Female ejaculation (also described in the medical literature as Orgasmic Expulsion, and colloquially as squirting or gushing) refers to the expulsion of noticeable amounts of clear fluid by human females from the paraurethral ducts through and around the urethra during or before orgasm. The exact source and nature of the fluid continues to be the topic of heated debate among medical professionals.
The semen of women continues to fall from the beginning of the sexual union to the end, in the same way as that of the maleChinese sex handbooks, such as "Secret Methods of the Plain Girl" by Su Nu Ching (Sui Dynasty 590-618 AD) also describe ejaculation "Copious emisions from her inner heart begin to exude outward".
In the Generation of Animals, Aristotle argues that the function of the fluid is pleasure, not procreation;
Some think that the female contributes semen in coition because the pleasure she experiences is sometimes similar to that of the male, and also is attended by a liquid discharge. But this discharge is not seminal...The amount of this discharge when it occurs, is sometimes on a different scale from the emission of semen and far exceeds it.
Hippocrates stated that "the ejaculate of the mans runs together with that from the woman", while Galen differentiated procreative and pleasurable female fluids, attributing the latter to what he described as the prostate.
The fluid in her prostate ...contributes nothing to the generation of offspring...it is poured outside when it has done its service...This liquid not only stimulates...the sexual act but also is able to give pleasure and moisten the passageway as it escapes. It manifestly flows from women as they experience the greatest pleasure in coitus...
Eventually it was this two semen theory that prevailed in Arabic, and then Western medical teaching.
[VI:66-7]The urethra is lined by a thin membrane. In the lower part, near the outlet of the urinary passage, this membrane is pierced by large ducts, or lacunae, through which pituito-serous matter occasionally discharges in considerable quantities.
Between this very thin membrane and the fleshy fibres we have just described there is, along the whole duct of the urethra, a whitish membranous substance about one finger-breadth thick which completely surrounds the urethral canal... The substance could be called quite aptly the female 'prostatae' or 'corpus glandulosum', 'glandulous body'...The function of the 'prostatae' is to generate a pituito-serous juice which makes women more libidinous with its pungency and saltiness and lubricates their sexual parts in agreeable fashion during coitus.
[VII:81]Here too it should be noted that the discharge from the female 'prostatae' causes as much pleasure as does that from the male 'prostatae'
He identified [XIII:212] the various controversies regarding the ejaculate and its origin, but stated he believed that this fluid "which rushes out with such impetus during venereal combat or libidinous imagining" was derived from a number of sources, including the vagina, urinary tract, cervix and uterus. He appears to identify Skene's ducts, when he writes [XIII: 213] "those [ducts] which are visible around the orifice of the of the neck of the vagina and the outlet of the urinary passage receive their fluid from the female 'parastatae', or rather the thick membranous body around the urinary passage". However he appears not to distinguish between the lubrication of the perineum during arousal and an orgasmic ejaculate when he refers to liquid "which in libidinous women often rushes out at the mere sight of a handsome man". Further on [XIII:214] he refers to "liquid as usually comes from the pudenda in one gush". However it should be noted that his prime purpose was to distinguish between generative fluid and pleasurable fluid, in his stand on the Aristotelian semen controversy.
"the intersexual gratification among ...women seems to be reduced to kissing and embraces, which seems to satisfy those of weak sexual instinct, but produces in sexually neurasthenic females ejaculation"It is also described by Freud in pathological terms in his study of Dora (1905), where he relates it to hysteria.
"The pride take by women in the appearance of their genitals is quite a special feature of their vanity; and disorders of genitals which they think calculated to inspire feelings of repugnance or even disgust have an incredible power of humiliating them, of lowering their self-esteem, and of making them irritable, sensitive, and distrustful. An abnormal secretion of the mucous membrane of the vagina is looked upon as source of disgust."
However, women's writing of that time portrayed this in more positive terms. Thus we find Almeda Sperry writing to Emma Goldman in 1918, about the "rhythmic spurt of your love juices". Anatomical knowledge was also advanced by Alexander Skene's description of para-urethral or periurethral glands (glands around the urethra) in 1880, which have been variously claimed to be one source of the fluids in the ejaculate, and now commonly referred to as the Skene's glands.
It appears that the majority of laymen believe that something is forcibly squirted (or propelled or extruded), or expelled from the woman's body in orgasm, and should so happen normally, as in the man's case. Finally it is just as certain that such an 'ejaculation' does not take place in many women of sexually normal functions, as that it does take place in others.
Yet the subject was largely ignored for most of the early part of the century. In 1948, Huffman, an American gynaecologist, published his studies of the prostatic tissue in women together with an historical account and detailed drawings. These clearly showed the difference between the original glands identified by Skene at the urinary meatus, and the more proximal collections of glandular tissue emptying directly into the urethra.
The urethra might well be compared to a tree about which and growing outward from its base are numerous stunted branches, the paraurethral ducts and glands
To date most of the interest had focussed on the substance and structure rather than function of the glands. A more definitive contemporary account of ejaculation appeared shortly after, in 1950, with the publication of an essay by Gräfenberg based on his observations of women during orgasm.
