The Economist has a poll »« Are some of you haunting the Blaze polls?

Clitoral kludges

My favorite argument against Intelligent Design is the fact that the clitoris is located nowhere near the cervix — for women, reproduction and recreation are fairly effectively uncoupled. But that doesn’t stop some people from imagining the existence of a vaginal source of sexual pleasure, the G-spot. I don’t believe it exists; I do believe that individuals can be sexually stimulated by contact in all kinds of places, from vagina to toes to neck to belly-button, that it varies from person to person, and that you don’t need to find an excuse in sloppy anatomy to justify what makes you feel good.

But I also think it’s an interesting example of chance and contingency in evolution. It would optimize the likelihood of reproduction if women could only find sexual gratification by stimulation deep in the vaginal canal — they’d be more likely to encourage sexual penetration. But the homologous tissue to the penis in women is the clitoris, which is in a fine position for creative external stimulation, but less than optimal for stimulation during intercourse. It’s location is clearly the result not of selection for the function of encouraging female orgasm during reproduction, but as a byproduct of selection for males’ interest in penetration during sex (females have sensitive clitorises because males have sensitive penises), which does enhance reproduction.

So it’s a good article highlighting a weird masculine desire for the vaginal orgasm, but it also illustrates that a fortuitous feature of female anatomy isn’t there for baby-making: it’s there for fun. O happy kludge, I’m so glad you’re there.

Comments

  1. Brownian says

    Jeez, it’s almost like all that bit about genitalia designed for the express purpose of making little warriors for Christ is comepletely made up by people who’ve been name-dropping the same book (well, we know they haven’t been reading it, given how little of it they know) for nearly two millennia, rather than learning anything about themselves and the world they live in.

  2. Brother Ogvorbis: Advanced Accolyte of Tpyos says

    reproduction and recreation are fairly effectively uncoupled.

    See? That’s the problem. To a True Christian(TM), sex is not supposed to be fun. Fun is all the other stuff gods invented: guns, SUVs, water skiing, bass boats, four-wheelers, y’know, real godsly recreation.

    rather than learning anything about themselves and the world they live in.

    But every time they do actually learn something about the real world, it makes the bible just that much harder to believe. And ya gotta believe!

  3. says

    And I guess proximity of the vagina to the anus is designed for, you know, God’s desire for diseases like bladder infections, and as exemplified by his modification of P. falciparum to keep malaria among us.

    Can’t ever win, because God’s ways are mysterious and stupid.

    Glen Davidson

  4. hayg says

    I’ve always thought it was a good idea for the clitoris to be separate from the vagina. Having given birth to three children myself, I was AWFULLY glad that my clitoris wasn’t inside my vagina during the birthing process.

    Birth is a very violent and brutal process (from the vagina’s prospective)! If the clitoris was inside the vagina, it could easily be damaged.

    Women with damaged clitorises would enjoy sex less, and might have less sex because of it. Sex might even be downright painful because the vagina is less lubricated.

    I donno, just a thought. I think I’ll keep my “inconveniently” located clitoris where it is, thank you very much!

  5. wytchy says

    Thanks SallyStrange, that’s precisely what I was going to share.

    I’m tired the obsession over the existence of a “g-spot.” Just let us orgasm in peace, why doncha?!

  6. mnb0 says

    My favorite is the larynx nerve, which goes from the larynx via the aorta to the brain. OK, man is sinful, but what have giraffe’s done to deserve a nerve of 15 m?

  7. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Clitoral stimulation through penetration is accomplished by drawing the labia along the clitoris when the labia are moved around through the forces of penetration.

    I’m not a medical doctor, nor am I a biologist, so I won’t try to argue histology, but I certainly can attest that there’s some kind of difference going on in how pleasure is perceived when contact is made with a certain area of the roof of the vagina vs. other parts of the vagina.

    I also know that those differences are experienced idiosyncratically just as sexual pleasure generally is experienced idiosyncratically. Nonetheless, there’s a pretty dramatic pattern there among the women I know. If we call that location that experiences touch differently and exists in many female bodied persons a “g spot” I don’t see how it matters much, any more than the differential experience of striking one’s elbow on something should mean that no one should use the term “funny bone”.

    So I’ll continue to say the g spot exists and my sex life will continue to make use of a guiding principle that directs some level of exploration to the vaginal roof even if -under the influence of other guidance, say my partner’s stated desires, and the accumulation of experience- in a given partnership I eventually come not to focus any attention there.

  8. rapiddominance says

    Perhaps Richard Dawkins would agree to have the ‘clitoral debate’ with William Laine Craig?

    I’m not an atheist, myself, so I think that one of you should ask him.

  9. says

    I’ve got to say, I really hate all of the G-spot stuff- that is, the kind of stuff that tries to PROVE that women have one. I love the article linked, specifically for this quote right here:
    “The legend* of the anatomical g-spot makes women feel like losers rather than conaisseurs if they don’t like a certain kind of sex.”

    This. So much. I’ve never gotten much out of anything that wasn’t clitoris-related (and for that matter, never out of anything that didn’t involve something vibrating at a high speed) and the expectation that orgasms should be something EASILY accomplished without even needing the clit… ugh. No.

    The expectation that women HAVE to orgasm through plain old penetrative sex just gets so tiring. It doesn’t encourage people to actually try things that work (I’m pretty sure the g-spot search is just so some guys don’t ever have to worry about the clit; those wimmins can just orgasm vaginally, amirite?) , it encourages women to either feel inadequate or just plain fake vaginal orgasm because it’s ‘expected.’

    Either we need to educate people on the fact that no, a good deal of women can’t orgasm through regular penetrative sex (or, sadly, at all unless you bring out the heavy machinery) and simultaneously get rid of the notion that women HAVE to orgasm to be enjoying themselves, or, I dunno… take all the money being spent on wild g-spot chases and spend it on research towards figuring out how to actually help women sexually, and actually provide solutions for women who can’t orgasm in ‘normal’ sex.

