So...what exactly is squirting? And how common is it, really?

By Maya Khamala

Squirting orgasms, like female pleasure in general, are fairly shrouded in mystery- in part due to science’s gender definitive answers are scarce.

Let’s dispel some of the most common disinformation out there about squirting and female ejaculation.

How common is squirting?

Apparently, I’m among the roughly 1/3 of women who say that at some point, they’ve experienced “squirting,” often used interchangeably with the term “female ejaculation.” Though most say it has only happened once or twice. In a recent survey, 72% of women who said they don’t squirt regularly or have never squirted expressed an interest in making it happen. For me, it happens every time I cum if I’m alone (because it’s easier to relax) and maybe 30% of the time with a man. Bottom line: every woman is different.

How much fluid is produced?

American sex guru and co-author of the original G-spot book, Beverley Whipple says that typically, the amount of fluid released is around “half a coffee cup-full.” Other experts say some women can produce a quart of liquid at one time from their bodies!

Is female ejaculate actually urine? 

Until the 1980s, any doctor actually aware of the female ejaculation “phenomenon” assumed it was urine. As a “treatment,” they would recommend exercises to build the pelvic muscles. In 1982, the abovementioned G-spot book suggested the fluid wasn't urine, but rather a “juice” secreted by the Skene’s glands, tiny structures that drain into the urethra which are said to be the female equivalent of the prostate, although their size and shape differ greatly and their exact function is unclear.

In 2007, Viennese researcher Dr Florian Wimpissinger (his real name) affirmed this, additionally finding that the ejaculate from two women he studied was chemically different from that of urine. In particular, it contained more prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP), more prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and also some glucose.

Ok, then what exactly IS squirting??

Twofold answer. Here’s where it gets interesting.

Fact: Some women release liquid from their urethra when they climax. This may consist of a small amount of milky white fluid, which, technically, is female ejaculate.

Fact: Other women report “squirting” a much larger amount of fluid—enough to really wet the bed.

To investigate the nature and origins of the fluid, French gynecologist Samuel Salama and his colleagues studied 7 women who report producing large amounts of fluid at orgasm. After confirming that their bladders were completely empty via ultrasound, the women masturbated alone or with a partner until they were close to climaxing, which took 25-60 minutes.

Crazy as it sounds, a second pelvic ultrasound was then performed right before the women climaxed. The squirted fluid was then collected and a final scan performed. Even though the women had peed just before stimulation started, the second scan showed that their bladders had totally filled again! Each woman’s final scan showed an empty bladder, meaning the liquid squirted at orgasm came from the bladder. Incidentally, Salama is now investigating whether or not the kidneys work faster to produce urine during sexual stimulation, and if so, why.

With me so far?

The fluid samples were then analyzed: while 2 women’s fluids showed no difference, chemically, from their urine, the other 5 had a small amount of that good ‘ol PSA present in the fluid they’d squirted—an enzyme not detected in their initial urine sample, but which is part of the “true” female ejaculate.

The takeaway here is that there are apparently 2 unique fluids, with 2 unique sources, one of which has pee in it, yes. So while most people think that squirting and female ejaculation are one and the same, researchers see them as separate. While squirting is the larger gush of liquid that shoots out from the urethra, female ejaculation is a much smaller amount of fluid that occurs in the vagina; it’s viscous and can be compared to saliva. Some women release both, while some only release one or the other, or neither.

Regardless of the chemical composition of this phenomenal goddess nectar, though, if you do it and enjoy it, relish that! And if you haven’t done it, don’t feel like it’s a life or death mission. It’s not!

But how does squirting happen?

Squirting seems to be triggered by G-spot stimulation. Recent research suggests this area is more aptly described as the clitourethrovaginal (CUV) complex, since it includes your clitoris, urethra, and the front wall of the vagina. It’s all connected, baby.

Although scientific conclusions are very elusive in this wet and wild territory, Dr. Madeleine Castellanos, author of Wanting to Want says that if you’re sufficiently aroused, all your tissue swells up, applying more pressure to your urethra and pushing it forward slightly. Shifting stimulation between the bladder and the urethra this way can make it easier to pee, and at the same time, feels incredible. Feeling really relaxed can combine with all these factors and sometimes result in squirting. Orgasms are just as much in the mind as anywhere else, as many of us know.

Can you learn how to make yourself squirt?

While Salama believes every woman is capable of squirting “if their partner knows what they are doing,” I’m not a fan of this pressure-cooker of a statement. It not only puts undue pressure to perform on women, but on men as well, who have been known to add the ability to make a girl squirt to their list of virility markers. 

Squirting may seem like a puzzling oxymoron to some. Personally, I’m a firm believer that such an expansion of the female pleasure dome is cause for celebration, so several of my pet peeves get triggered easily in these discussions:

• Naysayers who feel it’s a good use of their limited time on earth to vocally doubt the legitimacy of female ejaculation, opting to question what causes a girl to squirt, and if she’s not in fact just urinating. To this I say: so what if it IS pee??

• Women who experience inadequacy simply because they haven’t experienced this one particular type of climax, no better or worse than any other. Just different.

• Women who experience anxiety or shame because they do squirt, and believe it’s gross (maybe ‘cause they’ve been told it’s pee, and that pee and sex shouldn’t mix).

While there’s no guarantee you can teach yourself to squirt, there are abundant online videos and articles on the topic, most of them addressing men who want to make their girl squirt. But in my experience, if you can’t do it yourself, it’s hard for someone else to do it for you. Also, trying itself can sometimes stand in the way.

Nonetheless, here are some very useful tips!

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