While experts throughout the world are still debating what exactly comprises the sexual fluid commonly known as “squirt,” non-experts of the internet have focused in on one increasingly tired aspect of that debate for years: Is it “actually just pee?” A better question, of course, is does it actually matter?
“The argument about whether squirting is pee or not is as tired and easily dismissed as the one around Die Hard being a Christmas movie,” says Sofiya Alexandra, Co-founder and Co-Host of Private Parts Unknown. It’s an exhausting, ultimately pointless debate that’s haunted message boards and Twitter threads for years, largely obscuring the much more important questions both vulva-owners and those who have sex with them should be asking about squirting, AKA female ejaculation.
Despite the ambiguity that’s led to this relentless debate, there are a few things we do know for sure about squirting. For one, it’s definitely real. It happens for some vulva owners during vaginal intercourse, manual stimulation or stimulation with a toy of the — prepare for a big word — clitourethrovaginal complex.
This can feel very pleasurable for some people with vulvas, but not all. Some types of stimulation feel very intense and great for one person, but can be quite uncomfortable or icky for others.
To add even more confusion to the whole situation, not every vulva-owning person squirts. This is just a fact. While every person with a vagina does have the same anatomical parts, not everyone can squirt. We’re not entirely sure why this is yet, but hopefully science will catch up.
If I had to wager an educated guess in the meantime, I’d imagine that much of what holds cis-women and those raised female back from squirting can be attributed to an inability to get into the right headspace to let go and lean into the stimulation and pleasure. With so much shame and stigma around female sexuality, it’s hard to get comfortable — let alone completely trust a partner enough to squirt.
There are two different kinds of REAL squirting …
Further complicating matters is the fact that there are actually two different kinds of squirting that occur (we think, anyway): Squirting through the Skene’s glands and gushing squirt. Both are emitted through the urethra — which, yes, is also the exit route urine takes out of the body.
“Squirting,” or female ejaculation, has been thought to happen only when the Skene’s glands expel an alkaline, milky white fluid similar to prostate fluid — usually in tandem with orgasm, but not always. This usually happens when G-spot stimulation is involved in a sexual encounter, but not in every case.
The Skene’s glands are located by the G-spot (at the back end of the internal clitoris) and the urethral sponge. The Skene’s glands only release about one to two tablespoons of liquid in total, so, if your partner is a big, fire-hydrant squirter, it’s coming from the bladder, not the Skene’s — hence the two kinds of squirting.
However, regardless of whether you’re squirting entirely through the Skene’s glands (which is unlikely, considering their proximity to the liquid-rich urethral sponge), gushing it out from the bladder and/or some combination of the two, it’s improbable that squirt wouldn’t have some pee in it. Anatomically speaking, people with vulvas all “ejaculate from the same exact place through which they pee, likely ejecting some pee-similar ingredients out with their ejaculate,” says Amanda Luterman, a psychotherapist and the founder of the Centre for Erotic Empathy in Canada.
Kenneth Play, an International Educator, Sex Hacker, and Creator of the Sex Hacker Pro Course, says that squirt can consist of less urea (a big component of urine) and more water if you empty your bladder before sex. “Whether you consider this “pee” depends on what you consider pee to be,” he says. Regardless, if you squirt, the bladder is going to be involved.
Bottom line: Yeah, there is probably at least a little pee in squirt. Does it matter? Not really!
… and one type of totally fake squirting.
Lastly, there is one kind of squirting, the most well-known kind, that is entirely theatrical: the vaginal porn squirt. Everywhere you look on free porn sites you’ll see the word “squirting.” Dare to actually click on one of these links and you’ll see a camera full of hairless vulvas with liquid shooting from the vaginas of various porn actors at truly volcanic speeds and volumes.
It is a fantastical, wild female orgasm that drops the jaw and can spark feelings of inadequacy in any woman or vulva-owning person. It’s also totally fake.
The way this is done? Performers shoot water up their vaginas (in all kinds of ways) and then clench really tightly. The camera rolls. The performer releases all the liquid. This is not real. It is a movie. If you’re expecting someone to squirt out of their vagina, you will be disappointed. The only thing coming out of there is excess lube, natural lubrication, and discharge.
It sucks that the porn industry has confused the masses this way, but allow me to set the record straight. Real squirting comes from the urethra and, yes, it has (a little) pee in it.
At the end of the day, we call squirting “squirting” because it is squirt. You are not sitting down to take a nice wee, you are squirting liquid during sexual stimulation. Squirting is squirting and peeing is peeing. Both are lovely things that happen to bodies. The rest is just semantics, and, honestly, dwelling on it takes away half the fun of having sex. As fellow Private Parts Unknown Co-founder and Co-Host Courtney Kocak puts it, “There’s no reason to let a little urine rain on your parade.”