What Is Squirting?

Squirting and female ejaculation are technically different

The term squirting is often used to describe fluid from the vulva during a female orgasm. This fluid is similar to urine and is believed to flow from the bladder. While some people may experience squirting, others may not.

Squirting was once thought to be the same as female ejaculation. While they can occur at the same time, many researchers now believe squirting and female ejaculation are distinct and have unique underlying mechanisms (though there is some controversy about this).

This article looks at how squirting and female ejaculation are believed to be different, how squirting happens, what it feels like, and how to do it.

A woman lays on a bed smiling with her head back.

AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

Sex and Gender Terminology

Sex, gender, and sexuality each exist on a spectrum. This article uses female and male in reference to sexual and reproductive anatomy that's assigned at birth. Gender-specific terms such as man and woman may be used to describe the participants of scientific studies.

Squirting vs. Female Ejaculation

As research has delved further into female sexual pleasure and the fluids associated with it, experts have discovered key differences between squirting and ejaculation.

The fluids themselves are different, as are their source, the mechanisms behind the expulsion, and the amount that's usually expelled. Both come through the urethra (as does male ejaculate), but they originate in different places.

Squirting
  • Clear, watery fluid

  • Believed to come from the bladder

  • Can involve up to 10 tablespoons of fluid

  • Contains urea, creatinine, and uric acid, similar to diluted urine, sometimes with a small amount of prostatic-specific antigen (PSA)

Female Ejaculation
  • Viscous, whitish fluid

  • Believed to come from the Skene’s gland ("female prostate")

  • Tends to be about a up to a tablespoon of fluid or less

  • Contains high levels of prostatic acid phosphatase, prostatic specific antigen (PSA), glucose and fructose; low levels of urea and creatinine (similar to male ejaculate but without the sperm)

What Causes Squirting?

The liquid expelled when squirting appears to originate in the bladder. It contains some elements of urine but is much more watered down.

In a 2022 study involving women who can squirt, researchers emptied the participants' bladders with a catheter, then injected a blue dye into the bladders. They then induced squirting with sexual stimulation and collected the fluid.

In all cases, the squirted fluid was blue, meaning it came from the bladders. Testing revealed that the fluid was mainly urine. But it also contained fluid from the Skene's gland, which is also called the female prostate.

That suggests an overlap between squirting and ejaculating, as female ejaculate is believed to come from Skene's gland and has much in common with male seminal fluid. (In female ejaculation, all of the milky fluid comes from the Skene's gland.)

A 2015 study used ultrasound to see what goes on in the bladder during sexual stimulation and squirting. First, researchers confirmed that the participants' bladders were empty before sexual stimulation began.

During stimulation, the ultrasounds showed noticeable bladder filling just before the participants squirted. Why this happens isn't understood. There's some speculation that a stronger pelvic floor makes squirting more likely.

Exactly what triggers squirting—and female ejaculation, for that matter—is still unknown. The mechanisms for both are believed to be related to sexual arousal, especially clitoral and G-spot stimulation.

Can Everyone Squirt or Ejaculate?

Whether everyone with a vagina can squirt or ejaculate is up for debate. Part of the problem is that the distinction between the two processes is new, and most of the research that's been done treats them as the same thing.

So, there's limited knowledge on both processes, and much of what's been learned has to be re-examined in light of new knowledge.

Female Ejaculation

Studies on ejaculation estimate that somewhere between 10% and 70% of those with female genitalia do expel fluid in response to stimulation at least some of the time. The amount of female ejaculate also varies greatly but is generally just a few milliliters.

Some people may produce amounts of ejaculate that are too low to differentiate it from vaginal lubrication. The Skene's glands vary in size, so this may account for differences in the amount of fluid involved.

In addition, some older research suggests about 10% of those assigned female at birth don't even have Skene's glands. If theories of female ejaculation are correct, that would mean those people are unable to ejaculate.

Squirting

At this point, statistics aren't available on how many people with vaginas are able to squirt.

Some experts believe everyone with a vagina can do it. Others say it depends on your body and that some people may not ever be able to squirt.

Researchers still have much to learn about the squirting phenomenon and how and why it happens.

Misleading Images


Pornography tends to exaggerate squirting. These scenes create the impression that squirting always involves large amounts of fluid. The reality is that squirting is different for everyone, and small amounts of fluid are normal.

Orgasm

Ejaculation and squirting are most often associated with orgasm, especially when clitoral and G-spot stimulation are involved. But some people ejaculate and/or squirt from stimulation even without orgasm.

What's become clear through research is that:

  • Female ejaculation is normal
  • Not ejaculating is normal
  • Squirting is normal
  • Not squirting is normal

Furthermore, a lack of ejaculation and/or squirting doesn't mean sex was unsatisfactory.

What Does Squirting Feel Like?

Squirting and ejaculation feel different from person to person. It's possible that some people with vaginas don't know whether what they experience is squirting or ejaculating. Even experts use the terms interchangeably.

Unless you have a large gush of clear fluids that's obviously squirting, you may not be able to tell whether any fluids you release come from the Skene's gland alone or also from the bladder.

Generally speaking, many people with vaginas equate the release of fluids with the sensation of orgasm. Some say it seems to come from deeper in the body than a clitoral orgasm and can cause a "bearing down" sensation.

