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Squirt: On Ejaculation

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Ginger asks:

A boyfriend said that he dated a woman who orgasmed so much that she sprayed, like water gushing out forcefully. He said it was so cool and great and he wants me to do that! Do you have info about this?

Heather Corinna replies:

What you're asking about is most typically called female ejaculation (even though not everyone with a vulva identifies as female, nor does everyone who identifies as female have a vulva), and often colloquially called "squirting."

Before I say anything else, I want to say these four things first:
1) That does not generally happen just "because someone orgasms so much."
2) It is not a circus trick: in other words, it is largely involuntary, and not something everyone can do, or do because a partner likes or wants it.
3) Not all people ejaculate, and even for those who do, most do not ejaculate all the time, with every incidence of sex, or with any given kind of sex, even when they have several orgasms or have a great orgasm.
4) Not all people are comfortable with or enjoy ejaculating, regardless of how their partners feel about it. Something our bodies do a partner thinks is awesome can be something we do not, or do not yet, feel comfortable with.

I get the impression that some guys, particularly younger guys, do see female ejaculation as a cool trick: as a sexual novelty. Obviously, we're all likely to experience some level of novelty with sex and partners, and that's okay -- and it's certainly okay to think things bodies can do are cool! -- but I think we also have to watch the line we're walking where novelty crosses the line and becomes or is objectification. Or when we or others are asking things of anyone's body which that particular body may or may not do. Our sexuality should be a reflection of who we are, and what our bodies, uniquely, do, not who or what someone else wants.

Too, it often seems like one reason some guys are so into it is that they see it as an aspect of a woman's sexuality that reminds them of their own sexuality. While there's nothing wrong with that, it's also not so realistic, nor does it really leave room for women's sexuality and sexual response to be just what it is, rather than a mimicry of mens sexuality or mens sexual response. If we really want to have great sex with partners, our focus has to be on what their sexuality is authentically and really like, not just the ways it entertains us or reminds us of our own.

Ejaculation, no matter what kind of body is doing it, is a term we use to just describe when fluid is ejected from the body in some way. No matter what kind of a body we are talking about per sexual fluids, ejaculation is something that can happen, but doesn't always, and that can happen with, or just before or after orgasm, or can happen without orgasm (just like orgasm can happen without ejaculation).

Ejaculation from the penis and from the vulva are a different in some ways, though. The biggest difference is ejaculate from the penis is an integral part of human reproduction, whereas ejaculation from the vulva or vagina has nothing to do with reproduction.

Too, while most typically, ejaculation from the penis happens very shortly after orgasm, when it does, ejaculation from the vulva or vagina can happen that way, or well before, after, or without orgasm.

Zina says,

When I squirt it doesn't always feel like I think it should. When I think about having that type of orgasm I think that it should feel amazing at the time that I squirt... but its not... a clitoral orgasm feels better! I have had one orgasm from the g-spot that felt "Oh my God!" Amazing! But I didn't squirt? What is going on: is there something wrong?

To reiterate: ejaculating isn't orgasm. It can sometimes happen with an orgasm, but it just as commonly happens without or before orgasm, too. It has its own sensation, to be sure, but it's separate from orgasm, and there's no one right way for ejaculating to feel. And people who ejaculate will not always do so, or do so every time even from a kind of stimulus that sometimes results in ejaculation.

So, what is it, when does it usually happen for whom?

This is one of those areas where the research is still ongoing, and where we can't draw too many conclusions just yet: there remain some major disagreements between researchers and the research done so far has been seriously tiny. Some people will posit that "female" ejaculation is just urinating. We know enough to know that's not true. While it appears that this kind of ejaculation is a function of the paraurethral glands (like the Skene's glands) which comes through the urethra -- the same place we urinate -- and the fluid is a lot like urine, enough research has been done which finds this fluid to be very different from urine, even though it's possible some elements of urine are in the mix.

For the most part, ejaculation from the vulva or vagina most commonly seems to be linked to targeted G-spot stimulus, internal and external clitoral stimulus, or -- and most commonly -- a combination of the two. The G-spot (something also still often disputed by some researchers) is an area of the vagina located not far from the opening, inside the vaginal canal on the anterior wall: the side of it towards your belly, not your back. For many, the best stimulus of that area -- and what we mean when we say "targeted" stimulus -- usually will happen with toys or fingers, though some folks find a penis can provide that kind of stimulation as well. Not all people enjoy G-spot stimulation or like it all the time, and some even dislike it, so your mileage may vary. Some people also find pressure just around the vaginal opening gets them there, while for others, pressure on the mons is part of the deal.

When you're feeling very highly aroused during those kinds of sexual stimulation, and/or feeling close to orgasm or having one, if you relax and bear down the way we all do when we're pushing urine out, that's generally how ejaculation happens if it's going to. Sometimes, it'll happen without doing that at all. If you have a full bladder (which you shouldn't: just as far as comfort and avoiding UTIs, you always want to urinate before any sex), it is possible to urinate when doing this, so in terms of your own comfort level with your body fluids, that's something to bear in mind. And if you or a partner don't want to sleep in a big wet spot, you'll want to put some towels down first.

Now, if your boyfriend had a partner who ejaculated, he probably knows about some of this. In the case that he didn't -- especially given how he's framing it -- but saw this in porn, you may also need to fill him in on the fact that in porn, ejaculation is often faked. When it is, like most things in pornography, they go over the top, showing a lot of fluid, rather than the more variant amounts we see in real life with ejaculate. Not every person who ejaculates will have giant gushes of fluid: sometimes it's just a little spurt, sometimes so small a partner may not even know it happened. Some people who ejaculate may never have a big "gush," while others often will.