  10. crissakentavr says

    From my observations, arguing against vaginal orgasm is like swimming upstream. I’m not sure why you’d want to do that.

    The existence of dildos and other sex toys – most sales designed to stimulate internally – would seem to indicate that it’s not just men convincing women it’s popular.

  11. Amphiox says

    Birth is a very violent and brutal process (from the vagina’s prospective)! If the clitoris was inside the vagina, it could easily be damaged.

    True, but it would be even better design to have the infant delivered out of a different opening, preferably one that opens out of the abdomen, rather than the restricted pelvis. Then you’re free to put the clitoris inside the vagina, with happy times for all.

  12. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Grimalkin –

    Thanks for reminding me of this critique. I’ve heard it before, but obviously I have yet to take it to heart. I think the g spot means something different in queer women’s community (or at least the subset in which I exist) than it seems to do in straight women’s community. I need to remember that.

  13. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    against vaginal orgasm is like swimming upstream

    I see what you did there…

  14. says

    crissakentavr- You’re assuming too much from the sales of sex toys.

    First off, nobody is saying that women can’t orgasm from penetration. We’re saying that such a thing isn’t ubiquitous.

    As far as toy sales go, just because toys are sold for vaginal penetration doesn’t mean that ALL of the women using them are able to get off on just the penetration alone. Yes, some are, but there are still many who need additional clitoral stimulation, and some who can only get off using clitoral stimulation and just like penetration even if it doesn’t cause orgasm for them.

    And then of course, there are indeed women who buy g-spot toys because they’ve been convinced it’s popular (and that the g-spot real) and think that the special toys are what they need.

  15. says

    Read both this and the linked article. Weird. No one that I know that knows anything about G-spots thinks that it is “designed” for penis-in-vagina orgasms, any more than orgasms from anal sex, clitoral stimulation, nipple sucking, or spanking are. The technique for seeing if g-spot stimulation works for you is to reach inside with a finger (or a vibrator that usually specifically designed for g-spot stimulation), curl your finger to reach the top wall, and use a “come here” finger motion. In other words, the g-spot is stimulated in a way that PENISES CAN’T DO.

    Regardless if g-spots actually exist, anyone making the argument that the g-spot is suppose to be stimulated by PIV sex simply doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.

  16. says

    I’m tired the obsession over the existence of a “g-spot.” Just let us orgasm in peace, why doncha?!

    Can’t be having with that.
    There must be a way to make sure the dudes don’t have to worry about doing anything that might not relate directly to their penis, like stimulating a clit.

    The existence of dildos and other sex toys – most sales designed to stimulate internally – would seem to indicate that it’s not just men convincing women it’s popular.

    Well, it’s not like internal stimulation isn’t pleasurable and not as easily obtained with a finger as clitoral stimulation.
    I also see an awefull amount of stuff designed to stimulate both at the same time.
    Ahh, if men were designed like that, I’d call that intelligent.

  17. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Far as I’m concerned, if a woman says she got a g-spot, she does. If she says she doesn’t, then she doesn’t.

  18. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Regardless if g-spots actually exist, anyone making the argument that the g-spot is suppose to be stimulated by PIV sex simply doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.

    It’s meant to be stimulated by a prehensile penis. Duh.

  19. lighthousecreeper says

    Admittedly the possibility of a religious/chauvinistic agenda to the g-spot “myth” had never occurred to me. It still conveniently designates to me an area to which, in very unscientific studies under carefully-controlled conditions (candlelight and soft music for some, restraints and Rammstein for others) 4 out of 9 women have been found to respond strongly to manual stimulation.

    As PZ says, “it varies from person to person, and you don’t need to find an excuse in sloppy anatomy to justify what makes you feel good,” or to have fun trying.

  20. says

    If it weren’t way TMI, I (or any guy) could tell you about a whole bunch of places that can trigger a strong response in us. And they’d be different for different people. The problem with the whole g-spot myth isn’t that no one responds to stimulation in that one area; it’s the idea that a particular pattern of stimulation ought to be appropriate to everyone.

  21. says

    and some who can only get off using clitoral stimulation and just like penetration even if it doesn’t cause orgasm for them.

    Actually, I find the whole “orgasm debate” to be kind of a red hering.
    Nothing against orgasms, love to have them, often.
    But to have an orgasm I don’t need to have sex with another person. 5 min with myself will suffice.
    And then there’s a ton of highly pleasurable things I can do with my partner of which most don’t result in an orgasm for either him or me.
    Just focusing on the orgasm means to eclipse the total rest of the time as kind of “not really sex/ not really important” and that’s bullshit.

  22. Mr. Mattir, MRA Chick says

    I get horribly depressed when I realize that people are still worrying about that pesky clitoris and whether there are vaginal orgasms or not. All this ever did for me was make me anxious about whether I was having the right kind of pleasure, which combined with all sorts of societal norm enforcement to make sex into a performance that I tried to have fun doing, rather than something that I did for fun alone.

    Fortunately the amount of TMI (or, to put it differently, extraordinarily frank discussion) on Pharyngula over the past 3 years has gone a long way towards correcting that.

  23. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @ PZ, #22 –

    Yeah, I get that. I was reminded earlier. Queer women’s space is kind of a different world. I really don’t have any data or evidence on what makes sex in my circle different, but a combination of attraction to critical thinking skills combined with women having sex with women means that it is quite obvious to us that different women respond differently.

    My post was responding to something that is simply seen really differently by straight folk and queer women, and I blundered forward with my queer perceptions. Although it hasn’t mattered in my personal life (except, as mentioned, a guide to things with which one might experiment), I know a queer woman who was told by gynecologists that a g spot doesn’t exist when she was asking the doc not to stimulate the g spot (because the doc was asking her to be more still). I know other women who have made other complaints that their personal experience was dismissed.

