For a guy, orgasm is synonymous with ejaculation. The notion that women also sometimes spurt fluid at the height of orgasm has been debated for centuries. There is no question that sometimes things can get pretty wet, but is the fluid urine? Lubrication from the vaginal walls? Or is there actually a spurt of fluid from one of the lubricating peri-urethral glands?
In this month’s issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Dr. Zlato reviewed all the studies on this phenomenon to once and for all determine the truth. (This is an excellent topic of conversation when you get tired of discussing the current government crises.) Dr. Pastor reports that somewhere between 10-54% of women (depending on the study) report fluid expulsion during arousal or orgasm. Fluid could simply be from increased vaginal lubrication, but when most women describe “ejaculation” they are referring to a gush or spurt that occurs with orgasm as opposed to increased vaginal wetness from sexual activity. This emission is generally as a result of one of three phenomenons:
A small gush of whitish fluid from tiny glands on the side of the urethra, called Skene’s peri-urethral glands, but also sometimes referred to as the “female prostate”
Urine expelled from the bladder. Coital Incontinence (CI) is divided into 2 groups: women that have problems with incontinence in general, including during sexual activity, and women who lose urine only during orgasm. Women who squirt urine only during orgasm usually don’t identify it as urine because it is far more dilute and doesn’t smell or look like urine even though it comes out of the bladder.
A combination of both
This is actually harder to study than it sounds since most studies rely on questionnaires and a woman’s perception of where the fluid is coming from rather than visual confirmation. Female ejaculation in their observation of over 3000 couples.
Experts all agree that many women experience “female ejaculation’. There are enough scientists that believe female ejaculation from lubricating glands to be a true phenomenon and far be it from me to say it isn’t so. Clearly, women expel a variety of fluids during sexual activity and orgasm. I will say, I have yet to have a patient complain that she doesn’t ejaculate, or that she used to ejaculate and would like to “fix it “. So, if you do notice a spurt or gush of fluid at the height of ecstasy, it is nothing to worry about. If you are not, it’s not something that needs fixing.
What Is Female Ejaculation?
Female ejaculation is a phenomenon in which fluid shoots out of the vulva or vagina at the moment of orgasm. It is sometimes known as ‘she-jaculation’. You may have heard the terms ‘gushing’ or ‘squirting’.
It’s a controversial subject, not least because pornography writers (most of whom are male) have repeatedly suggested that all women ejaculate at orgasm. This is completely untrue!
Even today, some erotic novels (such as the bestselling Fifty shades of grey give the impression that every woman produces a jet of fluid when she climaxes – just like a man. As a result, some younger males are puzzled if their partner doesn’t ejaculate.
Currently porn films often feature sequences of alleged female ejaculation, on the grounds that some men find it exciting.
How common is female ejaculation?
The reality is that regular ejaculation certainly isn’t universal. Some women do it once in a lifetime, but never again.
The actual percentage of females who ejaculate is uncertain. However, in Masters and Johnson’s famous lab experiments with over 400 women, they did not record anyone who ejaculated at climax.
Nevertheless, the experience of gynaecologists and family planning doctors indicates there is a substantial minority of women who do ejaculate regularly.
One of the more convincing assessments is that of Stanislav Kratochvil (1994), who found that about 6 per cent of Czech women reported ejaculating. Our own recent research suggests that the percentage of women who have ever ejaculated may be much higher.
Agony aunts and media doctors get many anguished emails from females who are deeply embarrassed they wet the bed when they come.
We also receive missives from women who have been told by somebody that they should ‘squirt’ – and who wrongly think that they must be abnormal because they don’t.
How much fluid is produced?
We have heard claims that highly-sexed women can produce litres of fluid in a single orgasm. This seems very unlikely – after all, where could such an amount be stored in the female body?
More realistic is the estimate of Beverley Whipple, American sex guru and co-author of the original G-spot book. At a recent conference, she told me that in most cases, the amount of fluid secreted is usually around ‘half a coffee cupful’.
What effect does it have on women?
When a woman first discovers that she suddenly drenches the sheets when she climaxes, it’s natural for her to feel anxious and embarrassed.
