The Grafenberg-spot has been responsible for fifty years of late night duvet rustling and a lot of disappointment. First documented in 1950 in a controversial report by German gynaecologist Ernest Grafenberg (apparently, with the help of his wife and some of his patients), this area inside the female vagina could apparently induce both orgasm and female ejaculation. It became known as the G-spot and Grafenbergs name found immortality as a vaginal pleasure zone.
Within ten years, Grafenberg’s research had been overshadowed by a surge of academic and public interest into another area of particular female sensitivity – the clitoris. This tiny organ represented sexual liberation to a generation of feminists who were trying to tell men that there was more to ‘free love’ than vaginal sex (if you didn’t play at the door, you didn’t get in). Women felt they had been tolerating vaginal penetration for too long and Grafenberg’s discovery of an organ inside the vagina didn’t help the 80% of women who couldn’t orgasm without clitoral stimulation.
But what were they missing? In 1981 sexologists Whipple and Perry published a revolutionary book called ‘the G-spot’ which revived Grafenberg’s research and elaborated emphatically on the fantastic sexual possibilities of the G-spot. All that men and women had to do was find it. The G-spot became the ‘must have’ item on the sexual shopping list and women’s magazines sacrificed rain forests to spread the word.
But the G-spot wasn’t very easy to find. In fact, the search has continued for thirty years. In August 2001, Dr Terence Hines, professor of psychology at New York’s Pace University, published a report in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, which claimed that evidence for the existence of the G-spot was no more than anecdotal. Hines reviewed all the past research on the subject and concluded that it’s existence had been based on a handful of females who were examined behaviourally to see if a G-spot existed. Only 4 out of 12 women showed signs of increased sensitivity in the area. According to Hines “Women have been misled for about 20 years about an important part of their sexuality, and some women might feel very bad about themselves and their sexuality if they can’t find the G-spot–but there is nothing there to find.”
In 2008 a study which used ultrasound imaging to survey the vaginal wall said women who reported having orgasms had thicker tissue in the G-spot area than women who didn’t, however a study by a King’s College London team concluded that that the G-spot “may be a figment of women’s imagination, encouraged by magazines and sex therapists”. The Kings team asked 1,800 women, all of them identical or non-identical twins, if they had a G-spot, on the assumption that “if one did exist, it would be expected that both identical twins, who have the same genes, would report having one”. However, the result was that “the identical twins were no more likely to share a G-spot than non-identical twins who share only half of their genes”. Team member professor Tim Spector said: “Women may argue that having a G-spot is due to diet or exercise, but in fact it is virtually impossible to find real traits. This is by far the biggest study ever carried out and shows fairly conclusively that the idea of a G-spot is subjective.”
When King’s College published its findings, gynaecologist Odile Buisson insisted that the results proved nothing more than we poor Brits were incapable of finding the G-spot in the 60 per cent of women who are indeed blessed with a vaginal pleasure switch. Surgeon Pierre Foldes added: “The King’s College study shows a lack of respect for what women say. The conclusions were completely erroneous because they were based solely on genetic observations. It is clear that in female sexuality there is a variability. It cannot be reduced to a yes or no or an on or off.”
And the debate rages on. The most recent meta-analysis of all material on the G spot was carried out by urologist Dr Amichai Kilchevsky of Yale-New Haven Hospital. Despite trawling “clinical trials, meeting abstracts, case reports, and review articles” published between 1950 and 2011, he failed to to identify “any valid objective data” indicating the existence of the G spot. Kilchevsky’s report which was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine – explains: “The literature cites dozens of trials that have attempted to confirm the existence of a G-spot using surveys, pathologic specimens, various imaging modalities, and biochemical markers. The surveys found that a majority of women believe a G-spot actually exists, although not all of the women who believed in it were able to locate it. Attempts to characterize vaginal innervation have shown some differences in nerve distribution across the vagina, although the findings have not proven to be universally reproducible. Furthermore, radiographic studies have been unable to demonstrate a unique entity, other than the clitoris, whose direct stimulation leads to vaginal orgasm” According to Kilchevsky there is no “strong and consistent evidence for the existence of an anatomical site that could be related to the famed G-spot”, or as Terrence Hines put it, the G-spot is “a sort of gynaecological UFO: much searched for, much discussed, but unverified by objective means”.