There's a lot of fascination and mystery around the concept of squirting.
Squirting is a colloquial term for a specific type of gushing ejaculatory response that some vagina owners can have during sex.
Unfortunately, there's been so little thorough research done on this relatively common sexual occurrence, so even the most basic questions about squirting don't have clear-cut answers.
For example: Can everyone do it? Here's what we know.
Can all women squirt?
There isn't enough scientific research thus far to know whether all women can squirt. Studies have found anywhere from 10 to 54% of women experience some form of female ejaculation, according to a 2013 review of the literature1.
But some sex experts believe all people with vaginas can likely learn how to squirt with the right technique and under the right conditions.
There are two separate types of ejaculate released by vagina owners, and one of them—the type most commonly described as "squirting"—may be something most vagina owners can do, according to Zhana Vrangalova, Ph.D., a sex researcher and professor at New York University.
Because all women have a bladder and urethra, Vrangalova says it's likely that most women can learn how to squirt this type of fluid with the right stimulation.
"My best educated guess as a psychologist and a scientist, someone who's been looking through this data, is that probably the vast majority of vagina owners can be made to expel that type of ejaculate, the one that comes through the urethra, provided the right kind of pressure, the right time physiologically," she says.
But the jury is still out: "We don't know, but no study has ever found that most people with vaginas squirt large amounts of fluid," says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., a sex researcher, professor at the Indiana University School of Public Health, and author of The Coregasm Workout. "But who knows? It's an area ripe for research."
Prevalence of squirting among women
Studies show between 10 and 54% of women have experienced some form of female ejaculation. Among women who do squirt, most say it happens pretty regularly.
One 2013 study surveyed 230 women who've experienced squirting to ask how often it happened:
- 19% said they ejaculate daily
- 32% ejaculate a few times a week
- 28% ejaculate a few times a month
- 9% ejaculate once a month
- 12% ejaculate less than monthly
Some 19% of these squirters said it happens nearly every time they have a sexual encounter.
The other type of ejaculation
While the term "squirting" is often used to describe the clear, gushing type of ejaculate that likely comes from the bladder, the term "female ejaculation" is used to describe a second, separate type of ejaculate that's thought to originate from Skene glands. (Here's our full explainer on what squirt is if you want to get into the nitty-gritty details.)
Sometimes referred to as the "female prostate3," Skene glands are located in the area around the urethra, known as the urethral sponge. The ejaculate from Skene glands is a white, milky fluid that has chemical similarities to semen.
This second type of ejaculate is released in much smaller quantities, Vrangalova notes, because Skene glands are quite tiny compared to the bladder, which can hold and release quite a lot of liquid.
If this smaller, milkier "female ejaculation" happens without the gushing fluid from the bladder, it's possible that some women may not even notice it.
Skene glands are also still a bit of a mystery themselves: "There have been a couple of these anatomical studies on cadavers that have dissected that area trying to find Skene glands, and they can't really find them in everyone!" Vrangalova explains. "So it's possible that maybe 30 or 40% of vulva owners and vagina owners don't even have them."
If not all vagina owners have Skene glands, then it's possible that those without these glands aren't able to experience this form of ejaculation.
To make things even more complicated, Vrangalova notes that even among people who do have Skene glands, there are differences in the anatomical structure from person to person.
Can you learn how to squirt?
For what it's worth, squirting coaches do exist who claim they can teach people how to squirt. Herbenick says she's heard mixed reports about these types of classes, but Vrangalova has heard of more promising results, saying some squirting coaches have success rates of 90% or higher.
But without controls and schematic recordkeeping, she notes that these anecdotal reports can't be considered conclusive evidence that all women can squirt.
"They'd ask them if they'd ever squirted before, and if they said no, they asked them, would you like to be part of this study where we try to get you to squirt?" Vrangalova explains. "So what they had was four different sessions, lasting up to an hour each, where the researcher tried to get these women to squirt. Only about a third of them managed to squirt after four sessions."
Some 37% of women were able to squirt from the experiment; 67% couldn't.
But because of the small sample size in the study, these numbers really can't be generalized to the broader population. (And notably, it's presumably a lot harder to have a squirting orgasm when you're in a lab setting being touched by a random scientist than it is when you're in the comfort of your own home with a partner who really turns you on.)
How to teach yourself to squirt
Vrangalova says there are three key factors in learning how to squirt:
- You need the right kind of physical pressure or stimulation, usually applied on the upper interior wall of the vagina in the so-called G-spot area.
- You need to have the right timing in terms of level of arousal: The person who's going to squirt must be already quite aroused by the time they're receiving this G-spot stimulation.
- You need to be open to it: The person who's going to squirt needs to be in the right psychological state, open to the idea of squirting, and able to physically aid in the process by not trying to "hold it in." (Peeing before sex might give you some peace of mind!)
Here's our full guide to how to make someone squirt.
There's no conclusive evidence on whether or not all women can squirt.
We do know that all women have bladders and urethras, two of the body parts involved in producing the gushing squirting effect, which suggests that it's something any woman can learn to do in theory.
"Is this a worthy goal to work toward? You know, I don't know," Vrangalova notes. "I've been hearing a lot of people getting kind of fixated on achieving this goal, and I don't necessarily think that you need to have that in order to have a fulfilling sexual life in any way, shape, or form."
If you're interested in squirting, give it a go! If it doesn't happen, no biggie.
Lots of people have very good sex and lots of orgasms without ever squirting, and there are endless other fun things to try.
Kelly Gonsalves is a multi-certified sex educator and relationship coach helping people figure out how to create dating and sex lives that actually feel good — more open, more optimistic, and more pleasurable. In addition to working with individuals in her private practice, Kelly serves as the Sex & Relationships Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and she’s been trained and certified by leading sex and relationship institutions such as The Gottman Institute and Everyone Deserves Sex Ed, among others. Her work has been featured at The Cut, Vice, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and elsewhere.
With her warm, playful approach to coaching and facilitation, Kelly creates refreshingly candid spaces for processing and healing challenges around dating, sexuality, identity, body image, and relationships. She’s particularly enthusiastic about helping softhearted women get re-energized around the dating experience and find joy in the process of connecting with others. She believes relationships should be easy—and that, with room for self-reflection and the right toolkit, they can be.
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