Ashley Furin had a "very satisfying" sex life with her husband, she said. Then, seven years into their relationship, she had "an experience that rocked me to my core." They had found her G spot.
Before that night, said Furin, an office assistant from Lisbon Falls, Maine, she "thought the G spot was an absolute myth." Since then, she and her husband have practiced positions that trigger greatly enhanced pleasure.
In the 35 years since sexologists Beverly Whipple and John Perry coined the term "Grafenberg spot" ("G spot" for short) at a national meeting of sex scientists, thousands of women have written Whipple to thank her for validating their experiences. Ernst Grafenberg was a German gynecologist who wrote about this anatomical theory in 1950.
Whipple, a retired Rutgers University professor, co-wrote a 1982 book on the topic, "The G Spot and Other Recent Discoveries About Human Sexuality" (updated in 2005), plus hundreds of academic articles and six other books about it. Consumer media followed with stories about finding the spot.
Stop the presses, wrote Dr. Vincenzo Puppo, a gynecologist from Italy's University of Florence, in the Oct. 6 edition of the journal Clinical Anatomy. There is no such thing as the G spot, he declared in "Anatomy of sex: Revision of the new anatomical terms used for the clitoris and the female orgasm by sexologists."
It's a matter of terminology, Puppo wrote. "G-spots" and "vaginal orgasms" are fiction, he said, and most women do not achieve orgasm during intercourse. Using these terms, he said, "makes women worldwide feel inferior or abnormal."
Instead, Puppo prefers the term "female orgasm" to describe the fireworks that result from the stimulation of the collection of parts he calls the "female penis" (clitoris, vestibular bulbs, labia minora, etc.). The "internal clitoris" label used by some sex educators does not exist, Puppo wrote.
"Puppo's report is just one person's opinion," said Whipple, also past president of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. "It's based on outdated terminology, not research."
The clitoris is a wonderful thing, Whipple said, "but there's more to women's sexuality."
Part of the problem, Whipple said, is thinking of the G spot as a spot. "It's a sensitive area with a complex network of nerve endings," she said.
"It's elusive," Furin said. "The angle is one you wouldn't normally have during intercourse."
Meanwhile, scientists remind us that the body part that primarily controls orgasms is the brain. The proof: People who are paralyzed below the waist have orgasms. So do people who use brainpower only to imagine genital stimulation.
"So powerful is the brain that scans showed quite different reactions when women were asked to imagine being stimulated by a dildo or by a (doctor's) speculum," said Nan Wise, a West Orange, N.J., neuroscientist who studies brain-sex wiring at Rutgers University.
Junk the notion that you have a magical spot and "go spelunking," Madison, Wis., sex counselor Ellen Barnard tells women. "Even if your mother was part of the sexual revolution," she said, "this is not something she taught you."
Not everyone finds G spot stimulation pleasurable, Barnard warned. "Some say it's neutral; some hate it," she said.
"Just enjoy sex and forget about the 'shoulds,'" Wise advised.
Not all sex educators agree with Puppo's premise that "orgasms are possible in all women." His "female penis" term is downright sexist, they say. But both sides agree with this Puppo statement: "Women have the right to feel sexual pleasure."
©2014 Chicago Tribune
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com