An erotic zone always could be demonstrated on the anterior wall of the vagina along the course of the urethra...analogous to the male urethra, the female urethra also seems to be surrounded by erectile tissues...In the course of sexual stimulation, the female urethra begins to enlarge and can be felt easily. It swells out greatly at the end of orgasm...Occasionally the production of fluids is ...profuse...
If there is the opportunity to observe the orgasm of such women, one can see that large quantities of a clear transparent fluid are expelled not from the vulva, but out of the urethra in gushes. At first I thought that the bladder sphincter had become defective by the intensity of the orgasm. Involuntary expulsion of urine is reported in sex literature. In the cases observed by us, the fluid was examined and it had no urinary character. I am inclined to believe that "urine" reported to be expelled during female orgasm is not urine, but only secretions of the intraurethral glands correlated with the erotogenic zone along the urethra in the anterior vaginal wall. Moreover the profuse secretions coming out with the orgasm have no lubricating significance, otherwise they would be produced at the beginning of intercourse and not at the peak of orgasm.
However this paper made little impact, and was dismissed in the major sexological writings of that time, such as Kinsey (1953) and Masters and Johnson (1966), equating this "erroneous belief" with urinary stress incontinence. Although clearly Kinsey was familiar with the phenomenon, commenting that (p. 612);
Muscular contractions of the vagina following orgasm may squeeze out some of the genital secretions, and in a few cases eject them with some forceas were Masters and Johnson ten years later, who observed (pp 79-80)
Most women do not ejaculate during orgasm...we have observed several cases of women who expelled a type of fluid that was not urine (emphasis in original)
yet dismissed it (p. 135) - "female ejaculation is an erroneous but widespread concept", and even twenty years later in 1982, they repeated the statement that it was erroneous (p. 69-70) and the result of "urinary stress incontinence".
Female ejaculation (as distinct from female urination during orgasm) has never been scientifically substantiated and is highly questionable, to say the least.Even some radical feminist writers, such as Sheila Jeffreys (1985) were dismissive, claiming it as a figment of male fantasy;
There are examples in the sexological literature of men's sexual fantasies about lesbian sexuality. Krafft-Ebing invented a form of ejaculation for women
It required the detailed anatomical work of Helen O'Connell from 1998 onwards to more properly elucidate the relationships between the different anatomical structures involved. As she observes, the perineal urethra is embedded in the anterior vaginal wall and is surrounded by erectile tissue in all directions except posteriorly where it relates to the vaginal wall. "The distal vagina, clitoris, and urethra form an integrated entity covered superficially by the vulval skin and its epithelial features. These parts have a shared vasculature and nerve supply and during sexual stimulation respond as a unit".
Both the male and female discharge are called by the same name (momona or momola), and they ascribe to both the same origin in the kidneys, and the same function, which has nothing to do with generation, but is concerned with lubricating the membrane and increasing pleasure
In describing sexual relations amongst the Trukese Micronesians, Gladwin and Sarason state that "Female orgasm is commonly signalled by urination". Catherine Blackledge (p. 205) provides a number of examples from other cultures, including the Ugandan Batoro, Mohave Indians, Mangaians, and Ponapese. Amongst the Batoro, older women teach the younger women "kachapati" (spraying the wall) at puberty. (See also Chalker 2002 pp. 531-2, Ladas et al 1983 pp. 74-5)
An example of the difficulties is provided by the contrasting views of Carol Darling and Heli Alzate. As Shannon Bell states, essentially they are discussing two different phenomena. In an extensive survey, Darling and colleagues claim support for the existence of ejaculation, while in a sharply critical response, Alzate states that direct experimentation fails to provide any evidence. Alzate states,
the ignorance and/or confusion still prevalent among women about the anatomy and physiology of their sexual organs may make them mistake either vaginal lubrication or stress urinary incontinence for an "ejaculation"
Bell comments that Alzate simply dismisses women's subjective experiences in favour of rigorous scientific proof, and is typical of male sexologists withholding the validity of experience from women. Bell's critique lies at the heart of feminist concerns about this debate, namely a tendency to "disregard, reinterpret, and overwrite women's subjective descriptions". For some, she states, it is more a matter of belief than of physiology.
