A laywoman’s view on gushing

Sex on Tuesday

Vi-Nguyen-online

I was relatively late to the sex game. It wasn’t until well after my first sexual romp that I had the desire or mental wherewithal to masturbate. This yearslong mental obstacle overcome, imagine my horror when after a little pleasurable digging I feel the equivalent of what I imagine it must feel like to have your water break. Bloody hell, I thought to myself, shell-shocked. I haven’t pissed my bed since preschool.

The next time, I made sure to use the restroom first, but it happened again. I was more observant this time, though; it had felt more tingly than peeing does. The stuff was clear (my sheets were white), and it only very, very vaguely smelled like urine, though I wasn’t really quite sure on that count. Whoa … Could this be the mythical squirting I had heard of?

I Googled the phenomenon and watched some bad porn dispassionately, but the porn actresses’ across-the-room arches looked and felt nothing like the considerably-less sexy gush that had seeped out of my body. I had no idea what was going on, but for a long time afterward, I plopped a towel beneath me whenever I went at it. I must have switched things up, though, because it didn’t happen again for a very long time. (Much later, a savvier partner would get me to squirt again, and my partner said it didn’t taste like much, for those concerned about the receiving end of your deluge.) There’s a lot of confusion about “squirting,” or “gushing,” for women. Colloquially, we conflate squirting and female ejaculation, which is where half the trouble comes from; both are, after all, generally linked to stimulation of the G-spot. However, female ejaculate originates from the female prostate (i.e., the paraurethral glands, or Skene’s glands) and usually emits as a small amount of semenlike fluid. Gushing, on the other hand, can be much more high-volume and almost certainly issues from the urethra. Researchers have come to call the fluid “diluted and changed urines,” as it possesses trace amounts of urine markers but also some chemicals associated with the female prostate.

“Wait!” the pee team says. You say diluted urine — so squirting IS urinating! Well, not necessarily. The fluid from squirting as described above does possess components not found in urine, and women can squirt even with a healthy and empty bladder, so the general consensus is that it isn’t urine — at least not as we understand urine. As I mentioned before, it doesn’t smell, is mostly clear and doesn’t taste like much. But no one knows for sure why squirting or ejaculation happen. Contrary to the hype around “wet orgasms,” neither necessarily correlates with orgasm, either.

The issue with this whole field of research is the tension between subjective anecdotes and what “objective” research has been done. I put “objective” in quotations here because the loudest skeptics of female ejaculation and squirting tend to be men who scorn the possibility of these phenomena based on the lack of scientific evidence.

I don’t think it’s too radical for me to say that men have historically led the narrative regarding sex and female desire. Meanwhile, many women will testify that they have a G-spot and that either female ejaculation or gushing is pleasurable for them. The lack of a definitive study pointing at the anatomy or physiology of these phenomena need not mean that these phenomena don’t exist, as many a scientist will argue. Rather, the number of these anecdotes and reports, subjective as they may be, point to a need for further inquiry, not less. Why isn’t there more lab-based research and less survey-based research? Perhaps it’s partly the difficulties of such research and partly since such research wouldn’t particularly be life-saving. Yet it might assuage the souls of women who are so very concerned with this part of their sexual lives; many women report freaking out or “holding back” for fear of peeing on their partners even though squirting can enhance the experience (though others, like myself, would just prefer to avoid the mess).

Note, however, that female ejaculation and squirting are “highly variable” between women — a third of women don’t possess the female prostate, explaining why not all women can ejaculate. Similarly, not every woman can squirt, and others may not have a G-spot or may not enjoy having it stimulated. You’re not sexually dysfunctional if you don’t experience ejaculation or squirting (thanks, unrealistic expectations from porn, part 3,000).

What we do know? Something definitely happens, at least for some of us female-bodied folk. Percentages of women capable of squirting or ejaculation vary between 10 percent and 60 percent, depending on the survey and definitions used. Regardless of whether we know the whats and whys of female ejaculation or gushing, it’s natural and highly pleasurable for many. The uncertainty of these phenomena in an as-of-yet male-dominated scientific world need not shame women regarding how they enjoy their sex.

Vi Nguyen writes the weekly Sex on Tuesday column. You can contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter: @yonictonic.