The Gushing Woman
Since it was first reported in the early 1980s,
controversy has surrounded female ejaculation.
But the most recent research strengthens the case
for women’s ability to release fluid on orgasm,
and suggests that it comes from the same gland
producing most of the fluid in semen. This gland
is the female equivalent of the male prostate.
The supposed minority of women who ejaculate often feel
ambivalent about it at best and shameful at worst.
It’s no wonder that many women actually can ejaculate
but don’t/can’t out of fear or embarrassment.
Maybe it’s because female ejaculation’s popular
representation lies in a weird limbo between a
pornographically glorified party trick and
something like involuntary bed-wetting.
Maybe it’s because it’s referenced by awful terms
like “gushing,” “squirting” and “she-jaculation.”
Or maybe it’s because no one seems to know what
the fuck it is. Is it pee? Why is there so much
of it? If I drink it, will I throw up?
Somewhere between 10 and 50 percent of women ejaculate at orgasm. The amount of fluid varies considerably, from a few drops to considerably more, so that some women must make love on a towel to keep from soaking the sheets.
If so many women ejaculate, why is female ejaculation controversial? Because in Western medicine, medical phenomena must be explained before they are become accepted, and female ejaculation has remained unexplained.
It was not clear where the fluid came from, hence the controversy. It’s been suggested that women’s ejaculate comes from the female prostate, a gland that has been misnamed for more than 100 years.
From the Paraurethral Glands to the Female Prostate
In the middle of the vulva, above the vaginal opening but below the clitoris, is the opening of women’s urine tube, the urethra. A group of glands are embedded in the tissue around it, the paraurethral glands. “Para” means around.
In the 1880s, Alexander Skene discovered the first two paraurethral glands, called Skene’s glands. Skene documented that the glands he discovered produce a little fluid. Since then, several other paraurethral glands have been identified.
The glands’ arrangement, and the fact that they produce fluid reminded researchers of the prostate. As a result, some sexologists call these glands the “female prostate.” But the name has not caught on. As far as non-sexologists are concerned, men have prostates and women don’t.
Writers dating back to the ancient Romans reported that women produce a thin fluid that “flows when they experience the greatest pleasure.”
The Kama Sutra and centuries-old Japanese erotic works also mention fluid issuing from women’s genitals during orgasm.
But Alfred Kinsey, the first American sex researcher, and Masters and Johnson, the inventors of sex therapy, dismissed female ejaculation as simply extra-copious vaginal lubrication.
Urination on Orgasm?
But such dismissals do not ring true for many women who notice that they release fluid on orgasm. Some feel embarrassed about “peeing” when they climax. Others realize that the fluid neither looks nor smells like urine.
Then there’s the G-spot, the area of sexual sensitivity that most women feel when fingers or a sex toy press on the front wall of the vagina, about two inches in from the vaginal opening. Vigorous G-spot stimulation increased the likelihood of female ejaculation on orgasm.
A woman’s isn’t urine but a combination of secretions from the paraurethral glands that chemically resemble prostate secretions in men. But how could women produce prostate fluid when they have no prostate?
Women Have a Prostate
• Microscopic studies of the Skene’s glands show cells that secrete fluid.
• Women produce prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a compound unique to the prostate gland. If women produce PSA, they must have tissue analogous to the male prostate.
• Enzymes characteristic of the male prostate are also found in the Skene’s glands.
• When men develop prostate cancer, PSA levels rise. When women develop cancer of the Skene’s glands, their PSA levels rise.
• Tumors of the Skene’s glands contain cells very similar to those found in prostate tumors in men.
Many scientits agree that the Skene’s glands are the female prostate. The term Skene’s glands should be dropped in favor of female prostate. He insists that female ejaculate is analogous to male semen.
The Remaining Mystery
Virtually every healthy man who has a prostate produces prostate fluid. But only a fraction—10 to 50 percent—of women ejaculate. If women have a fluid-producing prostate gland, why don’t they all ejaculate? Currently, no one knows.
It’s possible that most or all women do ejaculate, but that studies to date have not been sophisticated enough to document it. It’s also possible that for reasons that remain unclear, some women don’t ejaculate.