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G-Spot Discovered? Not So Fast!

Is this the G-Spot?

The press release proclaims “Study Confirms Anatomic Existence of G-Spot.” The study itself is titled “G-Spot Anatomy: A New Discovery.”  It was just published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.  The author, Adam Ostrzenski, is an “internationally renowned gynecologic surgeon” with multiple degrees (MD, PhD, Dr Hab) and many peer-reviewed articles listed in PubMed.

The G-spot, or Gräfenberg Spot, is an area on the anterior wall of the vagina that can be stimulated to produce sexual excitement, stronger orgasms, and maybe even female ejaculation. Its existence is questionable. Wikpedia has an extensive article explaining the controversy and the published evidence, pro and con, with links to the original sources. You can read more than you ever wanted to know about it there, so I won’t bother trying to repeat it here. A 2012 review of the G-spot literature concluded:  

Objective measures have failed to provide strong and consistent evidence for the existence of an anatomical site that could be related to the famed G-spot. However, reliable reports and anecdotal testimonials of the existence of a highly sensitive area in the distal anterior vaginal wall raise the question of whether enough investigative modalities have been implemented in the search of the G-spot.

Dr. Ostrzenski claims to have found the G-spot and taken its picture (above). Believers in Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster have pictures too. They even had “Bigfoot hair” that later turned out to be synthetic wig fibers. Ostrzenski’s “proof” is no more credible than theirs.

The Study

This “discovery” was based on dissecting out the pictured structure in the cadaver of one (yes, only one !) 83 year old woman who died of head trauma. The dissection was performed in Warsaw, Poland, but I will scrupulously refrain from making any Polish jokes. The author declared it was a G-spot based on visual inspection of the specimen alone; he said it was an 8.1 mm sac-like structure with a head, body, and a rope-like tail that disappeared into surrounding tissues. After excision, it could be stretched to 33 mm.  He said the walls of the structure “resembled fibroconnective tissues and resembled erectile tissues.” Both? Apparently he didn’t even bother to take the most obvious, rudimentary next step of examining slices of the specimen under a microscope (with appropriate staining) to determine what kind of tissue it was.  One wonders if he even preserved the specimen in formalin so histological study might still be possible.  And he doesn’t tell us whether he had tried to find it in other cadavers and failed before this “success.”

Visual inspection of one autopsy specimen? How could he possibly know what it was that he had found? Is this a G-spot structure or something else? During embryological development of the genitourinary system there are structures that form and are reabsorbed: could this be a left-over remnant of that process? Could it be a tumor? A variant of normal anatomy having nothing to do with sexual response? Something else? Why didn’t he look for it in a second autopsy (or, preferably, a whole series) before rushing into print? And even if he could document the existence of a never-before-described anatomical feature, wouldn’t it take something more than simple observation to determine that it was the G-spot?

A Big Oops

In the discussion section of his article, Ostrzenski makes an embarrassing mistake: he claims that the G-spot gene has been identified and has been already incorporated into a GeneChip microarray. That struck me as odd. How could they have identified a gene for a structure whose very existence was in doubt?

The reference Ostrzenski provides for this claim doesn’t support it.  In that reference, G-spot does not mean what he thinks it means. By “G-spot” they don’t mean anything to do with vaginal anatomy: they mean DNA probes containing a contiguous run of 4 or more guanines (base pair nucleotides). They make that clear in the second sentence of the abstract. He read carelessly, and his foolish mistake should have been caught by his editors and peer-reviewers. If I thought to question it and look it up, why didn’t they?

Even If It Isn’t Real, It’s Profitable

Whether or not the G-spot exists, you can buy a sex toy, a curved vibrator, specially designed to stimulate it. And there is even a plastic surgery procedure called G-spot amplification to enhance its sensitivity. The ACOG has spoken out against this operation.  Guess who performs and teaches this surgical procedure, along with a number of other questionable vaginal procedures?

Yep, Ostrzenski himself.

