What is a G-spot? Does it even exist? If it is real, why does it exist? What do I do if I want to have a G-spot orgasm?
These are common questions, and important ones. Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple answer to many of them. Human anatomy is incredibly complicated, and it seems that we haven’t figured a lot of it out yet! (Especially in stigmatized/hard-to-get-research-funding-for areas like sexology, it seems.)
My attempt to answer (some) of these questions will travel from basic (yet new!) anatomy, to evolution, to scientific debate, to general advice on how someone might achieve a vaginal orgasm for the first time.
First Things First: A Disclaimer
Everyone’s anatomy is different, and that’s OK. As much as I love “G-spot” pressure, I absolutely can’t say that for everyone orgasms from vaginal stimulation are better than orgasms from clitoral stimulation. (Not that you have to choose between vaginal and clit stim—why not both? Seriously, this is why bullet vibes are so popular during PIV.) For many, the two types of orgasms are different feelings; some people have a strong preference for one or the other, and some like both.
One very important note: Women who can’t get off from vaginal stimulation alone aren’t broken. They’re by far the majority.1
This post will talk about “women,” but it’s not meant to exclude transwomen or people with vaginas who don’t identify as female. It’s simply that, as sex educator Emily Nagoski puts it, “There’s too little research on trans or queergender sexual functioning.”2
Orgasmic Stats: Who Comes, and How
If you hang around enough sex blogs and discussion boards, it’s inevitable that you’ll come across one statistic: 75% of women cannot orgasm from penis-in-vagina sex. Now, this common paraphrase isn’t quite correct—the statement should be that 75% of women do not frequently orgasm from PIV sex without external clitoral stimulation (“clit stim” for short). This means that a good number of that 75% of women do sometimes orgasm from PIV without simultaneous clit stim.
These figures come from Elisabeth Lloyd’s 2006 work The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution. Lloyd’s complete figures, “drawn from 32 studies, conducted over 74 years,”3 are as follows:
- 25% of women almost always orgasm during PIV without clit stim.
- 45% of women sometimes orgasm from PIV without clit stim.
- 25% of women never orgasm from PIV without clit stim.
- 10% of women never orgasm at all, from any type of stimulation.
Do these statistics mean G-spot orgasms are a fluke? That there’s no real reason for them? Maybe, or maybe not: it depends on whose explanation of evolutionary biology you believe.
The Great Debate: Do Vaginal Orgasms Serve an Evolutionary Purpose?
Elisabeth Lloyd’s theory is that the female orgasm—of any kind—isn’t an evolutionary adaptation in itself (that is, it doesn’t serve to help us survive as a species). Instead, she believes female orgasm is a “vestigial trait”: because the clitoris and the penis originate from the same structure in a human embryo, and (she says) penile orgasm is a must for conception, the clitoral orgasm is simply a happy “by-product.” The analogy given by Lloyd (and developed by her mentor, Stephen J. Gould4) is that men have nipples even though they’re not able to breastfeed children (just like women have clits even though, according to this theory, nature doesn’t care whether they orgasm).
Is this really the case, though? It’s certainly a popular line of thinking. Emily Nagoski, for one, claims that the interest in female orgasm due to PIV is just “women’s sexuality as Men’s Sexuality Lite.”5 Nagoski then implies that scientists everywhere universally agree that female orgasms have no evolutionary role—they don’t make women more likely to have the PIV sex that would (in an age before birth control) lead to children. She says, “Lloyd, only half kidding, suggests we call the byproduct hypothesis [i.e., women can orgasm only because penises and clits start out the same] the ‘fantastic bonus’ account of women’s orgasms. As in, you don’t have to have orgasms. You may, if you like—they are available to nearly every woman—but you get to choose!”6
Now, being able to choose is great. Of course I’m all for women’s rights (I’m a woman with a sex blog, for crying out loud). I appreciate that people should be able to do what they want with their genitals (but please buy body-safe sex toys if you like sex toys)! My issue is that Nagoski and Lloyd, while claiming to be destroying a biased, patriarchal view of sex, seem to be missing the incredibly obvious point that women’s genitals are different from men’s. For six weeks post-conception, sure, they start out the same. But you know what? Then they diverge (in nearly all cases). They grow and change into separate things. So why can’t the vagina have evolved under its own adaptive pressures, as a totally separate entity that can produce orgasm too? (Even if it doesn’t in all cases?)
