Female ejaculation: what is squirting? We tell you what’s true, and what’s not


Updated Feb 3, 2021 at 04:58 PM

Reading time: 5 minutes


Squirting is probably one of the most misunderstood aspects of female pleasure: we’ve known for more than 2,000 years now that some women can produce notable amounts of liquid from their vulvas during sexual excitement or orgasm. Yet, it remains unclear exactly how many of us actually are squirters, and the topic of female ejaculation is still hotly debated.

We delved into the world of squirting in order to demystify it and help you look at it from another angle. But first things first, what does it mean?

What is squirting?

‘Squirting’ is a term used to describe female ejaculation, also known as when a person with a vulva emits liquid from the urethra in response to sexual stimulation or orgasm. When someone squirts, the fluid their vulva releases usually looks like water and is colourless and odourless.

Keep in mind that squirting is different from being wet—vaginal lubrication is secreted by your vaginal walls, especially during arousal.

Female ejaculation is not something that’s been discovered recently. Hippocrates and the Kama Sutra both reference female ‘semen’. Hippocrates thought that it helped create children while the Kama Sutra explained when it should be expected and why. In the 17th century, Dutch anatomist Regnier de Graaf wrote the essay Concerning The Generative Organs Of Women, where he described the fluid and linked it to an erogenous zone inside the vagina that was much like male prostate. This zone was later reported by German gynaecologist Ernst Gräfenberg and named after him as the Gräfenberg Spot or G-Spot.

Recent studies estimate that female ejaculation is experienced in some form by anywhere from 10 to 54 per cent of women and, according to a 2013 study, the amount of ejaculate released can range from approximately 0.3 millilitres to more than 150 millilitres. Those are some pretty limited findings on the topic considering the advancements we’ve been through in the last century.

Just to add to the already existing confusion surrounding the topic, it is also disputed whether female ejaculation and squirting are two different things.

Want to make someone squirt?

If you’re interested in making someone (or yourself) squirt, Laura from School of Squirt has a guide on how to make a girl squirt effortlessly—check it out! If you’d like to know more about what squirting feels like, Screen Shot’s own editor Alma Fabiani wrote about her personal experience.

What is the liquid produced during ejaculation?

The main question that people focus on when speaking about female ejaculation is whether the liquid produced at that point is simply urine. Now, let us start by asserting once more just how lacking research still is on the matter.

A study conducted in 2014 asked a group of women to go to the loo before participating in any sexual activity and then undertake ultrasound scans to prove that their bladders were empty. After the women became sexually excited, they were given a second ultrasound, which showed their bladders had re-filled significantly. Finally, a third scan after they’d squirted revealed empty bladders again, suggesting the liquid they’d released came from this source and was likely to be pee (or at least partly so).

But according to Daye, not only did the study only include seven women, it also found that five out of the seven women had prostate-specific antigens (PSAs) in their squirt. “PSAs is an enzyme produced by the prostate gland in men and found in semen, but not usually associated with urine—which is made up of 95 per cent water and trace amounts of urea, creatinine, and minerals like sodium and potassium.”

As it turns out, urea and creatinine, which are two chemical constituents of pee, were only present in very low levels and additional substances were present after sexual stimulation, ones that you otherwise wouldn’t expect in urine. Women contain prostate tissue too, just like men, in structures known as the Skene’s glands or paraurethral glands, which are located on the front wall of the vagina. Some studies show they drain via ducts into the lower end of the urethra, which led some specialists to believe that these glands play a crucial part in helping to create the liquid that’s set loose during squirting.

Although different studies on female ejaculation seem to contradict themselves, for the time being, there is no consensus among sexual health professionals and researchers as to what squirt is or is not—most probably not just urine.

Women who regularly squirt have admitted to the BBC that “There are instances where I’ve squirted and still needed a wee afterwards,” and another one added, “My squirt fluid is colourless, even if I’m pretty dehydrated, when my wee looks more like Irn Bru.”

Scientists have even suggested that squirting may have a purpose beyond pleasure: to keep women peeing painlessly post-sex. Some scientists have hypothesised that ejaculatory fluid could flush harmful bacteria out of the urethra after they have made their way up there during intercourse, helping prevent uncomfortable urinary tract infections (UTI).

Why do some women squirt and some don’t?

Here again, things remain unclear. Because it hasn’t been confirmed whether squirting serves any biological function aside from pleasure, no one can say for sure why some women can squirt and others can’t.

Some women can squirt, others simply can’t—and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with either. Wetter isn’t inherently better, nor worse. Approach it with a sense of open-minded fun, not obligation or stigmatisation.

What is society's general opinion on squirting?

Squirting is both frowned upon and put on a pedestal. While some women feel pressured to summon up Niagara Falls from their nethers by partners who have watched too much squirting-themed pornography, others may feel deeply ashamed of the fact that this happens to them.

A quick search for the term ‘squirt’ on Pornhub brings up more than 108,000 results. Interestingly, Refinery 29 reports that females are 44 per cent more likely to look for such material than males. Most of this ‘obsession’ for women who can squirt comes from the porn industry, where adult actresses themselves report that there’s growing demand for them to be able to ejaculate.

Speaking to the BBC, adult actress Silvia Saige said: “It’s increasingly being asked for, and a woman’s career can take a financial upswing if she manages to squirt. I don’t get hired for jobs specifically featuring this act because it’s not something I can guarantee will happen with my body.”

Other performers who similarly can’t be sure they’ll squirt on cue fake it by either urinating or using vaginal douches—filling themselves with water, then contracting their vaginal muscles to catapult it out dramatically. This means that what viewers see on camera (and try to copy at home) may not be fully feasible in many cases.

On top of that is another added pressure, one coming from the belief that women who can squirt have reached a ‘higher’ source of pleasure than your regular orgasm. In other words, some people (usually men) see female ejaculation as the Holy Grail of sexual pleasure. And while some women have admitted that it was a mind-blowing experience, others have described their experience as mentally and physically tiring as well as painful.

Meanwhile, other women are holding back or feeling mortified when it happens because of stigma and fear. Many think that female ejaculation is unusual and have a sense that partners will be shocked or turned off. Why is that? Here again, society is to blame. Squirters are often worried about their partners thinking they’ve actually wet themselves.

Is squirting illegal?

This may sound crazy to some of you, but technically, material showing women squirting is illegal in the UK. Because debates still rage over whether female ejaculate is urine, or how much of it is urine, porn depicting women squirting may be considered to be ‘urolagnia’—a fetish for urination—and so potentially illegal according to UK obscenity laws. Of course, even this conversation remains a sketchy area where no one seems to be certain about what they’re talking about exactly.

This obvious lack of research and overall consensus goes to show how uncomfortable society is with female pleasure. More research on squirting and female ejaculation is urgently needed, but moreover, society should start by accepting the fact that being able to squirt or not is nothing to be ashamed of.

Is squirting bad for you?

Although many researchers ignore the possibility of female ejaculation damaging a woman’s pelvic muscles, Cosmopolitan spoke to sexual health expert and New York Times bestselling author Ian Kerner about this potential danger. Kerner explained that a handful of sex therapists actually think that straining to squirt can ultimately damage the pelvic muscles, “When you think about it, an orgasm is an involuntary process. Regardless of what happens during sex, orgasms are unconscious and involve relaxing and letting go.”

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