Monthly Archives: February 2008

G-Spot: A Highly Profitable Zone

Laurie and Debbie say:

Both of us are old enough to remember when the G-spot (for German gynecologist Ernest Grafenberg) was publicized in 1981. The G-spot is a highly erogenous zone behind the pubic bone. At the time, some women said, “I knew that!” while others went looking for theirs, often successfully.

Now, it appears that G-spots are (surprise!) big business and (another surprise!) a matter for shlocky research. Let’s start with the shlocky research:

Regular readers will not be surprised to learn that the whole current research furore was based on a study of 20 (!!) women, 9 of whom said they have vaginal orgasms and 11 of whom said they don’t. So a team of Italian researchers, armed we’re sure with only the purest of motives, forayed into these women’s vaginas and found that the women who don’t orgasm vaginally have “thicker urethrovaginal tissue” than women who do. Thus, they concluded, based on this wide-ranging and carefully controlled study (NOT!) that you can only have a vaginal orgasm if you have a G-spot (somehow, that thicker tissue got translated into a G-spot).

Respected U.K. sex researcher Dr. Petra sampled how the story got picked up by the media:

To be honest if I’d been sent [this research] to review for a journal I’d have rejected it for publication due to the small sample size, and the inability to conceptualise basic concepts like orgasm and sexual history.

For some reason the New Scientist seemed to have forgotten how to read a scientific paper, and instead ran a piece that suggested ultrasound had discovered proof of the elusive g-spot. They must have known this was going to set off a massive media fuss.

The majority of press coverage, as I gloomily predicted, covered the story pretty uniformly using one or more of the following combinations:
– The g spot has been discovered!
– Science has shown the g spot truly exists
– Here are some facts about the g spot
– A brief history of the g spot
– Some stuff about Freud
– How unlucky women don’t have the g spot but lucky women do
– Cheap and easy tests can now reveal whether you have a g spot or not

Outside of these angles there were some debates that suggested men should no longer worry since some women simply were missing a g spot so there was no need to blame yourself if your partner didn’t have a vaginal orgasm. Or criticisms from some quarters that women who didn’t have a vaginal orgasm were either lazy or suffering from a medical condition.

Read the rest of her column; it’s excellent.

At around the same time, the New York Times Magazine published an article by Susan Campos (not available on line) about G-spot improvement therapy, as performed by a Los Angeles plastic surgeon. A little Googling turns up this story on what Matlock does.

What’s a “G-shot®” party you may be asking? Well I’m sure you’ve heard of the old Botox parties people used to throw. Where a group of friends and or strangers meet at a host’s house or a Dr.’s office and sit around eating, drinking and getting their foreheads injected with loads of Botox. A G-shot® party is similar in that there is a group of friends or strangers, in this case women only, who meet in a Dr.’s office and there is food to snack on, (no alcohol) and it isn’t Botox or the forehead that is being injected. Oh girlfriends (and others) think about it G-shot®, G-spot. Get my drift? Yes, oh yes, oh yes, that’s right! That’s the spot!

The G-shot®, also known as G-spot Amplification® is a simple, in-office procedure where Dr. Matlock injects a woman’s Grafenberg Spot (G-spot) with a collagen based substance. The G-shot® increases the size of the woman’s G-spot to about the size of a quarter in width, and one fourth of an inch in height, in turn, giving the woman increased sexual arousal during sex.

The active ingredient in the G-shot® is a specially developed and processed collagen and it doesn’t require pre-injection skin testing. The actual injection is painless and takes less than five seconds to complete. The entire procedure takes about 15 minutes and the affects last up to 6 months.

Unfortunately, our giggly heroine wrote this before she could tell if the shot had any effect, but after she shelled out the $1850 (yes, for 15 minutes in a group setting) for the experience. She does say it didn’t hurt, for which I suppose we should be grateful. She does not, of course, say how the doctor finds the often elusive G-spot in each woman he treats.

Human beings vary; that’s what we do. We have different tissue thicknesses all over our body, different responses to being tickled, or eating asparagus, different sexual cues, and so on and so on.

Many men (and the male-dominated media) like G-spots because they shift any “responsibility” for orgasm from the man’s (or partner’s) effort to the woman’s body. The medical establishment likes being able to establish something as “normal,” and then charge you money to make you “normal.” Once again, junk science and capitalism combine to find new ways to make women distrust our bodies.

G-spot, sex, sexuality, orgasm, female orgasm, feminism, junk science, body image, cosmetic surgery, Body Impolitic

Fat, Courtesy, and Theater Seating

We’re delighted to present this guest blog from our friend Ariel Franklin-Hudson, who is interning and ushering at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater this year.

Ariel says:

SCENE: The American Conservatory Theater, a.k.a. the Geary, a theater,which celebrated its 98th birthday last month. It was remodeled in the early 1990s, and is “fully accessible.” It has 1,040 seats. All the seats are narrow, like airplane seats, and they can be very uncomfortable for larger people. Most of the complaints I get are about leg room, and come from tall men sitting in the first balcony.

