but also with women. Some women enjoy the attention they get from promoting themselves sexually. They are confident that no one will ever be able to assess their willingness to do more than flaunt their bodies and sexual bravado. Only a lover knows if a woman is willing to offer sexual pleasuring, engage in sex play and enjoy erotic fantasies.

Considering the importance which sexual problems have in the practice of psychiatry, medicine, psychology, and counselling of every sort, it is disconcerting to realize what scant bases there have been for over-all statements that have been made in this field. (Alfred Kinsey 1948)

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