The Cultural Background to Squirting

One of the more interesting articles on female ejaculation, or squirting orgasms, has been published in the Guardian, under the headline
“The debate about squirting is actually about whether or not women can be trusted to accurately report their own sexual experiences.”

And that does reflect a fundamental truth about female ejaculation: scientific investigators seem to start from a position where they are trying to disprove its existence.

It’s almost as though there’s something doubtful about the very existence of squirting orgasms, and women can’t be trusted to relate what they’re experiencing.

Male and Female Ejaculation

view of female vulva with labia held apart
View of female vulva with labia held apart

There are certainly some reasons why that female ejaculation is harder to accept. For one thing, female ejaculation is less noticeable than male ejaculation. In fact, it’s probably recognizable in many cases only to the woman who is experiencing it, and unlike male ejaculation, the evidence of it having happened may not necessarily be very clear.

But when you dig down a little bit further into the phenomenon of squirting orgasms, it’s also true that a denial of female  sexual pleasure is a theme which has run through a widespread patriarchal attitude towards female sexuality for many centuries.

So can we now separate the reality of squirting orgasms and female ejaculation from what men fantasize about, would like to believe is true, and also seem to try and deny?

I’d say the answer is yes.

For surely we can rely on what women themselves say about female ejaculation?

Surely what they say about their sexual experiences serves as incontrovertible evidence of the existence of female sexual response, female orgasm, female ejaculation and above all female sexual pleasure?

True, what makes this slightly harder is the fact many women themselves deny the reality of female ejaculation – but there are significantly more women who have discovered it and know it to be a genuine phenomenon, part of their sexual experience.

Another problem, as you may well be aware is that almost every conversation on the subject of female ejaculation finally ends up debating the question of whether or not it’s a real phenomenon.

And there’s a whole genre of pornography centered on squirting orgasms which is not doing us any favours in our attempts to establish what is true and what is not true.

What we do know, however is that there a scientific study conducted by French gynaecologists seems to demonstrate that female ejaculation comes in two forms. 

There’s the emission of some kind of pseudo-prostatic fluid from the female Skene’s glands (which resemble male prostate tissue). And second, there’s the expulsion of fluid from the bladder – which is the much more common form of “squirting” which is seen on Internet pornography and erotica.

Regrettably, one consequence of this announcement was that many people who behave as if they have some investment in denying the reality of female ejaculation were delighted to have “evidence” that women were mistaken in thinking female ejaculation was a genuine form of sexual expression.

What a mistake! How could you not have realized, they say, that squirting orgasms are merely arousal-induced urinary incontinence?

Underlying all of this, as you might realize, is the assumption that women can’t understand, or can’t describe, what they’re experiencing during sex.

What must be very irritating for women here is the fact that when a woman has ejaculated during sex, she has experienced a unique sensation of sexual arousal, and a unique symptom of orgasmic release.

Every woman who’s ejaculated will know that even if the fluid they release during squirting orgasms is indeed coming from the bladder, it looks, it smells, and it feels, different to urine.

But regardless of whether or not the subjective sensation of fluid released at the height of orgasm is different to urine in composition, there’s also a denial of what women say: namely, female ejaculation, squirting, or gushing, call it what you may, feels different from the act of urination. And, let’s remember, the evidence is that the liquid released when a woman comes is fundamentally different to her pee.

And there’s a deeper aspect to all of this, as well: the fact that the physical experience of female ejaculation is simply an expression of female sexual pleasure in its purest form.

When people insist that female ejaculation is simply urination (or something vaguely similar), that becomes a denigration of women’s experience of their own bodies and women’s ability to understand their own sexuality. It also conveys a sense that female sexuality is somehow “dirty” or “less pure” than the male orgasm.

Sure, this is a feminist position. And no wonder! The fact is, the politics of female ejaculation go far beyond the ability of an individual woman to experience sexual pleasure during ejaculation.

In both Britain and Australia scenes of female ejaculation have been “banned” in erotica, on the grounds that all the women are doing is urinating.

(How extraordinary that such material should be banned even if that were true. But that, of course, is another issue.)

Bearing in mind that most women who have female-ejaculated declaim that urination has no part to play in female ejaculation makes this political background feel something like covert censorship of female sexuality.