Female ejaculation, aka squirting, has become a lot more mainstream in the past few decades, thanks in part to porn. Indeed, many a porn video has led us to believe that if you stimulate a vagina in just the right way, it'll transform into a free-flowing, wellspring of ejaculate.
But long before squirting was its own porn category, female ejaculation had mystified and fascinated sex experts. In the 1980s, a sex researcher named Deborah Sundahl, who is known for her research on the G-spot, found that some women can ejaculate as a result of deep stimulation. Sundahl even released a video tutorial program in 1992 designed to teach people how to squirt, which was quite radical for the time. These days, Sundahl and other sex experts offer workshops for people to learn how to squirt. But the occurrence is still somewhat mysterious, or at least misunderstood.
Here's what researchers know about squirting from an anatomical standpoint: If you insert an object or penis inside of the vaginal opening, about one-third of the way up, and push it against the anterior vaginal wall, there is a ridged area of the tissue (aka the G-spot region) that feels like soft corduroy during arousal, explains Patti Britton, PhD, clinical sexologist. "Behind that wall of the vagina is something that we refer to as the peri-urethral ducts or the peri-urethral sponge," Dr. Britton says.
The peri-urethral duct is a spongey body that absorbs fluid that's regarded as the "female ejaculate." When a person with a vagina squirts, technically the fluid is coming out of their urethra — not the vaginal canal — and studies have confirmed that the fluid is compromised of mostly uric acid, Dr. Britton says. In theory, "if there is very deep stimulation of the G-spot region, and the person is highly aroused, then it can create the effect of the release and the emanation of the fluid to the urethra," Dr. Britton says. So, that's the science.
Whether or not everyone with a vagina can squirt is less clear-cut. According to Myisha Battle, a certified sex coach in San Francisco, they can — with the right technique, amount, and type of penetration. "When it comes to female ejaculation, practice makes perfect," Battle says. To try it at home, she suggests masturbating with a curved, knobbed toy. Once you become aroused, feel around for the ribbed area on the top few inches of the vaginal wall, she says. "Focus stimulation there moving back and forth over the ridges, and as you do, this tissue will get hard and easier to feel." You might feel a combination of an orgasmic rush and having to pee, she says.
"The force of this ejaculation depends on the strength of your pelvic floor muscles, which will contract during orgasm or prior to squirting," Battle says. Orgasm and squirting can happen at the same time, but not always. And that can make it hard to tell if you've done it.
While this all sounds fun and exciting, in some ways squirting is "just another performance hoop for women to have to jump through," Dr. Britton says. She says people often have one of two concerns about squirting: Why can't I do it, am I inadequate? or I think I'm wetting the bed during sex. Is that normal? Both of these are somewhat mired in shame or anxiety, Dr. Britton says, which become "another barrier to experiencing free flow and pleasure."
No two people have the same vagina, and everyone orgasms differently. Unfortunately, because squirting is performative and somewhat quantifiable, it's become a mark of sexual superiority — which frankly just sucks for anyone who doesn't squirt easily or at all. Sex, Dr. Britton says, shouldn't be about feeling pressured to put on a show. It's "about the experience of the process, pleasure, connection, and empowerment. Sex can be for growing your sexual self-esteem, releasing tension, or bonding with a partner — not about performance," she says.
If you are able to squirt, more power to you. And if you're curious, there's no harm in trying it out. The bottom line to remember is that (like other aspects of sex) female ejaculation isn't just a matter of pushing a button and waiting for the floodgates to open — so don't be discouraged if you come up dry.