G-Spot a myth?

g-spot

As discussed in class. From Salon:

The Truth About The “G-spot”: Why It’s Time To Put This Sex Myth To Bed
New research suggests that our ideas about orgasms are missing the mark
By Anna Pulley

Take a collective sigh of relief, humanity. If you’ve been one of the countless people searching in vain for the elusive Gräfenburg spot (aka the G-spot) or wondering why you aren’t gushing like Old Faithful each time someone makes a “come hither” motion in your vagina, then search and wonder no more. Once lauded as a “magic button” and the ultimate female pleasure enhancer, an Italian scientist’s recent report claims once and for all that the controversial G-spot is nothing but a myth (with a really good PR campaign). The study — published in the journal Nature Reviews Urology by Emmanuele Jannini, Professor of Endocrinology and Medical Sexology at Tor Vergata University of Rome, Italy — found that, essentially, the G-spot is just a sensitive area that’s part of the larger pleasure center that includes the vagina, clitoris, and urethra, or as the study sexily put it, the “clitourethrovaginal (CUV) complex.”

[…]

The “intimate area” that allows women to experience a heightened sexual pleasure includes the complete reproductive system, the study notes — including tissues, muscles, glands, and even the uterus. “Compared to the male erogenous zones, it is much more variable and complex, and also varies from woman to woman depending on the hormonal cycle,” Jannini told The Local, Italy’s English-written news site.

Jannini’s study is by no means the first to claim the G-spot’s pleasure capabilities have been overblown. In 2012, a study by urology resident Dr. Amichai Kilchevsky published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found no conclusive evidence of the G-spot’s existence. Kilchevsky looked at 96 published studies from the past 60 years, concluding that science couldn’t definitively find the G. “Without a doubt, a discrete anatomic entity called the G-spot does not exist,” Kilchevsky said. But he also notes that women who experience heightened pleasure around the G-spot area aren’t crazy or making it up. Indeed, biopsies of vaginal wall tissue have shown that in some women, there are more nerve endings in the purported G-spot than in surrounding areas, but even those studies are inconclusive. “What they’re likely experiencing is a continuation of the clitoris,” he said, adding that nerve endings alone do not an orgasm make (otherwise far more people would be studying the virtues of the perineum, aka the loner at your body’s prom).

Read the rest here.

The origins of labia insecurity.

In class, we didn’t spend much time discussing the root causes of labia insecurity. There have been several theories proposed, one being the effect of pornography. This theory is particularly pertinent in Australia, where censorship laws are such that softcore porn cannot display inner labia (which appears to be entirely arbitrary – since when are inner labia more explicit???). Here’s a brief clip describing the state of affairs (NSFW):

Merkins.

merkin moustache

Passed along by Susannah (thanks!).

From Wikipedia:

A merkin is a pubic wig. Merkins were originally worn by prostitutes after shaving their genitalia, and are now used as decorative items, erotic devices, or in films, by both men and women. The female version is usually made of fur, beaver pelts, linen or some soft version of cloth, while the male version is usually made of loops, chains or metal, much more closely related to the codpiece.

[…]

The Oxford Companion to the Body dates the origin of the pubic wig to the 1450s. According to the publication, women would shave their pubic hair for personal hygiene and to combat pubic lice. They would then don a merkin. Also, prostitutes would wear a merkin to cover up signs of disease, such as syphilis. It has also been suggested that when male actors played female parts onstage, they would cover their genitals with a merkin so they could pose as women in nude scenes.

Vulva/labia blogs.

As mentioned in class, genital shame is a growing problem. The data from the iClicker question about female students’ perceptions of their vulva reflected this (more than half the women in class reported some sort of dissatisfaction). This, in part, is due to the fact that most people don’t get the opportunity to see a wide variety of genitals, and therefore presume that there is one specific way in which they should look (i.e., symmetrical, tucked in labia minora, etc. – many have accused mainstream porn of creating this problem). Several user-content blogs have popped up, intended to showcase the massive diversity in appearance of the vulva. Presumably, the hope is that by publishing these sorts of images, that women who see them will feel less dissatisfaction/shame about their genitals. I posted one of these blogs previously: link (NSFW).

Naiomi from class a few terms ago passed along another (thanks!):

largelabia

Click here to go to the site (NSFW). And click here to learn about the blog’s owner.

The questions, comments and replies are all interesting to read, too.

Ethnocentrism and female circumcision (FGM).

As discussed in class this week, there are two main types of female circumcision: clitoridectomy and infibulation. Clitoridectomy is the removal of the clitoris, while infibulation is the removal of the entire vulva and the suturing of the vaginal opening. The procedures are predominant and culturally important in parts of Africa and the Middle East. Both are considered genital mutilation by the World Health Organization (WHO). More information from the WHO can be found here.

