IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

In pursuit of hot spots, we often miss the point

Image: Sexploration erogenous zone
Kim Carney /

In our blind obsession with erogenous spots are we missing the forest for the trees? Is technology ruining regular sex for women? And what's a priapism? Got a question? E-mail us.

Q: Is there an erogenous zone in the female anatomy called the A-spot? If yes, where is it, exactly, and how does one find it? On two different occasions I have had an intense full-body orgasm I believe was triggered by something other than the G-spot. Obviously I would like to have a repeat of these experiences. Any insight you could provide would be welcome.

A: A-Spot, G-Spot, P-Spot. Run, Spot, run!

We have a blind spot when it comes to sex hot spots and anxiety about them can put us in a low spot.

“I see patients looking for the G-spot, and they come to see the doctor because they are so upset they cannot find it,” reports Dr. Rachel Pauls, a uro-gynecologist at Cincinnati’s Good Samaritan Hospital.

Why? Why do we do this to ourselves? Many competent authorities say the existence of some anatomical structure known as the G-spot is iffy, at best. Others say it’s definitely there. (I know this question is about the A-spot. I’ll touch that spot in a moment.) Some believe the G-spot is really part of the clitoris, which, like an iceberg, mostly exists in the murky depths where you can’t see it.

Pauls conducted one of the few, if not the only, studies that has actually looked for nerves in the vagina that may be related to sexual arousal. Taking 110 biopsies from 24 women undergoing procedures, she and her colleagues found that “vaginal innervation was somewhat regular, with no site consistently demonstrating the highest nerve density. Nerves were located throughout the vagina.” There was no single “spot.”

She also asked the patients to complete sexual function surveys and found that nerve densities, locations, or numbers of nerves did not have any relation to the level of sexual satisfaction.

As for the A-spot, that’s a new one on Pauls. Though well over 1,000 Web sites tout the “anterior fornix erogenous zone,” promising eternal bliss and female sexual empowerment if you can locate yours, our crack staff could not find a single item about it in the medical literature. And think about it: Human beings have been playing around down there for a few dozen millenia, so you'd think that word of any "secret" spot would've leaked out by now.

To Pauls, the issue of whether these things exist as discrete anatomical places isn’t important. “Women should just explore what feels good to them,” she says. So if you found a full-body orgasm spot, hooray! Do whatever it is you did the last time. Just don’t fret over what to call it or how to find it.

Q: Is it true some women can’t have orgasms with a man because they’re too accustomed to getting themselves off with their favorite toy? My partner says it’s absolutely true.  Also ... I know anybody can purchase a dildo that is bigger than most porn stars, or any man for that matter. Shouldn’t some light be shed on the pitfalls of women oversizing their toys?

A: Maybe it’s possible a few women out there are now unable to achieve anything other than a battery-powered orgasm after spending too much time with their “iBuzz,” their “Sinnflut Intensity” or their “Divining Rod.” But sex educator Jamye Waxman says that’s not likely.

Waxman, author of "Getting Off: A Woman’s Guide to Masturbation," says using a vibrator for a long period can desensitize a clitoris so that it may take an actual human-type lover longer to produce an orgasm.

Machine efficiency and all that.

But there’s a simple solution.

“If someone is concerned, they can just stop using the toy for few days. They’ll notice how the clitoris gradually returns” to its former sensitivity and may even notice that lighter touches work as well or better than they did before using the toy.

As for the Supersize Me problem, well, yes, a Louisville Slugger can be intimidating, but remember, babies come out of vaginas, a real tribute to elasticity (and female bravery). “As long as she is maintaining her muscle strength with [Kegel exercises],” Waxman says, “then she should be just fine and may even increase the sensation she has with penetration.”

Q: I’m almost 70 years old. When my wife and I have intercourse, we limit ourselves to five penetrations per session because my penis enlarges with each successive erection. How common is this variety of priapism?

We have a problem of interpretation here. Are you saying you restrict lovemaking to five in-and-outs? (And that you count? Out loud? And your wife puts up with it?) Or are you saying you make love to climax five times per session? At 70? Again, your wife puts up with it?

Either way, relax.You don’t have priapism. By definition, priapism is “a persistent erection not accompanied by sexual desire or stimulation.” Your erections are intermittent. Assuming they are not painful (if they are, see a urologist), why are you limiting yourself? Stop counting. Enjoy. And if you really are making love to climax five times per lovemaking session, then contact a sculptor so we mortals may genuflect under a statue erected to your greatness.