About two weeks ago Salon decided to write up a recent report from some Italian scientists, which they say “claims once and for all that the controversial G-spot is nothing but a myth (with a really good PR campaign).” It promptly spread all across the internet and this whole conversation started once again, because apparently we need science to tell us if things feel good.
It seems every time some scientist somewhere even includes the word “g-spot” in their study the news sources blow up saying that this time, for sure, there is finally “definitive proof” that the g-spot doesn’t (or does) exist. I’m honestly not sure the author over at Salon even read the study this time because it doesn’t actually say anything about the g-spot being a myth, like, AT ALL.
Emmanuele A Jannini, Odile Buisson, and Alberto Rubio-Casillas propose that the g-spot is not it’s own distinctive anatomical structure but instead it is a sensitive area that is part of the overall genital structure which they have so eloquently dubbed “clitourethrovaginal (CUV) complex”.1 They explain:
The dynamic changes observed in the CUV complex and associated blood vessels and muscles during sexual stimulation or orgasm suggest that sexual pleasure cannot be attributed to a single organ, providing a rationale for the replacement of an old term (G-spot) and unproved concept that is deeply rooted in our society. This change in terminology could help medical doctors, gynaecologists, urogynaecologists, experts in sexual medicine, and the general public to understand that the erotogenic anatomy associated with VAO [vaginally achieved orgasm] extends beyond a single sensitive area of tissue in the AVW [anterior vaginal wall].
They propose a name change. They propose a more accurate representation of what happens when that part of the body is stimulated. They never say that the g-spot is a myth. They say sexuality of people with vaginas is immensely complicated and there isn’t just one magic button that produces profound pleasure.
This scientific revelation was accompanied by other groundbreaking findings such as:
Anatomical and clinical findings have indicated that large differences in vaginal anatomy are observed between women.2
and my personal favorite:
Individual sexual preferences are probably also important in determining sexual arousal.
This is all true, obviously, but I don’t really think anyone has ever argued any differently. We never assumed the g-spot was an independent structure, that’s why we call it the g-spot, it’s just a spot that sometimes feels good when touched. Why is it that science is so insistent on making it more or less than that?
I have no problems with the conclusions this study drew from their research, some of it was quite fascinating,3 and I actually really appreciated the proposal for a change in nomenclature. The idea of a CUV paints a more accurate picture than the pervasive idea of this magical g-spot.
What really worries me is how the media portrayed it as definitive and groundbreaking when it really wasn’t. Most of what was shared were things that educators, people with g-spots, and the people who play with them have known for decades.
Bodies are profoundly complex.
Everyone is different.
And sometimes when you touch this spot on the front wall of the vagina it feels good.
Even more worrisome than the redundancy of science’s conclusions about the g-spot was the weight with which society regards them; somehow we seem to believe that one study can completely invalidate the lived experience of literally thousands of women. If a study isn’t able to find conclusive evidence of the g-spot we don’t see that as a flaw in the study, instead we assume that this must mean there is no conclusive evidence to be found, ignoring all anecdotal evidence in support of it.
There are countless historical, scientific, and medical mysteries that we can comfortably accept we do not have the answer to, yet the g-spot is the one thing that society demands an explanation for. We don’t understand the history of Stonehenge but we don’t take this lack of information to mean that it isn’t there. People have seen and felt it, we know it’s real, we just don’t know why or how. Sound familiar?
I honestly couldn’t tell you where this unique perspective on the g-spot comes from. Maybe it’s a result of the dismissive and misogynistic attitude with which our society treats the voices and experiences of women. Maybe it’s a product of the disparaging and sex negative attitude with which our society treats practically anything with it’s roots in sexual pleasure.
What I can say for sure though, is that that this attitude is not only a waste of time and resources but it is also harmful. Sure I am curious about the g-spot, would love to know about it, and will continue to read research on it, but no matter what that research tells me I will never believe that I do not have a g-spot. I will never read a study that tells me “the g-spot isn’t real” and then box up my Pure Wand and give up on all the delightful orgasms it has given me, but how many other people with vaginas can say the same?
How many people will feel isolated by language that tells them the source of their pleasure is a myth? How many feel broken because they find no pleasure in the all powerful g-spot? How many people will dismiss their partner’s reports of their own pleasure based on what they’ve heard as “fact”?
Instead of treating the g-spot like a myth that needs to be proven4 why can’t we just treat it as a mystery that might be interesting to solve. Study it, sure, figure out why it does the things it does, but for the rest of the time treat is as any other erogenous zone in our arsenal. Accept that for some people it can be deeply pleasurable, others will be indifferent to it, and still others will find it particularly uncomfortable. Teach people how to experiment with the g-spot, make toys that target it perfectly, but don’t allow the media and inconclusive science to dictate your pleasure.
- Yea I’m sure that’s gonna catch on. [↩]
- Oh, and by the way Mr. Scientist, women aren’t the only people with vaginas. [↩]
- For example, they hypothesized that when the g-spot is stimulated, it is actually the bulbs of the clitoris and urethral tissue being stimulated through the front of the vaginal wall. They say that as blood rushes to the area during arousal this tissue swells and the bulbs of the clitoris are moved closer to the vagina making them easier to stimulate. [↩]
- I’d be interested in seeing Mythbusters tackle this one. [↩]