Why does the phenomenon of female ejaculation causes distress to so many women though really it’s quite normal!
Our most recent research suggests that at least a third of all women say that at some time in the past, they have experienced ‘female ejaculation’ during a sexual climax. But many of them said it only happened once or twice.
And some of them are understandably confused as to whether they produced some specific sexual fluid or just urine.
On Christmas Eve 2014, a group of French doctors published a study of seven women, who were given ultrasound scans before and just after ejaculation. The scans suggested that the women were probably urinating – though Dr. Salama and his colleagues added: ‘a marginal contribution of prostatic secretions to the emitted fluid often exists.’
Subsequently, in 2015, New Scientist published an analysis of these results. The seven Frenchwomen believed that they were experiencing true ejaculation, not urination. But the fluid that five of them produced was actually urine.
However, the other two women produced a fluid which contained a natural chemical called prostate-specific antigen (PSA). This indicates that it probably came from structures called Skene’s glands which are rather like the female equivalent of the male’s prostate. They are very tiny structures, located near the opening of the urethra (the urinary pipe).
What is female ejaculation?
Female ejaculation is a phenomenon in which fluid shoots out of the vulva or vagina at the moment of orgasm. It is sometimes known as ‘she-jaculation’. You may have heard the terms ‘gushing’ or ‘squirting’.
It’s a controversial subject, not least because pornography writers (most of whom are male) have repeatedly suggested that all women ejaculate at orgasm. This is completely untrue!
Even today, some erotic novels (such as the bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey) give the impression that every woman produces a jet of fluid when she climaxes – just like a man. As a result, some younger males are puzzled if their partner doesn’t ejaculate.
Currently, porn films often feature sequences of alleged female ejaculation, on the grounds that some men find it exciting.
How common is female ejaculation?
The reality is that regular ejaculation certainly isn’t universal. Some women do it once in a lifetime, but never again.
The actual percentage of females who ejaculate is uncertain. However, in Masters and Johnson’s famous lab experiments with over 400 women, they did not record anyone who ejaculated at climax.
Nevertheless, the experience of gynecologists and family planning doctors indicates there is a substantial minority of women who do ejaculate regularly.
One of the more convincing assessments is that of Stanislav Kratochvil (1994), who found that about 6 percent of Czech women reported ejaculating. Our own recent research suggests that the percentage of women who have ever ejaculated may be much higher.
Agony aunts and media doctors get many anguished emails from females who are deeply embarrassed they wet the bed when they come.
We also receive missives from women who have been told by somebody that they should ‘squirt’ and who wrongly think that they must be abnormal because they don’t.
How much fluid is produced?
We have heard claims that highly-sexed women can produce liters of fluid in a single orgasm. This seems very unlikely after all, where could such an amount be stored in the female body?
More realistic is the estimate of Beverley Whipple, American sex guru, and co-author of the original G-spot book. At a recent conference, she told me that in most cases, the amount of fluid secreted is usually around ‘half a coffee cupful’.
What effect does it have on women?
When a woman first discovers that she suddenly drenches the sheets when she climaxes, it’s natural for her to feel anxious and embarrassed.
And because most women initially think the fluid they produce is urine, they may assume what they are doing is ‘dirty’ or ‘nasty’.
Their feelings are – quite understandably – linked to childhood prohibitions about not wetting the bed.
Unsurprisingly, quite a lot of these women tend to go through life avoiding sexual relations with other people. Some have the unfortunate experience of going to bed with men who react negatively when they climax but fortunately, that is not the reaction of most males.
Is female ejaculation caused by urine leakage?
Until the 1980s, most doctors who were aware of the phenomenon of ejaculation used to assume the fluid must be urine. As a treatment, they would tend to recommend exercises to build up the pelvic muscles.
And many women do indeed leak a little urine during sex and during other activities as well. This is called ‘stress incontinence’ and it happens to vast numbers of females when they sneeze, cough or laugh. It is particularly common in those who have had children.
However, when urine leaks during sex, it’s often during foreplay or vigorous intercourse rather than at orgasm.
In 1982 the publication of a highly influential book by US sex experts Whipple, Perry, and Ladas changed these views. They suggested the fluid wasn’t urine but was instead a ‘juice’ secreted by glands that were said to be the equivalent of the male prostate.