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Has Research Really Hit the G-Spot?

A gynecologist thinks he’s discovered a hidden treasure in the proverbial area “down there,” but scientists aren’t so sure.

April 25th, 2012

Tags: Sex
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Research Hits The G-Spot

A legend of mythical proportions has allegedly been discovered. It's up there with Santa Claus and unicorns, but it's more exciting- literally! Adam Ostrzenski, M.D., Ph.D., of the Institute of Gynecology in St. Petersburg, FL, claims to have found the elusive G-spot. But did he? Scientists aren’t so sure.

In the May 2012 issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Dr. Ostrzenski will report his discovery of what he thinks is the G-spot, a newly observed tissue structure in the anterior vaginal wall, near the urethra. With this research comes detail on its apparent site, size and structure.

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According to the study, a tiny, “grape-like” entity—which Dr. Ostrzenski claims is the G-spot—is located roughly 2/3 of an inch above the opening of the urethra, by the front wall of the vagina, and includes a small sac containing what apparently resemble erectile tissues. 

It's entirely possible that the sac is in fact the G-spot, but here’s the problem: “Dr. Ostrzenski is jumping to a conclusion based on virtually no evidence,” says Barry Komisaruk, Ph.D., a professor at Rutgers University who has co-authored a critical commentary that will be published alongside the study. “The minimum scientific criteria in claiming that you’ve found a new tissue or organ is to characterize what type of tissue it is. [Ostrzenski] didn’t even try to characterize it.”

In the study, Ostrzenski dissected the vaginal wall of an 83-year-old female cadaver (don’t try to picture that scene). On a call with YouBeauty, Komisaruk explained a few of the issues that the published results bring up: First, the small sac that Ostrzenski found could have been either a gland or erectile tissue, but determining if it was in fact either of those would have required a standard microscopic analysis that he chose not to conduct. The same applies to the vessel he found attached to the sac, which could have been either a blood vessel or a duct. (That may not seem like a big deal to you, but it’s a major difference for an expert.) And finally, a microscopic analysis would also help determine if a nerve center connects to that spot, controlling or sensing its activity. “These are the most basic features of a presumptive new organ,” explains Komisaruk.

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Other researchers criticizing the study have pointed out that the finding could also have been an age-related mutation, or even a result of prior injury. Without a point of comparison, there’s no way to tell if this woman was an anomaly or a norm.   

The bigger issue, though, may be the assumption that the G-spot can be found at all (or is even ostensibly “missing”).

In coverage by New Scientist, famed sex researcher Beverly Whipple, Ph.D., the same woman who coined the very term “G-spot” in 1981, based on an area first described by Ernest Grafenberg in 1950, asserts that the “spot” is really more of an area. Rather than the single spot that brave men and women go searching for, it may be a whole collection of stimulating tissues. If this new finding is in fact a hot spot, then it is just one part of a web of female turn-ons.

Komisaruk, whose research involves mapping sexual stimulation to regions of the brain, explains that there are actually many erotogenic zones on the front wall of the vagina. Even the clitoris is bigger than most women think: the wishbone-shaped hot spot extends up both sides of the vagina, providing pleasure internally as well. Claiming that one spot is “the” spot may mean missing the bigger picture. “It’s a confluence of erotic structures that are stimulated when you push forward on the wall,” says Komisaruk. “Think of them as different spices in a stew. It’s a symphony of pleasurable stimuli and to single out anything doesn’t make sense. It’s a fortunately complex and pleasure-inducing area.”

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Irwin Goldstein, M.D., editor of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, has stood by his journal’s decision to publish the paper saying that the findings have been peer-reviewed and offer a worthwhile contribution.

But if the media firestorm that this study has stirred is any indication, the results—while interesting—were simply premature. “[Ostrzenski] made a very bold claim based on insufficient evidence,” says Komisaruk.

As if we needed any more confusion about just what turns women on.

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