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Do Vaginal Orgasms Really Exist?

Lissa Rankin's picture

When you think of a sonogram, you probably think of some grainy, grey-and-white image of your baby’s hand waving at you, labeled with the caption “Hi Mom!” You probably don’t think about the clitoris. But a couple of French doctors do (leave it to the French).

Is There Really a G-Spot?

A study in Sexual Medicine called “The Clitoral Complex: A Dynamic Sonographic Study” mixes ultrasound, the clitoris, the G-Spot, and vaginal orgasms together into a sexy soup I couldn’t resist writing about. Whether or not the G-Spot exists remains controversial. One of the questions I answered in my upcoming book What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend is “Does the G-Spot really exist?” The answer:

According to the teacher in my Gross Anatomy lab, the answer is no. As we were dissecting the vagina, someone asked, “So where’s the G-Spot, Doc?” My teacher, in his thick Eastern European accent, said, “Zere is no G-Spot in ze human female.” Okay, good to know.

The rest of my medical training pretty much agreed with Professor Von Buzzkill. An expert in the field even told me that every part of the vagina has been examined under the microscope, and there is nothing on the anterior wall of the vagina that looks any different than the rest of the vagina. Therefore, the G-Spot does not exist. Period.

However, as is the case with much I learned in medical school, my patients tell me otherwise. Over the years, thousands of patients have sworn that there is a place felt through the anterior wall of the vagina that hits the oh-oh-oh spot – or, rather, is the spot. I believe in many things I cannot see, so I tend to believe my patients.

Hunting for data to validate their experience, I came across Dr. Beverly Whipple, who famously named the G-Spot after German OB/GYN Dr. Ernst Gräfenburg, who described a zone of erogenous feeling on the anterior wall of the vaginal canal. (A friend of hers suggested she name it the “Whipple Tickle”, but out of respect for Whipples everywhere, she vetoed this idea.)  According to Dr. Whipple, the G-Spot definitely exists. When I asked her why some in the medical community vehemently deny its existence, she seemed baffled.  She said, “I don’t know. I guess, because they can’t see it under a microscope, they think it doesn’t exist. But my career has been about validating what real women experience. And some- but not all- definitely experience pleasurable feelings when you stimulate the G-Spot area.”

Her belief runs so deep that she went on to conduct hundreds of studies aimed at validating the sexual experiences women relate. For one study in 1981, 400 female volunteers were examined. According to Dr. Whipple, a spot that empirically swells with stimulation was found in each of these women, although she admits that not all women appear to be sensitive to this type of stimulation.

So what is the G-Spot? Dr. Whipple isn’t sure. As Dr. Von Buzzkill said, no specific anatomic differences can be detected in this area. But she suspects a cluster of blood vessels, nerves, glands (including the “female prostate gland”), and part of of the clitoris may all merge to create a sensitive area that hits the spot.  She believes the female experience more than the microscope, and I tend to agree with her.

Drs. Foldes and Buisson seem to agree with Dr. Whipple, theorizing that the reason some women can have vaginal orgasms is that the anterior wall of the vagina (in the location of the famed G-Spot) overlies the root of the clitoris, where the crura (legs) come together. So perhaps the reason that nobody can find an anatomic location for the controversial G-Spot is because there’s nothing special about this part of the vagina other than it butts up against a sweet spot of the clitoris.

A Clitoral Anatomy Lesson

First, a bit of anatomy. You may think the clitoris starts and ends as the little nubbin that lies just below the mons pubis (where your pubes are) and just above the urethra (where the pee comes out). But the little hot button you can see (the glans of the clitoris) is just the tip of the sensual iceberg. The clitoris functions like a female version of the penis and is made up of 8,000 nerve endings, all dedicated to your pleasure. (Nice work, Universe!) The clitoris also consists of two crura, little legs that fill up with blood and become erect, much like a penis does.

In the French study, researchers wanted to investigate what happens to the clitoral root and crura and whether these parts of the anatomy could explain the phenomenon of vaginal orgasm. In other words, if vaginal orgasms come from deep clitoral stimulation through the anterior wall of the vagina, why can’t all women have them? What might be going on?

But how do you investigate such a thing? Turns out that the handy dandy ultrasound of fetal fame proves helpful. In the Clitoral Complex study, researchers took five women and did ultrasounds, both at rest and when they were contracting the perineum (a.k.a. doing Kegel exercises). They then asked women to identify the sensitive spot they associated with pleasure. Sure enough, women pointed to the spot on the vagina closest to the clitoral root, where the crura of the clitoris come together.

So What Does This Mean For Vaginal Orgasms?

Well, the jury’s still out. This was a very small study, with only five women, and we need more data. But it suggests that what Dr. Whipple has been saying all along is true, that perhaps it’s not the vagina itself that feels good to women who love their G-Spots but the clitoris they’re reaching underneath. Perhaps the “G-Spot” defines the place closest to the root of the clitoris, which is overflowing with juicy nerves that hit the spot.

Why does a “vaginal” orgasm feel different than one created by stimulating the glans of the clitoris? Well, the stimulation would be anatomically different. Because the part of the clitoris being stimulated is farther away from the spot of stimulation, it might take longer to build. And it might simply feel different because it may be a different part of the clitoris getting stimulated. Truth is, nobody really knows.

Why Can’t All Women Have Vaginal Orgasms?