    It’s a long habit of men to dismiss women’s experience, telling women instead what they “really” felt/feel, perceive/d, etc. Since none of my friends has the experience (at least not in a way that they spend talking about as important) of having their partners insist that they orgasm in a certain way or from a certain amount of contact, I just went to a different place with it.

    But I don’t disagree with you at all that for those women who do experience the “myth” that they should like something or should orgasm from something should be at least as pissed off.

  24. says

    I can assure you (and so can MANY women) that the G-spot is for real. Not all women are equally responsive to G-spot stimulation but the ones that are DEFINITELY reach deep orgasms through G-spot stimulation alone.

  25. says

    For me, the clitoris is reliable and consistent as a source of pleasure – whereas penetration is more fickle and variable – though it has the potential, when the chips are up, to produce sensations a bit more, uhm, earth-shattering than only stimulating our little friend on the outside. I can’t say exactly why this is – though I’d be happy to volunteer for any empirical research – in the name of science.

  26. stevesommers says

    Re: G-spot

    This might be TMI, but when I use a finger in my wife’s vagina pointing toward the “g-spot area” I feel a different texture in the vaginal wall and when I press there and move my finger back and forth she reports very pleasurable sensations. Where ever my finger lands and I don’t feel that different texture, she doesn’t report the same sensation.

    Also, there are so many example of unintelligent design in nature, it’s hard for me to think of a favorite one. Individually they do serious damage to any idea of an intelligent designer, collectively they are devastating.

  27. geraldsquelart says

    “It’s location” -> “Its location”.

    Ahhh, feeling much better now.

  28. lighthousecreeper says

    As not at all a biologist, my uncertainty is about what it means to say whether or not something is anatomically “real”. The name ‘g-spot’ implies to me a locality analogous perhaps to the inside of the elbow, which is configured somehow to be more ticklish than a spot ten centimetres further up on the bicep–though for less ticklish people, being touched there might just feel weird.

    If we dismiss those who cite the g-spot as an organ which necessarily yields an orgasmic response, the problem is solved, right?

  29. Bjarni says

    Well thanks Crip Dyke, now I can feel even more inadequate since mine isn’t prehensile :(

  30. wytchy says

    “It’s meant to be stimulated by a prehensile penis. Duh.”

    I’ve seen enough hentai to know where this is going. Also, queue bad octopus porn from PZ’s email.

  31. stevenkukula says

    Although the G-spot may be elusive, there is also the X-spot, which is a lot more fun. It doesn’t work with all women, but when it does it’s fantastic. Since the X-spot is actually the cervix, they need to have one. It is stimulated by an up-and-down movement rather than an in-and-out movement.

    I discovered it by accident with one lover, then found a book, then was able to reproduce it with other women. We’re talking hour-long orgasms here.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-X-Spot-Orgasm-Debbie-Tideman/dp/096429690X

    The book seems to describe slightly different methods than the simple up-and-down male hip movement, which levers the penis against the cervix, assuming it’s long enough, and although the woman may feel nothing at first, a few minutes later it’s amazing fun time.

  32. says

    “By imaging the [pelves] of healthy humans – rather than dissecting dead ones – [Australian urologist, Dr Helen O'Connell,] has found that the live clitoris is even larger than she first thought…. “The vaginal wall is, in fact, the clitoris,” said Dr O’Connell, who is based in Melbourne.

    “There’s nothing quite like the shape of a clitoris,” she said. “The glans [is]* dense with nerve endings and receptors – all the vibration and sensation is there.” The bulk of it is shaped like a pyramid, she said. Its base forms the external genitalia or vulva; its triangular “walls” are wrapped around the urine-carrying tube known as the urethra and the vagina.

    For more including diagrams, see “Until 2009, the clitoris was an absolute mystery.”

    *I have a feeling that some junior reporter thought that “glans” is plural.

  33. jamesevans says

    @stevesommers

    Yeah, same experience here with some girlfriends. There’s an almost gravelly, rigid texture there, and a positive/pleasurable response. Other girlfriends, not so much. Although, I must say I’ve never noticed an orgasm occur from stimulating that area in either case.

    I’ve also heard that, for men, if they lose their penises (you know, in the war, or something), there’s always the prostate orgasm.

    Guys, you can either research the authenticity/details of that, or, instead, go curl up in the corner and tremble until the horror passes.

  34. says

    Okay, this might be considered ‘off topic’, but MY favorite argument against intelligent design is TEETH.

    Why are there two sets of teeth in humans (and some other species, including cats)? Why aren’t we born with one set that erupts and then grows along with us, as our bones do?

    We don’t lose our femurs, which are then replaced with an adult sized femur, which makes our child bodies look grotesque, right?

    So, why do we lose our ‘baby’ teeth, which are then replaced with full sized adult teeth, which make us look hideous in elementary school photographs, as well as causing problems such as ‘crowded mouth’, which means we must have our ‘adult’ teeth pulled in order that there be enough space in our adult mouths for all of our teeth?

    I have pondered this question my whole life, even when I did believe in ‘intelligent design’. This never seemed so smart to me, especially since I have a small mouth and had to have 8 adult teeth pulled, as well as orthodontic braces, just to have a ‘normal’ bite.

  35. says

    I’ve been told that whether a woman finds P-in-V sex stimulating depends a lot on her personal configuration, e.g. how close the tip of the clitoris is to the vaginal opening. So there’s a reason your mileage may vary!

    One good thing about pregnancy is that a woman develops more blood vessels around the uterus, vagina, and perineum and she may find generalized stimulation more, er, stimulating after childbirth. Or so I’ve read.

  36. says

    Teeth are too hard to be dissolved and regrown, probably. They are the hardest parts of the body. So the baby gets small teeth and the growing child gets bigger teeth. Even little snakes get an extra “milk tooth” on their snout for cutting open their leathery egg.

    Do snakes lose their baby teeth?

