Science & Squirting

To understand female ejaculation – as seen in the phenomenon known as squirting orgasms – one has to go to reliable scientific writers.

Even the scientific experiments which have been done on the subject have numerous flaws – small sample size, dubious techniques, experimenter’s bias… That kind of thing.

But happily there is a useful article in the Scientific American blog which explores the question of female ejaculation in a humorous but, well, sort-of-scientific way.

Squirting Is Believing

What can it tell us about this most mysterious of sexual phenomena?

Quite a lot, actually. The author starts by referring to a review in the Journal Sexual Medicine History, where urologist Joanna Korda and colleagues looked through historical texts since the fourth century, and found numerous references to what was undoubtedly female ejaculation.

Sidebar: There are two fluids which seem to be confused in female ejaculation….the first is what has become known as gushing or squirting orgasms, which produce a watery clear liquid which seems to come from the urethra and is not normal urine. And there is also a viscous, creamy liquid, which may come from the paraurethral glands. The first of these is shown below.

female-ejaculation

History Of Female Ejaculation

To take only one example, the Kama Sutra in ancient India speaks of “female semen” that discharges continuously.

The first scientific account of female ejaculation was presented between 1650 and 1700 by a Dutch gynecologist (an interesting definition, because I’m not sure that they had such qualifications in those days, but still) who distinguished between the vagianl lubrication as an aid to sexual intercourse, and female ejaculation, which he described as “clearly not designed to moisten the urethra”.

And he was dead right in observing that the ducts from which this fluid emerges are open near the urethra. If you have ever seen a woman enjoying one or more squirting orgasms at close quarters, you’ll know what I mean!

In modern times, it was 1952 before against Ernst Grafenberg discovered what he described as an erotic zone inside the vagina, on the anterior wall – the famous G spot.

He wrote an article on this, which was headed “The role of the urethra in female orgasm”, a reference to the fact that the G spot is actually composed of tissue which surrounds the vagina and the urethra.

Grafenberg studied women as they were masturbating, and noticed that some had gushes of fluid emerging from their urethra at the point of orgasm. Presumably he was one of the first scientists to witness the phenomenon of squirting orgasms at close quarters.

The inevitable conclusion of this is that this fluid must somehow be about sexual pleasure rather than lubrication, otherwise the fluid would emerge earlier during sexual stimulation.

Grafenberg analysed the fluid and found that it wasn’t urine – and he concluded that it was actually secretions from the paraurethral glands which are part of the tissue making up the G spot during sexual arousal.

gspot (1)

Bear in mind that most women who are capable of squirting orgasms (and of course that might be all women) ejaculate talk of producing copious amounts of fluid, using expressions like “soaking the bed”.

How can it be that even after so many anecdotal accounts from so many women, the nature and composition of female ejaculatory fluid is still not fully understood?

That’s a really pertinent question, particularly in view of the fact that every study that’s been done has found a distinction between typical urine composition and the composition of female ejaculatory fluid.

One reason for the lack of clarity is that urine is not completely absent from female ejaculatory fluid prduced during a gushing or squirting orgasm. Yet there are contrasting reports from women who ejaculate, which broadly fall into two categories: thick viscous creamy liquid, and a watery, odourless and colourless liquid.

Two Kinds Of Ejaculate?

So it would seem that there are two kinds of female ejaculation – and this kind of fits with the idea of the prostatic type tissue around the female urethra producing a fluid which resembles the composition of semen (without the sperm, of course), and something else producing another fluid which seems to have some relationship to the bladder and be discharged through the urethra.

Needless to say, one of the problems here is that people generally have an ax to grind when it comes to female ejaculation.

Women who enjoy gushing, and experience it frequently, tend to be both adamant about the reality of it, and fervent in their description of the fluid they discharge.

Other women speak of just a small amount of fluid, thicker more viscous and creamy fluid being ejaculated.

The answer? Well, it’s hardly possible to take women into a laboratory and examine the composition and nature of female ejaculatory fluid under scientific conditions.

For one thing, women need to be very aroused to ejaculate and this is quite difficult to achieve in a laboratory.

One thing we can say with certainty is that female ejaculate is not pure urine. Even women who empty their bladders before sex may ejaculate large quantities of fluid.

Other characteristics of female ejaculation which seem to occur time and time again are:

  • the infrequent nature of the phenomenon – most female ejaculators don’t ejaculate every time they reach orgasm.
  • the fact  that often women are surprised when their first experience of female ejaculation happens.
  • the certainty is that female ejaculation is linked to high levels of arousal
  • often women also speak of feeling safe and secure and trusting with their partner. Another expression they commonly use is “relaxing into the experience”.

