Sci has constantly been annoyed that no one seems to have performed a real, thorough study on the sensitivity of the vagina. Or at least, it's beyond her pubmed-fu. If someone has done it, please let me know! I'd really like to cover it and I'm very annoyed that I cannot seem to find it. Sci is also annoyed by this because several studies have covered the sensitivity of the penis. It's just not fair.
But today, Sci was pubmedding furiously, and she FOUND SOMETHING. I am so excited.
Foldes and Buisson. "The Clitoral Complex: A Dynamic Sonographic Study" Journal of Sexual Medicine, 2009.
YES! Not the whole thing, but it's a start.
I suppose you could say the pictures below are NFSW. But they're sonograms. So it could be anything, really, and most people won't know. If your boss comes up behind you, tell them you're looking at someone's baby pics.
Alright, so here we go. What this study was really after was not vaginal, or even clitoral sensitivity. What this study was after was the G-spot. As you might be aware, there is some controversy as to whether or not the G-spot actually exists, and if it does, what it consists of. For example, is there really a difference between clitoral and vaginal orgasm, and what causes the difference?
To look into this further, let's look at some anatomy:
You can see above the basic anatomy of the clitoris and the vaginal opening below it. You can see that the clitoris has a glans and a cavernous body, which is located on either side of the urethra. Keep in mind that the root of the clitoris extends pretty far in, and comes rather close to the anterior (that's the front) wall of the vagina.
The female clitoris and the male penis are really quite similar in anatomy. So the reasoning behind this paper was this: why aren't all women capable of having a vaginal orgasm if they have the equivalent of a penis? Perhaps it has something to do with the relationship between the clitoris and the vagina.
To look at the relationship between the clitoris and the vagina, they took women (age matched), and checked out the clitoris. They did this both at rest and when the women were performing perineal contraction (that's a Kegel). Their underlying hypothesis was this: if the clitoris comes really close to the vagina, perhaps the clitoris plays the underlying role in vaginal orgasms.
And here's what they got:
What you can see here is the sonogram image, aligned like the model above. The glans is at the top, the cavernous bodies (clitoral bodies) are on the sides, vagina is at the bottom.
This is a slightly different angle. Here you're looking at the cavernous bodies of the clitoris on the sides, with the top of the body above and the bottom below (like you're viewing up someone's vagina if they were at the gynecologist). What you can also see is a change resulting from the contraction of the perineum. In the contraction (on the right), the cavernous bodies are brought downward and the angle is decreased, bringing them closer to the anterior wall of the vagina.
And what you can see here is a midsagittal section, with the woman lying on her back, and the entrance to the vagina in the air (which is odd and I think due to an extreme pelvic tilt). You can see that the root of the vagina is closely located to the anterior vaginal wall.
They then had the patient locate the area of most sensitivity with their own fingers, and took an ultrasound that way. Invariably (though it was n=5), the women poked at the area closest to the clitoral root. When she then contracted her perineum, the clitoris moved closer to the area of the anterior wall she was pointing to.
So what's the conclusion? The authors conclude that women may be able to achieve vaginal orgasm via stimulation of the G-spot because the highly innervated clitoris is pulled closely to the anterior wall of the vagina. This is cool because this means there's no need for some special region of nerves to create a G-spot, it could, rather, just be an association of anatomy.
Sci does have some issues with this paper, though.
1) n=5? We can so do better.
2) All of the women apparently were able to locate their own g-spots successfully. It would be very interesting to see this done in women who do not think they have a g-spot or don't know where it is, and see where they point to when asked for the most sensitive spot.
3) Sci has issues with the fundamental question of why not all women can have a vaginal orgasm if they have the anatomical equivalent of a penis. My problem is this: a clitoris may be the anatomical equivalent of a penis. The VAGINA isn't. So perhaps a clitoral orgasm (of which almost every woman is capable unless there are underlying problems) is the equivalent of the male orgasm, while the vaginal orgasm is something else, if it IS something else, and related more of the positioning of the clitoris relative to the vagina?
In conlusion: Moar studies, pleez! 🙂
Foldes, P., & Buisson, O. (2009). The Clitoral Complex: A Dynamic Sonographic Study Journal of Sexual Medicine, 6 (5), 1223-1231 DOI: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01231.x