  37. jfderry says

    @pzmyers I agree with you on most things, but the clitoris is misunderstood. We (I use “we” to avoid confusion between us and US) men are famous for it! The best study shows the organ is extensive and may indeed be stimulated vaginally. Who knew! :))

    ANATOMY OF THE CLITORIS [PDF]
    HELEN E. O’CONNELL, KALAVAMPARA V. SANJEEVAN AND JOHN M. HUTSON
    THE JOURNAL OF UROLOGY
    Vol. 174, 1189 –1195, October 2005
    DOI: 10.1097/01.ju.0000173639.38898.cd

    ABSTRACT
    Purpose: We present a comprehensive account of clitoral anatomy, including its component structures, neurovascular supply, relationship to adjacent structures (the urethra, vagina and vestibular glands, and connective tissue supports), histology and immunohistochemistry. We related recent anatomical findings to the historical literature to determine when data on accurate anatomy became available.
    […]
    Conclusions: Typical textbook descriptions of the clitoris lack detail and include inaccuracies. It is impossible to convey clitoral anatomy in a single diagram showing only 1 plane, as is typically provided in textbooks, which reveal it as a flat structure. MRI provides a multiplanar representation of clitoral anatomy in the live state, which is a major advantage, and complements dissection materials. The work of Kobelt in the early 19th century provides a most comprehensive and accurate description of clitoral anatomy, and modern study provides objective images and few novel findings. The bulbs appear to be part of the clitoris. They are spongy in character and in continuity with the other parts of the clitoris. The distal urethra and vagina are intimately related structures, although they are not erectile in character. They form a tissue cluster with the clitoris. This cluster appears to be the locus of female sexual function and orgasm.

  38. Random Mutant says

    @edwinancarana #17

    In other words, the g-spot is stimulated in a way that PENISES CAN’T DO.

    Remember that most primate coitus is performed doggy-style. Penises probably have a better chance at hitting the spot than you may imagine…

  39. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    But that doesn’t stop some people from imagining the existence of a vaginal source of sexual pleasure, the G-spot. I don’t believe it exists; I do believe that individuals can be sexually stimulated by contact in all kinds of places, from vagina to toes to neck to belly-button, that it varies from person to person, and that you don’t need to find an excuse in sloppy anatomy to justify what makes you feel good.

    How are we defining “g-spot?” Because I’ve certainly located and fondled the “raised/firmer patch the size of a coin on the front wall about halfway in” anatomical structure described in several different sexual partners, but while the results have generally been positive they’ve never been “instantaneous, massively superlative orgasm.”

  40. Ichthyic says

    In other words, the g-spot is stimulated in a way that PENISES CAN’T DO.

    speak for yourself!

    :)

    both anatomy (obviously dependent) and technique (anyone can learn) can be used in getting a penis to stimulate the roof of the vagina in various locations and pressures.

    Perhaps this thread should rather have been about sexual technique rather than the evolution of pleasure nerves in human anatomy?

    meh, I guess that really wouldn’t much fit the theme of pharyngula…

    Off to TeT! I’ve got a meeting to get to, but if there really is interest, I see no reason not to discuss this topic there, and will happily jump in when I get back in a few hours.

    I’m positive that there are a lot of us with experiences to share that would be of use to people thinking about these… issues.

    Don’t be telling me it’s “taboo”.

  41. otrame says

    I’ve been told that whether a woman finds P-in-V sex stimulating depends a lot on her personal configuration, e.g. how close the tip of the clitoris is to the vaginal opening. So there’s a reason your mileage may vary!

    Yep. As I understand it, if the clitoris is more than an inch from the opening of the vagina, then organisms from vaginal penetration alone are much less likely.

    But that paper about the anatomy of the clitoris is very interesting. It sounds as if there is quite a lot of variation in female anatomy. I am so surprised.

  42. interrobang says

    I basically agree with Crip Dyke, as pretty much everything she mentions I’ve experienced, although I was having sex with men at the time.

    That said, I’m all about the orgasms. Given how much pain I’m in all the time and the way I have to contort myself to have any sort of partnered sex (leading to more pain), damn if I don’t get a tad cranky if I don’t have one.

    Partners of mine who insist that things be drawn out for vast lengths of time also annoy me for that reason. Ain’t able-bodied, can’t manage those kinds of positions for 30 minutes, sorry…

  43. wbenson says

    Crazy Jane talks with the bishop [part]
    William Butler Yeates (1932)

    ‘Fair and foul are near of kin,
    And fair needs foul,” I cried.
    ‘My friends are gone, but that’s the truth
    Nor grave nor bed denied,
    Learned in bodily lowliness
    And in the heart’s pride.

    ‘A woman can be proud and stiff
    When on love intent;
    But Love has pitched his mansion in
    the place of excrement;
    For nothing can be sole or whole
    That has not been rent.”

    It seems relevant,

  44. umkomasia says

    I was thinking of reforming my old band, but needed a new name and was coming up dry. The Clitoral Kludges it is. Thanks PZ!

  45. Akira MacKenzie says

    Maybe we can redeem the g-spot by invoking the Platonic “Noble Lie” if it gets men to stop for a while and thoroughly explore their female partner’s genitals rather than rushing to the main event?

    I certainly enjoyed playing with my girlfriend’s luscious lady-parts (when I had a girlfriend, that is) while searching for that elusive internal pleasure fount. ;)

  46. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Is it really redeemable if we’re resorting to Plato-style “noble lies?”

  47. says

    I’m wondering if the g-spot is simple an area of concentrated internal clitoral tissue. I’ve certainly noticed something corresponding to how it’s described, an area of spongy, excitable tissue on the front wall of my vagina, and, glancing at the diagrams of the internal structure of the clitoris, it could correspond to the area of internal clitoral tissue that lies just below the glans.

    Seriously, if you haven’t clicked the link I provided in my first post, and you’re not familiar with the studies, do it RIGHT AWAY. It will blow your mind.

