Is Female Ejaculation Even Real? 5 Myths Debunked

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UPDATE: This post was originally published on March 24.

Here at Planned Parenthood, we get a fair amount of questions about female ejaculation. Before I clear up some of the biggest misconceptions, here’s a brief primer about female ejaculation, also known as squirting: People with vulvas have tissue surrounding their urethra, called the urethral sponge, which is part of the internal clitoris and is actually very similar to the erectile tissue in dude packages. When you’re turned on, the clitoris and urethral sponge swell and become more sensitive — like a hard-on for your vag. There are tiny glands in and right next to the urethra, called Skene’s or paraurethral glands, and they can fill with fluid as you’re gettin’ busy. Ejaculation happens when that fluid is expelled from the urethra and/or Skene’s glands during sexual stimulation.

If you’re familiar with the G-spot, you probably already know a lot about the urethral sponge. The G-spot simply refers to the area where the urethral sponge can be felt through the vaginal wall. It’s located about one to two inches in on the front side of the vagina (toward your belly button, not your back). The easiest way to find your G-spot is by putting fingers in the first few inches of your vagina, then curving them up toward the front wall like you’re saying “come hither.” The more aroused you are, the more noticeable and receptive to pleasure your G-spot will be. If you’re not all hot 'n’ bothered, touching this area tends to either feel uncomfortable or nondescript. Though squirting is commonly associated with G-spot and vaginal action, many people can ejaculate from clitoral stimulation alone.

There is a LOT of misinformation surrounding this relatively unexplored aspect of sex, so let’s debunk the five biggest myths about female ejaculation.

Nobody can do it
History lesson time! The idea that female ejaculation is fake or impossible is actually a pretty new one. Early sex advice manuals (like the Kama Sutra) not only acknowledged squirting, but also honored it as a natural, critical, and beautiful part of sex. Unfortunately, modern science hasn’t been as celebratory of the full spectrum of women’s sexuality, and doctors and researchers in the 1800s (most of whom were male, obviously) became skeptical about the existence of female ejaculation. They basically claimed all this squirting was really just “peeing during sex,” so what was previously a celebrated aspect of sexuality became a medical condition. Not cool, dudes.

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In the mid-1900s, a German gynecologist named Ernst Gräfenberg began to explore the urethra and urethral sponge as erogenous zones, and published papers documenting the existence of female ejaculation. Unfortunately, Gräfenberg’s findings fell on deaf ears, and for several decades sex researchers remained completely unconvinced that female ejaculation was legit.

In the 1980s, sexologists Beverly Whipple and John Perry focused their research primarily on the part of the urethral sponge that can be felt through the vaginal wall and its role in orgasm and ejaculation. They christened this now-famous zone the “G-spot” or “Gräfenberg spot,” after our ol’ buddy Ernst Grafänberg, and noted that stimulation of the G-spot sometimes resulted in ejaculation and orgasm. They published their findings, including documentation of the vulva’s ability to ejaculate, in their popular book The G-spot: And Other Recent Discoveries About Human Sexuality.

Despite all this, some people STILL don’t buy it. It doesn’t help that squirting isn’t super common and presents some pretty obvious challenges in terms of research, which keeps it shrouded in mystery. Furthermore, exploring sexual pleasure hasn’t exactly been a high priority in the scientific community, especially for women. But, we now know conclusively that squirting is real — and anybody who has experienced and/or witnessed female ejaculation can confirm that.

Everybody can do it
On the flip side, there are squirting evangelicals who believe everyone can squirt, whether or not they’ve actually experienced it before. Research hasn’t been able to determine if all vulvas actually do possess the capability for ejaculation, but there’s been speculation about what makes the river flow easier for some than for others. Some people’s Skene’s glands (what produces ejaculate) may be smaller or less active than others, or there might be scar tissue blocking the ducts. Some may hold it back because they mistakenly think they’re going to pee. Others may not have ever had their urethral sponge stimulated enough (or in the necessary way) to produce ejaculate. What it comes down to is that more research is needed to sort this one out.

Some people with vulvas involuntarily ejaculate every time or nearly every time they have sex, while others have to employ special techniques to get the job done. And, some don’t squirt at all. If you want to explore squirting, have at it — the research is incredibly fun. But, don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your partners. As with all parts of sexuality, it’s not a competition. Some people squirt, some don’t, and that’s all normal — the only thing that matters is that everyone’s having a good time. You should never be made to feel inadequate because you can’t do it. And, conversely, you should never be made to feel weird if you can do it. All that’s needed for super sex is that every participant is genuinely enjoying themselves, and that you're protecting yourself and your partners by using birth control and/or practicing safer sex.

RELATED: Will Birth Control Affect My Sex Drive?
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It’s pee
As previously mentioned, doctors had historically chalked squirting up to sexual dysfunction, speculating that women were peeing during sex. During this time, according to Rebecca Chalker’s The Clitoral Truth, some women underwent unnecessary surgeries to “correct” a problem that wasn’t actually a problem. Others simply tried to hold it in, preventing orgasms, or suppressing sexual pleasure. Bummer city, man.

But, now we can put this one to bed, once and for all. Female ejaculate is NOT pee. It’s understandable why we might think this — it’s expelled from the pee hole area, sometimes in mass quantities, and, well, the process can look and/or feel a lot like peeing. The liquid may also have a slight odor and yellowishness that resembles urine.

But, it’s not pee. Female ejaculate is actually an alkaline liquid, similar to prostate fluid. Female ejaculate can be completely odorless, or a little musky (the word “earthy” gets bandied about a lot). It’s typically clear to yellowish, and thinner than the slippery lubrication vaginas produce during sex. If the similarity to urination still makes you feel uncomfortable, try peeing right before sexual activity. If your bladder isn’t full, you can be assured that whatever’s shooting out of you is not pee. Throw down some towels and enjoy it!

Ejaculation always happens during orgasm
Unlike the typical ejaculation from a penis, vaginal ejaculation isn’t necessarily connected to orgasms. Some people squirt before having an orgasm, some during, and some after — or all three. Also unlike penile ejaculation, there can be many “bursts,” not just one grand finale. While ejaculation from a penis is largely involuntary, those of us with vulvas can sometimes control whether or not we squirt (although it’s also totally normal for it to happen spontaneously). All that’s truly needed is any kind of stimulation that fills the Skene’s glands with ejaculate — no orgasm required. That being said, many women DO ejaculate when they come, particularly because orgasms make vaginal muscles pulse, which can push out the fluid. But, whether or not you ejaculate during orgasm has nothing to do with how good or “real” the orgasm is.

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It’s always a huge, splashy gush
The typical expectation of squirting is an acrobatic vaginal geyser, because that’s what’s typically seen in porn (it’s worth noting that porn depictions of female ejaculation ARE often fake). While some people are capable of achieving Olympic-level projections, others produce more of a dribble than a stream. Some people don’t even realize it’s happening — they simply confuse it with regular ol’ vaginal lubrication. Ejaculation may easily happen every time you go to sexy town; though, many find their genitals need to be stimulated a certain way to achieve it.

What it simply boils down to is our bodies are different. It’s normal to squirt, but it’s also normal not to — and there is no “right” or “wrong” way to ejaculate. If whatever’s happening feels rad and is safe and protected, then keep on keepin’ on.

Beyond serving as a go-to source for vital reproductive care, the folks at Planned Parenthood— a team of experts in medicine, sexual health, and law — are passionate, informed advocates for knowing your own body. Planned Parenthood's very own Kendall McKenzie is here to tackle the big issues.