- For 40 years, the existence of the G-spot has been controversial.
- Many women insist it exists. They say G-spot stimulation enhances lovemaking and orgasm.
- A recent review presents compelling evidence for the G-spot's existence, then concludes it may not exist. Huh?
Distinguished psychologist and sex researcher Alice Laddas, Ph.D., died in August at 102. Her name probably doesn’t ring a bell, but 40 years ago, she was instrumental in popularizing the G-spot, an area of erotically sensitive erectile tissue embedded in the front wall of the vagina. Laddas and psychologist John Perry, Ph.D., along with nursing professor Beverly Whipple, R.N., Ph.D., declared the spot a potential erotic bonanza in their 1982 bestseller, The G-Spot and Other Recent Discoveries About Human Sexuality.
The book triggered immediate and heated controversy. Many women found theirs and enjoyed feelings ranging from best-orgasm-of-my-life to eh-no-biggie. But many others couldn’t find theirs, or if they did, couldn’t feel a thing.
Of course, in sex research, controversial findings are by no means rare. But the kerfuffle over the G-spot has had a peculiar longevity and intensity. No matter how many women extoll G-spot pleasure, and no matter how many studies confirm its existence and importance, some researchers deny women's experience and dismiss the spot as a mass hallucination. The nay-sayers insist that breathless media hype has duped gullible women into fantasizing an erogenous zone that doesn’t exist.
My sex Q&A site has received many G-spot questions from confused, upset women. Those who feel little or nothing from G-spot stimulation wonder if something is wrong with them. Others whose G-spots provide them great pleasure feel insulted that anyone could doubt their experience.
Recently, in a comprehensive review of the G-spot literature, Portuguese researchers documented considerable evidence in its favor—but then concluded that it may not exist. Huh?
The investigators reviewed 31 G-Spot studies:
• Some involved surveys asking women if they had G-spots. Of 5,072 respondents, almost two-thirds (63 percent) said they did.
• Other reports used ultrasound and MRI imaging. Most identified a structure in the front vaginal wall, and three documented neurological connections to the clitoris.
• Several studies relied on biopsy or autopsy evidence. Most describe an area in the front vaginal wall dense with tiny blood vessels and touch-sensitive nerves.
The researchers concluded: “The studies did systematically agree on the existence of the G-spot (my emphasis). Among studies in which it was considered to exist, there was no agreement on its location, size, or nature. The existence of this structure remains unproved.”
So, these researchers recognize that the G-spot exists. But instead of saying future studies should iron out remaining ambiguities, their bottom line denies a great many women’s lived experience.
Grafenburg and Dickinson
During the 1940s, two gynecologists, Ernst Grafenberg and Robert Dickinson, discovered “a zone of erogenous feeling” in the front wall of the vagina, an area of spongy tissue in the vicinity of the urine tube (urethra), historically called the “urethral sponge.” In a 1950 report, they asserted that this zone contained erectile tissue that swelled when massaged, enhancing lovemaking and orgasm.
Researchers ignored the report for 30 years until 1980 when Ladas, Perry, and Whipple, unearthed it and argued that all women have erotically sensitive G-spots. They decided to rename the urethral sponge the Grafenberg spot or G-spot (ignoring poor Dickinson).
Their 1982 book became a bestseller, and triggered a stampede of interest in the sometimes-elusive spot. Several researchers dismissed it as a big nothing, citing reports that massage of the urethral sponge leaves many women feeling nothing erotic. Ladas, Whipple, and Perry retorted that the G-spot is not a discreet spot, but a diffuse area on the front wall about one finger-length inside the vaginal opening, and not on the wall, but deep inside it, most easily found when women are highly aroused, when erection of G-spot tissue makes it more palpable and easier to press.
The most intriguing studies suggest that the G-spot is part of the clitoris, women’s pleasure organ. Mention the clitoris, and most people think of the little nub of erotically super-sensitive tissue outside the vagina nestled beneath the top junction of the vaginal lips. But recent research shows that the clitoris is larger and shaped like a wishbone. The nub we call the clitoris is its apex. From it, two legs extend around the pubic bone, into the front vaginal wall. Gynecologist Christine Vaccaro, M.D., suggests the G-spot should be renamed the “C-spot,” for its close connection to the clitoris.
Let’s Believe Women, Shall We?
Some women report mind-blowing orgasms from G-spot massage. Others call it a modest sexual enhancement. And some feel nothing, or find G-spot stimulation uncomfortable. Women’s range of reactions to G-spot stimulation simply reflects individual differences.
Half of women report sexual enhancement from G-spot stimulation. And many imaging, biopsy, and autopsy studies show an intriguing structure in the front vaginal wall with nerves that connect to the clitoris. Yet, some researchers continue to be skeptical. I think we should believe the women who, for 40 years, have been saying that the G-spot is real and a source of pleasure.
Laddas, A et al. The G-Spot and Other Recent Discoveries About Human Sexuality. Holt/Own Publishing, 1982, 2005.
Vieira-Baptista, P et al. “G-Spot: Fact or Fiction? A Systematic Review.” Sexual Medicine (2021) 9:100435. doi: 10.1016/j.esxm.2021.100435.