As Westerners, we are typically horrified by this tradition. The vulva, especially the clitoris, are considered essential anatomy for experiencing sexual pleasure. The procedures seem cruel and misogynistic, and it’s impossible for us to imagine how female circumcision could be a good thing, from any perspective.

But, is this a case of ethnocentrism, and should we mind our own business?

In these videos, women talk about the importance of female circumcision, as both a ritual and in terms of women’s worth as future brides.

*Disclaimer* I have no idea how accurate the translations are.

A group of Italian researchers who examined the effects of female circumcision on sexual functioning cautiously reported some surprisingly and remarkably positive results:

The group of 137 women, affected by different types of FGM/C, reported orgasm in almost 86%, always 69.23%; 58 mutilated young women reported orgasm in 91.43%, always 8.57%; after defibulation 14 out of 15 infibulated women reported orgasm; the group of 57 infibulated women investigated with the FSFI questionnaire showed significant differences between group of study and an equivalent group of control in desire, arousal, orgasm, and satisfaction with mean scores higher in the group of mutilated women. No significant differences were observed between the two groups in lubrication and pain.

The entire article can be downloaded here: Catania et al., 2007.

Their results are hard to believe, as the circumcised women reported better sexual functioning than what you’d find in a typical Western population.

The study has been criticized for several reasons, including: poor control group; measures normed for Western cultures; and bias associated with self-reports. However, similar findings have been reported before. In these cultures, it’s likely that female circumcision is a key part of women’s identities as sexual beings. And perhaps that strengthened identity is associated with better sexual functioning.

Some have suggested that a possible compromise might be genital nicking. Rather than removing the vulva, the vulva are nicked instead. A description and background can be found in this New York Times article.

The New York Times has reported extensively on female circumcision. All the articles can be found here.

EDIT: I’ve left the comments from last term for those of you who interested in reading them.

Straight men prefer some muff.

muff

From the Daily Mail Online:

When it comes to ‘ladyscaping’ the Brazilian and the Hollywood are old news as it is revealed that men prefer a more natural look

  • Just 12% admitted to liking the Hollywood where all hair is removed
  • Most popular was the ‘Bermuda triangle’ – a neat, trimmed style
  • Least liked was the ‘G Wax’ which leaves a small square of hair

For years women have been convinced that porn star style waxing and vajazzles are the quickest way to impress their other halves in bed, with nearly two thirds saying that their look down below is calculated to please their man.

But it appears that it’s time to wave goodbye to painful waxing for good, after a new survey found that men actually prefer a natural look.

According to the poll, which canvassed 1,000 men, the most popular look is is ‘trimmed and tidy’ – a far cry from the Hollywood, which involves having all hair removed.

Nearly half (43 per cent) of those who took part in the survey, which was commissioned by waxing brand, Nads, said they preferred their women to look as natural as possible but with a ‘Bermuda triangle’ – trimmed hair and waxed edges leaving no bikini hair overspill.

17 per cent plumped for the Brazilian, a landing strip of pubic hair, while 15 per cent liked the heart shaped ‘Heart Breaker’.

Just 12 per cent chose the full Hollywood, with most men saying they preferred their women to have some hair ‘down there’.

The style that men hated the most was the ‘G Wax’ – a closely trimmed small square of hair that most felt looked a bit silly and a bit of a turn off.

Among the men who took part in the poll was Sidcup father of two, Mark Tailworth, who said: ‘I’d hate my wife not to have some hair, I much prefer her to be well trimmed than sporting some ridiculous, unsexy design.’

Others, including 27-year-old Daniel Smith from Essex, said that they did enjoy seeing the odd Hollywood or vajazzle on their girlfriends.

‘I like it interesting – like unwrapping a present and finding a surprise,’ said Daniel. ‘I do prefer some hair so a design like the landing strip or heart shape is good for me and no surprise, vajazzling is popular in our town.’

Nads CEO Sue Ismiel said: ‘Pubic hair styles are fast becoming just as important as the hair on your head.

‘Popular designs for women and it seems men are the landing strip, heart shape and triangle patch indicating some hair is sexier to sport than “the all-off”. But make sure you know what you’re doing as once styling begins there is no turning back.’

Vajazzling.

A repost every term:

As mentioned in class, the interview that made it famous. Take it away Ms. Hewitt…

 

And a more recent clip from Conan, as a student in class mentioned last night:

 

Check the reply section for a student’s account of the vajazzling experience.