2. A team of researchers recently studied this messy sexual phenomenon in a lab!
A recent study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine studied seven self-identified squirters to find out what’s actually going on down there. (Obviously, a larger sample size would be ideal, but come on — it’s probably not easy to round up a ton of people who squirt and who agree to do it for science.)
HERE’S WHAT THEY FOUND:
3. For starters, it looks like squirting is basically pee.
Here’s how the researchers came to this conclusion: At the beginning of the study, all the women emptied their bladders and gave a urine sample, then underwent an ultrasound to confirm that their bladders were totally empty. Then they stayed in the exam room either alone or with a partner and did something to get sexually aroused — but they didn’t orgasm. Once the participants were sufficiently turned on, they invited the researchers back into the room for another ultrasound, where the researchers saw that the ladies’ bladders had filled back up a little bit (which makes sense — some time had gone by). Then the researchers left the room again, and the women continued going at it until they squirted.
After the women squirted, they were given another ultrasound and found that their bladders were empty again. Seriously. There was urine in there before they squirted, and it was gone after they squirted. You see where we’re going with this?
The researchers also analyzed the liquid in the lab and found that it had the same chemical composition as urine, lead study author Dr. Samuel Salama, tells BuzzFeed Life. This fluid comes from the bladder and the chemical analysis shows that it originates in the kidneys, explains Salama. So, yeah… looks like it’s diluted urine.
4. Squirting probably happens thanks to G-spot stimulation.
Squirting is typically associated with the G-spot, and recent research suggests this area is better described as the clitourethrovaginal (CUV) complex, since it includes your clitoris, urethra, and the front wall of the vagina.
“If you have a good level of arousal, all your erectile tissue swells up, and that might put more pressure on your urethra,” Dr. Madeleine Castellanos, author of Wanting to Want, tells BuzzFeed Life. When you apply pressure to these areas, it can push the urethra and all that erectile tissue around it forward a little bit. And changing that angle between the bladder and the urethra in that way can make it easier to pee. At the same time, you’re getting a ton of stimulation that feels amazing and you’re relaxing your muscles enough to let go and have an orgasm, explains Castellanos. And when all those factors come together… some people end up squirting.
5. Squirting is NOT the same as “female ejaculation.”
Most people think the two terms are interchangeable, but the researchers think they’re actually two different responses. While squirting is the bigger gush of liquid that shoots out from the urethra, female ejaculation is a much smaller concentration of liquid that occurs in the vagina. Female ejaculate is more viscous and stringier than urine (or regular lubrication) — almost the consistency of saliva, says Castellanos.
Female ejaculation, which comes from the female prostate (yep, that’s a thing), can happen with orgasm or just tons of stimulation, but since it’s such a tiny amount and some gets pushed back into the vagina, you may not notice it, says Castellanos.
6. Some people experience squirting AND female ejaculation at the same time.
In women who squirt, female ejaculation can occur at the same time or not, which is what they saw in Salama’s study. In five of the seven squirting samples, researchers found prostatic-specific antigen (PSA), a protein that comes from the female prostate.
So it’s tempting to assume that squirting also contains a little bit of this and a little bit of urine. But… that’s probably not the case, Salama says. What’s more likely is that five of the women experienced both squirting and female ejaculation. Squirting is still just diluted pee.
7. And some people squirt even though they haven’t had an orgasm at all.
Important: Squirting doesn’t necessarily always happen at the same time as orgasm, and not everyone finds it pleasurable. And as far as researchers can tell, there’s no anatomical predisposition that determines if you can or can’t squirt, says Salama. That said, it’s essentially involuntarily peeing during sex, according to the research. So there’s no reason to feel like you’re ~not normal~ if you don’t.
8. And here’s something else that’s super important: Yeah, it’s pee… but who cares?
“A lot of gynecologists and sexologists know it’s urine,” says Salama. “We’ve known it’s urine for a long time, but no one wants to hear it. This is not glamorous, this is not sexy, this is not magical, but this is the truth.”
There is absolutely no reason to feel squeamish or weird about squirting — whether you do it, you enjoy it, you like when your partner does it, or whatever. Knowing the chemical composition behind this physiological response shouldn’t change whether or not you find it pleasurable.
“If you enjoy it, don’t worry about it, just continue to enjoy it,” says Castellanos. “For those that aren’t squirting, don’t feel like it’s this mission you absolutely must do.”
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