To simplify this down to its lowest common denominator, what's thought to date is that we have a bladder and we have paraurethral glands, both of which can and often do contain fluids. When we put pressure on those areas or the areas surrounding them (both due to how arousal expands things in and around our genitals, and due to actual pressure put by fingers, hands or anything else during sex), that fluid sometimes squirts out. It's no big mystery, really, nor the eighth wonder of the world: the same thing happens when we squeeze a water balloon or a sponge.

Why can some people with vulvas ejaculate while others cannot? Again, this is something we don't yet have a definitive answer for. As of right now, it seems like a minority of women ejaculate, even though it's thought most have the physical capability to do so. Some sage theories about that discrepancy are that a) not all people have/get the kind of sexual stimulus they need to do so, b) not all people feel comfortable doing so or purposefully hold back when they're going to because it feels like they're going to pee, c) not all people are getting sexually aroused enough to get there, d) the size of these glands amoung people vary, so women with smaller glands may be limited in doing so and/or e) more people ejaculate than they think, it's just in smaller amounts that often go unnoticed.

So, there's the facts as we know them so far. If you want more information on this kind of ejaculation, I'd suggest looking up Deborah Sundahl's work, including her book, Female Ejaculation and the G-Spot.

But here's the most important stuff: what you're doing in bed with your partner should center around what you both, individually and uniquely, find exciting and pleasurable, and what each of your bodies and sexual responses uniquely do, not just on what he had happen with another partner and liked per what their body did.

If, in the sex the two of you have, you're having times where you are very aroused, if -- not always, but this is the usual route with ejaculation -- targeted clitoral and g-spot stimulus feels really great to you and you both want to explore that, and if you are a person who is capable of ejaculating, at some point you probably will do so. If you want to explore this as much for you as for him, then there's no reason not to do so. Most people greatly enjoy targeted clitoral stimulation and the majority will only orgasm when there is clitoral stimulus. Many also greatly enjoy targeted G-spot stimulation, and plenty enjoy ejaculating. I might, however, suggest, you also try exploring this on your own with masturbation since it might be tough not to feel under some pressure with a partner who has built this up so much.

Just know that people often don't have voluntary control when it comes to ejaculation: in other words, much like orgasm, sometimes it'll happen and sometimes it won't. What you don't want to do is wind up where you're basically just trying to perform for someone else, rather than focusing on both of your earnest mutual pleasure and care. And whether or not you not only can ejaculate or enjoy the kinds of sex which can make that happen for some women is something you have to find out. In the case that you don't like those kinds of sex, don't find them highly arousing, and/or don't ejaculate, that shouldn't be any big whoop, because what works for YOU -- the partner he has -- with sex should be exciting all by itself. If we're going to have multiple partners in life, then we've got to be down with the understanding that sexuality differs among people a lot, and what one partner enjoyed or we enjoyed with them may or may not be something that will go on with another.

I hope you also know that you shouldn't ever feel you have to duplicate what a partner's previous partners have done, or try and one-up anyone in any way. Again, when we have multiple partnerships in life, our sexual experiences with partners will tend to vary: not only is that not a bad thing, it should be a good thing. We should enjoy that variety if we're seeking it out. If we don't dig, accept and celebrate variety, then obviously it might not make a lot of sense for us to take more than one partner. If it turns out you don't like this stuff or don't ejaculate (or find you do alone with masturbation, but not with him), what YOUR sexuality and sexual response is like should be just as cool and exciting as what someone's else's was, and your partner should be demonstrating that to you in your sex life, okay? Just because something about his ex's sexuality was super-cool to him doesn't mean parts of yours aren't as well or can't be unless they resemble hers. His efforts with you sexually should be about exploring and finding out what's uniquely cool and amazing about you and the two of you.

Jennifer asks,

I've been sexually active for god knows how long now, but I'd never been eaten out. The other day I finally let my boyfriend eat me out and I ended up squirting. I was SO embarrassed. He totally flipped and ended up spitting at me. I've finally forgiven him and he's willing to do it again, but I'm scared the same thing is going to happen. Is there anything I could do to control my squirting? Thanks!

I'm really sorry your boyfriend reacted that way. Certainly, ejaculation can be a surprise, and when you do know we can do that, it's something you may want to fill partners in on in advance, especially if you don't feel comfortable with it, or want to make sure someone else won't react in such a messed-up way. (Though at the same time, when has anyone ever had someone with a penis tell them, "Hey, just so you know, I can ejaculate and might do it if we have sex together?" Never, right? So, it's not like anyone should have to warn anyone about something their bodies might do which is pretty common with human sexual response.)

No partner should be spitting at you for ANY reason. That's abusive behavior, and I'd take a look at your relationship as a whole to assure that really was a one-time-odd-reaction, rather than something indicative of a developing pattern of abuse. If you're still feeling scared, or like it's up to you to control your normal sexual responses to avoid that kind of treatment, I'd implore you to consider it's more reasonable to avoid that kind of response by avoiding a person who responds that way. In other words, the problem here wasn't your body: the problem was your boyfriend being a jerk.

As I mentioned further up on this page, in general, ejaculating is not always something people can always voluntarily control. If you don't like how it feels, you can try not bearing down with sexual pleasure or orgasm, or "holding it," physically the same way you hold urine when you have to pee but can't. But that may or many not always work, and may also result in you inadvertently holding back with your pleasure or orgasm, too. So, my best suggestion is to just make sure you're only choosing sexual partners okay with ejaculation as a possible response, and that you're only having sex when you, too, are comfortable with that as a possibility with someone.

Here are some links -- including one to a map of your own anatomy for any terms I used in here that weren't familiar to you -- for you and yours to grow on:

written 20 Jan 2014 . updated 20 May 2014

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