While discussion of the female orgasm has been taboo for almost as long as history itself, squirting, also known as female ejaculation, has lived in one of the top tiers of women’s secretive and shameful bodily functions.
Very little research has been done on squirting, and there is still debate over the basic mechanisms, but female ejaculation deserves to have a definitive place in the sexual health zeitgeist and discourse concerning female orgasms.
Because not enough research has been done on squirting, the function has largely been treated as a sexual phenomenon and follows a larger trend of women being treated differently in medical situations.
In cases of public cardiac arrest, women are less likely than men to receive CPR from bystanders because of concerns surrounding pushing on a woman’s chest, making men’s survival rate 23 percent higher than women’s, according to a 2017 study published by the American Heart Association.
Women in pain are treated with less urgency in hospitals and emergency rooms, and they often have to prove that their pain is real enough to receive medical treatment. Chronic pain conditions located in the vagina and uterus are often left untreated or take years to even diagnose.
In particular, endometriosis, a disorder involving tissue that normally grows on the inside of the uterus growing on the outside, can take an average of 7.5 years to diagnose and can lead to progressed conditions which may end up being more difficult to treat, according to Endometriosis UK, a nonprofit that aims to improve the lives of those suffering from the condition.
While these are more dramatic cases, they reflect the disparity in research focused on women’s health. Women’s sexual health is put even further on the back burner because it’s often seen as less important in the grand scheme of the body, but sex and orgasming are essential parts of sexual health and squirting must be included in the conversation as a normal part of orgasms.
Squirting has become a topic of scientific debate since the beginning of the 20th century and yet there are still questions that need answering.
Is it urine? Is it something else? What causes it? Is every woman capable of squirting?
A basic Google search for the word “squirting” will give a wide variety of information, from tutorials and self-help guides to more basic definitions of female ejaculation. What researchers do know is this: squirting occurs when the Grafenberg Spot (G-Spot) is stimulated to the point of climax. Some researchers make the distinction that stimulation of the G-Spot may be indicative of a female prostate, which might be linked to female ejaculation, but there are still no conclusive results.
After examining seven women who reported “massive fluid emission during sexual stimulation,” researchers concluded that the liquid expelled was chemically similar to urine, according to a 2015 French study entitled “Nature and origin of ‘squirting’ in female sexuality.” The act was classified as orgasm-induced urinary incontinence.
But many women were outraged and responded with the hashtag #notpee when the study came out partly because the sample size was so small. The study acknowledged traces of a prostate-like secretion that’s similar to the kind found in male ejaculations but they didn’t examine women who only experienced this type of low-volume squirting.
It took me months to learn to stimulate my gspot/squirt. I've known how to pee my whole life. #notpee
— Penny (@pennysblog) January 11, 2015
It seemed to many that the scientists were obsessed with concluding whether or not women were just peeing themselves when they orgasmed. But if you’re having an orgasm so intense that you lose control of your bladder, is that really the worst problem to have?
Part of the issue lies in the fact that most people don’t know what squirting is and even when it’s acknowledged, it’s either fetishized or considered shameful because of it’s supposed deviance, leaving no room for it to be treated as natural.
Look no further than the British porn industry to exemplify the stigma surrounding female ejaculation. In 2014 the British Board of Film Censors released a list of sex acts that would effectively be banned in British-produced porn, which included female ejaculation.
Though traditional media has become forward-thinking in its approach to sex-related issues, there are next to no conversations surrounding squirting, except for the occasional off-hand remark in already sex-positive shows like “Broad City” and “Sex and the City.”
When women’s bodies are treated as mystical puzzles that no one — not even medical researchers — can decipher, it sets a precedent that women’s sexuality isn’t worth being explored. Women currently rely on internet searches and porn to educate themselves on their own body and researchers have the power to change that.