And what's up with our fascination?
“Can you squirt?” pops up on my Chaturbate chat room more often than I can count. It’s the unicorn of sexual phenomena. I always laugh and shake my head; it’s always been as foreign to me as it is to my viewer (that is, until writing this article). On the front page of the popular cam site are previews of rooms with women “gushing” or “squirting.” These women proudly mention the skill in their room titles, as it’s their specialty; it’s what gets people to peep inside. Never the squirter, I have always been curious about the phenomenon, which gained increasing popularity in 2013 and has since soared to one of the consistently most popular searches on Pornhub.
Further, the science behind squirting has long been debated—is it a unique liquid or is it just pee?
First, is squirting a myth?
In the documentary series, “Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On,” we see Bailey Rayne, an adult entertainment entrepreneur in the episode, “Owning It,” help a cam girl chug water before a solo masturbation scene. Eventually, the cam girl squirts. The cue-squirt scene is entirely made up of urine, a result of hydrating herself to ultimate exhaustion.
Only 18 percent of people with a vagina have a real orgasm on camera, meaning that squirting scenes aren’t generally the result of authentic satisfaction. However, this does not mean that squirting is a myth. The experience is real, and the porn industry has found a way to scout genuine squirters for viewers to watch. In real life, Emily* (a friend of mine) explained to me that during a sexual encounter, she simply “pushed” when she felt like she was going to have an orgasm. “It literally shot out across the room,” she continued, “I’ve never done that before.”
So, what exactly is squirting?
Where squirting gets a bit cloudy (pun intended) is that there are two different forms of ejaculation. Let’s break down the three terms used to describe the fluid(s) released from the vagina during orgasm:
Ejaculation: a milky fluid released from the Skene’s glands.
Squirting: diluted urine that comes from the bladder and urethra.
Gushing: a large amount of clear fluid from the bladder.
The first type of ejaculation from the vagina is a small amount of white fluid that comes from the Skene’s glands, the glandular tissue found in the urethral sponge, and exits through the urethra. While this fluid does not contain sperm, it is visually similar to ejaculate from the penis. It may not have a role in reproduction, however, Sharon Moalem, MD, PhD and Joy S. Reidenberg, PhD believe that female ejaculation does serve a purpose. Their hypothesis is that the fluid is antimicrobial and can protect against UTIs. This concept is still up for debate and requires further research.
The second type of fluid is referred to as “squirting” or “gushing.” It is more watery than its counterpart and expels from the vagina in larger volumes. A 2015 study of seven women concluded that “squirting is essentially the involuntary emission of urine during sexual activity.” The results showed that the women’s bladders were emptied post-release, and a biochemical analysis revealed the fluid was primarily urine with traces of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in five out of seven samples. So, while many people use the terms squirting/gushing and ejaculation interchangeably, there are actually two different types of fluid that can leave the body during the female climax.
Why can some people squirt and others can’t?
Interestingly, women are 44% more likely to search for squirting videos than men. For those with a vagina, perhaps our fascination lies in exploring the capabilities of our bodies. While squirting doesn’t happen for everyone, it does happen for some, as described. According to Invitra, an international community of specialists for fertility treatment, approximately 60 percent of women say that have been able to ejaculate at least once in their lives. Conclusive evidence beyond these self-reported statistics has yet to be revealed.
Two possible assumptions for why some female-bodied individuals cannot ejaculate include the following:
Some people with a vagina have small Skene’s glands (or they might be hidden and cannot be seen under visual examination).
People hold back due to fear of urination.
Since studies on the subject are so elusive, and there are two different forms of fluid to account for, we still can’t accurately explain squirting in the everyday sexual experience.
One thing is certain: the fluid frenzy doesn’t seem to be fading away anytime soon. Research is increasing and the public's interest is piqued. As we know, all bodies are created differently; no two are the same. Thus, in the world of science and in porn search bars near and far, the quest carries on for the reason people with vaginas ejaculate. In fact, if you listen closely, you might hear someone typing “s-q-u-i-r-t-i-n-g” right now.
*name has been changed.
Header image edited by Marcy Gooberman
I write about sex, art, + wellness | livelaughpeg.club | A virgo in the streets, a libra in the sheets.