This article originally appeared on VICE Germany
The first thing you see when you walk into Dr Mark Wolter's cosmetic surgery is Anthony Hopkins' face. A close-up photo of the actor – wrinkles and all – hangs above the entrance.
There are expensive chairs in the waiting room, underneath a large poster of the Louis Vuitton logo – but the strong stench of disinfectant is the same as in any clinic. Martina – a woman in her forties, wearing a faux fur coat – is waiting in reception. She's a friend of Dr Wolter and was the first person to try the "G-Shot" shortly after he introduced it in his practice in 2013. Since then, he's carried out the procedure on about 50 women.
The G-Shot is an injection of hyaluronic acid directly underneath the G-spot – the fabled region on the vaginal wall that is said to be a woman's orgasmic sweet spot. The injection is supposed to enlarge the area and increase the chances of achieving an orgasm. The procedure costs €1,200 (£1,050) and follows the same basic principles as a lip filler. Dr Wolter recommends patients to repeat the procedure every two years, as the body naturally breaks down the acid.
Martina tells me that her decision to get a G-Shot was "spontaneous". She did it because it was free for her, and she "thought it would be a good laugh". But she also wanted to know what it was like before recommending her friend's procedure to others.
The shot is carried out using a local anaesthetic. When I ask Martina if it was at all painful, she laughs. "Obviously it wasn't a very pleasant experience having a friend poking around down there, but I felt it was similar to any visit to the gynaecologist, so I don't think there's any need to be afraid." On the upside, Martina claims her orgasms have became a lot more frequent and more intense since she got the shot.
A man wearing leather shoes and a knitted sweater walks into the practice and disappears into a treatment room with Dr Wolter. A few minutes later the patient emerges holding a cotton ball between his eyebrows, clearing up the residue of a Botox injection.
Dr Wolter now has some free time, which we use to take his picture. He doesn't miss a beat to strike a pose, explaining how liposuction works, before breaking down his other specialities – breast enlargements and labia reductions. The surgeon certainly practices what he preaches – he's had his eyebrows lifted, the bags under his eyes removed and a male breast reduction.
The main issue critics have with the G-Shot is that it's an invasive procedure to enlarge a thing that's not proven to exist. Plenty of scientific research has questioned the G-Spot, and many of Dr Wolter's colleagues – including Dr Matthias David, a gynaecologist at Charité, Europe's largest university hospital – have accused him of running a money-making scheme. But the surgeon doesn't care about that – nor about the lack of studies into the G-Shot's efficacy.
"Almost all of my patients tell me that their sex lives got better after the shot, so the question of whether or not the G-spot exists is irrelevant to me," Dr Wolter argues.
Ada Borkenhagen, a psychotherapist based in Berlin, is currently researching why women choose to go through invasive measures like the G-Shot. Borkenhagen doubts that the injection actually works in medical terms, but instead produces more of a psychological placebo effect. "I can see how, for some women, the shot almost gives them permission from a qualified medical authority to feel pleasure," she says.
But the only guaranteed way to have more orgasms, Borkenhagen suggests, is to simply have better sex. "Often people have sex like they're rabbits – in, out, finished in a few minutes. That just isn't enough for lots of women."
"People measure their self-worth by this false idea of what a perfect body is – whether their labia are small enough, if their G-spot is big enough, if they reach the optimum level of orgasms," sex therapist Bettina Uzler tells me. "And they're willing to shell out enormous amounts of money to model themselves according to that distorted ideal."
Uzler points to how common it is for procedures that promise to improve your sex life to be backed by very little concrete scientific evidence, and compares the G-Shot to treatments for erectile dysfunction. "A man takes Viagra just so he can shag, but he won't bother to try and understand what's actually causing his problems."
I relay all this to Martina, but she's resolute in her convictions – she thinks the G-Shot works and she would happily recommend it to anyone. But it means more than just a simple procedure to her – it's a matter of principle. "I think it's a shame to see so many women getting fake breasts just to please their partners," she tells me. "First and foremost, you should look after yourself – that's the only way you can enjoy life."