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Sex: Fact and Fiction

What’s the average penis size? How fast is premature ejaculation? Exactly where is the G-spot? Grab a ruler and a stopwatch as the experts sort sex myths from the facts.
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Just the Facts on the G-Spot

If sex myths have such power over men's thinking about their own anatomy, they have even more sway when it comes to female partners' bodies -- especially the much-debated G-spot.

Named after a German doctor, Ernst Gräfenberg, who first wrote about an erogenous zone in the anterior vaginal wall, the G-spot was popularized by a 1982 book called ... The G-spot. This region behind the pubic bone is often credited as the trigger for a vaginal (vs. clitoral) orgasm, and even a catalyst for female ejaculation.

At the same time, the G-spot is commonly derided as perpetuating the myth ensconced by Sigmund Freud -- namely, that the clitoral orgasm is a "lesser" form of climax than the vaginal orgasm, which requires penile penetration. As Ian Kerner summarizes, "In Freud's view, there were no two ways about it: If a woman couldn't be satisfied by penetrative sex, something must be wrong with her."

The G-spot's existence is still debated, and whether it's fact or fiction depends on whom you ask.

"The G-spot exists," says Seth Prosterman. "It's a source of powerful orgasm for a percentage of women."

"I don't think the G-spot exists," says Ira Sharlip. "As urologists, we operate in that area [where the G-spot should be] and there just isn't anything there -- there's no anatomical structure that's there."

Prosterman and others point out the importance of thinking of the G-spot in context -- that it may be an extension of the clitoral anatomy, which extends back into the vaginal canal. Kerner writes that the G-spot may be "nothing more than the roots of the clitoris crisscrossing the urethral sponge."

Helen O'Connell, MD, head of the neurourology and continence unit at the Royal Melbourne Hospital Department of Urology in Australia, says, "The G-spot has a lot in common with Freud's idea of vaginal orgasms. It is a sexual concept, this time anatomical, that results in confusion and has resulted in the misconception that female sexuality is extremely complex."

In the end, whether this debated locus of pleasure is fact or fiction may not matter that much. O'Connell, who is also co-author of a 2005 Journal of Urology study on the anatomy of the clitoris, says that focusing on the G-spot to the exclusion of the rest of a woman's body is "a bit like stimulating a guy's testicles without touching the penis and expecting an orgasm to occur just because love is present." She says focusing on the inside of the vagina to the exclusion of the clitoris is "unlikely to bring about orgasm. It is best to think of the clitoris, urethra, and vagina as one unit because they are intimately related."

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