THE BLOG
11/21/2012 08:56 am ET Updated Jan 21, 2013

Oh Come All Ye Grateful

The G-Spot is a pernicious myth. The clitoris is a mini penis. Women don't care about orgasms, just having sex is enough -- and lots of cuddling. The vagina is insensitive. Women who don't experience vaginal orgasms are sexually deficient. Women who fake orgasms are rotten liars. Penetrative sex has nothing to do with female climax. Menopausal women don't want sex anymore. The title of this blog post is unforgivable.

Bet that last statement is the only one on which we have general consensus.

Why oh why is there still so much debate and misinformation out there?

Based on attentive reading as well as a few decades of grown-up experience, I believe that
a "vaginal only" orgasm is about as possible as a "scrotal only" orgasm. I mean, that part of the genitalia may come along for the ride when everything reaches high gear, but it's not driving the engine. The penis and the clitoris contain the concentration of nerve centers and erectile tissue. Period.

It is probable that women who reach orgasm from penetration only are those lucky few whose clitorises are unusually close to their vaginal openings. This is not news. Mary Roach's bestseller Bonk points to the story of Princess Marie Bonaparte whose commitment to sexual science not only led her to research this topic and conclude that there is a direct correlation, but motivated her to go so far as to have her clitoris surgically relocated -- twice!

As for recent so-called proof of the g-spot: A single dissection of the corpse of an elderly woman? This is considered a breakthrough? Consider the fact that this "study" was done by a doc who performs "vaginal rejuvenation" surgery and currently is peddling injections that supposedly enhance g-spot pleasure.

At least he is now pushing a procedure that is meant to increase female enjoyment. Guess it counts as good news in comparison with the disconcerting trend in labiaplasties. As in, we may or may not be reaching ultimate enjoyment or understanding of sex, but by all means, let's butcher our most tender area so that our vulvas look more like Porn Barbie. Inflate the lips on your face, reduce the ones elsewhere? Stop the insanity, please.

I've got a guaranteed method for vaginal rejuvenation. It involves a good man who loves you, and perhaps a glass or two of sauvignon blanc.

As for women who have been confused and frustrated, you have nothing to be ashamed of. Science and society on the other hand... Think about it: We know details about star systems billions of miles away, but not about the sex organs of billions of women right here, on this planet? What gives? More importantly, what gives us satisfaction?

One article that seemed to make sense alluded to the hypothesis that the clitoris is much bigger and internalized than we thought. Therefore, so-called g-spot stimulation may, in fact, simply be deeper clitoral stimulation. Isn't that a better answer to the mystery?

One unacceptable conclusion, even in articles that refute the latest claim of g-spot confirmation, is the "Oh it doesn't matter, as long as everyone is having fun" dismissal. Well, yes, it does matter. It is not okay that scientific understanding and facts about women's sexual functionality remain some sort of vague, debatable but ultimately deprioritized gray area. Because accepting that view of the topic creates stress, confusion and perceived "winners" and "losers."

So, let go of the idea of clitoral versus vaginal orgasm. There is no "versus." It is most probable that they are versions of the same thing, and there is no such person as a woman who can't have them! Start with the example of what I will call a "minor" orgasm, currently thought of as "clitoral."

(Full disclosure: I was older than I want to admit, and had had my first serious boyfriend by the time I figured out this one -- by myself with the help of a book that contained a very detailed diagram. Sorry, you-who-know-who-you-are, I didn't even know that I had been faking! After the first few sincere but bumbling occurrences, there came a night when I first achieved arousal with you... and mistook it for an orgasm.) I was an ordinary kid. What the hell did I know?

Okay, about the "minor" climax: Know how if you just use your hand or a vibrator, the orgasm is "smaller," nice but not engulfing? Well, that's that one.

Then, there is the more drawn out and intense orgasm, the "major." This seems to be what has been referred to as a "vaginal" orgasm, but I reject that term. The vagina is not an inside-out penis. It does not "come" from being rubbed like a penis, in the same way a penis will reach orgasm from that kind of friction.

Usually the major climax involves lots of kissing and foreplay (both mental and physical), penetrative sex and clitoral stimulation. The peak is higher and longer, and the sensation much more deep and dispersed. It is the reward of relaxed and thorough lovemaking. Anyone can have it, no matter what hand you drew in the clitoral location lotto. You just have to be generous with time and effort.

People are terrible at estimating time; they give up way too soon out of shame (women) or laziness/impatience (men). This is an excellent primer on understanding how to get there.

A "Ladies First" policy with orgasms is probably a good idea, as a general guideline. Since, if there is one thing that seems to be common knowledge, it's that after a man reaches climax, he is pretty much inert and you've "missed the train." Whereas, if the female reaches orgasm first, the stimulation of penetrative sex as a follow-up could be a win-win.

As for those remarks at the beginning, my one hundred percent officially non-scientific personal research and polling of very intelligent, turned-on and otherwise relevant women has yielded these results, respectively:

The G-spot is a pernicious myth. Yes, it kind of is. Though, in the interest of diminishing the misogynistic basis of it, I think that it has become a ham-handed (literally) way of trying to delineate those deeper, "major" orgasms. And it just didn't occur to anyone (except some women) that it could be as simple as an internal connection to the clit.

The clitoris is like a mini penis. Maybe, but less straight forward, pardon the pun.

Women don't care about orgasms. Total bullshit a lot of the time, and occasionally true.

The vagina is insensitive. Somewhat true, particularly in comparison with the clitoris and cervix.

Women who don't experience "vaginal orgasms" are sexually deficient. A vicious lie.

Women who fake orgasms are rotten liars. They are not, they just don't know what else to do at that point.

Penetrative sex has nothing to do with female climax. Sadly, often true. Occasionally not at all true. But that doesn't mean it doesn't feel good in any case.

Menopausal women don't want sex anymore. That's so funny. Not only do many of us still want it and feel more relaxed about it (Yay, no risk of unwanted pregnancy!), we've finally reached a place of making our pleasure the priority it should have been in the first place.

Subscribe to the In(formation) email.
The reality of being a woman — by the numbers.