Excuse Me, I Have To Go Defend Science

When science finally locates the center of the universe, some people will be surprised to learn they’re not it.” -Bernard Bailey

@BabelandSeattle retweeted “Scientists” claim G-Spot doesn’t exist. They link to this Jezebel article which discusses this article published in The Time

The Times’ article outlines an article which will be published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine which, according to its authors, disproves the existence of the G-spot. The researchers reach this conclusion by conducting a survey in which: “1,804 British women aged 23-83 answered questionnaires. All were pairs of identical or non-identical twins. Identical twins share all their genes, while non-identical pairs share 50% of theirs. If one identical twin reported having a G-spot, this would make it far more likely that her sister would give the same answer. But no such pattern emerged, suggesting the G-spot is a matter of the woman’s subjective opinion.”

I’ll be honest, I do have some problems with the methodology. First, it’s only British women. Perhaps British women are brainwashed into thinking they don’t have a G-spot by an evil British patriarchy that doesn’t exist elsewhere. Or genetically British women aren’t predisposed to having a G-spot 2) The age range is huge, which may have underrepresented certain age groups and over-represented others. 3) (This is the biggie.) These scientists searched for something which is supposed to physically exist by using surveys, rather than physical examinations. (Which is what this piece points out. It’s a good read if you want to consider more methodical problems.) Self-perception is not the most reliable indicator.

A better method of proving or disproving would have been to get a group of women together, survey them on whether or not they have a G-spot, and compare the vaginal walls (where the G-spot is supposed to exist). Women who say they do should be physically different than those who say they don’t. However, this isn’t even perfect. Because, as someone I was discussing this with pointed out, if a woman has had limited sexual experience or bad partners or any number of other issues, she may not know she has a G-spot.

Further, orgasms aren’t a black and white issues for women (or men, but that’s not the point here). Even if we have a G-spot, we may not know how to use it. Or how to prove it’s an erogenous zone. We know all women have clits, yet you can’t just walk a woman into a lab, stimulate her clit, and produce an orgasm. So why would we expect the G-Spot to be any different?

It’s a thorny problem. Which explains why these researchers went with the survey method. Plus, it’s going to be difficult to get a bunch of women willing to have their vagina’s prodded. even if you can get a group of women, you’re liable to get a selection bias. It’s going to be a specific type of woman who will spread her legs for science.

What pissed me off was the original Jezebel piece and the comments. (Oh god, why did I read the comments?) Jezebel sums up it’s article with:

“In other words, the answer as to whether or not you have a g-spot may just lie entirely in your own head, though it’s hard to dismiss the idea that many women may believe they have (or don’t have) a g-spot based on what they read in magazines, see on television, or hear in really bad jokes…am I right ladies?”

Actually it may lie entirely in your own head. Consider the episodeof House where passengers on a plane all develop symptoms similar to a legitimately sick passenger. House proves it’s all in their heads. And while sure, this is TV, mass hysteria, the sociopsychological phenomenon of the manifestation of the same or similar hysterical symptoms by more than one person, does happen. Consider Couvade Syndrome, where the partner of an expectant mother (or other person close to them) experiences pregnancy symptoms. Or consider false pregnancies, in which a woman can manifest symptoms of pregnancy. The mind is a powerful thing.

A number of commenters on Jezebel go on to bash the study, and studies of female sexuality in general, for being evil, mean, terrible, sexist, and probably puppy-kickers. Here are some examples:

“Well now, I’m glad SCIENCE is around to tell me all about sex and what feels good for my body. Left to my own devices, I might end up tryin’ to put the penis in my ear or somethin’ “

“Also, I would just like to say that in my view (female) sexuality is non-reductive and more an art (or a system) than something that could possibly be reduced to the throbbings and proddings of certain biological organs. I love science, I do, but science isn’t going to tell anyone why Romeo and Juliet is a great work of art, and it’s certainly isn’t going to understand the mysteries and wonders of feminine getting-offedness.”

“I am sick to death of women and our sexuality being studied by scientists as if we are some exotic, non-human animal.”

“Why the hell is every aspect of female sexual pleasure up for debate like it’s the fucking Loch Ness Monster? First the clit, then the female orgasm, now this.
You know what? That’s it. I don’t believe in the penis anymore.”

Oh, hai. This is scienceland. Here in scienceland, EVERYTHING CAN BE UP FOR DEBATE. In fact, being the good little scientists that they are, the same journal that’s publishing this article, is sponsoring a debate on the subject.

I certainly understand that medical science may not have the best history with regards to women’s sexuality. Let’s be honest though, science and medicine have come a long way since denying the PMS existed. The study has two authors, a man and a woman. So let’s stop with the male-bashing on this.

This isn’t the only study which concludes the G-Spot doesn’t exist. Try all of these on for size.

Maybe it’s not real. Maybe it only exists in some women. Sexuality isn’t set in stone. It’s fluid. And it’s highly dependent upon a whole host of factors.

I totally get off from G-spot stimulation. Had I been surveyed, I would have answered “HELL MUTHERFUCKING YES I HAVE A G-SPOT. And excuse me while I go stimulate it right now.”

But if science concludes the physical G-spot isn’t real, I’m down with that. I’ll concede it could all be in my head. I don’t care if it is. I’ll take those non-imaginary orgasms.

(Note, Jen over at Blaghag has something to say on the subject as well.)

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