Squirting, for some reason, has always been a topic of great debate. From researchers fighting about whether or not it's just pee to literal bans on the act. Across the Atlantic, for example, female ejaculation was recently included on a list of acts banned from online pornography by the U.K. government. But for a minority of women, female ejaculation is something that just happens when they're stimulated in the right way. Cosmopolitan.com spoke to five such women on the politics and practicalities of squirting.
How old are you?
Woman A: 28
Woman B: 23
Woman C: 25
Woman D: 23
Woman E: 22
Woman F: 30
How did you first discover you were capable of squirting?
Woman A: I was masturbating actually. I think it was among the first few times I'd tried it, and I was using a vibrator on my clitoris, and it just happened.
Woman B: I was with a partner I felt very comfortable discussing my sexuality with. I'd expressed a desire to see if I was capable, curious about how it would feel. He was really into the idea, and we tried various positions and techniques until it happened.
Woman C: My girlfriend and I had a very active sex life when we started going out. It was the first time I'd been able to orgasm with another person and I was so much more comfortable with her than I'd ever been before. We used to spend days in bed, bunking off work, and then, suddenly, one day, after lots of gentle sex and stimulation, I squirted everywhere. Since then, I quite regularly squirt with her.
Woman D: It was actually pretty recently, just over a year ago. I was using a vibrator to stimulate my clitoris like I normally do. Apparently I've always ejaculated a tiny bit when having a clitoral orgasm but had never noticed before. This time, I was wearing my menstrual cup, so there were no vaginal fluids coming out, and I could notice the tiny bit of fluid that shot from my urethra. It was a nice surprise!
Woman E: I was having sex with my boyfriend in the early days of our relationship. He was standing and I was kneeling on the edge of the bed, with him taking me from behind. I could feel myself building to something slowly and steadily rather than in waves, which is how I usually feel when I'm on track for an orgasm. All of a sudden, the feeling intensified through my body and I ejaculated.
Woman F: My husband of seven years and I were having sex. I was bent over the side of the bed and he was behind me. I moved one leg up on the side of the bed to get a better angle because he kept hitting a spot that felt really intense, but would miss it with the next stroke. After a rapid succession of strokes hitting that intense spot I felt a really strong, but unfamiliar sensation and had the desire to push from the pelvic floor. I felt a sudden rush of liquid spill down my legs and the noises from him thrusting became much more squishy sounding.
How did it feel, physically speaking?
Woman A: It felt like this big, wet release. I was extremely worried I was peeing, but the liquid didn't look or smell anything like pee.
Woman B: Intense. It was a very intense experience.
Woman C: That's difficult—describing sexual feelings in words is so hard! I think my labia got really full and big, like I was about to give birth or something. And the pressure of them being so swollen felt really intense and then I felt hot liquid all over me in bursts.
Woman D: It felt kind of like urinating, but not similar enough that I could confuse the two. It felt powerful like a male orgasm, with very strong and clear spasms of my abdominal and pelvic muscles.
Woman E: It was a strange feeling; quite different from the orgasms I was used to. It was more of a sublime, gradually intensifying feeling that spread through my body than it was an "unbearably good" sensation. So I only vaguely felt myself ejaculate. The sound of it hitting the bed is what made me aware of what happened.
Woman F: Like...a rush or a surge. I wish I had a better explanation for the sensation.
And how did you feel about it afterward, emotionally?
Woman A: I was definitely confused, when all my friends started masturbating and sharing those stories, none of them had ever described this.
Woman B: Surprised that my body was capable of that. Impressed.
Woman C: We weren't sure whether it was urine or not the first time, but it didn't smell and I had peed just before sex so we didn't think I could have. We were excited because it's such a mythical thing that we were a bit like, "Woah, did that just happen?" My girlfriend loved it because she felt that it was a sign that she made me feel really good!
Woman D: It was very fulfilling. It was super-hot to have something akin to a male orgasm with more obvious results. It was so exciting to feel and see a product of my orgasm, instead of some mysterious internal process.
Woman E: As soon as it happened I stiffened, unsure of what to think and unable to measure my boyfriend's reaction. I was freaked out that I might have peed, and I remember feeling quite shocked and self-conscious for weeks afterward, particularly because it was so unexpected and out of my control. I tried to avoid doing it from then on, though in the last few months I've become more relaxed.
Woman F: Excited! I'd heard about it and seen it in porn, but never done it.
Do you squirt every time you have sex, or is it something that only happens sometimes now?
Woman A: It's definitely only sometimes, and not unless I use a vibrator.
Woman B: It's only happened a handful of times, with one partner who knew how and where to stimulate me in order for it to happen.