The Hype Begins

CBC News, Science Daily and other news outlets promptly proclaimed “G spot anatomy found.” The very day this study was released, I got a PR e-mail announcing it, proclaiming that the existence of the G-spot had been proven, and offering me an interview with a doctor who would explain “how the discovery of the G-spot will change sex for men and women.” A doctor who, incidentally, does not inspire my confidence because she also happens to prescribe bioidentical hormones and practice anti-aging medicine. The Huffington Post wasn’t so sure this study would settle the debate but commented that 

perhaps knowing it and understanding it goes beyond anything you can dissect or measure. It’s an untouchable pathway to bliss and the cosmos, making it something so much more.

Conclusion

In short, this published study is a junk-science travesty perpetrated by a researcher who has a vested interest in proving there is a G-spot so he can justify operating on it. No one deserving the name of scientist would claim to have discovered a new normal anatomical structure based on a visual inspection of one specimen with no further investigation. The author, the editor of the journal, and the peer-reviewers should all be ashamed of themselves.

Further Thoughts

In contrast to the vaccine/autism manufactroversy, there is a legitimate controversy about the existence of the G-Spot. We don’t have enough evidence to confidently conclude either that it does or doesn’t exist. At this point, I wouldn’t even venture an opinion.

I would argue that it really doesn’t matter very much. Clearly, some women respond to anterior vaginal stimulation, others don’t. This might have other explanations: conditioning, suggestion, experience, variations during embryologic development, the ability of any highly innervated area to trigger orgasm in some individuals, or other factors.

Women might think not being able to find their G-Spot means they are defective. Pursuing the elusive G-Spot might engage men in fruitless hunting expeditions when they could be finding other ways to please their partners and concentrating on spontaneous enjoyment rather than prescribed techniques.

Poor men! They have a hard enough time just finding the clitoris.

Posted in: Basic Science, Obstetrics & gynecology

Leave a Comment (18) ↓

18 thoughts on “G-Spot Discovered? Not So Fast!

  1. gretemike says:

    Yuck! That picture will stop many guys from ever wanting to find it.

  2. MerColOzcopy says:

    For a SBM website, you might want to stay away from CBC news info.

    You know the difference between the G-spot and a golf ball? A guy will spend hours looking for a golf ball:))

  3. Janet Camp says:

    Seems to me that if it were there–as a separate and distinct “organ”–it would easily have been located and properly described by now.

    I’ve always thought that my good fortune was the result of one of the alternative explanations you offer, not some unidentified and heretofore unnoticed organ.

  4. Alia says:

    First Burzynski, now Ostrzenski – I’m starting to feel really ashamed of my compatriots.

  5. MissMarnie says:

    If after decades of looking, only a single researcher is able to find a g-spot (something presumably best confirmed, functionally, by the owner) in a corpse, one has to wonder how useful an alleged g-spot actually is.

    Since self report suggests that women have a variety of sexual responses to penetration and stimulation, it strikes me as a naive male fantasy that there is a magic button he can press in a woman, that will drive her mad with passionate ecstasy.

    I’m all for looking to improve the sexual health of women (and men, of course) but it all sounds a lot like watching those ghost hunter shows, where everyone has a whirring beeping gadget with a really technical sounding name that spits out vague enough data that the wielder can interpret it any way he or she would like.

  6. mousethatroared says:

    HeHe, Didn’t Leonard Nimoy do an “In Search Of” on this topic?

    I love the further thoughts part of this article. Particularly this line “Pursuing the elusive G-Spot might engage men in fruitless hunting expeditions” It leaves me with such a strong visual of what should be the accompanying cartoon, which is Theadore Roosevelt* with a map, headlamp and flag (to be used to claim the spot when discovered).

    *Why Theadore Roosevelt?, He’s just my visual stand in for a man on a “hunting expedition”.

  7. Dr Hall rules.

    Btw what is clitoris?

  8. DugganSC says:

    *shudder* I’m going to be seeing that bloody picture in my nightmares… warn a guy, huh? Or put it under the cut?

    I strongly suspect, based on everything that I’ve read, that it’s an idiosyncratic response rather than something universal that can be located. I could see a possibility of, when such a spot is present, it having a consistently different texture, although I suspect that it would be difficult to prove given how subjective the experience is and how much the handling of it may affect the, er, biological material involved. You’d probably have to find a selection of women who claim to have it and try to determine whether the feel is different with or without anesthesia to prevent reactions.

    Ultimately, I suspect that this will all turn out to be something like the erogenous nature of breasts, necks, and ears. It works for some girls and for some girls, it does nothing.

