Squirting: All your questions answered

    Squirting: All your questions answered
    Updated 09 February 2023 |
    Published 16 August 2019
    Fact Checked
    Dr. Sameena Rahman
    Medically reviewed by Dr. Sameena Rahman, Obstetrician and gynecologist, clinical assistant professor, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, Illinois, US
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    Squirting is a myth from porn, right? Well, no, not exactly. A Flo expert outlines everything you need to know about squirting — from what it is to what it feels like.

    Squirting might feel like the final sticky sexual frontier, and that’s mostly because it’s rarely spoken about outside the world of porn. It’s very unlikely that you were taught about squirting (which is the involuntary release of fluid during sex) in your health class, so it’s natural to have questions. And, in fact, anything you might have seen in porn may not be an accurate representation of what squirting looks like. 

    “Pornography may have exaggerated the amount and force of the fluid released during squirting for cinematic effect,” says Dr. Brandye Wilson-Manigat, obstetrician and gynecologist and CEO of Brio Virtual Gynecology in California, US. 

    It probably comes as no surprise to you that a lot of mainstream porn doesn’t represent what sex looks like for many people. But if you’re curious about what squirting is, where it comes from, and if it’s even a real thing, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to know. 

    What is squirting? 

    Let’s start with the basics — what is squirting? Dr. Wilson-Manigat explains: “There are a few substances that come from the vaginal area during sexual activity, but for all intents and purposes, squirting is a term describing the release of a colorless, odorless fluid during sexual activity.”

    So now that we know what it is, let’s explore why it can happen. When you’re aroused or turned on, your heart rate quickens, and the blood flow to your vagina (the internal part of your sexual anatomy) increases. This pushes fluid to the surface of your vaginal walls, which is what’s known as getting wet. While all of this is tied into what happens when you’re feeling frisky, this part isn’t squirting. 

    Squirting is a higher volume of liquid than just “getting wet.” It’s been described as a gushing sensation (rather than just feeling moist), and you’ll likely know if you’ve squirted. Some people may squirt when they have an orgasm, while others don’t need to be actively climaxing — they just experience this gushing of liquid as a result of feeling really aroused. You could release 10 ml of liquid or more. “Squirting can happen before orgasm or even in the absence of an orgasm,” explains Dr. Wilson-Manigat. “In reality, squirting is not tied to the type or quality of orgasm.” 

    Not everyone who has squirted in the past will squirt every time they have sex, and you may never squirt at all. This is totally typical, and what’s most important is that you feel fulfilled by and confident about the sex you’re having

    Is squirting fluid the same as pee? 

    The only other time you might experience what could be described as a gush of fluid is when you go pee, so it’s easy to imagine squirting fluid as being the same as urine. But, news flash: the two aren’t the same thing.

    Medical research into squirting (and pleasure in general) is still really limited, and there are a lot of myths that surround squirting. However, Dr. Wilson-Manigat clarifies that “Even though the composition of the fluid released during squirting does contain some urine,” it’s not just urine. 

    One study looked at seven women before and after they’d squirted. Although the participants’ bladders were found to be full before they’d squirted and were empty afterward, analysis of the squirting liquid found that it wasn’t just pee — but something similar. In fact, researchers also found that the majority of the women’s fluid contained prostate-specific antigens (PSAs), which is an enzyme that is produced in your Skene’s glands (more on what this is below). Squirting fluid is largely made up of water and has high amounts of uric acid, urea, creatinine, and sodium

    During a 2022 study that also sought to understand squirting further, researchers came to a similar conclusion. They injected blue dye into the bladders of its female participants and found that, in all cases, the fluid released during squirting was blue. This suggested it had originated from the bladder — but it was also found to contain PSAs, meaning that the liquid must have come from both the bladder and the Skene’s glands.

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    Not sure what the Skene’s glands are? You’re not the only one, so here’s a mini biology lesson. Sometimes called the lesser vestibular glands, the Skene’s glands are also known as the female prostate. Two ducts that are located on either side of your urethra (the tube connected to your bladder that allows pee to leave your body), the Skene’s glands are made of similar tissue to that of your clitoris. They’ve got some clever functions, too. It’s believed that the glands release antimicrobial substances (like zinc, which can stop the growth of bacteria) to prevent urinary tract infections

    What does squirting feel and look like? 

    If you don’t think you’ve ever squirted, you’ll likely be curious about what it feels like. However, as with all things with sex, there’s no such thing as “one size fits all.” Every sexual experience and orgasm is different, and the same applies to squirting. “For some women, it’s a pleasurable fullness they feel and a welcome release once the fluid is released,” Dr. Wilson-Manigat says. “For other women, they may not feel anything at all and only notice that their sheets are wet.”

    Research found that 78.8% of those who reported squirting said that it was “an enrichment of their sexual lives,” as did 90% of their partners. So, for many, it does seem to be a positive experience. But if squirting isn’t your body’s thing, then that’s totally normal. In fact, you’re in the majority — more on that below.

    Is it normal, and how common is it? 

    Is squirting normal? Definitely. How common is it? That’s trickier to say. “We don’t really know, partly because there hasn’t been a clear consensus on what exactly squirting fluid is or where it comes from,” says Dr. Wilson-Manigat. A study found that among women who did squirt, most reported doing it a few times a week. So for women who do squirt, it seems to be a common occurrence for them. 

