February 14 will be the first Valentine's Day couples have spent knowing that the G-spot (an anatomical feature that takes female orgasm over the top) is a reality.
Or will it?
Last year, at least three scientific studies took up the question. One said "yes," one said "no," and the other said "maybe." If true, the spot's existence has the potential to change sexual practice and therapy, as well as the course of future research.
Less than a hundred years ago, scientists recognized the sensory power of a woman's clitoris, but they were clueless about the role of the vagina in female orgasm. Along came a New York gynecologist, Ernst Gräfenberg. He was the first to describe a highly sensitive erotogenic location at the upper, forward (anterior) part of a woman's vagina, between the cervix and the pubic bone.
Many scientists who had no belief in the vaginal orgasm loudly disputed Gräfenberg. Women who had not experienced the enhanced sensation others referred to raised their eyebrows. But thirty years later, researchers had begun to change their minds and began to refer to a sensitive vaginal zone as the Gräfenberg zone (G-spot). Its anatomical location and description, however, remained a mystery.
As the idea of the spot began to catch on, its cultural glorification spread widely. The G-spot became the focus of books, videos, and sex-shop products said to improve the quality of a woman's sexual experience. The wall of men's prostates was interpreted as the G-spot for the opposite sex. Some physicians profited by creating expensive but dubiously valuable medical G-spot "augmentations," supposedly to improve people's pleasure. Guilt and shame began to worry those who had never experienced the joyous release that others swore by. Still, the public at large and much of the medical establishment began to take the G-spot for granted.
Ostrzenski finds the organ
The biggest news of 2012 was that someone had found and examined an organ that was probably the G-spot. Layer by layer, Dr. Adam Ostrzenski closely dissected the vaginal wall of a freshly deceased woman. Ostrzenski photographed the results. What he discovered was a bluish grape-like sac within the vaginal walls. Enclosed in fascia-like tissue, the small blob measured 8.1 mm in length, 3.6–1.5 mm in width, and a tiny height about half a millimeter. The Journal of Sexual Medicine published Ostrzenski's discovery in May. However, it was only one dissection....
Others say "Well, maybe..."
Doubt persisted, nourished by another study, also published last year in the same journal, by four Israeli physicians who reviewed the literature of the past 60 years regarding the supposed spot. Amichai Kilchevsky, Yoram Vardi, Lior Lowenstein, and Ilan Gruenwald looked at arguments pro and con.
They noted some differences in nerve distribution across the vagina, but the findings could not be reproduced in all studies. Radiographic studies (x-ray, CAT scan, or MRI) did not reveal a unique entity other than the clitoris whose direct stimulation produced orgasm. The research did find evidence of female ejaculation, however.
At least the authors concluded that the G-spot might exist. They found no conclusive proof, but they did acknowledge "reliable reports and anecdotal testimonials" about it and called for further studies.
Finally someone had started seriously listening to the women.
"Malarkey" from Puppo et al
A third study was published in the International Urogynecology Journal in December. With one of the previous investigators (urologist Gruenwald), sexologist Vincenzo Puppo of Bologna did a review of current studies on the G spot. This time, the authors concluded: "All published scientific data point to the fact that the G-spot does not exist, and the supposed G-spot should not be identified with Gräfenberg’s name."
The scientific conclusion of the "maybe" study was that "even if modern investigative techniques continue failing to locate this G-spot, one thing is certain: the pursuit of this mythical location will continue to occupy the public's imagination and the investigators' mind."
Fortunately for Valentine's Day, millions of people seem to be ahead of the studies.
Based in Chicago, Sandy Dechert has been covering women's health for Examiner.com since the zine's official startup. She has reported on health issues with Olympic athletes, Sheryl Crow, Robin Roberts, Mary Tyler Moore, and other newsmaking celebs. Sandy also covered the 2012-2013 influenza epidemic, top women's health news of 2012 (including prevention), and the fungal meningitis outbreak.
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