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What is squirting?

March 10 2022 | Written by Miranda Vanhaarlem (She/Her)

The question “how to squirt?” is googled approximately 6,600 times a month in Canada, and to beat that, there are over one billion URLs that display that exact question. “What is squirting?” is a close second with 4,400 searches a month and has over two billion results. It seems squirting is as mysterious as The Krabby Patty Secret Formula (SpongeBob reference). Marlow is all for sparking much-needed conversation surrounding taboo subjects steeped in whispers and misinformation; therefore, I think it’s time we talk about squirting. Why is it called squirting? Is it female ejaculation? Is it pee? To be honest, I have no clue what’s going on either. Let’s learn together. 

It is essential to point out that a majority of studies referenced throughout this blog mention the terms “women” and “female ejaculation”. At Marlow, we recognize that not all individuals with a vulva identify as female and/or a woman, nor does everyone who identifies as female and/or a woman have a vulva. For folks that identify outside the gender binary, common scientific language can be harmful and oppressive. With that, we will be using the phrase “individuals with a vulva” throughout this post. 

What is squirting?

Squirting is the involuntary emission of a fluctuating amount of fluid during sexual arousal or orgasm. What exactly is meant by a fluctuating amount of fluid? According to a study conducted in 2013, the amount of fluid released can range from a few drops up to 150ml. It’s estimated that up  to 54% of individuals with a vulva experience squirting at some point in their lives. 

What fluid is squirting? 

We all want to know, is it pee? Sadly, we don’t know yet. Some researchers say maybe, a little bit, and others say absolutely. Let’s highlight some studies surrounding the mysterious squirting fluid.

In a study titled Nature and Origin of “Squirting” in Female Sexuality, individuals with vulvas went to the bathroom before sexual activity. This study performed ultrasounds before sexual activity, during sexual activity, and after squirting to determine the amount of fluid in their bladders. Individuals with vulva’s had empty bladders going into sexual activity, and when they became aroused their bladders had re-filled significantly. The scan that took place after they’d squirted showed empty bladders. This study suggests that the fluid released during squirting was likely urine. 

On the other hand, a study conducted by sexologist Beverly Whipple tested the fluid for urea and creatinine which are the chemical constituents of urine. Urea and creatinine were only present in low levels.  

Additionally, a smaller study has suggested the fluid involved in squirting comes from the Skene glands, which are located in the vaginal wall and help lubricate the vagina during sex. It is important to note that this study had an extremely small sample size, consisting of two women, so perhaps take this study with a grain of salt. 

It’s safe to say that there truly isn’t a conclusion as to what mysterious fluid is involved in squirting. Over time the literature gap on individuals with vulva’s sexual pleasure is becoming smaller but there is still a lot of work to be done to aid in dismantling barriers to informative sexual education. 

How does squirting happen? 

There are a couple of theories as to why and how squirting happens. Many believe it has to do with G-spot stimulation. The Skene’s glands and the G-spot are located in the same area. If we go with the theory that the fluid involved in squirting is from the Skene’s gland then this makes perfect sense. Stimulation of the G-spot causes stimulation of the surrounding areas which can sometimes cause folks with vulvas to squirt. 

Another theory mentioned in the novel Women's Anatomy of Arousal: Secret Maps to Buried Pleasure states that squirting may function to protect the urinary system from infection by cleansing the urethra during and after intercourse.

What does squirting feel like?

As with every sexual practise, squirting feels different to everyone. Some describe the feeling as “a slight sensation of needing to pee and it builds a bit like an orgasm might but the result is completely involuntary - it just happens suddenly” as well as “like a clitoral orgasm, I have a point of no return where I can’t voluntarily control my muscles to stop it - yet it’s less intense and more a generalized sensation - with g-spot stimulation, sometimes I can’t even tell if I’ve orgasmed or squirted until I look down and the sheets are soaked”. Another individual stated “it's so different to an orgasm but also kind of the same - it's really hard to describe”.

Many individuals voice feelings of shame and awkwardness due to the wetness/messiness of the situation. There is nothing shameful or wrong about having the ability to squirt and vice versa. As a society, we will work to continue to understand that individuals with a vulva are not passive sexual objects and that we do have desires, wants, and needs in relation to sexuality. With this, hopefully, we will continue to dismiss the stigma surrounding sexual pleasure and wellness.

I want to end this blog by stating that everybody is different. Whether it’s an orgasm, squirting, or just pleasuring yourself by trying something new, try not to focus on the end goal and instead enjoy the journey and learn more about your body as you go!