Woman C: It happens about 50 percent of the time now. Most of the time when I squirt, I have been having sex for ages so I kind of relax after it and don't bother about the orgasm. It doesn't feel like I need to orgasm if I squirted loads.
Woman D: I ejaculate at least a little bit every time I have a clitoral orgasm, but never when I orgasm from penetration.
Woman E: It only happens occasionally. I'd say that it would coincide [with orgasm] more often than not.
Woman F: Only when coming with penetration. Clitoral stimulation alone doesn't do it. Usually I'll ejaculate a few times (and it feels really great) before I have an orgasm.
Are there any particular positions that make it more likely for you?
Woman A: Doggy style with a vibrator on my clit.
Woman B: Internal stimulation simultaneously with my clit.
Woman C: I am much more likely to squirt when we've been messing about for ages, particularly if my girlfriend has been stimulating my clitoris for a long time.
Woman D: I can only do it while masturbating.
Woman E: Definitely when I am taken from behind on particular angles, or when I am being fingered in a "come hither" motion.
Woman F: Internal stimulation, for sure. My husband can make it happen with his cock, but my boyfriend's (I'm polyamorous) fingers do some crazy magic too.
And how does it differ from peeing?
Woman A: It's so hard to describe! I've experimented with emptying my bladder completely before masturbating just to make sure, and I'll still squirt. It doesn't feel like that relief you feel when peeing, because there was none of that pressure to begin with.
Woman B: I can't really explain this. It's just different. I know that it's different. Trust me, if it were even comparable I'd be drinking a hell of a lot more water.
Woman C: Even though the volume of liquid used to make me worry that it was urine, it is clear and it doesn't smell like urine at all. Also, it always shoots out in one or two quick bursts at the peak of sexual play which I've never thought possible with urine.
Woman D: I feel the build-up and release lower in the urethra itself, not as high as the bladder at all. So it's only similar in that I'm pushing something out of the urethra.
Woman E: Put simply, it is transparent, odorless and doesn't feel like pee.
How do your partner(s) feel about it?
Woman A: Partners have just always thought it was pretty cool.
Woman B: The only partner it's happened with has been into it. But he was really open-minded with everything we tried. I'm worried it'll happen again with a partner who isn't that open.
Woman C: She loves it! She did it recently too for the first time so yeah, we're both into it.
Woman D: Partners usually aren't involved because I only do it while masturbating—I can't usually get off clitorally with a partner, and if I do, it's a bit muted. And if I let a partner watch me masturbate they usually don't notice because it's often so little. I've had several men offer to make me ejaculate, and I think they expect a shower of a ton of fluid, and mine just doesn't work that way. So the way I come isn't particularly hot for most partners.
Woman E: My boyfriend is the only person who has experienced it with me and he loves it, especially the power associated with taking someone to that point. He said that because it mirrors what happens when he comes, he can relate to it and understand that it feels great.
Woman F: They love it. It's like a goal now.
How do you think squirting is perceived by the rest of society?
Woman A: Honestly I think everyone else thinks we're lying. Studies have come out saying the liquid that comes out of women who ejaculate is just pee, but those studies were really small! I think you just need to trust women.
Woman B: I live in the U.K., and based on the recent changes in porn legislation, I feel as though the act is being treated like a myth. I think it's awful that we're being told it's "damaging" and can't be scientifically proven. A little over a hundred years ago, scientists didn't believe the female orgasm existed either, but now we know that was completely wrong. It's still a taboo. I'm very open with my friends about masturbation, my sexual preferences and so on, but I haven't discussed this with them.
Woman C: It's really misunderstood. Some people even think it's disgusting and "unnatural." I am really happy you guys are writing this, because it can be strange when your body does something that you didn't know it could do, and this will hopefully bust some myths. I feel for people who squirt but don't know enough about what's going on in their body to enjoy it. When it first happened to me I spent so long looking for information about it and I just couldn't find any because it is so widely dismissed. If I hadn't had such a wonderful, loving girlfriend, my worries that I'd peed myself could have stressed me out and led to me worrying about sex.
Woman D: Men I've encountered have this idea, maybe from porn, that any woman can come a freaking waterfall if she knows her body well enough or has the skills, and it's just not true. I have had to correct them, because turns out that the source of the ejaculate, the Skene's glands, vary hugely in size and location across females and some people don't even have them! It is what it is.
Woman E: Initially, it never occurred to me that other people actually aspired to it. I thought that my sexual partners would be disgusted or freaked out by it. But it seems that heterosexual men, at least (I can't speak for the LGBTQI community), find it extremely attractive and get off on it. As for the community as a whole, it isn't something I've discussed much with those who aren't good friends.
Woman F: My friends and lovers find it fascinating. I remember telling my best friend about the first time and she giggled a little like, "Welcome to the club! How was it?! Amazing, right?!"
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.