I am one of those people with a vulva who are capable of ejaculation, or “squirting” as it is otherwise known. Although most often associated with stimulation of the G-spot, I know of vulva owners who can ejaculate from a clitoral orgasm as well; however I am not one of them.
Like many vulva owners who ejaculate, for a long time I didn’t allow it to happen because I didn’t know what was going on and thought I was about to pee. Although in my case I already knew that female ejaculation was a thing - I just didn’t realise that’s what I was experiencing. When I eventually figured out that stuff I thought was pee is actually ejaculate, and learnt I can ejaculate consistently with the right kind of stimulation, I embraced it wholeheartedly. I’m proud that my body can do this and it definitely makes my orgasms better.
I was horrified to learn some time ago that in the UK and Australia (and probably other countries) it is illegal to depict female ejaculation, which is just as normal as male ejaculation, in pornography.
Why this ridiculous law? It’s because of a common misconception, although the truth is more complicated than you’d think.
Many people, including those who experience female ejaculation, think that the ejaculate is urine and therefore they must be incontinent. (In fact, this was the view held by the medical establishment in the past, but it’s not my aim to give a history lesson).
This same assumption is, unfortunately, the reason that porn depicting female ejaculation is banned in some countries; erotic depiction of urination is banned on “moral grounds” in these countries (which is no less horrifying), and female ejaculation is wrongly equated with urination.
Ejaculation, regardless of the kind of genitals involved, and urination are not equivalent either physically or in social significance. Urination (in a healthy individual) is a voluntary act of eliminating waste from the body, which for some people in certain scenarios is a turn-on, hence the “need” for a ban on porn depicting urination in the first place. Ejaculation is an involuntary emission of fluid from the genitals, usually during orgasm. Whether or not that fluid is, or contains, urine is kind of irrelevant. But let’s stay on topic.
Unlike male ejaculate, which we of course know both the makeup and purpose of, female ejaculate has always been a bit of a mystery. What evolutionary purpose does it serve? What substances is it made up of?
In 2014 a number of scientists set about trying to answer this question. I wanted to get hold of the whitepaper to read it myself but to my great frustration it is only accessible if you are a member of an academic institution, which I am not. If you are fortunate enough to have such access, you can read the full paper here.
In my case I garnered my information from this article reporting on the study.
The conclusions of the research, which involved taking samples of ejaculate fluid from 7 female participants who consistently experienced ejaculation, was as follows.
Female ejaculate consists mostly of a fluid comparable to urine, containing substances like urea and creatinine. During sexual arousal, this fluid accumulates in the bladder, and is expelled from the urethra during orgasm (although for some people, apparently it may occur earlier than orgasm). The volume of fluid varies from a few drops to a significant amount that gives the impression of “gushing” or “squirting”.
In order to confirm the origin of the ejaculate fluid, the researchers took ultrasounds of the subject’s bladder immediately after they had urinated, confirming the bladder to be empty. The subjects then engaged in sexual stimulation and just before their orgasm, another ultrasound was taken, which showed that the bladder had filled again during sexual arousal. After ejaculation a third ultrasound showed the bladder to be empty.
I found these results particularly interesting, because they are consistent with my own experiences of arousal and ejaculation:
- If my bladder is already full, I become aroused, and orgasm much quicker and harder and ejaculate more fluid (which is usually darker than if I ejaculate “on an empty bladder”).
- It’s easier for me to ejaculate if I’ve drunk lots of water, EVEN IF my bladder is not yet full from drinking.
- If I become aroused but don’t ejaculate I usually need to pee afterwards.
- When I masturbate I can actually feel my bladder filling during stimulation.
- If I ejaculate but “hold back” a bit by clenching my pelvic muscles (which I sometimes do if I don’t want to make too much mess) I need to pee afterwards, although I have to wait a little while cause I can’t urinate directly after orgasm due to swelling.
- The ejaculate always smells uriney to me. Although other people often state that it doesn’t, as part of the “proof” that female ejaculate IS NOT pee. (This is why it took me so long to realise I ejaculate.)
The researchers discovered that in some, but not all participants, the urine-like ejaculate fluid consistently also contains a small amount of fluid equivalent to male semen, containing prostatic acid phosphatase (PSA) and “other analogues of male semen” according to the article.
PSA enhances sperm motility, which gives a possible evolutionary reason for female ejaculation, although it doesn’t explain why not all the participants’ ejaculate contains this fluid. It’s argued that the PSA in female ejaculate originates from the “female prostate”, which is essentially the same organ as the male prostate, just less developed. You can read more about the female prostate in this whitepaper (access unrestricted for once).
While the article proposes that the absence of PSA in some of the research participants’ ejaculate is due to the prostate being insufficiently developed, or even absent, in these individuals, there is another possible explanation (my own theory, so take it with a grain of salt).
The article mentions evidence of hormonal influence on the ability of the female prostate to produce PSA. To me this suggests that differing base hormonal levels in individuals could be responsible for the presence, or not, of PSA in female ejaculate.
Another theory put forward by the article just doesn’t make sense.
- According to the article, urine can actually kill sperm which would render the presence of PSA useless for improving fertility.
- I have not been able to find any scientific evidence to support the theory that urine kills sperm, so I’m skeptical. (If you do find such evidence, shoot me an email.)
- Furthermore, since urine is emitted from the urethra which is above and outside the vagina, it probably wouldn’t have much impact on fertility even if it did kill sperm.
- Finally, the article contradicts itself by suggesting that the presence of PSA is useless because the simultaneous presence of urine kills sperm, while also arguing that the PSA is useless because it’s emitted from the urethra…away from the vagina…therefore not coming into contact with any sperm…hmmm.
Of course, there is always the possibility that female ejaculation is an evolutionary side effect rather than an evolutionary adaptation, like male nipples. But whether or not it has a “purpose”, evolutionarily speaking, is insignificant in the end. It’s a wonderful experience that some people are able to have, and we should not be ashamed of it - or ban it in porn.
On a different note, the researchers (according to another source) apparently believe that everyone with a vulva should be able to ejaculate “if their partner knows what they are doing”. This is a problematic statement and I am pleased to see that another person quoted in that article agrees with me: “why would a partner know what to do?” says Matty Silver.
As Silver points out, nobody can better discover how to achieve a new erotic experience than yourself. The researchers’ comment is, I think, a reflection of a society that still refuses to acknowledge the right of people with vulvas to know and own their body, and perhaps even reflects the prevalent assumption that only people with penises masturbate. It almost unfairly blames partners for the inability of some people with vulvas to ejaculate. Not to mention that this statement might make vulva owners who can’t ejaculate feel inadequate themselves, or fear that there is something wrong with them.
Silver also voices doubts about the duration for which the participants in the study masturbated for, saying that after 25-60 minutes “Any woman would have urine in their bladder by then, I would assume”. Not being able to read the whitepaper myself, I have to take Silver’s word for it that the participants masturbated for this long. It does indeed seem like a long time - my sessions average about 5 minutes. But perhaps the research environment made it harder for the subjects to reach orgasm, I know it would for me.
I’m not convinced that 25-60 minutes would be long enough to accumulate urine in the bladder without sexual stimulation, and my own experiences masturbating for much shorter periods of time seem to confirm the researchers’ conclusions. But that is, after all, only the experience of one person. One thing is certain, that this is an area deserving of far more academic study.