Female ejaculation: What exactly is it? All your questions answered

    Updated 19 January 2023 |
    Published 31 August 2022
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    Medically reviewed by Dr. Brandye Wilson-Manigat, Obstetrician and gynecologist, CEO of Brio Virtual Gynecology, California, US
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    Female ejaculation and squirting are often talked about interchangeably, but they aren’t the same thing. Here two experts explain what female ejaculation is.

    It’s common knowledge that men, or people with penises, ejaculate when they orgasm — but did you know they’re not the only ones? Female ejaculation is a very real phenomenon, too. 

    According to a 2013 study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine,10% to 54% of people with vulvas can ejaculate. If you’ve experienced female ejaculation before, you may have been left feeling confused. This is totally normal. Due to some of the stigma that is attached to sexuality, female ejaculation isn’t often talked about and isn’t likely to have been included in the sex education you got at school.

    Here, two Flo board experts — obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Sameena Rahman and sex therapist Casey Tanner — explain exactly what female ejaculation is and why it happens. 

    FYI, while we know not everyone with a vulva is a woman, and not all women have a vulva, we’ll use the term “female ejaculation” to describe vulva ejaculation in this article.

    What is female ejaculation?

    “Female ejaculate is a fluid released at orgasm with a consistency that is sometimes thick, white, milky, and/or gray,” says Dr. Rahman. It originates in the Skene’s glands, “which have often been considered to be renamed the female prostate,” she adds.

    You may have heard of the prostate but never the Skene’s glands, and that’s very common. They’re sometimes called the lesser vestibular glands and are two ducts that can be found on either side of your urethra (the tube connected to your bladder that allows urine to leave your body). 

    The Skene’s glands are made up of the same tissue as your clitoris. While research into the Skene’s glands is pretty limited, it’s believed that it plays a really important role in releasing antimicrobial substances (elements like zinc that can stop the growth of bacteria) to prevent urinary tract infections. When stimulated during sex, they can also release fluid to lubricate the vagina. 

    Since this liquid comes from the area surrounding your urethra, it might leave you wondering if ejaculation fluid is just pee. This isn’t totally accurate. Prostate-specific antigen and prostatic acid phosphatase (enzymes produced in the breasts and ovaries, among other places) can be found in ejaculate. The chemicals that are in pee (urea and creatine) are also found in very low levels.

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    Female ejaculation vs. squirting: What’s the difference?

    While the terms “vulva ejaculation” or “female ejaculation” and “squirting” are often used interchangeably, “research suggests that they are actually two different experiences,” Tanner clarifies. “Squirting fluid is much more [of a] watery consistency.”

    A 2022 study in Clinical Anatomy explains that squirting is an orgasmic expulsion of about 10 milliliters (0.35 fluid ounces) of clear fluid from the bladder, while female ejaculation is only about 3 milliliters (0.1 fluid ounces) of thick fluid from the paraurethral (or Skene) glands. Squirting has been described as a “gushing” of liquid, while ejaculation is more of a “trickle” as less fluid is released. 

    Research into squirting is limited, but the fluid you release when you squirt is typically clear and odorless, and as it comes from the bladder, it’s similar to urine but can be mixed with ejaculatory fluid from the Skene glands. This means that you can squirt and ejaculate at the same time, but they aren’t the same thing. 

    You will have noticed that when you’re feeling aroused (or turned on), your vagina naturally produces fluid. This is totally normal and is otherwise described as getting “wet.” It’s made up of fluid that passes through the membrane of the vagina as a result of increased blood flow to the area and can provide lubrication for penetrative sex. However, it is different from squirting and ejaculating. 

    What does female ejaculation feel like?

    “While there is still some debate over this, generally ejaculation and squirting occur during sexual arousal or orgasm as a result of sustained pressure to the external or internal (G-spot) clitoris,” Tanner says. “Sometimes it happens simultaneously with [an] orgasm, but not always,” she adds.

    Your external clitoris can be found just above the opening of your vagina and may be concealed by your clitoral hood. Accessing your internal Grafenberg spot or G-spot can be a little more difficult. It describes a small area of raised tissue about an inch inside your vagina. It can be found on the upper wall and might swell when you’re turned on. 

    Ejaculation can feel different from person to person. It may just feel like a normal orgasm for you. Alternatively, you may feel warmth or pressure and then a release. You may even experience ejaculation without having an orgasm. 

    According to Dr. Rahman, we don’t know much more than that when it comes to ejaculation. “We do not have a lot of research on the topic or large enough studies to suggest if there is any other [biological] purpose for why it happens, other than at the height of climax, the female prostate or paraurethral glands release this fluid,” she says.

    If you ejaculate while having an orgasm, then you’ll likely feel a rush of peacefulness and happiness as oxytocin (aka the love hormone) is released after you orgasm. This can relieve feelings of stress or anxiety. 

    How common is female ejaculation?

    You may have first heard about squirting and female ejaculation from porn but may not have been sure if it’s even real. As there’s fairly limited research into female ejaculation (and female sexuality more broadly) it’s difficult to know how common it really is. And if you’ve never been given the safe space to ask questions, it’s totally normal to feel confused about female ejaculation. 