  48. carlie says

    It’s meant to be stimulated by a prehensile penis. Duh.

    And hence was tentacle porn invented.

  49. Akira MacKenzie says

    @Azkyroth:

    No, I guess not.

    I do love the pussy, though. It’s such a beautiful set of organs. I could spend hours sliding a well-lubed finger among its many features while watching the owner’s various reactions.

    Pardon me, I’ll be in my bunk.

  50. grumpy1942 says

    I’ve only read down to comment #17 as yet, so this might be redundant.

    During my sexually active years, (I’m 70 now, weigh 350 pounds and have advanced emphysema)I never wanted to perform penetrative sex. The highest activity one can engage in is to lave one’s countenance in the Chalice of Love. A noble occupation, providing enormous benefits to both parties. The clitoris is in EXACTLY the right place.

    Secondly, I believe there is a clitoris in each of my ears. A Q-tip gently pushed into the ear and vigorously wiggled about is the most awesomely, teeth-grindingly, toe-curlingly sensation there is.

  51. jfderry says

    Frustratingly this is clearly not the place to hold a scientific debate. I’m posting this moan so that I can deselect the emailing option for replies to this post. They are not leading anywhere. The tragedy is that this post is fatuous. There is far better informed anatomical literature that has investigated the clitoral body and discovered it’s origins run far deeper than previously known. This contradicts the basis of Myers’ premise here. This is offered purely in pursuit of fact, not to make any point about design or otherwise. My own writings stand testament to that. If you are interested in the decisive paper, then it is here once more,

    ANATOMY OF THE CLITORIS [PDF]
    HELEN E. O’CONNELL, KALAVAMPARA V. SANJEEVAN AND JOHN M. HUTSON
    THE JOURNAL OF UROLOGY
    Vol. 174, 1189 –1195, October 2005
    DOI: 10.1097/01.ju.0000173639.38898.cd

  52. says

    It’s my understanding that it’s less of a question of whether there is a G-spot as whether all women react to stimulating it the same way. It might be one of those things like being able to roll your tongue or do a Vulcan salute — some can, some can’t.

  53. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Haven’t read the rest of the thread, but:

    1. Jesus Fucking Christ. Why does anyone think the existence of women’s orgasms is some goddamned mystery in need of explanation?

    2. Why is the default assumption, “Women Orgasm: Insane Hallucination or Rationally Explainable Thing?”

    3. “How is female orgasm formed? How clit get horny?”

    Look. I have a penis. It’s a fairly uncomplicated and straight-forward thing to stimulate it. Jerking off doesn’t require an advanced degree.

    BUT—I can get really, super horny on one night and totally limp and uninterested on another. All depending on my partner, my frame of mind, and what I’m in the mood for. One reach-around results in a happy ending while another fizzles.

    Sorry for TMI, but for fuck’s sake, why does anyone think this is something in desperate need of explanation when it comes to women, but it’s totally taken for granted when we talk about the peen?

  54. Ichthyic says

    Frustratingly this is clearly not the place to hold a scientific debate.

    in the end, public blogs rarely are.

    I hope that you’re not just becoming aware of this?

  55. Ichthyic says

    The pig’s clitoris is actually inside the vagina.

    but the pig penis is corkscrew shaped…

    coincidence?

  56. Mr. Mattir, MRA Chick says

    Josh, I love you, but really, don’t you know that what needs discussing is how women’s orgasms must be related to the peen. I remember being taught that John Paul II believed that not only should women only have them whilst the peen was in the vag, but that the most theologically complete orgasm, the one most pleasing to the Baby Jesus, should be simultaneous with the man’s.

    Seriously, it’s a whole lotta work. Also very very complicated, given the prohibitions on naughty thoughts, the need to make sure that all the plumbing is hooked up properly, and the difficulty if remaining aroused while knowing that JPII had ideas about how you were supposed to be doing it.

  57. Ichthyic says

    knowing that JPII had ideas about how you were supposed to be doing it.

    and what would he know about it, given he probably only experience with young boys?

  58. says

    Frustratingly this is clearly not the place to hold a scientific debate.

    What’s to debate?

    Myers may or may not be correct about the g-spot. I think he is correct, though not for the same reasons he thinks he’s correct.

    In either case, I and others have mentioned the self-same research to which you are referring. It is uncontroversial to me, and, I daresay, the majority of people posting here. Though I do sincerely appreciate having the actual PDF dropped into my lap. Do you think that the internal clitoral structures are probably what people are mistakenly calling the g-spot? Or do you have another idea? Feel free to share it. But I wouldn’t expect a barrage of PDFs in return, if that’s what you’re looking for. Too much work, we’re here relaxing, amusing ourselves and each other.

  59. says

    WRT prehensile peens…

    I once gave a hand job to a guy with a penis that crooked just like one’s fingers are supposed to when stimulating the mythic g-spot.

    Sadly, I never got to do the deed with him. All the lovers I’ve had since then have had more or less straight peens. Oh well. Jean-Francois, if you’re reading this, drop me a line!

  60. Akira MacKenzie says

    Jerking off doesn’t require an advanced degree.

    No, but the basics can get boring awfully fast. That’s why after being hopelessly single for 15 years (sigh), I’ve become somewhat of a self-taught phallic virtuoso.

  61. Rieux says

    PZ:

    [Y]ou don’t need to find an excuse in sloppy anatomy to justify what makes you feel good.

    Is it just me, or does the phrase “sloppy anatomy” function as a dirty double entendre in that clause?

  62. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    Secondly, I believe there is a clitoris in each of my ears. A Q-tip gently pushed into the ear and vigorously wiggled about is the most awesomely, teeth-grindingly, toe-curlingly sensation there is.

    Well I think that might be going bit over the top but it certainly does feel good. Careful nibbling in that general area is my Nuclear Button. Quite what neural connections might cause that is a mystery to me.