  9. sciencebehind says:

    Sounds like Ostrzenski printed some tabloid science. Good find in the references. A lot of times there’s a tenuous link between what an author claims a reference shows and what that reference actually shows but Ostrzenski just completely missed the ball – shows really poor science on both his and the reviewers part.

    Also makes you think these news outlets should think of hiring some scientist-journalists to actually read the pieces at more than face value.

  10. Ostrzenski is horrifying. Macabre, horrow-show quackery. Shame on the journal and peer-reviewers indeed! Great shame.

    I particularly enjoyed this topic because I just published an article about “palpatory pareidolia”. The G-spot, if it doesn’t exist, might just be the ultimate example of palpatory pareidolia powered by wishful thinking!

  11. Calli Arcale says:

    It’s an untouchable pathway to bliss and the cosmos

    Untouchable? Wouldn’t that rather defeat the purpose of a g-spot? If it’s untouchable, it seems like a recipe for decades of sexual frustration. Unrequited love made manifest in anatomy?

    Or just BS from somebody who enjoys screwing around with ladybits and making them pay for the experience. Personally, I’d be REALLY wary of surgery in that area, since there is a very good chance of it making intimacy horrendously painful if it goes even slightly wrong.

    The first sign that this was junk science should have been the realization that the man has been operating on the G-spot for years, but only actually discovered it now. The *second* sign would be that he discovered on a single deceased elderly woman and nowhere else. The *third* sign (if one was needed) comes in his seizing onto totally unrelated genetic research because it has the letter G in it. Forget peer review; even journalists should be ashamed to print about this guy’s work. (But then, journalism has reached some serious lows lately.)

    “Palpatory pareidolia” — I love that phrase, Paul Ingraham!

  12. tgobbi says:

    By coincidence I happened to turn the television on to “The View” yesterday morning. Ostrzenski was the guest and the women who make up the panel on this show (largely middle-aged and up) were asking him puerile questions and giggling like a group of pre-adolescents whispering about their “peepees.”

  13. pmoran says:

    ,From the aabstract: the G-spot appeared as a well-delineated sac with walls that resembled fibroconnective tissues and resembled erectile tissues. The superior surface of the sac had bluish irregularities visible through the coat. Upon opening the sac’s upper coat, blue grape-like anatomic compositions of the G-spot emerged with dimensions of length (L) of 8.1 mm × width (W) of 3.6–1.5 mm × height (H) of 0.4 mm.

    Could also be a haemangioma, from this description. It boggles the mind that he was not asked by the journal editorial staff to provide more examples, and some histology.

  14. Vera Montanum says:

    Dr. Hall does it again… great article! And, a good, brief tutorial on what science is and is not.

    Isn’t it amazing that alleged research articles like Ostrzenski’s get published? Yet, it happens more and more these days.

  15. Earthman says:

    I see from the link provided to the course on plastic surgery that the G-spot augmentation sections are referred to as ‘anecdotal’. Are they really teaching surgery based on just anecdotal evidence?

  16. Donna B says:

    “Poor men! They have a hard enough time just finding the clitoris.”

    HAHAHA. Sorry, but this really did make me lol.

    This whole article compels me to quote Jerry Seinfeld:
    JERRY: A female orgasm is kinda like the bat cave. A very few people know where it is and if you’re lucky enough to see it you probably don’t know how you got there and you can’t find you way back after you left.

    You know there are two types of female orgasm: the real and the fake. And I’ll tell you right now, as a man, we don’t know. We do not know, because to man sex is like a car accident and determining the female orgasm is like being asked ‘What did you see after the car went out of control?’. ‘I heard a lot of screeching sounds. I remember I was facing the wrong way at one point. And in the end my body was thrown clear.

  17. Donna B says:

    GEORGE: The nickname. George. What is that? It’s nothing. It’s got no snap, no zip. I need a nickname that makes people light up.

    JERRY: You mean like…Liza!

    GEORGE: But I was thinking…T-bone.

    JERRY: But there’s no “t” in your name. What about G-bone?

    GEORGE: There’s no G-bone.

    JERRY: There’s a g-spot.

    GEORGE: That’s a myth.

    George takes a bite of his sandwich and gets a piece stuck to his chin.

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