    Dr. Wilson-Manigat explains that it’s hard to work out how common squirting actually is because, until 2011, published studies didn’t always distinguish between the fluids released during orgasm. That’s despite the fact that, in reality, there are a lot of different reasons why you might release liquid during sex. They can include:

    • Vaginal lubrication when you’re aroused
    • Female ejaculate: This slightly differs from squirting. Stick with us here: Female ejaculate is also made in the Skene's glands. However, unlike squirting, female ejaculation is described as more of a trickle, with about 1 ml of thick, milky liquid being secreted. 
    • Pee: If you already experience some incontinence, you might also have experienced coital incontinence. “Coital incontinence can show up as leaking urine with penetration as well as during orgasm,” Dr. Wilson-Manigat explains. Essentially, it’s peeing a little bit during sex and isn’t the same as squirting. This isn’t anything to be ashamed of, and if you’ve experienced coital incontinence, your doctor will be able to offer you different ways to manage it. 
    • Squirting fluid

    The lack of distinction between fluids released during sex in scientific studies may be why there’s an unknown about how many people can actually squirt. But whatever the specific number, the main thing is understanding your own body. If that means squirting is a common part of sex for you, then all power to you. And if it isn’t, that’s also OK. 

    Is it a real thing? 

    So now that you know what squirting is and where it comes from, you might be curious as to why there are so many questions about whether it’s even real. Due to the fact that research into squirting is still fairly new and limited, there are still a number of misconceptions that are attached to it. 

    The idea that it’s made up of just pee is one of the common myths that has prevailed, but Dr. Wilson-Manigat says there are plenty of others, too. Some of the most common misconceptions she’s heard are: 

    • That squirting is the result of a really good orgasm
    • That it’s something everyone should try to achieve
    • That everyone wants to do it

    That it’s the result of G-spot stimulation. The G-spot or Grafenberg zone is thought to be located inside your vagina on the upper wall. When you feel aroused (or turned on), it swells and it might feel a little bit bumpy. The G-spot is a hotly contested part of your anatomy. While some people think you can orgasm from pressing on the G-spot, research has suggested that the G-spot doesn’t exist in this way, and it’s, in fact, part of the structure of the clitoris that’s inside your body. 

    Squirting isn’t a surefire sign of good sex or a strong orgasm. It doesn’t reflect on you or your partner if you never squirt — it’s got no link to “bad” or less enjoyable sex. You might squirt during sex sometimes or not at all. But by talking about it, you’ll help to bust some of the stigmas that surround pleasure and squirting. 

    How does it work? 

    It’s still unknown why some people squirt while others don’t. Everybody reacts differently to different sexual stimulation, and it’s exciting to work out what pushes your buttons. However, you should never feel pressured to squirt. The most important thing is to enjoy the sex you’re having. 

    Knowing what’s going on in your body might help you to understand squirting a little bit better. When you orgasm, the muscles in your vagina, uterus, and anus contract (or squeeze). This is why you might feel a release of sexual tension. While squirting isn’t always linked to orgasms and research is still limited, it’s thought that a similar thing happens when you squirt. “I believe there is a contraction of a combination of the pelvic floor muscles, which causes the release of the squirting fluid,” says Dr. Wilson-Manigat. 

    How to make yourself squirt 

    Remember, squirting isn’t an indication of the quality of sex you’re having or the power of your orgasm. We don’t quite know why yet, but some people can squirt while others can’t. What we do know is that both are totally normal. 

    “We really don’t know if this is something that all women can experience with the right stimulation, [or if it’s] something only a select few women can experience,” Dr. Wilson-Manigat explains. “My personal opinion is that not enough women know it’s an option, so it’s something to explore to see if they can do it, either with partnered sex or with masturbation.”

    If you’re up for experimenting, there’s a method that Dr. Wilson-Manigat says you can try. “The most common directions given are to insert your finger(s) into the vagina, and, using a come-hither motion, move your finger(s) along the anterior vaginal wall (toward the front),” she says. “However, anecdotally, women have experienced squirting with stimulation of many different areas on the body.” 

    Really, it’s all about seeing what works for you — and just trying to have some fun along the way. Enjoy the sex you’re having, and if you can squirt, that might be an added bonus for you. 

    Squirting: The takeaway 

    There’s a lot left to learn about squirting with such limited research available — and as a result, there are a lot of myths flying around. But, long story short? If you can do it, it’s completely normal. It can be pleasurable for some, but it’s not necessarily like you may have seen in porn. 

    On the other hand, if squirting isn’t something you’ve ever experienced, Dr. Wilson-Manigat has some words of advice. “Squirting is not the end-all, be-all for an extraordinary sexual experience,” she says. “Focusing on squirting can take away from enjoying the actual sexual experience you are having. So take the pressure off, and just have fun.” 


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    History of updates

    Current version (09 February 2023)
    Medically reviewed by
    Dr. Sameena Rahman, Obstetrician and gynecologist, clinical assistant professor, Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, Illinois, US
    Written by
    Lea Rose Emery
    Edited by
    Alice Broster
    Published (16 August 2019)

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