Understanding The Mysteries Of Female Ejaculation

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Female ejaculation is an aspect of women's sexual health that is often shrouded in mystery. A recent analysis of existing research offers new insight.

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Photo: Suzie Tremmel

Emerging research lends insight to the phenomenon of female ejaculation.

Female ejaculation (FE), the expulsion of fluid from the urethra during female sexual arousal or orgasm, is an aspect of female sexual health that is still poorly understood. It is a phenomenon that has been widely documented for thousands of years, but is still surrounded by scientific controversy. Some women find FE to be intensely pleasurable, while others may find it to be embarassing and undesirable. Other women may strive to experience FE to enhance their sexual pleasure, only to feel frustration if they are physically incapable. A recent meta-analysis overview of research on FE published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine shed some light on this little-understood subject.

Biological function of female ejaculation

It is estimated that between 10-54% of women experience some type of fluid expulsion in tandem with sexual arousal and orgasm. It is not well understood why some women experience female ejaculation while others do not. Some researchers believe that female orgasm (and by extension, female ejaculation) exists as an evolutionary adaptation. In other words, perhaps women have the ability to ejaculate because men’s bodies need this mechanism for reproduction, and thus the capacity exists in bodies of both sexes, and serve different functions in each (just as men have nipples even though they do not need them to breastfeed children). The milky, semen-like fluid that may be expelled during FE is believed to be produced by the female prostate (also known as Skene’s Paraurethral Glands or G-Spot), a structure similar to the male prostate, which produces male seminal fluids. It is also possible that FE flushes foreign bacteria from the urethra, preventing coitus-related urinary tract infections.

Different types of female ejaculation

Some women who experience expulsion of fluids during intercourse may fear that they are accidentally urinating during sex. In some cases this is a valid concern for women who experience intercourse or orgasm-induced coital incontinence, a treatable condition. However, true female ejaculation is distinct from urination in the physical mechanism by which fluids are released, and chemical composition of the the fluids, and should not be considered a pathological sexual response.

In most cases, however, FE is not a sign of incontinence, but a cluster of physiological responses in which fluid is expelled from the urethra. There are several ways in which  fluids that may be expelled during sexual activities:

Vaginal lubrication

Vaginal lubrication is a viscous, slippery fluid typically secreted by vaginal walls during arousal. This natural lubricant helps ease penetration and reduce irritation and injury to genital tissues during coitus. Some women may produce a great volume of natural lubricant that may be discharged from the vagina during intercourse or orgasmic contractions, but this is not considered to be a form of FE.

Urinary incontinence

As mentioned above, urinary incontinence (UI) during penetration or orgasm may be a potential explanation for expelling fluid from the urethra. UI can be caused by weak pelvic floor muscles, or overstimulation of the bladder. An estimated 20-45% of women experience UI in their lifetime, and of this group, up to 66% may experience UI triggered by arousal or coitus. This may be a greater concern for women who are post-menopausal or have given birth vaginally. Regularly performing exercises known as “kegels” to tone pelvic floor muscles can help prevent incontinence, and women who are concerned that they may be experiencing UI should consult with a gynecologist, urologist, or other qualified professional.

Clinical definition of female ejaculation

Clinically speaking, “female ejaculation” specifically describes the expulsion of a small amount of white, semen-like fluid from the urethra during arousal or orgasm. This fluid is distinct from urine and is produced by the glands of the female prostate, a structure believed to be present in the anterior wall of the vagina in at least 50% of women. Specifically stimulating the female prostate (sometimes called the “G-Spot“) through the vaginal wall during sexual activity may induce FE.

Squirting or gushing 

The phenomenon of “squirting” or “gushing” is slightly different  from the female ejaculation described above. These expressions refers to the expulsion of a greater volume of clear fluids (distinct from the milky prostatic fluids) during arousal or orgasm. This fluid is believed to be diluted, chemically changed urine from the bladder. Although these fluids are released from the bladder, this is phenomenon is distinct from urinary incontinence.

Embracing female ejaculation

Female ejaculation is a perfectly normal and healthy sexual response, and should not be perceived as a source of shame. Conversely, female ejaculation is  not a requirement for achieving sexual pleasure or orgasm. Not all women are physiologically capable of experiencing FE, and this is also perfectly normal. Women who do experience FE may become more comfortable with the phenomena by researching the subject on their own, discussing it with their sexual partner(s), their gynecologist, or a trained sexual health educator. It is important for sexual partners of these women to become comfortable and knowledgeable about female ejaculation (or lack thereof) as well.

People who are interested in exploring FE as a part of their sexual activities can consult other  books and articles on the subject, practice toning their pelvic floor muscles with exercises like kegels, as well as experimenting with toys, sexual positions, and manual techniques that stimulate the front wall of the vagina, which may help induce ejaculation.

Bianca Jarvis

Bianca Jarvis is an MPH student at Indiana University, and the executive editor at MsBehaved.com: "a sex-positive, body-positive, queer-friendly, gender-inclusive lifestyle site with a fierce femme sensibility." Her research interests include health disparities in gender-variant populations, body-diverse wellness, and sexual health and pleasure.
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