    When the Lady Haderach saw the article pointed out by SallyStrange she just looked at me and said “they could have just asked me”. I think that was a polite form of “well, duh”.

  63. madtom1999 says

    From personal experience the cervix does appear to have some function in orgasm in some women.
    I have seen an in-vagina video of a cervix in orgasm which appears to be dipping into the area where sperm is most likely to be deposited in missionary sex – I guess I’ve not had the situation to explore more fully.

    This does beg a question. Since in female orgasm the cervix proactively seeks out sperm then the female orgasm is an aid to fertility so surely FGM is a form of contraception and in against the teachings of Mo’?

  64. Deuteronomy says

    Newbe as I am : http://www.gp.se/nyheter/sverige/1.925380-antligen-hittad-g-punkten

    Seems that scientists have located the illusive magnificant button :)

    Cut and paste…

    Introduction.  The anatomic existence of the G-spot has not been documented yet.

    Aim.  To identify the anatomic structure of the G-spot.

    Methods.  A stratum-by-stratum vaginal wall dissection on a fresh cadaver.

    Main Outcome Measures.  Primary outcome is the identification of the G-spot and the secondary outcome is its measurements and anatomic description of the G-spot.

    Results.  The G-spot has a distinguishable anatomic structure that is located on the dorsal perineal membrane, 16.5 mm from the upper part of the urethral meatus, and creates a 35° angle with the lateral border of the urethra. The lower pole (tail) and the upper pole (head) were located 3 and 15 mm next to the lateral border of the urethra, respectively. Grossly, the G-spot appeared as a well-delineated sac with walls that resembled fibroconnective tissues and resembled erectile tissues. The superior surface of the sac had bluish irregularities visible through the coat. Upon opening the sac’s upper coat, blue grape-like anatomic compositions of the G-spot emerged with dimensions of length (L) of 8.1 mm × width (W) of 3.6–1.5 mm × height (H) of 0.4 mm. The G-spot structure had three distinct areas: the proximal part (the head) L 3.4 mm × W 3.6 mm, the middle part L 3.1 mm × W 3.3 mm, and the distal part (tail) L 3.3 mm × W 3.0 mm. From the distal tail, a rope-like structure emerged, which was seen for approximately 1.6 mm and then disappeared into the surrounding tissue.

    Conclusion.  The anatomic existence of the G-spot was documented with potential impact on the practice and clinical research in the field of female sexual function.

    Evidence-Based Medicine.  Level II-3. Ostrzenski A. G-spot anatomy: A new discovery. J Sex Med 2012;9:1355–1359.

    Take that PZ :)

  65. Friendly says

    Sorry, Deuteronomy, but J Sex Med is known to be run by an anti-medical-establishment crank, so I’d take that article with a large grain (or maybe tablespoon) of salt.

  66. Deuteronomy says

    Always fun to keep it running.. My point was this: Big newspaper in Sweden runs with this.. Know now that I should be more specific with the :)…

  67. sundiver says

    This reminds me of both Niel Tyson’s and Cecil Adams’ ( of The Straight Dope fame )take on ID. To combine PZ, Adams and Tyson, ” Let me see if I got this straight, the waste disposal system runs through the recreational complex, the tear ducts in the eye drain into the nasal passages, the main center of sexual pleasure in females is unconnected with reproduction and stepping into bright daylight from a dark area can make one sneeze. Looks like the problem with shit built on the last day of the week goes back further than we thought.” I’ve recently taken to telling creationists that given all the weird things about human anatomy( and mammillian anatomy in general ) that evolution saves them from having to admit their “creator” was a rather incompetent engineer. The fundies never quite see things that way though.

  68. axentoke says

    Could the existence of a G-spot be explained by the principle that neurons that fire together, wire together?
    If the clitoris is stimulated at the same time as the front wall of the vagina, would (after a while) the stimulation of only the front vaginal wall thereafter result in the same pathway being activated as only the clitoris being stimulated? And for those who don’t report pleasure from a G-spot (whatever it might be), perhaps their brain maps have not been modified to generate the same response?
    I don’t know much about neuroplasticity, but I thought it might be worth a mention.

  69. madtom1999 says

    lochaber – upsuck may be crap but if you can find a better way of stopping people slashing womens bits let everyone know will you.

  70. rogerfirth says

    Just let us orgasm in peace, why doncha?!

    With three kids in the house, one of whom is a teenager right on the other side of a very thin wall, it’d be nice if my wife could orgasm in peace…

  71. says

    … a fortuitous feature of female anatomy isn’t there for baby-making: it’s there for fun. O happy kludge, I’m so glad you’re there.

    Apparently* when women used to work in sewing shops with treadle powered machines, many would regularly have orgasms every day. Work satisfaction I suppose you could call it.

    *Unfortunately I can’t remember the book so can’t provide any references.

  72. says

    The one time I tried riding a horse it felt profoundly uncomfortable to me. But I thought I could see why girls might be keen on it ;-)

  73. Catnip, Misogynist Troglodyte called Bruce says

    Regardless if g-spots actually exist, anyone making the argument that the g-spot is suppose to be stimulated by PIV sex simply doesn’t know what he or she is talking about.

    Unless you have top to tail with him behind her, and his feet behind her head, and her feet “in his face”. Needs a long enough penis, but is possible.

    And then there’s a ton of highly pleasurable things I can do with my partner of which most don’t result in an orgasm for either him or me.
    Just focusing on the orgasm means to eclipse the total rest of the time as kind of “not really sex/ not really important” and that’s bullshit.

    QFT!

    Ok TMI warning….

    Personally I prefer it when it’s purely clitoral. there’s so much fun to be had. ^_^

    Ain’t able-bodied, can’t manage those kinds of positions for 30 minutes, sorry…

    And for SO & me, less that 2 hours is a quickie! I love human diversity!

    All the lovers I’ve had since then have had more or less straight peens

    Didn’t know straight ones existed. Just shows my inexperience!

    @Sally, Thanks for the link. Really good reading!