The discussion entered popular culture in 1982 with the publication of the bestselling The G-Spot: And Other Discoveries About Human Sexuality, by Ladas, Whipple, and Perry. The book discussed the question of female ejaculation and brought the concept back into discussions of women's sexuality, both in the medical community and among the general public. This was a popular account of three papers by the authors, the previous year, at the suggestion of Alice Khan Ladas Rebecca Chalker notes that this book was largely met with scorn, skepticism and disbelief. The chapter on 'Female Ejaculation' is largely based on anecdotal testimony, and illustrates another issue in the debate, the weight placed on anecdotes and small numbers of observations compared to biomedical investigation and clinical trials. Importantly, a number of the women stated that they had been diagnosed with urinary incontinence. However the book advances another feminist theory, that because women's pleasure in their sexuality has been historically excluded, the pleasure of ejaculation has been either discounted or appropriated by health professionals as a physiological phenomenon. Whipple continued to publicise her discoveries, including a 9 min video made in 1981 Orgasmic Expulsions of Fluid in the Sexually Stimulated Female The Journal of Sex Research described the debate as 'heated' in 1984. Josephine Sevely then followed up her 1978 study by publishing "Eve's Secrets: A new theory of female sexuality" in 1987, emphasising an integrated rather than fragmented approach to understanding female sexuality, with the clitoris, vagina and urethra depicted as a single sexual organ. This not only challenged the traditional fragmentation of female sexuality into clitoral vs. vaginal sensation, but sexualised the urethra, and by reconstructing female sexual anatomy addressed traditional thinking about the differences in male and female genitalia, often described by feminists as phallocentric.
Bell further questions why feminists have not been more outspoken in defence of women's control over female ejaculation, pointing out that the literature frames the discussion in only five separate ways; procreation, sexual pleasure, deviance, pathology, and a scientific mystery. The continuing debate is further illustrated in the angry exchange of letters between the author and researchers in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2002 following the publication of 'The G-spot: A modern gynecological myth' by Terrence Hines. Even in 2007, and 2008 the existence of a female prostate and of ejaculation are described as a matter of debate, and articles and book chapters continue to appear with subtitles such as "Fact or Fantasy".
The previously accepted notion that all fluid expelled during a woman's orgasm is urine is now being challenged...sexologists must take care not to assume now that any fluid produced at orgasm is "female ejaculate".However, scientific studies from the 1980s and later have demonstrated that a substance is produced which is distinct from urine, though it shares some qualities, such as alkalinity, with urine. But women claiming to have ejaculations who have agreed to urethral catheterisation prior to intercourse expelled large volumes of urine through the catheter at orgasm. There is no doubt that some women are frankly incontinent of urine at orgasm (coital incontinence), which can be distressing. A recent study of women who claim to ejaculate found no evidence of any urological problems, suggesting these two conditions (ejaculation and coital incontinence) are quite distinct physiologically, although perhaps not always distinguishable in a particular woman's mind. For instance Davidson's study of 1,289 women found that the sensation of ejacualation was very similar to that of urination. It may be important to sort out whether there is in fact any incontinence in women who present complaining of this, to avoid unnecessary interventions. It is important to distinguish orgasmic ejaculation from vaginal discharges which may require investigation and treatment. However in individual cases, the exact source of any reported discharge may not be obvious without further investigation.
but were confirmed in another 7 women in 1984. But in 1985 a different group studied 27 women, and found only urine, suggesting that results depend critically on the methods used.
A 2007 study on two women, involved ultrasound, endoscopic and biochemical analysis of fluid. The ejaculate was compared to pre-orgasmic urine from the same woman, and also to published data on male ejaculate. In both women, higher levels of PSA, PAP, glucose but lower levels of creatinine were found in the ejaculate. PSA levels were comparable to those in males.
PAP and PSA have been identified in the para-urethral tissues, using biochemical and immunohistochemical methods, confirming that the ejaculate likely arises from the ducts in these tissues, in a manner homologous to that in the male. Another marker common to the prostate tissue in both male and female is Human Protein 1
However, studies on the actual fluid are very limited compared to those on the tissues of likely origin. PSA occurs in urine, which is elevated in post-orgasmic samples, compared to pre-orgasmic. Simultaneous collection of ejaculate also showed PSA in all cases, but in higher concentration than the urine.
There are, however, concerns. The terminology, such as female prostate and female ejaculation invoke images of the female as merely an imitation of the male, mapping the female body onto the male, as if, like the Galenic view, it was incomplete. By contrast it could equally be argued that the Y chromosome merely modifies a female template. Furthermore overemphasis of ejaculation may induce performance anxiety. For the reason that 'sameness' has been constructed as a male perspective, some feminists reject the term ejaculation. Others argue it should be retained as a distinctive feminine characteristic distinguishable from the male, and imbued with different properties and purpose. A third concern is that of the increasing 'medicalisation' of women's sexuality, as expressed by Leonore Tiefer which finds its most extreme manifestation in the concept of female sexual dysfunction. Tiefer has expressed concern that overemphasising ejaculation will drive women who might feel inadequate to seek medical attention, as has the Boston Women's Health Collective. other criticism comes from Barbara Ehrenreich and colleagues who see this new sexuality as one that privileges the male in control, penile retention and body position, but this is denied by others.
Contemporary women's health literature summarise what is considered factual as being that the amount of fluid varies greatly and may be unnoticeable, occurs with or without vaginal stimulation, and may accompany orgasm or merely intense sexual pleasure, and orgasm may occur without ejaculation. Whether it can be learned or not, women report that they can induce it by enhancing their sexual response. Regardless, countless workshops now exist to teach women that learning how to ejaculate is an important form of feminine sexual expression. Sundahl describes it as a birthright and essential part of female creativity.
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