As time goes by, women who might have been surprised by their first ejaculation seem to move from a position of surprise and shock, possibly believing that it’s urine, to a position of enjoying it and finding squirting or ejaculation empowering and enhancing their sex life.

Squirting orgasms can be a source of shame to woman who does not understand the nature of what’s happening, because she might think she’s urinating.

But after realizing that this is actually a common, if not exactly run-of-the-mill, experience, women often come to see ejaculation as an important part of their sex lives.

The Wider Debate About Ejaculation

In trying to understand female ejaculation a little better, it’s important to refer back to the first paper by Grafenberg, in which he states:

If there is the opportunity to observe the orgasm of such women, one can see that large quantities of a clear transparent fluid are expelled not from the vulva, but out of the urethra in gushes. At first I thought that the bladder sphincter had become defective by the intensity of the orgasm. Involuntary expulsion of urine is reported in sex literature. In the cases observed by us, the fluid was examined and it had no urinary character. I am inclined to believe that “urine” reported to be expelled during female orgasm is not urine, but only secretions of the intraurethral glands correlated with the erotogenic zone along the urethra in the anterior vaginal wall. Moreover the profuse secretions coming out with the orgasm have no lubricating significance, otherwise they would be produced at the beginning of intercourse and not at the peak of orgasm.

Regrettably this paper had little impact on research into female ejaculation or what people thought about squirting orgasms, because “experts” like Masters and Johnson said that Grafenberg was wrong, and simply dismissed the phenomenon as stress incontinence at the moment of orgasm.

It was only the work of Helen Connell, who started analyzing the anatomical structures of the female genitals in 1988 that started to give a scientific base to the possibility of ejaculation.

clitoral structure
Structure of the clitoris surrounded by erectile tissues

She observed that the urethra is embedded by erectile tissue in almost all orientations as it runs alongside the side of the vagina.

This tissue, the paraurethral glands, resembles the male prostate gland, although that in itself does probably not explain the phenomenon of squirting or gushing clear liquid in large quantities. In fact this tissue seems to produce a thick, white and viscous liquid in comparatively small quantities.

Scientific studies have demonstrated that the liquid produced during a squirting orgasm, wherever it comes from, is not urine, although it does have some of the chemical characteristics of urine.

One of the critical factors in distinguishing between what we call gushing or squirting orgasms on the one hand and female ejaculation originating in the prostatic tissue on the other – if indeed they are different – is the volume of liquid produced.

The quantity of paraurethral tissue is not great, as you might expect, just as male prostatic tissue is limited in volume.

Male ejaculation is limited in volume to around 20 ml at the most. It would seem intuitively unlikely that the paraurethral tissue or Skene’s glands in women could produce any more. 

We review the scientific evidence elsewhere on this site, and for the moment we’ll continue with a a few observations of the feminist criticism of the concept of female ejaculation, which is really quite interesting.

What’s Wrong With Squirting Orgasms?

Even though loads of women are ejaculating, there is an ongoing debate about the existence of female ejaculation, the composition of the liquid emitted, and how it relates to female sexuality.

Obviously Internet porn has played a major part in popularizing the concept of gushing or squirting orgasms – so much so that this is becoming confused with the general concept of female ejaculation in the minds of the broader public.

Historically, female ejaculation has been viewed through a mostly male perspective, and so possibly distorted by male fantasies about female ejaculation.

But as far as many people are concerned, the unifying feature of most writing on female ejaculation is the fact that stimulation of the G spot results in the forcible emission of large quantities of fluid at the moment of orgasm – squirting orgasms, in other words.

While some on the side of female ejaculation support the idea that the prostatic tissue could produce this ejaculatory fluid, others simply dismiss this by saying that women are mistaking the fluid emitted at orgasm for either vaginal lubrication or urinary stress incontinence.

This is really unhelpful: Shannon Bell has observed that the dismissal of women’s experience for the want of scientific proof is typical of male doctors who over the centuries have denied the validity of the female sexual experience.

In short, men have tended to disregard, reinterpret and overwrite women’s descriptions of female ejaculation.

And perhaps their sexual pleasure, too, because, at the end of the day, this is all about female pleasure during sex.

Some of the most educated and expansive female writers on the subject have suggested that the way to challenge bigotry on both sides of the debate is to regard the clitoris, vagina and urethra as a single sexual organ.

And what’s wrong with that? For women who experience sexual pleasure from the stimulation of the urethral opening and the tissue surrounding the urethra, this might well be a simple and straightforward way of accepting that female sexual pleasure can be experienced in a variety of ways.

G spot seen near the entrance to the vagina
G spot seen near the entrance to the vagina with eversion of vaginal barrel.