  74. julietdefarge says

    As a sometime dance teacher, my argument against ID is the knee, with the lower back a close second. Obviously, structures that were once horizontal, converted to vertical, are going to have some problems.

    Also, I totally agree with Crip Dyke’s first statement about there being some kind of “spot” on the forward wall of the vagina. Call it what you will, you can stimulate it to orgasm.

  75. says

    Tch, there are parts of my body that make my spine tingle that aren’t even remotely close to my genitals. Searching for the G-Spot is a silly, lazy pursuit. Why yes, it would be awesome if we could discover a place that made every woman feel good just by plain ole PIV sex. What’s more awesome, what’s more intimate, is finding those places that she likes – those places that feel really awesome to her. Some of which she may not even know she had.

    (Back when I was dating my ex, he found one of those places when we were cuddling. I almost kneed him in the chin that’s how strong the effect was. I think I said something like “Holy hell I didn’t know that place felt THAT good.”)

  76. Catnip, Misogynist Troglodyte called Bruce says

    Toes…..

    Not mine

    But I’m fascinated how they can affect some people (their own)

  77. Timid Atheist says

    I get horribly depressed when I realize that people are still worrying about that pesky clitoris and whether there are vaginal orgasms or not. All this ever did for me was make me anxious about whether I was having the right kind of pleasure, which combined with all sorts of societal norm enforcement to make sex into a performance that I tried to have fun doing, rather than something that I did for fun alone.

    I just wanted to quote this because this is the reason I never had orgasms while married.

    Stop telling women they can and should have orgasms a certain way. Or from now on I’m going to start telling men they can have orgasms from prostate stimulation, so obviously they should, it’s preferable!

  78. David Marjanović says

    Well, it turns out that the clitoris consists of far more than the glans, which is the part that’s visible. When erect, the clitoral tissue actually extends through the labia and encompasses the vaginal opening. So, clitoral and vaginal orgasms? Probably one and the same thing.

    But… are clitorides sensitive all over? My penis, for what that’s worth, is sensitive only at its tip. Applying pressure to the root only helps when that indirectly pushes the tip against something.

    (Yes, this is a question from complete ignorance. I’m a 29-year-old virgin.)

    curl your finger to reach the top wall, and use a “come here” finger motion. In other words, the g-spot is stimulated in a way that PENISES CAN’T DO.

    Apart from doggie-style… penises can’t curl, but they can retract in a way that pulls them toward the man’s belly; can that work?

    I’ve also read recommendations to apply pressure to the woman’s underbelly from the outside while the penis is in.

    If it weren’t way TMI, I (or any guy) could tell you about a whole bunch of places that can trigger a strong response in us.

    Yeah, the brain ;-)

    was told by gynecologists that a g spot doesn’t exist when she was asking the doc not to stimulate the g spot (because the doc was asking her to be more still)

    ARGH!!!

    *I have a feeling that some junior reporter thought that “glans” is plural.

    See also lighthousecreeper believing that “biceps” is plural in comment 32.

    I’ve also heard that, for men, if they lose their penises (you know, in the war, or something), there’s always the prostate orgasm.

    And indeed, it has been suggested that the G spot is homologous to the prostate.

    Why are there two sets of teeth in humans (and some other species, including cats)? Why aren’t we born with one set that erupts and then grows along with us, as our bones do?

    Hard parts – teeth and bones – can only grow by having stuff added from the outside. That requires them to be surrounded by soft tissue on all sides. Erupted teeth aren’t surrounded by soft tissue on all sides.

    Do snakes lose their baby teeth?

    The normal condition for vertebrates is to shed teeth and grow new ones all the time, much like hair. That’s why shed teeth (without a root – the root is resorbed in the shedding!) are so common in the fossil record.

    Mammals – all mammals in the narrower senses of the word – have reduced this to once, or zero times for the molars; marsupials in particular only ever replace their “3rd” premolars.

    Why? Well, the first mammals were mouse-sized**; they didn’t live long enough to need multiple generations of teeth. Tooth replacement also makes it more difficult* to maintain precise occlusion, which is needed for any serious chewing as well as precise cutting actions.

    An awesome case are tuataras and agamas/chameleons. Their teeth are fused to the jawbone and can’t be replaced. So, as the jaw grows, new and bigger teeth are added to its rear end.

    * But not impossible. Ask the sauropod dinosaur Camarasaurus, for instance.
    ** This “size squeeze”, as it’s called, explains a whole lot of other shit. Like why the birds have managed to open the bony ring that is the pelvis, and we haven’t.

    It sounds as if there is quite a lot of variation in female anatomy. I am so surprised.

    You’re being sarcastic, right?

    Sorry for TMI, but for fuck’s sake, why does anyone think this is something in desperate need of explanation when it comes to women, but it’s totally taken for granted when we talk about the peen?

    As far as I can tell, some people – not present company – can’t grasp individual variation and get desperate about that, leading them to write lengthy screeches about how either every woman or none has a G spot that, furthermore, always, always triggers super-duper orgasms when stimulated.

    and what would he know about it, given he probably only experience with young boys?

    From what I’ve read, close confidants say 1) unlike his successor, JPII really was hetero, and 2) he really was a rather ignorant virgin.

    a penis that crooked just like one’s fingers are supposed to when stimulating the mythic g-spot

    Now that is individual variation. I thought that was limited to, like, elephants and whales.

    This does beg a question. Since in female orgasm the cervix proactively seeks out sperm then the female orgasm is an aid to fertility so surely FGM is a form of contraception and in against the teachings of Mo’?

    Iiiiiiinteresting.

    Evidence-Based Medicine.  Level II-3. Ostrzenski A. G-spot anatomy: A new discovery. J Sex Med 2012;9:1355–1359.

    Rumor has it that that’s not a G spot, it’s a hematoma…

    I’ve recently taken to telling creationists that given all the weird things about human anatomy( and mammillian anatomy in general ) that evolution saves them from having to admit their “creator” was a rather incompetent engineer.

