Female ejaculation is one of those topics that consistently generates a lot of debate among scientists and laypersons alike. The debate isn’t so much about whether female ejaculation is real (it is, and we've known about it for a long time), but rather what the nature of the fluid is and where it comes from. To sum up this debate, the main question has really been: is it just urine, or something else? Previous attempts to answer this question have produced conflicting results because it seems as though there is not just one type of female ejaculation. That is, there are some women who occasionally ejaculate a small amount of a milky fluid during orgasm, whereas others have been described as “squirting” or “gushing” copious amounts of a thin, watery fluid. Thus, in order to provide a definitive answer regarding the nature of female ejaculation, we have to first be clear on which type of ejaculate we’re talking about. A new study just published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine focused on the nature of the “squirting” type and concluded that this particular form of female ejaculation is pretty much just urine after all.
In this study, researchers recruited a sample of seven women, all of whom reported previous experience with squirting (defined by the researchers as “regular liquid expulsion during arousal or orgasm that was comparable with, at least, that of a glass of water, which abundantly wetted bed sheets”). All women were over age 18, of normal body weight (BMI of 18-25), had no history of prior medical problems, and were not currently pregnant.
Before the study began, the women were asked to empty their bladders. Then, they were each given a pelvic ultrasound. Afterward, they either sexually stimulated themselves or had a partner stimulate them in a private room. When they felt “sufficiently aroused,” a second pelvic ultrasound was performed. After this, sexual stimulation continued until squirting occurred. The fluid released was collected in plastic bags and one final pelvic ultrasound was performed. In addition to this, all women completed surveys about their sexual history and provided urine samples both before and after the study.
All participants experienced squirting during the study after anywhere from 25-60 minutes of stimulation. Moreover, all participants reported that they experienced an orgasm just before or during squirting. On average, 60ml of fluid was recovered for each participant; however, all of the women reported that the volume of fluid produced was lower than they typically experience in private settings.
With regard to the ultrasound data, analyses revealed that “significant bladder filling” occurred between the first and second scans in all participants. Moreover, the bladder appeared empty on the third, post-squirting scan.
In addition, a biochemical analysis of the squirting fluid revealed that it was comparable to the urine samples collected in terms of levels of urea, creatinine, and uric acid. The only difference was that prostate-specific antigen (PSA) was detected in 5 of the 7 women’s squirting samples. In other words, the fluid released during squirting was primarily urine, but most women had a small amount of a prostatic secretion present in this fluid as well.
Based on the results of this study, the authors conclude that “squirting essentially is the involuntary emission of urine during sexual activity.” Again, this is not to say that all female ejaculation is urine. Further research is needed with larger samples of women in order to determine the nature and origin of fluid for women who produce ejaculate of smaller quantities and different consistencies. For now, however, all we can conclude is that at least some cases of female ejaculation (i.e., those that fall under the category of squirting) are largely an involuntary release of the bladder.
Read more about "squirting" and why it's so popular in pornography in this article.
(Editor's note: Neither the original research report nor this write-up of it make any value judgments with regard to squirting one way or another. In both cases, the goal was only to address the question of what squirting is. The results of this research should not be taken to mean that squirting is a "bad" thing, nor should they be taken to mean that there is anything wrong with women who experience it or those who enjoy it.)
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To learn more about this research, see: Salama, S., Boitrelle, F., Gauquelin, A., Malagrida, L., Thiounn, N., & Desvaux, P. (in press). Nature and origin of “squirting” in female sexuality. The Journal of Sexual Medicine.
Image Credit: 123RF.com
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