Female ejaculation. Squirting. Female orgasm.
The mere mention of each of these terms can prompt an endless series of questions, curiosities, and misconceptions—and even more so when they’re paired alongside each other. Are female ejaculation and squirting the same thing? Is orgasm inevitably linked to either? Is squirting a goal worth striving towards… and achievable if you put your mind and action to it?
In search of answers to these confounding questions about these sexual processes and pleasure, we reached out to Carol Queen, PhD, Good Vibes staff sexologist and prolific sex-positive educator and activist.
Demystifying Female Ejaculation and Sexuality
You likely completed compulsory high school sex ed classes. There’s also the ubiquity of how-to guides, editorials, and other media linked to sexual wellness and pleasure. Nonetheless, why are most things specific to female sexuality, to this day, so damn confusing and unclear?
“One reason is the overall lower level of information—and, it sometimes seems, curiosity— about women’s bodies, sexuality, and even health issues,” shares Dr. Queen. (The same applies, she says, to people who are non-binary, assigned female at birth, transmasculine, or intersex.) Many people—some doctors included—default to a bias that it’s all too complicated, prompting reluctance to pursue the facts.
“This gender binary is part of the problem as well, since it ignores everyone’s identity and experience aside from men and women, males and females—and the presence and bodily experience of intersex people puts the lie to that notion,” adds Dr. Queen. Plus, since ejaculation is strongly associated with male sexual pleasure, attributing the phenomenon to females tends to put people up in arms. “In my experience, this is one of the things that makes many people stubbornly insist that ejaculation in a sexual context must be urinary stress incontinence or fake if a man is not the one doing it,” she continues. However, there’s sufficient clinical evidence supporting the notion that female ejaculation is, in fact, a real thing.
Are Female Ejaculation and Squirting the Same?
Whether female ejaculation and squirting are the same thing is another point of contention. “I’m familiar with some using the term ‘squirting’ and differentiating this from ejaculation,” Dr. Queen explains. “Initially these meant the same thing, with one just being slang for the other.” She prefers to use these terms interchangeably due to the diverse ways in which women (and trans men and non-binary people) can experience ejaculation. However, recent research appears to lean into the idea that they’re not interchangeable.
For instance, according to a 2022 review in Clinical Anatomy, female ejaculation and squirting “are similar but etiologically different phenomena” that may or may not occur simultaneously. The authors cite the following differences between the two:
- Female ejaculation originates from the paraurethral glands and secretion is thick fluid (concentrated with prostate-specific antigen) of a few milliliters
- Squirting is a transurethral expulsion from the urinary bladder, characterized by transparent fluid of 10 or more milliliters
(Note: Queen points out that neither of these descriptions exactly match what she discussed above, which is fluid expelled from the female prostate itself.)
Female Ejaculation vs. Orgasm
Curious if ejaculation and orgasm are one and the same? On this matter, the answer is more clear cut. Dr. Queen says that ejaculation and orgasm are separate entities, though they can and often do happen simultaneously, regardless of gender.
“Orgasm is the pleasure response that comes when an erotically responsive area of the body—most often but not limited to the clitoris, penis, G-spot, or prostate—is stimulated to the point of climax,” she explains. “The orgasm pleasure response happens in the brain, but typically the pelvic floor muscles respond too, with rhythmic pulsing.”
One reason why they two get conflated has to do with this pulsing. “It’s what can help propel the expulsion of fluid, which is why orgasm and ejaculation can seem to be the same phenomenon,” Dr. Queen continues. However, she clarifies that you can absolutely ejaculate without having an orgasm and vice versa.
5 Myths About Female Ejaculation and Squirting
Keep reading to further separate fact from fiction.
Myth #1: All Women Can Ejaculate
According to a 2013 review in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, anywhere from 10 to 54 percent of women ejaculate. As for whether all women have the ability to do so might be true, but the official verdict is still out. “Clearly all women do not ejaculate now, and there isn’t enough good research to help us understand why,” Dr. Queen shares. “One thing that is obvious to me: not all are experiencing the right stimulation to experience it.” (More on this—pardon the pun—to come.)
Myth #2: The G-Spot and Female Ejaculation Aren’t Real
Dr. Queen shares the myth that the G-spot and female ejaculation aren’t legitimate, with naysayers claiming that women would ejaculate if the G-spot gets stimulated during intercourse. Yet as we clarified earlier, female ejaculation is a proven phenomenon. Medical research remains divided on the existence and nature of the G-spot, but Dr. Queen emphatically states that it, too, is absolutely real.
