For the long answer, read on!
Squirting has been documented throughout history and all over the world. And yet, as with a lot of things related to women’s sexual health and pleasure, the topic of squirting is not well scientifically studied.
Squirting is also sometimes called ‘female ejaculation’, although not everyone who has a vulva identifies as female, and not everyone who identifies as female has a vulva. This article will use them somewhat interchangeably, although there is a difference, which we'll explain below.
Culturally, there’s a lot of pressure, debate, and misinformation tied to squirting. In the UK, portraying squirting, even in pornography, is illegal under obscenity law—according to UK law, there’s no such thing as squirting, and thus anything depicting ‘squirting’ is really depicting uriniation, which is illegal to depict in a sexual context.
Some critics say that the obsession over the makeup and source of the fluid—and the existence of female ejaculation at all—is another way for men to control the conversation about women’s sexuality—it ignores the lived experiences of people everywhere who’ve experienced squirting and female ejaculation. And others say that squirting is possible for every assigned-female person, you just need to learn how.
That’s not to say that any of these are incorrect, because the truth is we just don’t know enough about what squirting is and how it works. Very few clinical and scientific studies exist, and the information that is out there tends to show some conflicting results.
Let’s start with what seems to be mostly-agreed-on: some people with vulvas involuntarily release fluid during or close to orgasm. The chemical composition of the fluid seems different from other sexual fluids and from urine, but it seems to contain some of the same components as both urine and other sexual fluids. Sometimes, it’s a larger or ‘gushing’ amount of liquid, and others, it’s just a small amount.
A lot of the research about squirting and female ejaculation focuses on two things: whether or not it’s pee, and where the fluid comes from. In some literature and studies, the large amount of fluid is considered ‘squirting,’ and seems to be diluted fluid from the bladder, while the small amount of sticky, whitish fluid is considered ‘female ejaculation,’ and comes from elsewhere in the body (exactly where is not well-agreed on).
In other words, some research makes a distinction between squirting and female ejaculation. Some studies don’t differentiate between the two types of release, or find that it’s not always one or the other. Even if the fluid does come from the bladder, the makeup of the fluid seems to be distinct from urine, and according to the Kinsey Institute, squirting is still a different phenomenon from incontinence—in other words, it doesn’t mean you have a weak bladder.
Who cares? What does it mean for you?
But for a lot of people who squirt (and their partners), whether it’s pee and where it comes from aren’t super important—it feels good, and it’s not harmful to you or your partner. For some, it might be confusing or embarrassing, but for a lot of folks, it becomes more comfortable once they learn more about how it works, and read about other peoples’ experiences. Not everyone can control whether it will happen during a given orgasm, but many who are capable of it report that it feels different from orgasms without squirting.
While the existence itself of the G-spot is debated, studies and surveys seem to generally agree that most people who are able to regularly squirt do so with both internal (vaginal) and external (clitoral) stimulation. For some, it also seems to be tied to where they are in their menstrual cycle. If you want to try it for yourself, make sure you put down a towel, and check out these resources that could help—but don’t get discouraged if you can’t make it happen, or if you can but don’t end up liking it.
No matter what, don’t let sex culture or a partner pressure you into trying it if you’re not comfortable. Arm yourself with information—what your body does is your business alone, and not being able to squirt, or not wanting to, are both perfectly normal.
The bottom line
The truth is, squirting may not be possible for everyone. It might not be for you, and that’s totally okay! But there’s nothing shameful or harmful about it either—the bottom line here is always to keep checking in with yourself about how you want to feel sexually. Have fun and be safe!