Some women lubricate very well and there are secretions from the small glands at the vaginal opening so a few milliliters of fluid is very common. But what about those videos that you see or people who report that they “squirt?” (more than 15 ml but often volumes of 100-150 ml are described).
The pro “squirting” camp believes the fluid is a form of female ejaculation and that it likely comes from the Skene’s glands, a pair of glands on either side of the urethra (the tube that drains the bladder). The Skene’s glands are referred to by some as the “female prostate.”
This idea of “squirting” being ejaculate from the Skene’s glands or other lower genital tract glands has long bothered me as the Skene’s glands are tiny, about the size of a pea, and are just not physiologically capable of producing any more than a few milliliters of fluid at best. Keep in mind the male prostate is about the size of a walnut, so much larger than Skene’s glands, and only produces 3-5 ml of ejaculate. In fact there is no single gland in the genital tract capable of producing 15 mls or more of fluid in a short period of time never mind 100 mls. In fact, I’m not sure there is any single gland (or a pair of glands) anywhere in the body capable of churning out 100 ml of liquid in an hour or less.
This new study, The Nature and Original of “Squirting” in Female Sexuality in the Journal of Sexual Medicine evaluated seven healthy women who reported female ejaculation or “squirting”, i.e. the emission of a large amount of fluid during orgasm. They were screened to make sure they did not have a history of incontinence. The women then emptied their bladders, were stimulated to orgasm either by themselves (2 women) with a toy or with a sex partner (5 women, male partners used condoms to prevent fluid contamination) and a variety of measurements were obtained:
- Amount of urine in the bladder at baseline, while aroused, and after orgasm (measured by ultrasound)
- Urine was collected and analyzed before stimulation and after orgasm
- The “squirted” fluid was analyzed
Urine and squirted fluid was analyzed for chemicals (BUN, creatinine, uric acid, and prostate specific antigen or PSA) to determine whether the fluid was urine or from a gland like the Skene’s.
So what did the researchers find? In these women who reported “squirting” their bladders filled remarkably fast during sexual stimulation and so contained urine pre orgasm/”squirting” and was empty after “squirting.” Biochemically the fluid retrieved from “squirting” was urine although small amounts of PSA were detected meaning a small amount of fluid may come from the Skene’s glands. This finding is expected because the glands are mechanically stimulated during arousal and/or because they secrete small amounts of fluid during excitement and possibly orgasm.
An empty bladder before sex that fills during arousal and is then empty after “squirting,” in addition to the biochemical analysis, confirms the fluid is urine. This is not surprising given there is no gland that can produce a large amount of fluid in the area and the stimulation of sexual activity combined with the pelvic floor muscle contractions of orgasm could cause the bladder to empty involuntarily. Whether women who report “squirting” actually have an incontinence issue or whether the have stronger pelvic floor contractions is unknown.
What happens during sex doesn’t really matter as long as you are having fun. However, this study is important because many women feel inadequate because they don’t “squirt.” In fact, I am asked about this a couple of times a month. Yes, there are small emissions from Skene’s glands (a few ml at best) and likely the Bartholin’s glands, but this is not in the volume that women who “squirt” describe and certainly wouldn’t be expelled in the way women describe “squirting.”
Wet spots are the norm and are a combination of vaginal fluid and emissions from the Skene’s and Bartholin’s glands, but large amounts of fluid that are “squirted” during sex are urine. If it makes a woman or her partner feel like she has achieved a stronger orgasm, then great. If it is bothersome, then seeing a urogynecologist (bladder specialist) may help determine the type of coital incontinence (the technical term for involuntary bladder emptying during sex) and what treatment might be available.
“Squirting” is not female ejaculation it is the involuntary release of urine. Whether “squirting” should be a goal during sex is really personal, but it is important to be precise because there are already so many sex myths out there and a million reasons for women to feel inadequate.