By Anne Harding
TUESDAY, April 24, 2012 (Health.com) — Eureka! A retired professor of gynecology is claiming to have found anatomical proof of the existence of the "G-spot," the quasi-mythical erogenous zone that is said to bring on vaginal orgasms in some women.
In a paper published this week in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, Adam Ostrzenski, M.D., describes a sac-like structure roughly one-eighth of an inch in diameter, located on the front wall of the vagina. Ostrzenski, the director of the Institute of Gynecology in St. Petersburg, Fla., identified the cluster of tissue during a layer-by-layer dissection of the vaginal wall of an 83-year-old Polish woman who had died 24 hours earlier.
If confirmed in future research, this finding could shine a light on female sexual function and even open the door to surgical enhancement of the G-spot, Ostrzenski says. Next month, he's planning to travel back to Poland to conduct additional dissections and study the tissues in more detail. The structure may look different in younger individuals, and its location and size is likely to vary from woman to woman, he says.
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Experts not involved in the research are skeptical that this is a notable or relevant discovery, however. The structure Ostrzenski describes may well be a network of blood vessels that contributes to sexual arousal, but it almost certainly does not explain the entire G-spot phenomenon, says Emmanuele Jannini, MD, a professor of endocrinology and sexology at the University of L'Aquila, in Italy.
"The G-spot is not just a spot; it's something much more complex," says Jannini, who has used ultrasound to search for the G-spot in his own research. "Something is there. We may call it a G-spot or not—it doesn't matter."
Ostrzenski's paper, moreover, does not contain any information on the deceased woman's medical history or sexual function, so it's impossible to know whether she experienced the vaginal orgasms associated with the G-spot, says Amichai Kilchevsky, MD, a urologist at the Yale School of Medicine, in New Haven, Conn.
"I'm not sure what this is contributing," Kilchevsky says. "To study this you need to use a live human being, or something like a functional MRI that will actually look at the blood flow in the brain. We still have a good amount to learn about the functional anatomy of female arousal."
Next page: Reports of G-spot date back to Kama Sutra
The G-spot is named for Ernest Gräfenberg, a German gynecologist who described an "erotic zone" on the front wall of the vagina, along the urethra, in the International Journal of Sexology in 1950. Anecdotal reports about an area in the vagina that swells and produces pleasure when stimulated date back much further, at least to the time of the Kama Sutra, the ancient Hindu sex manual and guide to life.
"It's a physiological phenomenon that has been noticed by women through the centuries," Ostrzenski says. In the paper, he writes that the structure he identified contains tissue that resembles erectile tissue.
Since Gräfenberg's time, studies using methods ranging from dissection to electrical stimulation have suggested that many women do have an area in the vagina that, when stimulated, can cause a powerful orgasm. This area is likely an internal extension of the clitoris, Kilchevsky says. The penis has a similar extension, he adds, and in both men and women these extensions become engorged with blood during stimulation.
In the past, sexual health experts have worried that media coverage of the G-spot phenomenon would lead women to feel inadequate if they can't achieve an orgasm through vaginal stimulation alone. "The reality is that not all women do have vaginal orgasms, and there's nothing wrong with that," Kilchevsky says.
Jannini, too, stresses that women who do not experience vaginal orgasms are "absolutely normal." While some women's physiology may enable them to derive heightened sensation from a G-spot-like structure, for all women the clitoris is the primary vehicle for sexual pleasure, he says.
"It is very, absolutely bad to try to hysterically look for the G-spot," Jannini says. "Looking for the vaginal orgasm is the best way to lose the vaginal orgasm."