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Annals of Junk Science: G-Spotting

Article by Keely Savoie, appeared in issue Elemental; published in 2012; filed under Social commentary.

On April 25, the online edition of the Journal of Sexual Medicine ran an article by cosmetic gynecologist Adam Ostrzenski, MD, who reported that he had teased a "blue grape-like" sac out of a dead woman's vagina. This was proof, he claimed, of the "anatomic existence" of the G-spot, the elusive (but much-heralded) erotogenic area that can be stimulated through the vaginal wall.

Naturally, Ostrzenski's finding sparked a firestorm of media coverage. "Breaking News: G-spot Finally Discovered," announced MensHealth.com; "Yes, You Have a G-spot," crowed Cosmo. In the wake of his discovery, Ostrzenski has appeared on The View, Geraldo, and so many other programs that he's now lost count.

"It is a very small, tiny structure, but it made a tremendous amount of noise," remarked Ostrzenski.

But amid the noise, there was very little actual information. Sadly, more than 60 years after German gynecologist Ernst Gräfenberg spoke of a periurethral structure that could be the source of erotic pleasure for women, we still don't know a whole lot about it.

"It feels like every few months a new study comes out saying the G-spot exists, it doesn't exist, it does exist…and none of them are very good studies," says Tristan Taormino, sex educator and author of The Secrets of Great G-spot Orgasms and Female Ejaculation. "Overmedicalization doesn't help women figure out what they like, how to [orgasm], or how their bodies work."

Other sexuality experts are equally unimpressed with Ostrzenski's find. Beverly Whipple, PhD, coauthor of the now-classic The G-Spot, says the G-spot is not a single structure—making Ostrzenski's claim categorically false. "When [coauthor] Dr. [John D.] Perry and I rediscovered and named the G-spot, we stated that it was not just one anatomical area," she said. "It says to me that Ostrzenski doesn't read the literature and doesn't know what the G-spot is."

Furthermore, Whipple and others point out that whatever Ostrzenski did find, he found it in only one woman and did no histological testing to determine what type of tissue he had found—or even whether it was normal tissue, rather than evidence of disease or injury.

Another serious but amusing flaw in Ostrzenski's research is his misunderstanding of the very science he uses to back up his claim. In discussing his findings, he notes the "G-spot gene" has been identified. Except, as pointed out by geneticist Ricki Lewis, PhD, author of the recently published book The Forever Fix: Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It, "A gene doesn't specify body parts—it's pretty basic genetics." In a guest post for Scientific American's blog, Lewis further explained that the "G-spot gene" Ostrzenski referred to in his paper had nothing at all to do with female anatomy or tsunami-strength orgasms, but rather was the focus of a technical paper about gene sequencing and, specifically, chains of dna with four guanines in a row—shorthanded by geneticists as G-G-G-G, or "G-spot." This seems to be the only part of the paper that Ostrzenski read when his literature search pulled it up. "The alternate definition was right there in the article's abstract. Ostrzenski clearly read only the title," Lewis said. Apparently the Journal of Sexual Medicine's editor and peer reviewers also didn't bother to dig any deeper.

Despite the criticism of his work—which he deems unconstructive—Ostrzenski is sparing no expense and no effort to find further anatomical evidence of the G-spot. Though he would not disclose details of his unpublished findings, he did suggest that he was able to fish the structure out of more cadavers and perform the histological analyses to support his belief that the tissue was not just an anatomical anomaly but the real deal.

Whatever the final word on Ostrzenski's findings, he revealed something much more profound than whether the G-spot exists as a discrete anatomical structure: He proved that probing corpses in an effort to define the structure and anatomy of female pleasure is no more fruitful than linguists parsing a punch line to quantify humor.

Taormino voices the prevailing opinion of feminists and sexuality educators looking on in dismay: "Why are we not listening to women's own experiences?" she asks. "There are so many men involved in debating the G-spot—I just want to tell them to shut the fuck up. A study of one cadaver does nothing to educate women about how their bodies work and what feels good to them." 

Comments

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'Scuse me, but you lost your science

As a feminist and as a philosopher of science (yeah, that was really the most pragmatic thing to choose at university, I know) I find this "discovery" ludicrous. Not only because it seems to me to be just one more symptom of the hyper-medicalization of pleasure (specifically the pleasure of females and women and their sexuality) but also because dammit, that isn't science.

First of all, one finding of one sac in one instance does not constitute "proof". That's just poor research that doesn't even conform to an actual disciplinary matrix (let alone taking into account Ostrzenski's misunderstanding of genetics and medical testing); "studies suggest" is not science. Philosophers debate whether "proof" exists anyhow, and in order to even take something as evidence for a hypothesis, you need an actual hypothesis first. And said hypothesis needs to link up with the entire web of theories and hypotheses that help to make up our understanding of life/the world. This guy seems to be merely working with a monolithic pop-cultural thesis that there is a "spot" one can diagnose and extract which encompasses and classifies experience. Damn, but patriarchy loves to categorize. Real science categorizes too, but it does so in pursuit of real comprehension, not just the vindication of decades of prurience. Sexuality and human experience are more complicated than that.

That being said, people of any identity, gender, sex, orientation, or whatever-you-please (actual scientists too!) can attest to the existence of their own pleasure, so.... just keep having fun and take that for your empirical evidence.

"Anything which lies in the palm of love is good."

Brilliantly put - only wish

Brilliantly put - only wish I'd said it myself!

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women aren't the only people with vag's and clits, yo

Yeah, it's pretty obvious that this whole thing is bunk science and it's stupid that well-to-do cis-dudes are all up in this shit, but I need to remind Bitch and Tristan Taormino that it ain't just women who have these parts y'all are talking about.

What a creep

Grossest sentence ever: "...teased a 'blue grape-like' sac out of a dead woman’s vagina."

Even if it is in the name of "science."

Sure, it truly is pretty

Sure, it truly is pretty apparent that complete factor will be bunk scientific discipline and it's dumb which well-to-do cis-dudes are all way up in this shit, yet I have to advise Bitch in addition to Tristan Taormino so it ain't just ladies who've most of these pieces y'all are generally discussing. thus Engineering incorporates the employment of supplies, tools, methods, in addition to options for capacity to help to make living much easier or even more satisfying in addition to work far more successful.then complete nutrition

G-spot

As a 60 plus bi-sexual man, I have to say this idiot knows zero about sex. There are more erogenous zones on a body than any junk science has found, ever...Give me 5 minutes with him he will be squirming in his seat...

Annals of Junk Science: G-Spotting | Bitch Media

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More genetics junk, a new

More genetics junk, a new tool in the toolbox but following an age-old agenda to differentiate and denigrate - see: Science and Social Control: Political Paralysis and the Genetics Agenda http://www.independentsciencenews.org/

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