Female ejaculation  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Female ejaculation (also known colloquially as squirting or gushing) refers to the expulsion of noticeable amounts of clear bodily fluid by human females from the urethra during orgasm.

The exact source of the fluid is unknown, although some researchers believe it originates from the Skene's gland. Whether all females have the potential to ejaculate in this manner is also controversial.

There was controversy over whether the effect existed at all, and in recent history there has been confusion between female ejaculation and urinary incontinence. However, post-2000 scientific studies in controlled conditions have demonstrated a bona fide effect that is unrelated to urine.

Female ejaculation is mostly accomplished by stimulation of the urethral sponge (or G-spot, named after Dr. Ernst Gräfenberg), an area on the front vaginal wall. More rarely, ejaculation can be accomplished through external stimulation of the clitoris alone, the internal tissue of the clitoris then contracting and stimulating the urethral tissue.

Contents

Reports

In questionnaire surveys, 35–50% of women report that they have at some time experienced the gushing of fluid during orgasm.

The suggestion that women can expel fluid from their genital area as part of sexual arousal has been described as one of the most hotly debated questions in modern sexology. Female ejaculation has been discussed in anatomical, medical, and biological literature throughout recorded history. The interest devoted to female ejaculation compared to the basic acceptance of its male counterpart has been questioned by feminist writers.

Western literature

16th to 18th century

In the 16th century, the English physician Laevinius Lemnius, referred to how a woman "draws forth the man's seed and casts her own with it". In the 17th century, François Mauriceau described glands at the urethral meatus that "pour out great quantities of saline liquor during coition, which increases the heat and enjoyment of women". This century saw an increasing understanding of female sexual anatomy and function, in particular the work of the Bartholin family in Denmark.

De Graaf

The Dutch anatomist Regnier de Graaf, wrote an influential treatise on the reproductive organs Concerning the Generative Organs of Women which is much cited in the literature on this topic. De Graaf discussed the original controversy but supported the Aristotelian view.

He identified the source as the glandular structures and ducts surrounding the urethra.

[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] 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 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, his prime purpose was to distinguish between generative fluid and pleasurable fluid, in his stand on the Aristotelian semen controversy.

19th century

Krafft-Ebing's study of sexual perversion, Psychopathia Sexualis (1886), describes female ejaculation under the heading "Congenital Sexual Inversion in Women" as a perversion related to neurasthenia and homosexuality.

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 taken 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.

20th century

Early 20th century understanding

Female ejaculation is mentioned as normal in early 20th century 'marriage manuals', such as Theodoor Hendrik van de Velde's Ideal Marriage: Its Physiology and Technique (1926). Certainly van de Velde was well aware of the varied experiences of women.

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 force

as 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".

Late 20th century awareness

The topic did not receive serious attention again until a review by Josephine Lowndes Sevely and JW Bennett appeared in 1978. This latter paper, which traces the history of the controversies to that point, and a series of three papers in 1981 by Beverly Whipple and colleagues in the Journal of Sex Research, became the focal point of the current debate. Whipple became aware of the phenomenon when studying urinary incontinence, with which it is often confused. As Sevely and Bennett point out, this is "not new knowledge, but a rediscovery of lost awareness that should contribute towards reshaping our view of female sexuality". Nevertheless, the theory advanced by these authors was immediately dismissed by many other authors, such as physiologist Joseph Bohlen, for not being based on rigorous scientific procedures, and psychiatrist Helen Singer Kaplan (1983) stated;

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".

Anthropological accounts

Female ejaculation appears in 20th century anthropological works, such as Malinowski's Melanesian study, The Sexual Life of Savages (1929), and Gladwin and Sarason's "Truk: Man in Paradise" (1956). Malinowski states that in the language of the Trobriand Island people, a single word is used to describe ejaculation in both male and female.

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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)

Popular culture

It is claimed that "most women, the overwhelming proportion of women" are capable of ejaculation with training and practice. Many Tantric gurus such as Mantak Chia, among others, educated followers about the existence and the techniques to achieve female ejaculation as far back as the sixties and seventies. By the seventies and eighties, notable American and British Tantric teachers were further popularizing it. With the turn of the century it was depicted in pornography. Regardless of proven scientific fact, ejaculation is now firmly embedded in the popular culture, with workshops and videos, as an empowering phenomenon. A recent example is the film Divine Nectar by Tallulah Sulis. These depict ejaculation as a spiritual experience.

Censorship

In the United Kingdom, the British Board of Film Classification has banned films alleged to show female ejaculation, claiming that the expert medical advice they received informed them that there is no such thing as female ejaculation, and therefore it was deemed to show urine. They later stated instead that they do not take any view on whether female ejaculation exists, only claiming that all examples they have seen thus far during classification have been urination during sex.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Female ejaculation" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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