But don’t just take my word for this; I’m not an expert in the field. Instead, take the word of Barry Komisaruk, Beverly Whipple, and Carlos Beyer-Flores, neuroscientists who’ve literally spent decades studying orgasm in scientific settings. In The Science of Orgasm, the authors demolish Lloyd’s characterization of female orgasm as a simple byproduct of male orgasm.7 Here’s one big reason why:
While dismissing the significance of women’s orgasm, [Lloyd] accepts men’s orgasm as necessary for reproduction. She conflates men’s ejaculation with men’s orgasm. However, there is a big difference between the physical act of ejaculation and the feeling of orgasm. While seminal emission and ejaculation are essential to pregnancy, the feeling of orgasm is not…Consequently, contrary to Lloyd’s contention, there is no better adaptational explanation for the existence of men’s orgasm than for the existence of women’s. By the same token, just because adaptive significance has not been demonstrated for women’s or men’s orgasm, one is not justified in concluding that none exists.
Basically, science has never proven that men have to orgasm either, plus just because we haven’t figured something out doesn’t mean there’s no reason behind it.
Komisaruk, Beyer-Flores, and Whipple conclude that “women and men derive pleasure from orgasm and it is the pleasure of orgasm that helps to reinforce the performance of sexual intercourse, thereby promoting procreation.” This seems like such a duh statement: Hey, PIV sex feels great! Let’s have more of it! (And, in an age before birth control, subsequently have lots of children.) Perhaps the science is much more complex than this, but the explanation is so neat and convincing.8
Wait, So What Does This Mean for the G-Spot?
Again, there’s debate about what the G-spot is (or even if there is one). No one has ever been able to actually document the G-spot through sonography. So what might it be? One line of thinking is that “the [front] vaginal wall is, in fact, the clitoris.”9 Likewise, French researchers Odile Buisson and Pierre Foldes, who seek to repair women damaged by genital mutilation, have likewise done sonographic imaging that shows “a close relationship between the root of the clitoris and the anterior vaginal wall…We suggest that the special sensitivity of the lower anterior vaginal wall could be explained by pressure and movement of clitoris’ root during a vaginal penetration and subsequent perineal contraction. The G-spot could be explained by the richly innervated clitoris.” This explanation would explain why I’ve seen it said that “the G-spot is only two inches in”: it’s part of the lower vaginal wall.
But is it that simple? Probably not—different women get vaginal pleasure from different and multiple locations. One 1984 study of thirty women (not a large sample size, to be fair, but still) documented that “73 percent showed maximal response to stimulation of the upper half of the anterior vaginal wall, [while] 27 percent had maximal response to stimulation of the lower half of the anterior vaginal wall.10 I’m in the group whose upper frontal wall, up to five inches in, produces the most mind-blowing orgasms, so the clitoral root theory falls flat for me. Of course I had to keep researching!
Enter my new favorite group of scientists again: Komisaruk, Beyer-Flores, and Whipple. They opine that the vaginal wall itself, not just the clitoris that behind it, does important things! Apparently the frontal wall (and to a lesser degree the back wall) of the vag is also filled with nerve endings. Totally unrelated to the internal clit, “In the vaginal introitus region (the vaginal region near the entrance)…researchers found a clear difference in innervation of the deep (sub- mucosal) tissue layer of the vagina. The connective tissue of the anterior wall is richly innervated,” while the posterior wall (toward the butt) is only “sparsely” populated with nerve endings.11 And there’s more: “extensive literature…demonstrates the existence of three additional pairs of nerves in women that convey sensation to the brain from the vagina, cervix, and uterus. There is good evidence that activation of these nerves by physical stimulation of these uniquely female organs can generate orgasm.”12 But the biggest reason why I agree with The Science of Orgasm‘s assertion that vaginal and clitoral orgasms are very different is that the researchers believe women who say they feel different. The book says, “Furthermore, women describe the quality of orgasms resulting from vaginal stimulation—’deep, heaving,’ for example—as feeling different from orgasms induced by only clitoral stimulation.”13
So, in the end: the front wall of the vagina contains any number of different structures that make it more sensitive. Just like with the external clit, some women enjoy stimulation higher, while some like it lower.14 In the end, there’s probably no one small “spot” that causes vaginal orgasms in women; instead, it’s a collection of nerve endings, from the entrance to the vag upward, that respond to pressure and/or movement (or vibration).
