Vaginal orgasm - truth or myth - scientists claim to have the answer...

by Louise Livesey // 20 February 2008, 18:22

Anatomical Diagram Way back in 1970 Anna Koedt wrote The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm arguing that the vagina is not designed as a pleasure centre and therefore attributions of frigidity based on not reaching vaginal climax (as opposed to clitoral climax) were a construction of patriarchal masculinity. However, Emmanuele Jannini at the University of L'Aquila in Italy now claims that there are physiological differences which mean some women have the elusive G-spot (and therefore vaginal orgasms) and some don't.

Jannini's work began with biochemical markers relating to heightened sexual function in the tissue between the urethra and the vagina however there was no way to link these to the experience of vaginal orgasm. This led her to do gynecological scans which have revealed anatomical differences between women who do have vaginal orgasms (through stimulation of the G Spot) and those who don't.

It's a small sample mind - nine women who did have vaginal orgasms and eleven who didn't but they found that the area of tissue between the vagina and the urethra is thicker for those who do experience vaginal orgasm. SOme have argued, however, this tissue is just part of the clitoral structure.

This means, says Jannini, that "women without any visible evidence of a G spot cannot have a vaginal orgasm...Jannini accepts that there are limitations to his study. In particular, the small number of women he studied doesn't allow him to say what proportion of all women have G spot - although it would seem that a large number do not.".

From New Scientist

However what is worrying is the New Scientist's headline "Ultrasound nails location of elusive G spot" (emphasis my own). Seems even if we can locate the G Spot we can't move beyond patriarchal notions of sexuality as "nailing" "pounding" and "impaling". Because, of course, the G Spot would be no use to women without a penis would it......

Comments From You

Jess // Posted 21 February 2008 at 21:43

Interesting, but are you really serious that the term 'nails' worries you in this context?

Leigh Woosey // Posted 22 February 2008 at 11:19

I do feel impelled to praise the BBC's coverage of the story, not least because it is so rarely that they let a voice of reason into their science coverage. The last fifth of their article reads:

Dr Petra Boynton, a sexual psychologist at University College London, said that an entire industry had grown up around the idea of a G spot, and it was unhelpful to label women unable to find theirs as "dysfunctional".

She said: "We're all different. Some women will have certain area within the vagina which will be very sensitive, and some won't - but they won't necessarily be in the area called the G spot.

"If a woman spends all her time worrying about whether she is normal, or has a G spot or not, she will focus on just one area, and ignore everything else.

"It's telling people that there is a single, best way to have sex, which isn't the right thing to do.

I do hope html tags work in here.

Denise // Posted 22 February 2008 at 11:46

Who started all this stuff about the vaginal versus the clitoral orgasm in the first place?! Yes, guilty as charged, Nutty Professor Freud. The damage that fool did to the human psyche is incalculable, and it's clearly still going on.

Maybe the F-word should start a Hall of Shame!
- Freud
- Fay Weldon
- ...?

Or maybe not. It would be the longest list in the history of the world, and we've all got lives to live.

B // Posted 27 February 2008 at 17:40

Thing that bugs me with the New Scientist article is the phrase 'claims to'. I bet if it was some kind of 'different male orgasm' that phrase would not have been in there.

I also bet that the person doing the research believes them, else it was pretty pointless doing that research! Why say 'claims to' have g spot orgasm? That just wound me up - more than the nailing thing, I have to say.

Vincenzo Puppo // Posted 10 July 2008 at 09:19

Enzo said:
Jannini et al. write of a “urethrovaginal space”, but this term is incorrect from a scientific point of view, and it’s not used in anatomy: the anterior vaginal wall is separated from posterior urethral wall by the urethro-vaginal septum. The authors write “By vaginal orgasm we mean the orgasm experienced after direct stimulation of the anterior vaginal wall by penetration”: but the authors do not write what was the position of coitus. Besides one “vaginal” orgasm at least once in the past month (in women that reported at least two acts of sexual intercourse per week…) it is not a significative difference with women without “vaginal” orgasm.
The authors write “The close physical proximity of the urethra and the clitoris to the anterior vaginal wall suggests an association between these anatomical structures and sexual function…”, but there’s no part of the vaginal wall adhereing to the clitoris, in the anterior vaginal mucosa there isn’t a pseudocavernous tissue: the bulbs don’t develop from the phallus, they don’t belong to the clitoris, the term clitoral bulb isn’t used in anatomy.
The measurement by ultrasonography of the “space” within the anterior vaginal wall (that has no function in female sexuality) is incorrect from a scientific point of view. Jannini et al.’s article increases the confusion on this topic (i.e. female orgasm) in sexologists and in women.
There are women who would do an ultrasound to measure a “space”?... and what would be the normal measures of this "space”?...
There are reporters and women that have read the full text of the article published by the Journal of Sexual Medicine?...
Jannini et al’s article should not be published by the Journal of Sexual Medicine: but this article was reviewed by Reviewers?...
See “Vaginal orgasm and G-spot don’t exist: from EFScongress2008”: http://it.youtube.com/watch?v=E52HiDw5bhM

