The Gräfenberg spot, or G-spot, is debatedly a small area in women behind the pubic bone, surrounding the urethra and accessible through the anterior wall of the vagina. It is putatively an erogenous zone that when stimulated leads to high levels of sexual arousal and powerful orgasms.
There is a great deal of dispute about the reality of the G-spot in the scientific community. Most of the strong support for the claim comes from books aimed at a popular audience.
The term "G-spot" was coined by Addiego et al. in 1981. It is named after the German gynaecologist Ernst Gräfenberg who is claimed to have first hypothesized the existence of such an area in 1950. The G-spot didn't enter public consciousness until a year later with the publication of the book “The G Spot and Other Recent Discoveries About Human Sexuality.” Shortly after the publication of Ladas' book many professional gynaecologists publicly criticized its scholarship and accuracy.
Search for the G-Spot
The purported location of the G-spot has changed over time. Two primary methods have been used to attempt to locate it. The first is based on self-reported levels of arousal during stimulation and the second based on the claim that stimulation of the G-spot leads to female ejaculation. One of the studies using self-reported levels of arousal was a case study with a single woman who claimed the experience of a “deeper” orgasm when her G-spot was stimulated. In the published study it was reported that stimulation of the anterior vaginal wall made the area grow by fifty percent. Another study examined eleven women in an attempt to locate the spot under laboratory conditions. Researchers attempted to find the G-spot by “palpating the entire vagina in a clockwise fashion.” Using this technique the researchers reported discovering that four of the women had highly sensitive areas on the anterior vaginal wall.
Immediately after publication of Ladas et. al's book professional gynaecologists were skeptical of the reality of the G-spot. In a 1983 Time Magazine article about the G-spot and recent book, Dr. J. Jones Stewart, a gynaecologist was quoted as saying all evidence pointed to the fact that there was no G-spot. Specifically he pointed out that women that had the area (that supposedly contained the g-spot) surgically removed, reported no loss of sensation.
Despite professional and scientific criticism and skepticism the concept of a G-spot was met with wide-spread acceptance in the public. One study reports that 84 percent of women believe that there is a “highly sensitive area” in the vagina. Most popular books on sexuality discuss the G-spot as a reality.
However, to date, all attempts of scientific or empirical investigation into the reality of the G-spot have turned up nothing or highly questionable results. Tests that examined the innervation of the vaginal wall show that there is no area that has an increased number of nerve endings. A recent study investigating 110 biopsy specimens from 21 women concluded the absence of vaginal location with increased nerve density . Proponents are also criticized for putting too much reliance on anecdotal evidence. The few studies that have tried to locate it using more precise means have mostly turned up no results. The few that have returned positive evidence are criticized for using small sample sizes and questionable methods.
The Skene's Glands
Other researchers have attempted to locate the G-spot by building on the claim that G-spot stimulation leads to female ejaculation. Tepper hypothesized that non-urine female ejaculate originated from the female paraurethral glands, or Skene's gland. In their study they examined tissue from 18 patients and demonstrated that 15 showed prostate-specific antigens. More recent studies have backed up this finding leading some to call the Skene's glands "the female prostate". This find has been used to claim that the G-spot is actually “a system of glands and ducts that surround the urethra” which is located “within the anterior wall of the vagina, about one centimeter from the surface and one third to one-half the way in from the vaginal opening.”
In July 2002 Emmanuele Jannini of the University of Aquila, Italy discovered PDE5 activity in the area of the g-spot and speculated that the absence of g-spot orgasms is connected to the lack of Skene's glands in some women. In such women concentrations of PDE5 were much lower.
However most researchers feel that the connection between the Skene's Gland and the g-spot is weak. The Skene's Gland does not seem to have receptors for touch stimulation and no direct evidence for its involvement has been forthcoming.
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- Tepper, Sl; Jagirdar, J; Heath, D; Geller, SA. (1984). "Homology between the female paraurethral (Skene's) glands and the prostate.". Arch Pathol Lab Med. 108: 423–425.
- Zaviacic, M; Ablin, RJ. (2000). "The female prostate and prostate-specific antigen. Immunohistochemical localization, implications for this prostate marker in women, and reasons for using the term “prostate in the human female.". Histol Histopathol. 15: 131–142.
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- Alzate H Hoch Z (1986). "The "G spot" and "female ejaculation": a current appraisal.". J Sex Marital Ther. 12 (3): 211–20.
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