And because most women initially think the fluid they produce is urine, they may assume what they are doing is ‘dirty’ or ‘nasty’.
Their feelings are – quite understandably – linked to childhood prohibitions about not wetting the bed.
Unsurprisingly, quite a lot of these women tend to go through life avoiding sexual relations with other people. Some have the unfortunate experience of going to bed with men who react negatively when they climax – but fortunately that is not the reaction of most males.
Is female ejaculation caused by urine leakage?
Until the 1980s, most doctors who were aware of the phenomenon of ejaculation used to assume the fluid must be urine. As a treatment, they would tend to recommend exercises to build up the pelvic muscles.
And many women do indeed leak a little urine during sex and during other activities as well. This is called ‘stress incontinence’ and it happens to vast numbers of females when they sneeze, cough or laugh. It is particularly common in those who have had children.
However, when urine leaks during sex, it’s often during foreplay or vigorous intercourse rather than at orgasm.
In 1982 the publication of a highly influential book by US sex experts Whipple, Perry and Ladas changed these views. They suggested the fluid wasn’t urine, but was instead a ‘juice’ secreted by glands that were said to be the equivalent of the male prostate.
What research has been done on the fluid?
There still hasn’t been enough research on the fluid (ejaculate) – partly because it’s difficult to obtain adequate supplies of it for investigation. Also, large scientific funds tend to be available for life-threatening diseases rather than for sexual problems!
However, recent research suggests that perhaps the ejaculate is an alkaline liquid that isn’t like urine, because it doesn’t contain urea or creatinine, which are normal urinary constituents. The fluid tends to be clear coloured and allegedly doesn’t stain bedclothes yellow.
Researchers have claimed that it contains some chemical ingredients similar to those produced by the male prostate – notably PSA (prostate-specific antigen). It is also said to contain two sugars: glucose and fructose.
Since 2000, an increasing number of researchers have suggested the liquid may be the secretion of Skene’s glands (the paraurethral glands). These are tiny structures which lie around the female urethra (the urinary pipe).
In 2007, Viennese researcher Dr Florian published an important study on two women who habitually ejaculated. (Incidentally, this surname is not some sort of joke. Dr Wimpissinger genuinely is a well-known urologist in Vienna.) He and his colleagues found that the ejaculate from these two females was chemically different from that of their urine.
In particular, it contained more prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP), more prostate-specific antigen (PSA), and also some glucose.
Is female ejaculation connected with the G-spot?
A vast amount of material on the internet suggests there is such a phenomenon as a G-spot orgasm, which is likely to be accompanied by a gush of fluid from the urethra.
The G-spot is said to be an erotic zone at the front of the vagina, and this area is intimately connected with the urethra. Indeed, pressure on the G-spot area will invariably produce a desire to pee.
There is no doubt that pressing on the area of the
G-spot would affect the above-mentioned Skene’s glands, which are said by some to be the source of female ejaculate.
However, much of what has been written over the last 30 years about the alleged link between the G-spot and female ejaculation is unscientific and has not be proven.
For example, there is no clear evidence that pressure on your G-spot will make you produce female ejaculatory fluid.
Having said that, there is evidence to show that the elusive G-spot can bring women intense sexual pleasure when stimulated, even if it doesn’t necessarily cause ejaculation.
Because of this, there are now a wide range of sex toys on the market that promise to stimulate the G-spot for an extra powerful climax.
What does this mean for women?
It’s now evident that a substantial minority of women do ejaculate when they climax. This could be urine in some cases, but in other cases it seems that it isn’t.
Clearly, much more research needs to be done on the contentious subject of female ejaculation, and on the nature of the fluid.The 2014 French ultrasound studies of women climaxing need to be repeated, with a lot more females taking part.
Finally, women who experience ejaculation should realise that they needn’t feel ashamed of it, and that many partners have a pretty positive attitude towards it.
In other words, a lot of male (or indeed, female) partners actually like it. If a woman ejaculates, her partner may well regard it as a tribute to their virility and skill in bed.