    “Stigma is often rooted in misinformation that insinuates that squirting and ejaculation are the same as urination, or it may be rooted in an embarrassment around creating a ‘mess’ during sex,” Tanner says. She says that female ejaculation has been held up as the “‘holy grail’ of sex for people with vulvas.” 

    Dr. Rahman highlights that the misinformation surrounding female ejaculation is linked to a bigger issue. “Like anything in female sexual medicine, there is a stigma attached to female ejaculation and squirting,” she says. “Whether it is related to [the] patriarchy’s desire to control females and their sexuality or the feelings of shame or stigma associated with females who enjoy sex, the burden of this stigma exists.”

    Tanner explains this puts undue pressure on people to squirt or not squirt — which is obviously not right and takes away from the pleasures of sex. “The reality is, ejaculation and squirting are simply a normal, natural, and neutral part of sex for some people,” she says.

    Female ejaculation: How to do it

    While ejaculation is sometimes held up as a sign of “really good sex,” you don’t need to ejaculate to have a good sexual experience. And you absolutely don’t need to feel bad or guilty if it’s not your thing.

    “Some bodies are capable of it, and others aren’t — neither experience is superior to the other,” Tanner says.

    If it’s something you’d like to try, Tanner says there are things you can try either with a partner or by yourself:

    • Stimulating the internal clitoris (or the G spot) with fingers, a sex toy, or a penis. As it’s located on the upper wall of the vagina, it could be good to try a curved toy or insert your fingers into your vagina and lift them upwards (as if you’re motioning to someone to come toward you.) 
    • Experiment with both internal and external clitoral stimulation at the same time.
    • Make sure you’re relaxed both physically and mentally.

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    Female ejaculation: The takeaway

    Exploring your sexuality can and should be a fun thing, and you should never feel pressured by an “end goal” when you’re being intimate with yourself or a partner. “If you find yourself focusing so much on trying to ejaculate or squirt that it’s taking away from your pleasure, you may want to take a break from trying for a while,” Tanner says.

    Some people can ejaculate (or release a small amount of fluid from the glands surrounding their urethra) by stimulating their internal and external clitoris. It can be really pleasurable. For other people, this simply isn’t something they can do or something they enjoy. Both of these things are totally normal. It’s just important that you enjoy the sex you’re having — and never feel ashamed by your body’s response to pleasure. 

    References

    “Clitoris.” Cleveland Clinic, https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/22823-clitoris. Accessed 31 Aug. 2022.

    Kamenov, Z., et al. “[Prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in women].” Vutreshni bolesti, vol. 33, no. 1, 2001, pp. 40–47. Accessed 31 Aug. 2022.

    Magon, Navneet, and Sanjay Kalra. “The Orgasmic History of Oxytocin: Love, Lust, and Labor.” Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism, vol. 15 Suppl 3, Sept. 2011, pp. S156–61. Accessed 31 Aug. 2022.

    Moalem, Sharon, and Joy S. Reidenberg. “Does Female Ejaculation Serve an Antimicrobial Purpose?” Medical Hypotheses, vol. 73, no. 6, Dec. 2009, pp. 1069–71. Accessed 31 Aug. 2022.

    Nguyen, John D., and Hieu Duong. “Anatomy, Abdomen and Pelvis, Female External Genitalia.” StatPearls, StatPearls Publishing, 2021. Accessed 31 Aug. 2022.

    Pastor, Zlatko. “Female Ejaculation Orgasm vs. Coital Incontinence: A Systematic Review.” The Journal of Sexual Medicine, vol. 10, no. 7, July 2013, pp. 1682–91. Accessed 31 Aug. 2022.

    Pastor, Zlatko, and Roman Chmel. “Female Ejaculation and Squirting as Similar but Completely Different Phenomena: A Narrative Review of Current Research.” Clinical Anatomy , vol. 35, no. 5, July 2022, pp. 616–25. Accessed 31 Aug. 2022.

    Rubio-Casillas, Alberto, and Emmanuele A. Jannini. “New Insights from One Case of Female Ejaculation.” The Journal of Sexual Medicine, vol. 8, no. 12, Dec. 2011, pp. 3500–04. Accessed 31 Aug. 2022.

    “Vaginal Mucosa.” HealthEngine Blog, 31 Dec. 2011, https://healthinfo.healthengine.com.au/medical-glossary/vaginal-mucosa. Accessed 31 Aug. 2022.

    Whipple, Beverly. “Ejaculation, Female.” The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 17 Nov. 2014, pp. 1–4, https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118896877.wbiehs125. Accessed 31 Aug. 2022.

    Zaviacic, M., et al. “Ultrastructure of the Normal Adult Human Female Prostate Gland (Skene’s Gland).” Anatomy and Embryology, vol. 201, no. 1, Jan. 2000, pp. 51–61. Accessed 31 Aug. 2022.

    History of updates

    Current version (19 January 2023)

    Medically reviewed by Dr. Brandye Wilson-Manigat, Obstetrician and gynecologist, CEO of Brio Virtual Gynecology, California, US

    Published (31 August 2022)

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