Has the Elusive G-Spot Been Located?

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Despite decades of research, however, evidence is contradictory about where the G-spot is or how it works.
Corbis

THE GIST

- Many women report extreme sexual pleasure from stimulation of an area known as the G-spot.

- Dissection has now uncovered a blue grape-like structure in the area of the G-spot.

- Locating an anatomical G-spot could lead to new surgical procedures and better sex toys.

With help from an 83-year old woman who died from head trauma, a gynecologist says he has finally proven the existence of the G-spot, an elusive region deep in the female anatomy that is thought to enhance sexual pleasure for some women.

The announcement has been met with skepticism by some sex researchers, who have ridden wave after wave of heated debate over the G spot in recent years. Time and again, studies that claim evidence for the existence of an anatomical structure precede research suggesting that there's nothing physically there.

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Even as the science flip-flops, women continue to hold their own opinions. Those who have experienced unusually deep and powerful vaginal orgasms are sure the G-spot is real, while those who haven't wonder what they're missing. Entire books exist to explain where it is and how to stimulate it.

All the while, experts moan that the whole discussion is racing ahead of the research, which has yet to definitely prove or disprove anything.

"In science, we train graduate students to talk about things that are supportive of or hint at, but are not proof," said Debby Herbenick, a sex researcher at Indiana University, Bloomington, and author of "Sex Made Easy." "Then this study now claims to literally have found this anatomical entity in a single case history of an 83-year old woman who is dead and we don't even know if this area was ever sensitive for her."

"A lot is made of this in the media and in the scientific community," she added, referring to recurring G-spot debates. "And often this is not helpful."

The term "G-spot" was coined in the early 1980s to describe a bean-shaped area on the inner front wall of the vagina a couple of inches up from the vaginal opening. With the right kind of pressure in the right place, some women say they experience extra-intense orgasms that are sometimes accompanied by ejaculation.

Despite decades of research, however, evidence is contradictory about where the spot is or how it works. Some studies have shown swelling in the region of the G-spot when stimulated. And women who say they have vaginal orgasms appear to have thicker vaginal walls in the area where the spot is supposed to be.

Other studies have raised doubt about findings like these, either because samples sizes are too small or because they ask women to answer vague and leading questions.

Scientists have also debated whether the pleasure that women describe emerges from stimulation of an actual structure, or if the vaginal wall is simply connected to the clitoris and other parts of the female anatomy that are involved in sexual pleasure. In some women, this tissue might simply extend more deeply into the vagina so that stimulation to any one part of the region would stimulate the whole complex.

The latest study comes from the hands of Adam Ostrzenski, a gynecological surgeon in St. Petersburg, Fla., who specializes in cosmetic procedures, including vaginal rejuvenation. That procedure is intended to improve enjoyable sensations during sex.

Through careful dissection of an 83-year old cadaver in Poland, Ostrzenski uncovered a blue grape-like sack deep beneath five layers of vaginal tissue in the same area where women report feeling G-spot pleasure. It was about 8 millimeters (0.3 inches) long and about half as wide.

The rope-like, highly stretchable structure lay just beneath a layer of strong fascia, and appeared to be made of erectile tissue, Ostrzenski reports today in The Journal of Sexual Medicine. He believes that previously, surgeons haven't dug deeply enough to find it.

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With sexual arousal, Ostrzenski suspects, surrounding tissues open up like a fist to allow the sack to emerge in some women, offering the opportunity for pleasure if stimulated in the right way. Fascia that is too relaxed or otherwise damaged from childbirth or other events could prevent the G-spot from emerging in many women.

If verified, the discovery has an endless number of possible applications, Ostrzenski said. A procedure that his website refers to as G-spotplasty, for example, could restore function in women whose fascia in the region is too loose. He is also working on a device that would more effectively target the spot.

"From a practical view, all sexual toys must be redesigned if we want to stimulate the G-spot," he said, adding that he is working on a toy that is "absolutely different" from those currently on the market. "What they call G-spot toys are vibrators, but that doesn't do the trick because there needs to be pressure."

If they knew that an essential structure lay embedded in the vaginal tissue, surgeons could avoid causing unnecessary damage during hysterectomies and other essential procedures, Herbenick said. She's not convinced that the new study offers any evidence for the G-spot's physical existence, but any news on the G-spot tends to go big.

"I'm a little worried that this isn't going to be critically analyzed and that we're going to see a flurry of headlines this week unless our country goes to war," she said. "I'm really comfortable that we haven't solved this yet."

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