I use the term “G-spot” in my reviews all the time as shorthand for “my mid- to upper front vaginal wall, between my pubic bone and my anterior fornix (which doesn’t much like being messed with).” It’s a big, wide area for me, so perhaps I should call it my “G-swath” instead of my “G-spot.” But it’s there, and it definitely feels pressure.
Again, this doesn’t mean that the G-spot is the only spot; different people respond to stimulation in all different places! That said, I’d like to end with a few tips that might help you explore the potential of this mysterious vaginal zone.
So How Do I Find My “G-Spot” and Have Orgasms including It?
Ah, the big question. My answer is: trial and error. And lots of practice.15 ☺ It is totally possible to learn how to have stronger internal orgasms and blended orgasms, based on my experience and that of many others. Here are a few ideas to try on yourself (or your partner) if you want more intense vaginal orgasms:
- Strengthen your pelvic floor (through doing Kegel exercises (my article here) and/or having more and multiple orgasms).
- Warming up with external clit orgasms is a good start.
- Go slow; don’t pressure yourself. (In many people, stress kills their ability to come.) Think of exploration as the goal rather than the orgasm itself.
- Using a clit vibe externally while exploring your vagina with fingers or a quality dildo works well for most people. Bullet vibes are small and easy to keep out of the way: my top recommendations are the Charged Vooom Bullet for cheap but still powerful, or the FemmeFunn Ultra Bullet if you want something silicone-coated and a little flexible.
- G-spot curves can be really great in sex toys because they put pressure on the upper frontal wall. This means that you don’t want your dildo to be both really straight and firm (because super-firm silicone won’t bend much at all). Some silicone ideas for silicone G-spotting dildos are the Godemiche Ambit, the Fun Factory Boss, the Tantus Sport, and the Tantus Curve.
- Most G-spots respond to really serious pressure, like the weight of the Njoy Pure Wand. (But don’t feel broken if any popular toy doesn’t work for you; I personally steer clear of firm toys because they hurt me. If you’re a softer-is-better kinda person, look for a curved dual-density dildo or a softer single-density one.)
- During PIV sex, cowgirl is said to be the best sex position for G-spot stim because it gives the woman more control over the angle (and the speed) of penetration. I like it when we put pillows behind his back, so I can lean into him more and really make his penis curve into me.
- This is not to say that “in the majority” means “good” or “the only way to be normal.”
- Nagoski, Come As You Are (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 8.
- Quote from this New York Times article.
- Noted American evolutionary biologist and Harvard professor—but one whose reputation is less one-dimensional than those credentials may lead you to believe.
- Come As You Are, 277. This seems like a huge overstatement. What if there are women out there who do very much want to orgasm during PIV? Maybe they actually like the feeling of vaginal orgasms, not just that the patriarchy told them to feel that way?
- Come As You Are, 277–278.
- Emily Nagoski makes the very valid point that saying women’s orgasms are evolutionarily unimportant doesn’t mean that they’re unimportant to women themselves. As she says, “Only some kind of woman-hating asshat would think that just because it doesn’t help make babies, women’s orgasm isn’t important.” I agree here—of course women aren’t just baby-making machines, nor are they any more or less worthy as human beings because of their choice to have or not have children. Still, I think she holds to a very reductionistic view of the evidence. Clearly, as we’ll see next, opinion is divided on why women (and even men) come.
- It definitely stands up to Occam’s razor, which is not always a guarantee of the truth of a position, of course.
- Quote from Australian researcher Helen O’Connell, in a BBC News piece here. O’Connell’s 2005 study, based on MRI imaging, indicates that the clit is composed of underlying erectile tissue that connects to the vagina and urethra.
- Science of Orgasm, 230, citing Alzate and Londono (1984).
- Science of Orgasm, 231–232.
- Science of Orgasm, 13, emphasis added.
- Science of Orgasm, 13.
- Though I’m not sure that anyone’s frontal wall is a “rightie” or a “leftie” like some people report their clits are.
- It seems that the same advice holds true for prostate orgasms, which are often elusive, and almost always time-consuming.