Others say they feel like they need to pee before a release of fluids or that the release feels like urinating. Because of the involvement of the bladder, this may be more likely to apply to squirting than ejaculating.

Still others don't feel anything aside from sudden wetness.

Many people who discuss their squirting ability online say they find it pleasurable. Whether it's the release itself of the stimulation that leads to it isn't yet clear. Studies support the connection between sexual pleasure and both ejaculation and squirting.

Safe Squirting

The fluid from squirting or ejaculating can spread sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Be sure to practice safer sex to protect yourself and your partner(s).

How to Squirt

If you don't naturally squirt, the recent social emphasis on squirting may make you feel pressure to learn how to do it. Rest assured that not squirting is completely normal.

Squirting also doesn't mean better sex. However, you or your sexual partner(s) may want to experience you squirting.

From the beginning, remember that you may not be able to do it. But if you'd like to try, some tips may help.

First, lay down a towel. If you're successful, it could get messy.

Relax

Starting with masturbation is often a good option. It allows you to explore without feeling pressured or inhibited.

Get "in the mood" in whatever way works for you. That might include lighting candles, dimming the lights, putting on music, and creating a soothing space.

It could also involve erotic material. Do whatever gets you in the mindset for sex.

Warm Up

Whether alone or with a partner, foreplay is key. Allow arousal to build over time. Don't try for the big event until you're highly aroused.

Find the G-Spot

Use a finger or G-spot stimulator to find your G-spot. Some sex toys stimulate both the G-spot and clitoris.

During penetrative vaginal sex with a partner, try to find a position that puts pressure on the G-spot. "Doggy style" (entry from behind) often works for this.

Explore Your Erogenous Zones

Try to stimulate the clitoris and G-spot at the same time. For partnered sex, have your partner stroke your G-spot with a finger while stimulating your clitoris with their mouth.

The vulva isn't the only part of the body that can elicit a sexual response. Explore other parts of your body, literally from head to toe. See what you enjoy having touched (or kissed or licked).

Lean in to the Sensation

Don’t get worried if you feel like you have to pee. Squirting is different from peeing, but they can feel the same.

Give into the sensation and let it happen. Don't hold back. It may help to pee before sex, so you know the urge is to ejaculate, not urinate.

Keep Trying

Don't try to force it. Let it happen organically. If it doesn't happen the first time, keep trying. Try different tactics. Take note of what works for you and what doesn't.

Summary

Experts are still working to understand female ejaculation and squirting. Some research suggests they're different fluids with different origins—ejaculate from the female prostate and squirting from the bladder.

Squirting involves more liquid and is similar to diluted urine. Ejaculate contains ingredients that are similar to male ejaculate but without sperm.

So far, it's unclear whether everyone can do either or both. They can happen with or without orgasm and together or separately.

You can try to squirt by relaxing, stimulating the G-spot and clitoris, and going with the feeling. It may or may not work. You're considered normal regardless of whether you squirt and/or ejaculate.

12 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Pastor Z, Chmel R. Female ejaculation and squirting as similar but completely different phenomena: A narrative review of current research. Clin Anat. 2022 Jul;35(5):616-625. doi:10.1002/ca.23879. Epub 2022 Apr 16.

  2. Pastor Z. Female ejaculation orgasm vs. coital incontinence: a systematic review. J Sex Med. 2013;10(7):1682-1691. doi:10.1111/jsm.12166

  3. Whipple B. Ejaculation, female. In: The International Encyclopedia of Human Sexuality. American Cancer Society; 2014:1-4. doi:10.1002/9781118896877.wbiehs125

  4. Salama S, Boitrelle F, Gauquelin A, Malagrida L, Thiounn N, Desvaux P. Nature and origin of “squirting” in female sexuality. J Sex Med. 2015;12(3):661-666.

  5. Pastor Z, Chmel R. Differential diagnostics of female "sexual" fluids: a narrative reviewInt Urogynecol J. 2018;29(5):621-629. doi:10.1007/s00192-017-3527-9

  6. Inoue M, Sekiguchi Y, Ninomiya N, Kobayashi T, Araki M. Enhanced visualization of female squirting [published online ahead of print, 2022 Aug 24]. Int J Urol. 2022;10.1111/iju.15004. doi:10.1111/iju.15004

  7. Salama S, Boitrelle F, Gauquelin A, Malagrida L, Thiounn N, Desvaux P. Nature and origin of "squirting" in female sexualityJ Sex Med. 2015;12(3):661-666. doi:10.1111/jsm.12799

  8. Foldes P, Buisson O. Reviews: the clitoral complex: a dynamic sonographic study. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2009;6(5):1223-1231. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01231.x

  9. International Society for Sexual Medicine. Do women ejaculate?

  10. Espitia De La Hoz FJ. PM-05 prevalence and characterization of female ejaculation. Cross-sectional study. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2017;14(12):E382. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2017.10.044

  11. Zaviacic M, Jakubovská V, Belosovic M, Breza J. Ultrastructure of the normal adult human female prostate gland (Skene's gland)Anat Embryol (Berl). 2000;201(1):51-61. doi:10.1007/pl00022920

  12. International Society for Sexual Medicine. Do women ejaculate?

By Heather Jones
Heather M. Jones is a freelance writer with a strong focus on health, parenting, disability, and feminism.