L Hendri // Posted 10 November 2008 at 06:51

It really irks me when researchers talk about women's sexuality as if women's experiences don't count. Sexuality is unique to each individual. For me, there is a definite difference in my orgasms. If there were not, I would be completely satisfied with masterbation and the clitoral orgasm. With intercourse, I always have an intense vaginal orgasm that leaves me feeling light-headed and completely relaxed. What is really funny is a few men have called me a prude because I like to get to know someone pretty well before sleeping with them. I always laugh when I think about what they missed out on. Also, I find that men who have "learned" from porn are the worst lovers. The best lovers I've had have both been virgins. One of those is my life partner.

Augusto // Posted 23 November 2008 at 13:54

A SIMPLE (THOUGHT) EXPERIMENT:
If there are vaginal orgasms, is the clitoris involved?
If the clitoris has no participation in a vaginal orgasm, a woman who has vaginal orgasms and undergoes clitorectomy would still enjoy orgasms,
right?

Leigh // Posted 24 November 2008 at 14:32

Augusto- What the Hell?!! Why would you even ask that?!!

Okay, in answer:
SOME women would still be able to orgasm- Those women who were already anatomically arranged to be capable of vaginal orgasm, and whose sexual responses had survived the shock of the removal of tissue.

But...what purpose does that thought experiment serve?

Anne Onne // Posted 24 November 2008 at 20:07

Besides, the clitoris is a complex structure, not just the bit you see above ground. It would depend on the unique arrangement of exciteable tissue in that woman's body, and how much of the clitoris was removed. We're not even sure if the tissue in question isn't actually part of the clitoris. And that's not going into what kind of damage may occur if the clitoris is taken (more like ripped) out, to both erogenous tisse and the nerves.

If the implications of the Question whether women who undergo female genital mutilation don't have anything to worry about because they'll be able to vaginally orgasim, the answer is: No. Not true.

Many women don't orgasm vaginally, and it's certainly not easy to get there for many that do. We don't know quite how involved this tissue is with the clitoris, and we don't know what level of functionality would remain after a major trauma to the area (FGM).

FGM is still wrong and still a breach of the woman's human rights (unless 100% elective with no pressure involved), and the idea that some small portion of women may be able to experience some sexual arousal, or maybe even an orgasm after it does not make it less wrong.

That may be a bit of a strong reply, but it's quite a leading question, and I'm not sure I like where it may lead.

Augusto // Posted 28 November 2008 at 00:33

In response to Leigh and Anne:
Because I don't believe in vaginal orgasms (I don't believe in the G-Spot either). My "thought" experiment was
trying to convey that without a clitoris a woman wouldn't achieve orgasms.

JenniferRuth // Posted 28 November 2008 at 12:08

Augusto -

It is entirely possible that there are women who do not have a G-Spot or experience vaginal orgasms. But it is also entirely possible that there are those that do. I am 100% confident in the existence of my G-Spot.

We can't live in one another's bodies or know what someone elses experience is. Therefore, I think at the very least we should believe at face value what women say even if our experience differs. I don't see how it helps women to argue over this.

typhonblue // Posted 07 December 2008 at 04:55

"My "thought" experiment was
trying to convey that without a clitoris a woman wouldn't achieve orgasms."

Brain activation during vaginocervical self-stimulation and orgasm in women with complete spinal cord injury: fMRI evidence of mediation by the vagus nerves.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15451368

Paraplegic women who have no sensation in their clitorises are, in fact, able to achieve orgasm via cervical stimulation.

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