A Los Angeles plastic surgeon has come up with a new enhancement strategy that he's teaching to other docs. This procedure involves a collagen injection into a woman's anterior vaginal wall to purportedly emphasize sexual sensation from her G-spot.
Remember penis enlargement surgery, that staple of Internet spam? Remember last year's gizmo, stumbled upon by a chiropractor that purported to cause orgasm in women by the careful positioning of electrodes? Remember "Lady Viagra," the so-far-elusive pill that would get gals revved up as fast as their men, or ensure fabulous orgasms, or maybe even take care of the dishes and the lawn work so partners could book in a little more time for canoodling?
Think too of the last Big Thing the plastic surgeons unveiled for us women: labia work, so no woman has to wonder whether her pink bits look so different from Jenna Jameson's that a fellow wouldn't recognize them for what they are. Oh, and there's also vaginal tightening, that's apparently not just for postpartum moms any more.
To be sure, there are some women and men who suffer from true sexual dysfunction, who need and could really use pharmaceutical or other medical help.
But most people with sexual issues do not fall into this category. Most people who are unhappy with their sex lives have partners with whom they are incompatible in some way, or they (and their partners) suffer from insufficient or incorrect information about sexual arousal, pleasure and functioning.
Plus, Americans harbor the "Fix it, Doctor" belief that a visit to the physician can and will cure what ails them, even if "what ails 'em" is not, in fact, an ailment at all.
The real problem with innovations like the "G-Shot" is not that they might not work, though news coverage like the SF Chronicle's recent article about the procedure devoted scant ink to that possibility.
The real problem is that these Next Big Sex Things obscure the role of good, old-fashioned sexual and anatomical knowledge and the ability of partners to communicate about what they like, what they want, and what works best to arouse and satisfy. They also obscure the fact that different people may best be pleased by different things. That's because, simply, everyone is not alike.
But then, why would a plastic surgeon devote any time at all to explaining this? There's no money in that for him, as there assuredly is for doing the "G-Shot" and the next procedure and the next.
Just as most MDs don't take the time to look up from writing a prescription for Viagra to say "Oh, by the way, if you simply cut out fatty foods and nicotine, cut down on alcohol, and walk twenty minutes every day, you probably wouldn't need this stuff."
If most of the new breed of "G-Shot" docs won't take the time to tell their female patients the basic information needed to succeed at sex, who will?
Ever hear of sex educators? Where do you find them in America? Well, you find them on the sales floor at your local Good Vibrations store. Or, you find them teaching classes at the Center for Sex & Culture. Or, you find them doing individual consultations as members of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality or the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists.
Anyone dissatisfied enough with her or his sex life to consider a visit to a plastic surgeon might want to take some time to learn how sexual pleasure really works before allowing someone who hasn't been trained as a sex specialist to point needles or scalpels at their tender bits.
The "Two I's": Information and Intercourse
Fads like the "G-Shot" come along because of the "Two I's." One is "Information" or the lack of it. The other is "Intercourse" and the accompanying notion that this is or should be everyone's primary source of sexual satisfaction.
Take a look at these "Two I's." Look at them one at a time.
Information: It used to be that young people at the dawn of their adult sexual lives got at least a little information from sex ed. classes at school. But these days, the focus is on abstinence.
So, young people - who are eager to partner, fall in love, get married, or just get busy - go out into the world with truly alarming gaps in their sexual knowledge.
The idea that sex is "natural" still has great sway - except, maybe, what one hears referred to as the "unnatural" kinds - so people do not need to be taught how to do it. This is barely correct, and even people who have figured out how to make babies via Tab A and Slot B do not necessarily have the elements of pleasure worked out.
Women and their partners who are attracted to the quick fix idea of the "G-Shot" and its accompanying placebo effect, often don't have the necessary "how to" knowledge to have good and satisfying sex. After that placebo effect of the latest exciting new procedure wears off, they will still not have it. These women and their partners are often ones who may have heard of the G-spot but don't know where or what it is. They haven't given the clitoris the study it is due either, and they don't understand the elements of arousal, especially female arousal.
The "G-Shot" purports to make the G-spot more sensitive or easy to stimulate, but the technique hasn't been tested for either current efficacy or long-term effects.
Think about that. Have you ever seen with your own eyes the handiwork of the penis enlargement surgeons' art? It can wind up looking like the pig-in-a-blanket they used to serve in the school lunch room, or if not that, then lumpy like a potato.
Furthermore, many women don't even like direct G-spot stimulation. Many cannot tolerate the sensation that results until they are fully aroused, but the "G-Shot" does not guarantee full arousal.
If the idea is to help women catch up with male rates of arousal, then why focus on something that is not an erogenous area for all women, and that requires the same amount of attention to arousal as any other penetrative sex?
When orgasm expert Dr. Betty Dodson accuses G-spot mania of being just another way to focus on vaginal orgasms, she's absolutely right. The sensations of G-spot stimulation (for a woman with a sensitive one) can be exquisite, but the real craze is for a trick that will make women more satisfied with intercourse.
The irony of this belief, though, is that many intercourse positions don't optimally stimulate the G-spot at all - plenty of women don't discover their own G-spot sensitivity until they get a curved toy, plus some lube, and go hunting, or they meet a partner who knows how to curve his or her fingers.
Intercourse: It's practically the definition of "having sex" in America, and it is the lens through which many, many couples view their sexual satisfaction.
All the curved fingers and toys in the world don't count as much as the "real thing," even though study after study shows us that the majority of women do not reliably orgasm from penile-vaginal intercourse without direct clitoral stimulation.
"Many of these women try so hard to have an orgasm from intercourse alone," says OB/GYN physician Debra Shapiro, MD, "because their husbands are not giving the clitoris any attention and the women themselves don't know that they can stimulate their own clitoris while having intercourse. I tell them they can do this and they're amazed: 'I can?' They have no idea it's okay." Or, in fact, that it is a common practice.
Many women just have no reliable access to good, realistic information about how sex is conducted. What's more, they have not had the good fortune to find out what many in sex positive communities know: There are lots of other things besides intercourse that make up, and indeed may be crucial to, a good sex life.