What Does the “G” in “G-Spot” Stand For?

Becky asks: What does the “G” in “G-spot” stand for?

Now You KnowThe “G” in G-Spot stands for “Gräfenberg”, after famed gynecologist Dr. Ernst Gräfenberg, who, among other things, had the “G-spot” named after him and invented the first known Ring IUD birth control device, the “Gräfenberg ring”.

Dr. Ernst Gräfenberg was born in Germany on September 18, 1881 and received his doctorate on March 10, 1905.   In 1910, he started working as a gynecologist in Berlin and soon became the chief gynecologist at Berlin University. When Hitler assumed power in Germany and Nazism was rampant, Gräfenberg, who was a Jew, was forced to resign.

His friends and family tried to persuade him to leave Germany at the time, but he refused.  Gräfenberg thought that because several of his patients were wives of high ranking Nazi officers, he would be safe.  This wasn’t the case and in 1937 he was arrested.

In 1940, Margaret Sanger paid a ransom for his release and he left Germany to settle down in New York City, where he once again established a successful gynecologist practice.

It was at this time that Gräfenberg researched the subject of urethral stimulation and, while it wasn’t the main point of the study he was doing, he stated:  “An erotic zone always could be demonstrated on the anterior wall of the vagina along the course of the urethra”.

Dutch physician Regnier de Graaf in the 17th century had previously noted this erogenous zone. He also noted that when stimulated properly in this area, the woman would often ejaculate.  His theory was that this was some sort of female prostate.  Despite de Graaf’s earlier theories on this region, Gräfenberg is usually given credit for its “discovery” and the name “G-spot”, after Gräfenberg, was coined in the 1981 paper “Female Ejaculation: a case study” published in the Journal of Sex Research.

It was one year later that the G-Spot name and the region itself gained widespread popularity amongst the general public after the book, The G Spot and Other Recent Discoveries About Human Sexuality by Alice Kahn Ladas and Beverly Whipple came out in 1982.

Bonus Fact:

  • According to an anonymous questionnaire distribute to 2350 women in the U.S. and Canada, 82% of the women who reported that they had a region around the G-spot area that was extra sensitive said that they sometimes ejaculated during orgasms.  This ejaculation rate was more than double that of women who reported no extra sensitivity in the G-spot region.
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  • Perhaps it’s interesting to add that the existence of the G-spot is controversial, with no evidence of nerve endings in the G-spot that could explain arousal (see Hines, 2001, “The G-spot: A modern gynecologic myth”, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 85, 359–362) and plenty of reason to think that arousal is in fact due to the stimulation of various areas in the G-spot region (urethra, Halban’s fascia), see Levin, 2003, “The G-spot, reality or illusion?”, Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 18, 1, 117-119.

    A recent article by Puppo and Gruenwald (2012) in The International Urogynecology Journal confirms the lack of evidence for the G-spot and adds that Dr. Ernst Gräfenberg is actually mistakenly credited for the discovery of this supposed spot. From their article:

    “In fact, the title of his 1950 article was “The Role of the Urethra in Female Orgasm,” not the role of the vagina in female orgasm. Although Gräfenberg did describe some cases of female and male urethral masturbation and illustrated the corpus spongiosum of the female urethra, he did not describe an orgasm of the intraurethral glands.”

    Your bonus fact is not well supported by other research either. Also, the term ‘female’ ejaculation’ is wrong, since there the fluid emission that some women are capable of is not related to their orgasms. This point is also made by the Puppo and Gruenwald article.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Callipygian: Nice use of references and adding to the article! As to the use of the term “ejaculation”, we just used the term as that’s what the study used and it’s readily understandable to the audience, though of course perhaps not technically accurate when correlating it to male ejaculation.

    • @Callipygian: years after your note, I just thought I’d take the time to address the issue you posit … not inclined to find the articles for reference sake, but I know I’ve seen multiple articles over the past decade or so that points out there is a larger nerve/organ system connected to the woman’s clitoris that seems to somewhat match the described location of “the anterior wall of the vagina along the course of the urethra”, and if that anatomical structure is correct, it could easily explain the original findings regarding the “G-spot”. Also also, female “ejaculation” is actually urine being expressed (can be easily confirmed via the thousands of pornographic videos on the internet regarding what is colloquially known as ‘squirting’, where you can easily see the fluid is being ejected from the urethra and not the vagina), and it is absolutely “related to” orgasm because the female orgasm typically results in muscle contraction in the vagina and also affects other muscles in the region.

  • Callipy, I think you miss the point. Most guys want to please their woman while they take gratification for themselves. If thinking that there is a G-Spot causes them to take the time to stimulate her, for her enjoyment, then it is a very positive thing.