A few months ago, I got together with a group of friends and fellow sex educators for one of our regular exploratory parties. It all started when two of my friends decided they wanted to learn about fisting, and from there our educational play parties took on a life of their own. We'd meet every month or two to tackle a new topic and figure out what our bodies could do. For the party in question, we decided to tackle squirting.

A couple members of our group could practically squirt on command, a couple more—including me—could do it sometimes, but not reliably, and a few more had never done it and wanted to learn.

Through the course of the evening, people took turns laying back on waterproof blankets and exploring both solo and partnered play with a variety of toys to see what would do the trick. We engaged in show-and-tell. And everyone left knowing a little more about our own and each other's bodies.

Squirting has fascinated me since I was first learning to masturbate, when I was soaking the sheets at 12 years- old. At the time I didn't know what it was but I also wasn't worried about it. I'd just learned to wad up some tissues between my legs before playing with myself. It fit right in with all the whispered jokes about masturbation being messy and so I didn't think anything of it.

I didn't do any real research on the topic until I became a professional sex educator, and once I started diving into the literature I found out how controversial squirting could be. I went down internet rabbit holes of shame, misinformation, and even more politics than I usually find in sex—and that's saying something. In fact, politics are so intrinsically linked to the scientific study of female anatomy and pleasure that it even gets referenced in the scientific studies, as this this study from the National Review of Urology by Emmanuele A. Jannini, Odile Buisson and Alberto Rubio-Casillas states,

“The anatomical structures that might provoke vaginally activated orgasms rather than clitorally activated orgasms have not been completely and unequivocally described, probably representing a unique case of remaining major uncertainty regarding human gross anatomy. In fact, several issues relating to this gap in our anatomical knowledge remain controversial. First, the functional relationship between the clitoris and the vagina is still debated. Second, disagreements over whether the vagina is sufficiently innervated to provide pleasure, or is poorly sensitive to facilitate the processes of labour and birth, have not been resolved. Third, whether the Gräfenberg spot (G-spot; a hypothetical, discrete, highly erogenous region of the vagina) is a discrete entity, a complex structure, or a gynaecological myth created for journalistic purposes, or with the aim of supporting surgical aesthetic manipulations of the female genitals, remains unclear. [Furthermore] the existence of the vaginally activated orgasm, based on the opinion or experiences of a number of women, has often been rejected, largely for political rather than scientific reasons.”

Why does this matter? Because for most people squirting orgasms come from internal, rather than external stimulation. So when mainstream articles come out—usually based on flawed understandings of flawed scientific studies— questioning whether the G-spot or squirting, exists, it further confuses people who have likely already had little to no sex education.

Confusing or politicized information also comes from well-meaning sources you might not expect. The feminist movement of the 70's even had a hand in designating internal, or so-called G-spot orgasms, as a scam of the patriarchy, instead insisting that clitoral orgasms, preferably reached by masturbation, were the feminist ideal.

The other point that gets brought up with some regularity is whether or not squirting, or ejaculate, is urine. The last study on the subject that got mainstream attention included only seven subjects, which is hardly a statistically significant sample size.

Studies aside, as someone who has been both intentionally urinated on, and intentionally squirted on, I'm in a fabulous (if non-scientific) position to insist that urine and female ejaculate are distinct substances.

I also think that this distinction isn't as important as people make it out to be. So what if squirting was urine? If it feels amazing then just enjoy yourself. Sex is messy and body fluids are no big deal. (As long as you're negotiating for what levels of safety you need to feel comfortable.)

If you're interested in trying to squirt, here are some things you should know:

  • Some well-meaning articles and classes will tell you everyone can squirt. But you should always be suspicious when someone makes a blanket statement like that about bodies. It’s possible this is something your body simply won’t do — and that’s okay!
  • Not only are all bodies different, but some people who squirt don’t even think it feels that good, or wish they didn’t have to deal with the clean up. So if you’re not squirting, it’s important to know that you’re not necessarily missing out on a transcendental experience that everyone is having but you.
  • Prepare yourself mentally. You need to be open to the idea of squirting to increase your chances of it happening. Many people are intentionally or unintentionally holding back out of fear of peeing during sex or orgasm.
  • Lay down a waterproof blanket or some towels if that will help set your mind at ease. It certainly helps with laundry!
  • Go to the bathroom and empty your bladder before sex. This will help you feel confident that fluids coming out of you during sex or orgasm aren’t urine, if that’s a concern.
  • Hydrate! Squirting takes a lot out of you, literally, and many bodies won’t squirt, or won’t squirt as much, if not well hydrated.
  • Focus on arousal. It can take 40 minutes or more for the clitoral urethral vaginal (CUV) complex to become fully engorged, and this engorgement is necessary for most people to squirt.
  • For many people, it’s vigorous internal stimulation that does the trick. This can be difficult to achieve on
  • Get very familiar with your body’s arousal patterns and learn what it feels like when you’re about to orgasm. Try baring down or pushing out with orgasm, and see if that feeling of release helps you squirt.

The bottom line is that bodies (and minds) are incredibly complex, and each one works differently. While it would be so much easier to teach sex ed or write articles if all bodies worked the same way the truth is there's no way around getting to know each body individually. That's why the most important things you can learn are about how to communicate, so that you've got the tools and language to explore what works for you and your partners.

Have you got a burning question of your own? We're listening! Email askhumptown@wweek.com and keep your eye out for an answer in an upcoming column!