Why Should I Care?
Sprinkle writes in her 1982 essay, The G-Spot? about how one book changed many sex lives. That book, written by Alice Ladis, Beverly Whipple, and John D. Perry was The G Spot and Other Recent Discoveries About Human Sexuality. Though The G Spot enlightened eager readers twenty-seven years ago, sexual revolutions are still taking place, and increasingly, more and more attention is being drawn to the multifaceted and sometimes elusive female orgasm.
I was honored to have the chance to ask pleasure activist Annie Sprinkle herself a few questions about the G-spot and sexuality in general. We chatted on the phone while she made a salad and I took notes.
Jesse: What did women do before they read The G Spot and Other Recent Discoveries About Human Sexuality? Did they have orgasms?
Annie: I remember when I started having sex in 1972 and then entered the sex industry in ’73, I was not at all educated about sex. You could say I learned on the job! There was still this idea that women weren’t expected to like sex very much. You were either a virgin or a whore. There was no concept of a sex-positive, sexually liberated woman not being a bad woman; it was considered taboo to be sexually wild, free, liberated, and knowledgeable. Sure, there were the free love hippie girls. But they were also largely considered whores and thus bad and shameful.
If women had orgasms, they were controlled, pretty, and polite. Not the huge, animalistic, cathartic, multiple orgasms of today. Throughout history, there were cultures that were way more sexually advanced [than ours]. [Other] cultures…knew about the G-spot—it’s all in the Kama Sutra, for example. Some of the ancient Chinese sex yogi types knew about it; they had different names [for it].
The information about the G-spot area was known, then hidden, then secret, then forgotten. [When The G Spot and Other Recent Discoveries About Human Sexuality came out], the G-spot seemed like the new discovery. I’d say that in the seventies a lot of people didn’t know where the clit was exactly, nor did they care. It was all about the man’s pleasure and the man’s orgasm. I remember debating a man about…[whether or not] women could really have orgasms. Of course the information existed, thanks to Alfred Kinsey and Masters and Johnson, but lots of people didn’t know about the research.
Jesse: Do you think there is still a stigma where girls find it hard to talk about orgasms and G-spots with other girls?
Annie: Yes! There are a lot of people who feel that sex should be a very private, and even shameful matter. Shows like Sex and the City and Real Sex...are pop culture’s [answer to] sex education. Today there’s so much more sex on TV and now we have the Internet, so people know a whole lot more about sex today than ever. Sex education is more available than ever, but the idea that sex has to stay a totally private matter still lingers.
People are afraid that if we talk about it, it will spoil the magic and mystery. But I have not had that experience. I talk about and learn about sex all the time, and it’s still a great mystery. So, by all means, talk about sex, orgasms, vulvas, penises… Sex is a fascinating and exciting topic of conversation.
The good news is that when you get older, you generally get over any hang-ups you might have had as a teen. If you’ve had a baby, numerous gynecological exams, you’ve been sexually intimate…most women get a lot less squeamish. My advice to people who want to open up sexually is to hang out with people who are sex-positive, who talk freely about sex, and who feel good about their bodies and their genitals, who don’t put down other women for being interested in sex.
Jesse: Why is knowledge of the male ejaculation so well recognized and easy to come by…because it’s technically more obvious?
Annie: Men have controlled the purse strings as to who gets funding for research. Men generally fund other men, and men want to know about their male orgasms. But these days it’s hard for anyone to get funding to research orgasms of any kind. There are also the simple core issues of misogyny. It’s the same with male health issues in general. More funding has gone to research male diseases.
The way we have sex is a reflection of how our culture feels about women. Sex and history really connect with how women are perceived in general. We can all thank the feminists that came before us—who fought for women’s rights, women’s sexual education, reproductive rights—for the knowledge, freedom, and respect that we have today. We have cum a long way, baby, and yet there is still a long way to go.
Jesse: Do you think most girls nowadays know about the G-spot, where to find it, and how to have an orgasm?
Annie: Not necessarily. No, we all have to start at the very beginning and we each have to learn the basics. But I do think that any girl who wants to learn about her body, her G-spot, and how to have an orgasm, can find the information easily. And for that we can be very thankful. When I was a teen, it wasn’t so easy. But no need to rush into anything. When the time is right to learn, girls will learn.
Jesse: Are there any resources you can recommend on the subject?
Annie: There are some wonderful books and DVDs: G Marks the Spot: The Good Vibrations Guide to the G-Spot and Female Ejaculation, a DVD written by and starring Carol Queen; my own book, Dr. Sprinkle's Spectacular Sex: Make Over Your Love Life With One of the World's Great Sex Experts; Female Ejaculation and the G-Spot by Deborah Sundahl has pretty advanced information on the topic; The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex: The Most Complete Sex Manual Ever Written by Cathy Winks and Anne Semans; The Whole Lesbian Sex Book: A Passionate Guide for All of Us by Felice Newman; and The Guide to Getting It On! by Paul Joannides. It has fabulous illustrations and is fun to read. Find one that appeals and speaks to you!
Jesse: Anything else I didn’t ask that you would like to add?
Annie: Women who are having any type of intercourse have experienced their G-spot. The sensation is a very familiar one, but perhaps not consciously familiar. Realize that G-spot sensations are very different than clitoral sensations. Don’t look for them to feel like the same flavor of electricity.
And don’t worry! As you get older, it will all make a lot more sense. Remember, you’re at the right place at the right time in your own personal sexual EVOLUTION, and it is an evolution. Try not to beat yourself up if you feel like you don’t know something or haven’t experienced certain things. There is a learning curve, like with most things. Also, don’t expect that you’re gonna figure it all out and then you’re done. Believe me when I say, there’s always more to learn.
Photos courtesy of Annie Sprinkle