The G-spot has been the subject of such fascination, controversy and scorn that it's taken on mythic proportions. From how-to-find-it guides to specially designed sex toys promising to lavish it, it seems we're all in relentless pursuit of the magical marker.
In recent years, however, well-publicized scientific investigations have purported that the G-spot, "without a doubt," does not exist. The whole idea of an orgasmic spot that causes "vaginal orgasms"? All a myth, said experts.
The problem is the medical debate over the G-spot is actually missing the point: No matter what science says, women are definitely feeling something, and that something is seriously pleasurable.
Nowhere is the conflict between scientific studies and actual female experience better summed up than this quote from sex educator Charlie Glickman, tweeted by fellow educator Kait Scalisi:
Glickman, whose quote comes from a recent XBiz article, argues not for willful ignorance of the facts of anatomy, but a reassessment of sex research, its flaws and how it can actually influence our own lives in the bedroom. As Glickman wrote, "When every major media outlet is announcing that the G-spot doesn't exist and that G-spot ejaculate is urine, that's going to make it even harder for women and their partners to experiment and discover this erogenous zone."
Science doesn't totally understand female sexuality: The G-spot was first described in 1950 by German gynecologist Ernst Gräfenberg, who explained that every woman had "an erotic zone" located on the anterior wall of her vagina. That spot, a "particularly sensitive 1- to 2-centimeter-wide area on the vaginal wall," according to the Huffington Post, is supposedly at the root of what we now call "vaginal orgasms."
The problem: So-called vaginal orgasms are much less common than clitoral orgasms. While there aren't great statistics, experts say most women require clitoral stimulation to orgasm; in a recent Cosmopolitan survey, 38% of women claimed their lack of orgasms was due to insufficient clitoral stimulation.
So is there or isn't there a magical orgasmic spot inside the vagina that brings its own pleasure? A 2012 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reviewed over 60 years of G-spot research and found that "radiographic studies have been unable to demonstrate a unique entity, other than the clitoris, whose direct stimulation leads to vaginal orgasm." Similarly, a headline-grabbing study published in Clinical Anatomy in 2014 proclaimed that the anterior vaginal wall (where the G-spot is supposedly located) has "no anatomical relationship" with the clitoris, and that the G-spot or vaginal orgasm is a hoax.
We can't ignore women's actual experiences: Scientists may be unable to locate what we call the G-spot, but that doesn't change the fact that many women — some research pegs it at 7%, while others claim up to 30% — have achieved orgasm through vaginal sex alone.
The myths about G-spots are so confusing because they're often contradictory. "One says that it doesn't exist, while the other tells people with vulvas that a G-spot orgasm is mind-blowing and like no other," Scalisi told Mic. "There's no way to win: If it doesn't exist and they experience pleasure from stimulating this area, then they're crazy. If it does exist and leads to earth-shaking orgasm, and they feel no pleasure when the area is stimulated, they must be broken."
One better way of understanding the G-spot may be seeing it not as a "hot button" but as an area that's part of a greater structure of female anatomy. A 2014 study in Nature Reviews Urology explained that, though the G-spot can't be identified by science, the vagina is a highly complex structure that can achieve orgasm by many means:
"The anatomical relationships and dynamic interactions between the clitoris, urethra, and anterior vaginal wall have led to the concept of a clitourethrovaginal complex, defining a variable, multifaceted morphofunctional area that, when properly stimulated during penetration, could induce orgasmic responses."
The key is that some women might just be more sensitive and aroused by anterior wall stimulation than others. As adult performer Cytherea explained to the Daily Dot's E.J. Dickson, "I don't understand how it works, to be honest with you. I don't know the whole medical terms ... All I know is this: When I have an orgasm, I get extremely wet. And it feels really frickin' good."
We need to validate pleasure, wherever it comes from: Unfortunately, confusion over the G-spot sends women off on a wild chase to find it — and possibly feel ashamed or abnormal if they can't. Pop culture fuels the expectation, to the point where women are coughing up big bucks for G-spot injections.
In short, assertions that the G-spot is unequivocally real makes women without vaginal orgasms doubt themselves; meanwhile, assertions that the spot is a myth makes those women experiencing the pleasure doubt themselves.
Scalisi, who works to educate women of all ages about sex, told Mic, "I encourage people to explore but not get hung up on it. If they're happy with their orgasms, great! If they really want to do some G-spot exploration, I give them ideas for doing so such as being very aroused first and trying out different amounts of pressure."
And if that doesn't work? That's quite alright. The G-spot isn't a universal silver bullet that, if finally found, will lead any and all women to an intense orgasm. What works for some women won't work for all. Hey, we always have the clitoris.