So if we all have a clitoris, why can’t we all have vaginal orgasms? Perhaps it’s simply a matter of anatomy. If that clitoral root is too far away from the anterior wall of the vagina, maybe you simply can’t feel it enough to be stimulated. If you’re lucky enough to hit the spot, perhaps it’s because your clitoral root is closer. Every woman is different – you’re normal if you do have vaginal orgasms, and you’re normal if you don’t.

Don’t Let Anyone Take Away Your Vaginal Orgasms

Regardless of how the science works, I say that if the G-Spot works for you, and you’re rocking your vaginal orgasms, own it, baby! Don’t let any study interfere with your pleasure. If you’ve tried and can’t seem to find the spot, don’t worry. You’re so not alone.

When it comes right down to it, orgasms are God’s gift to women (after all, unlike men, we don’t even have to have one in order to procreate. The way I see it, they’re sort of a fortunate freebie!) Whether you get your pleasure from the clitoris or the vagina doesn’t matter outside the realm of academics. Enjoy what you have, honor your body, and leave the science to us nerds.

Rooting for your O- O- O!

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This blog, and the book on which it is based, is a complement to - not a substitute for - professional advice and intervention, and is not intended to replace the advice of a gynecologist or medical professional, who should be consulted about any health care issues that may affect the individual reader. The information contained in this book is the product of observations made by the author in her practice, as well as her review of relevant literature in her field of expertise. The literature at times reflects conflicting opinions and conclusions. The views expressed herein are the personal views of the author and are not intended to reflect the views of any group or organization with whom the author is affiliated.

Comments

jen's picture

personal experience

Do vaginal orgasms exist? Hellyeah!
Are they centered around the G spot? Doesn't seem that way to me.

Lissa Rankin's picture

oooh...Juicy!

Thank you Diva Carla and Crista Anne for chiming in! So great to be chatting among our girlfriends like this! Woo hoo OOOhhh......
xoxo

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Crista.Anne's picture

I <3 My G-Spot

My G and I have been the best of friends for years now. We skip merrily around, dancing, singing songs and orgasming left and right.

I'm orgasmically blessed. My clit has a trigger fire, my g-spot (whatever it may be) is quite sensitive, I can orgasm without physically touching myself via doing "kegels". Thanks to a sex and body positive upbringing I've not been as hampered with bodily hang ups as many people, which is something that I strongly believe ties into my orgasmic state. No one gets me off as well as I can get myself off, but to the G-centric part of your question: I've had luck with G-Spot inspired orgasms both with toys and with partners.

With my Husband, we have a very strong bond and I often have vaginal orgasms when he orgasms. As these happen with the same frequency even when we are in positions that do not offer as much G-stimulation, I'm of the mind that those are more tied to shared sexual energy than actual physical stimuli.

As to why all women cannot have vaginal orgasms, I believe the answers to that question are not simply tied to anatomy - though that certainly plays a role. There are almost endless answers. Spiritual and cultural negative associations with sex, fear/shame/lack of understanding how their pleasure centers work, relationship issues, stress, underlying medical problems, different medications, unrealistic expectations of what sex/pleasure should be...on and on and on.

Diva Carla's picture

G-spot, Dr. Whipple, and me

I love debunking the G-Spot myth, and I love Dr. Whipple. She and Dr. Barry Komisaruk presented their research at the Association of Sexual Energy Professionals conference in 2008. Yes, their is a Sacred Spot in women, and it can be felt structurally and sensually when a woman is sexually aroused. Does it yield a product of "vaginal orgasm"? maybe. My own experience is of "soul orgasm". I don't have a lot of luck stimulating it myself, even with the crystal wand, (Where'd you get that vibrator, Caren?) but I have had a lover who could stay with me till I went there. The sensation left my genitals and moved up into my body, though my energetic core, and into the cosmos somewhere, and back to ME. I felt knit together, and whole, more completely myself. Healed.

Why doesn't every woman have this experience (by any name?) I could count a hundred reasons, but they all distill down to absence of initiation in our cultures, and resulting repression. We all have it within us, physically, energetically and spiritually, I believe.
Taking Dr. Whipple's word to heart: The words goal and orgasm should never be used in the same sentence, I simply want to offer an invitation to women to be open to expanding their experience, and fearlessly seek education, opportunity and assistance in learning about their own sacred spot orgasmic potential.

THANK YOU, Lissa, for listening to your women, and for Sharing Dr. Whipple. Keep opening doors, and can we make Whipple and Komisaruk required reading in medical school?

Lissa Rankin's picture

of course

Caren, darling-
Of course I expected you to weigh in! Thanks so much for sharing your story. When it comes to sexuality, we all experience such different sensations and emotions, and they are all valid and rich! Bless you for sharing yours.
O-O-O so glad you chimed in!
xoxo
Lissa

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Caren's picture

Lissa, you probably knew I

Lissa, you probably knew I would have to weigh in on this. I always found the "g-spot" very elusive, until I bought a g-spot vibrator. Still skeptical I thought I would give it a try, having rarely had a vaginal orgasm. Well, I am here to rebuke that doctor.
WOW!! I don't know where he got his info, hehe, but I am here to tell you I do believe in the g-spot and it's amazing power.
It was a very different feeling, but so wonderful. Much more intense and far more emotional. Not what I expected. I think all women, if they want to, should explore this.
Caren

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