The theater is glamorous. The boxes on either side of the orchestra and the first balcony have larger, wider chairs and additional leg room, but they don’t have very good sight lines. A pair of elderly ladies came in. One knew where her seat was; the other was probably senior rush. She moved slowly, used a cane, and was fat. A little while later, in a lull, she called me over:

LADY: Can I ask you something?
ME: Certainly.
LADY: Is there such a thing as fat seats?

I wondered — even in the moment — if she was only daring to ask me because I’m fat, too.

ME: Yeah, the seats are kind of terrible, aren’t they?
LADY: They are.
ME: The best thing to do is to ask for one of the boxes. They have actual chairs instead of silly theater seats, and they’re a lot wider. The only thing is that they have really terrible sight lines, so you can’t see the show nearly as well. Aisle seats are also a little better.

LADY: Can I move to the aisle if the people next to me don’t come?
ME: Of course!
LADY: Thank you.

As I seated the oncoming hordes, I thought about the lady. Her question had sounded more like “what should I do next time?” than “please help me now,” but thinking about it more, I suggested reseating her in a box and she agreed immediately, despite my warning about the sight lines.

ME: Is this better?
LADY: Thank you! This is so much better! I don’t think I could have sat through the whole show in the other seat! The leg room and wider seat really makes a difference!
ME: Oh good! Well, you’re welcome! Enjoy the show! And next time you can just ask the box office for a box seat.

After the show, she was one of the last people to leave. Her friend met her at the door and encouraged her to hurry, but the lady was digging in her purse.

FRIEND: What are you doing?
LADY: I’m looking for something for this nice young lady.
ME: Oh! You don’t have to do that!
LADY: I’ve never had anyone do that for me before, help me out like that. Thank you so much. (She handed me a ten-dollar bill. I accepted it graciously.)
ME: Thank you. You really didn’t have to do that, but thank you.
LADY: Thank you.

Probably, any usher would have re-seated her – provided there were available seats – because she was elderly, she had a cane, and she moved pretty slowly. Not helping the disabled (and even not helping the disabled first) is a big, huge, horrific black mark in the ushering book. As it should be.

But on the other hand, she phrased it as a size issue, and while I’d like to think that a) we don’t treat size as a disability and b) we still prioritize it as a genuine concern, I’m not sure that either of those things is true. The seats are hellishly uncomfortable if you don’t fit in them, tall, fat, old, whatever. But I think that society would say that it’s her fault that she’s fat and can’t fit into the seats; it’s not her fault that she’s old and disabled, and needs to sit somewhere that won’t hurt her legs. And consequently, it’s less our job to help the fat lady than it is to help the disabled lady or the old lady. I wonder if she dared to ask me because I’m fat. And I wonder what would have happened if she had asked someone else.

I’d like to think that anyone would have helped her, but I don’t know how my co-workers think about body image; I don’t know whether the “help the patron with a problem,” instinct would have trumped the societal reaction to fat. We almost never get seat size complaints. We get leg-room complaints all the time, but they’re mostly from tall people, mostly men. So maybe it’s a gender issue, too. I wonder how much attention my co-workers have paid to the fact that the box seats are wider and more comfortable, and that, more often than not, the patrons in the boxes are fat. I wonder if any of them, hearing her ask for “fat seats,” would have thought beyond “I’m afraid there aren’t any, but I can try to move you to an aisle.”

The essential question is whether or not you, as a patron, are brave enough to ask for help when you’re uncomfortable. The vast majority of people – regular theatergoers, anyway – know that theater seats are uncomfortable, and are willing to suck it up. Asking to be re-seated is the equivalent of sending your meal back in a restaurant because you don’t like it. But asking to be moved because you’re disabled, or fat, or tall, is more like sending your meal back because it has lots of cheese on top, and the menu didn’t say it would, and you’re lactose intolerant. And generally the cooks and waitresses – and ushers – get that, and are sorry, and do their best to help fix the problem, even if they whine about it later, because our jobs are service jobs, and the people who need help are, more often than not, really apologetic about asking for it.

Two things bother me. First, if tall people can complain, fat people should be able to complain with equal clout. Second, as she was tipping me she mentioned that “no one had ever done that for her before.” Maybe she’d never felt comfortable enough to ask for help, before. Maybe she’d only ever asked for help when the house was too full, or in theaters without convenient box seats and wider-aisled wheelchair seats. Or maybe she had asked for help in a similar situation, and not gotten it. And in that case, did she not get the help because the usher was a bad usher, or difficult, or having a bad day, or did she not get the help because she phrased it as a size issue, because it was a size issue?

In the end, I’m grateful for the tip. But I’m also worried about a world in which what I did might not be the norm.

fat, theater, size acceptance, body image, ushering, Body Impolitic