The G-spot is slang for prostata femina, which translates to female prostate. “Most people don’t learn this in school, [but male and female sexual parts] develop out of the same tissue in utero,” she explains. “The clitoris and the penis are homologous, meaning they are comparable regarding the tissue they develop from. The prostate and G-spot are, as well.”
Circling back to the myth on the interplay between the two, it “assumes that a primary way to stimulate female ejaculation is penile penetration, but many penises aren’t optimal for this purpose,” Dr. Queen continues. “A penis would have to be pretty strongly curved to be a foolproof G-spotter. Vaginal penetration, and even thrusting, alone do not always stimulate the G-spot.”
Myth #3: Squirting = Urine
While squirting contains urinary fluids, it’s not 100 percent pee. Per a small 2022 study in the International Journal of Urology, urine is the primary component of squirt fluid, yet it also contains fluid from the Skene’s glands (aka the female prostate). Dr. Queen concurs, noting that female ejaculate contains many of the same chemical elements as male ejaculation, such as prostatic acid phosphatase. She also adds that the urine in these fluids may be diluted, and that urine “plays a part in the sexual/reproductive response of some other mammals.”
Myth #4: The Squirting You See in Porn Is All Fake… Or Totally Real
Dr. Queen says that neither of the two extremes is likely to be true, reminding us that pornography is performative media. On this note, it won’t do you any favors to hope to emulate the gushes seen in these videos. (Or worse, to feel like you’ve ‘failed’ if you can’t.)
Myth #5: All Women Should Learn to Ejaculate
“Apart from engaging in a consensual way, nobody should do anything sexually if they don’t want to,” Dr. Queen shares. That said, could squirting be worth trying to achieve yourself to enhance sexual pleasure? “Not everyone even likes the sensation, so it most likely isn’t the missing link to female sexual satisfaction,” she continues. “We are all different and what one person responds to, another person will not.” Also, remember that female ejaculation and orgasm aren’t the same thing.
With that said, a 2013 survey of 320 women around the globe found that female ejaculation can have a positive impact for both sexual partners. Over 75 percent of women who ejaculate and 90 percent of their partners reported that the act enriches their sexual lives.
A How-to Guide to Female Ejaculation
Female ejaculation requires a delicate balance of sensation, education, and the right tools. If you’ve yet to ejaculate as a female and want to try it out (whether solo or with a partner), read up on Dr. Queen’s tips below.
According to Dr. Queen, the most important factors for female ejaculation are:
- High arousal. “Arousal helps G-spot stimulation feel better and more erotic,” she explains. “If you are not aroused, it can be too much and not pleasurable. There’s no point in doing this if you are not feeling pleasure!” Foreplay can aid the endeavor, as people all too often engage in intercourse before the female is sufficiently aroused.
- Lubricant. Arousal and lube “allow for more pressure against the front wall of the vagina, [including] the inside area that corresponds to the location of the clit,” Dr. Queen explains. With this, she clarifies that most of the clitoris is inside the body, rather than external.
- Where to find the G-spot. According to Planned Parenthood, the G-spot is located a few inches inside the vagina along its front wall. Dr. Queen adds that it’s behind the clitoris below the bladder. “Pressure, plus small movements like stroking, tend to ‘wake up’ the G-spot and result in a pleasure response and potentially ejaculation,” she continues. (Dr. Queen says this is the same way one would stimulate the prostate.)
- A firm, curved sex toy or body part. Fingers can typically do the trick, but toys—such as The Gigi and the Pure Wand—may make it easier to reach your G-spot for solo play. (She adds that while your sex toy of choice doesn’t need to vibrate, those that do can definitely help with clitoral arousal pre-penetration.) With either, she suggests “making a ‘come-hither motion,’ essentially beckoning the classic ‘stimulate the G-spot and seek ejaculation’ move.” Dr. Queen notes that this can increase the sense of pressure on the G-spot… so much so that you might feel like you’re about to pee. Yet in order to ejaculate and potentially experience orgasm, you need to stick with it. “Some teachers recommend bearing down at this point,” she adds. “Adding erotic stimulation via, say, clitoral play might help, since orgasm does often support propulsion via those pelvic floor muscle contractions mentioned above.”
Moreover, if you get squeamish at the thought of a mess, you can always preemptively put down a towel or blanket so you can get out of your head and stay present in the moment.
If you ejaculate as a female, know that it’s normal. And if you don’t, that’s totally fine too. But if you’d like to experiment with squirting, remember that it’s neither a requirement for pleasure nor necessary for sexual well-being at large. You can very well enjoy sexual exploration solo or consensually with a partner—and whether or not you ejaculate or even orgasm, for that matter.