    It’s by no means limited to mammals. My favorite example is the fact that DNA falls apart when stored in water. All living beings use a whole lot of energy to constantly repair it. PNA would be intelligent design.

  79. =8)-DX says

    Just to note, my girlfriend reports a G-Spot, inside and towards the front of the vaginal canal. I’d say it’s more like an extra-sensitive area: she orgasms much sooner and more explosively from stimulation there than anywhere else (including the clitoris).

  80. Forbidden Snowflake says

    Sally Strange:

    a penis that crooked just like one’s fingers are supposed to when stimulating the mythic g-spot

    Like chordee, as described in Octopod’s link @#66?

  81. Timid Atheist says

    #90

    But… are clitorides sensitive all over? My penis, for what that’s worth, is sensitive only at its tip. Applying pressure to the root only helps when that indirectly pushes the tip against something.

    (Yes, this is a question from complete ignorance. I’m a 29-year-old virgin.)

    Speaking from individual experience, it’s likely different for every clitoris owner, but there is only a very small part of the clitoris exposed, so saying it’s sensitive all over is a bit different when comparing it to a penis. Some clitorides are bigger or smaller, but there isn’t much to touch beyond the tip anyway.

    #90

    I’ve also read recommendations to apply pressure to the woman’s underbelly from the outside while the penis is in.

    I’d say this would apply on an individual basis. Considering the bladder is right there as well, pressing on the underbelly might have undesirable results.

  82. says

    Could people in favour of the existence of a G-stop please hold a small meeting and then come back with a solid working definition what the G-spot actually is?
    So far it looks like the bet is on “special area inside the vagina towards the roof”.
    And then find it.
    And please, if you can’t find something that is pretty similar in most women and has an actual structure or something like that, just stop.
    I very well believe all the women who say they have a spot there that’s highly sensitive. I very well believe all the men who say there’s some spot their female partners like to have stimulated.
    But I see neither need nor reason to postulate this as a special piece of anatomy. I’m not speaking of an S-spot in the buttocks because many people get off from spanking.
    Makes. No. Sense.

  83. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    SallyStrange-

    Duh? Okay, I’ll try not to feel insulted because my mind was a bit blown…

    Hey, no insult intended to you in any way shape form or hidden stimulation-spot. That was Duh as in “did it really take all that effort to work out something that should be obvious”. Not having the requisite body parts I can only report the comments and not judge their veracity, relevance or importance.

  84. Forbidden Snowflake says

    No, it crooked in the opposite direction. Like, if he was standing upright, it was J-shaped.

    Whoa. That is fascinating. Thanks for answering.

  85. says

    Grimalkin:

    I’ve never gotten much out of anything that wasn’t clitoris-related (and for that matter, never out of anything that didn’t involve something vibrating at a high speed) and the expectation that orgasms should be something EASILY accomplished without even needing the clit… ugh. No.

    I really hate the idea that we’re not supposed to use those vibrating devices, because then we’ll be less responsive to oral or fingers or whatever. Yeah, so? I can do without guys who have such fragile egos that accoutrements during sex threaten them.

    Crissakentavr, you do realize that phallic sex toys often sport clitoral attachments, right? And that not everybody who buys dildos or phallic vibes for their own use has a vagina?

  86. octopod says

    Cosmic Teapot @ 81, I’ve heard the same effect can result from certain sets of deep-abdominal-muscle workouts; the word is “coregasm”, if you want to risk googling it.

    penises can’t curl, but they can retract in a way that pulls them toward the man’s belly; can that work?

    Yes. Definitely, lol.

    Regarding sensitivity of parts other than the glans, I’d say it’s individually variable through the body of the organ. Possibly this IS related to neuronal plasticity — cool suggestion, that is quite plausible and should be investigated! Erectile tissue of the penis extends through the same parts, obvs (if not obvs, go read my link to Intersex Roadshow!) and seems also to have variable sensitivity; the part directly corresponding to the clitoral tissue just inside the vagina would be the spot behind the scrotum, and that is definitely responsive in some and not others.

    And indeed, it has been suggested that the G spot is homologous to the prostate

    The link I gave called it the “prostatic utricle”, iirc, which should mean its more homologous to whatever-the-hell erogenous tissue it is that’s in the cervix, surely?

  87. johnscanlon says

    Markita Lynda #41,

    snakes lose their baby teeth, and the next set, and the next, as long as they live. That’s what most vertebrates do; mammals are weird.

    But more on-topic, many snakes are also weird (and convergent with cats) for having tooth-like calcified spines on the… ouch.

  88. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Could people in favour of the existence of a G-stop please hold a small meeting and then come back with a solid working definition what the G-spot actually is?

    The obvious interpretation to me has always been “a raised/firmer/rougher patch of tissue, ~coin-sized (nickel to to quarter, in my experience), on the anterior wall of the vagina about halfway in. PS: often feels pleasurable when stimulated digitally.” I’ve yet to have a female sex partner who lacked the physical structure, while responses have varied a bit but generally been positive.

    People seem to be using a different definition, and it bugs me.

  89. Azuma Hazuki says

    People need to stop trying to fit their lovers in boxes, I think. Just as laws of nature are really just descriptions and not marching orders we give to reality, this sort of speculation is only so useful.

    Why not love your girlfriend/wife for the woman she is? Her vagina and clitoris (and don’t forget her labia, and her mons, and for that matter the entire rest of her body) are only part of what make her a whole person. Find out how her body works, take her cues verbal and otherwise, and just…flow with her. That’s how my ex and I treated one another (ah, bittersweet memories…).

    We’re all different. We all come (hah!) in different shapes and sizes. I tended to be very clitoral-focused, and my ex definitely had what people are referring to G and X spots. And all of this depends on and is predicated on two people wanting to take each other to heaven on lips and tongue and fingers.