What to know about squirting, a sexual phenomenon that still perplexes researchers
- Squirting, when someone expels thin and clear liquid in response to pleasure, has long baffled sex experts.
- Not everyone can squirt, and there are debates over why it happens and what the liquid is made of.
Squirting, a sexual phenomenon where someone expels liquid from their genitals during pleasure, has long perplexed sexual health experts and researchers.
Unlike vaginal lubrication, where a person's vagina secretes a white and milky fluid when they're aroused, squirting involves a clear and odorless fluid. Squirting can happen before, during, or after an orgasm.
Since squirting is considered taboo in American culture and typically requires sexual stimulation, it's hard to study and difficult to make broad conclusions about, Justin Lehmiller, a Kinsey Institute sex researcher and "Sex & Psychology" podcast host, told Insider.
Due to limited research, it's difficult to estimate how many people can actually squirt. In a 2013 review of squirting studies, OB-GYN Dr. Zlatko Pastor wrote that an estimated 10% to 54% of women have reported such abilities.
According to Lehmiller, small studies and anecdotal reports from people who can squirt offer some clues about the phenomenon.
Research on squirting is sparse and inconclusive
Researchers have long debated whether squirting liquid contains pee, or if it's a unique substance. In studies where researchers performed a chemical analysis of squirting liquid, they found chemicals that are also in urine.
Other studies have found prostate‐specific antigen, or PSA, in squirting fluid. PSA is a chemical found in semen, which has led some researchers to refer to squirting as "female ejaculation."
But according to Lehmiller, there's increasing evidence squirting and female ejaculation are two separate body processes. While squirting involves the bladder, female ejaculation does not, an April 2022 review in the journal Clinical Anatomy suggests.
Some researchers believe people may involuntarily release small amounts of urine while squirting, creating a mixture of fluids. The amount of urine depends on when the person peed last and how hydrated they are, according to New York University sex researcher Zhana Vrangalova.
Some sex educators and enthusiasts say squirting is a teachable skill
It's also unclear whether squirting is something a person can learn, or if it's a special-yet-inexplicable talent, Lehmiller said.
Some sex educators and squirting enthusiasts say they learned how to do it through G-spot stimulation, though there's no data to back up these reports. Men have also reported teaching themselves how to squirt.
"My best educated guess as a psychologist and a scientist, someone who's been looking through this data, is that probably the vast majority of vagina owners can be made to expel that type of ejaculate, the one that comes through the urethra, provided the right kind of pressure, the right time physiologically," Vrangalova told MindBodyGreen.
Perhaps questioning the mechanics behind squirting is a wasted effort, OBGYN Dr. Jen Gunter previously told Bustle.
"A good sexual encounter is not about optics that make a man (it's usually a man in this scenario) feel as if he has achieved something. A good sexual encounter is about pleasure," Gunter said. "As long as you are having an orgasm or two, who cares about anything else?"
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