Going with the Flow by Liza Featherstone


I'm only an occasional ejaculator. If I were a man, this would be a humiliating state of affairs, warranting surgery, self-reproach and psychotherapy. But since I'm not, it's never bothered me that only one lover has witnessed my Old Faithful impersonation. She'd be going down on me, using a finger or two; suddenly I'd feel a quick spurt just before orgasm, and she'd look up, startled, triumphant, her face wet. Doubtless her practiced fingers and mouth deserve most of the credit — but it was never clear exactly how it happened.


Recently, I tried to repeat the experience. But I had no idea where to begin: the instructional literature on female ejaculation varies greatly, but everyone agrees on the importance of provoking the G-spot. I didn't even know where mine was.


"Discovered" in 1950 by Ernest Gräfenberg, M.D., from whom it derives its affectionate nickname, the G-spot — the front wall of the vagina, between the opening and the cervix, along the urethra — is a zone of intense sexual sensitivity. Some women do squirt during clitoral play, but for most ejaculators, the G-spot is crucial. However, having a G-spot orgasm does not automatically guarantee that you'll shoot the moon.


I read up on all the James Bond-like gadgetry that can help prod the G-spot toward the desired ecstasy: there's a G-spot attachment to the Hitachi Magic Wand, for instance, or a curved dildo specifically designed to better reach the region. A do-it-yourself strategy involves placing two fingers on the top vaginal wall, along the urethra, and making a beckoning motion.


Having read and watched all the material we could find on the subject (there's an educational video for everything), my research assistant and I got to work on getting me to spurt. For several weeks, he fixated on another option we'd heard could work: fisting. This went nowhere because, though I talk a good game, I'm terribly fist-phobic. I kept lapsing into old-fashioned clitoral orgasms, then "falling asleep" before he could even put on the rubber gloves. I was turning out to be a pretty poor lab partner.


A couple of days later, while studying the diagrams on the Society for Human Sexuality's website, memorizing the exact location of the G-spot in relation to the clit and the urethra, I had to pee. In the bathroom, I realized you never really think about where your urethra is unless you're peeing. Like Archimedes in his bathroom, I thought, "Urethra!" So I reached in with two fingers and felt along the top of the vaginal wall, directly behind my urethra. Sure enough, it was spongy, just as all the G-spot gurus report. So I started stroking it, vigorously, making that come-hither motion. After a few minutes I suddenly had to pee — again. Aha, the moment of truth! All the propaganda says you are supposed to feel as if you're going to urinate, at which point you are to give in to the experience and just let go. Let go I did, and quite a spray ensued. Nothing like the yard-sprinklers I saw in the videos, but no modest manly squirt, either; this was about a six-inch spray of clear fluid — definitely not urine. Success!

I'm not the first person to be bewildered by female ejaculation. Ancient Greek and Arabic scientists were well aware of the phenomenon, and entertained creative hypotheses about it (my favorite being that both sexes had to ejaculate in order for conception to occur). In their writings, there's no confusing ejaculation with the typical wetness of sexual arousal, because the ancients clearly regarded women and men's "seed" as close equivalents; Aristotle described an "evacuation" of fluid that occurred in the moment of orgasm, "alike in male and female." As historian Thomas Laqueur explains in Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud, the ancient Greeks thought that women's bodies were nearly identical to men's (only inferior) — so, he suggests, female squirting made sense to them. Later anatomists were far more intent on studying the differences between men and women, and thus paid relatively little attention to female ejaculation. One exception was seventeenth-century anatomist Regnier de Graaf, who was lucky enough to observe a female prostatic fluid which "rushe[d] out with impetus . . . in one gush," when tickled by "frisky fingers."


In 1950, Gräfenberg observed that sometimes during a female orgasm "one can see large quantities of a clear transparent fluid [that] are expelled not from the vulva, but out of the urethra in gushes." His subjects came far more voluminously than I did: Gräfenberg wrote, "Occasionally the production of fluids is so profuse that a large towel has to be spread under the woman to prevent the bed sheets getting soiled." Those fluids, he stated in no uncertain terms, "had no urinary character."


Gräfenberg's findings were largely ignored at the time. No doubt some scientists found them, well, icky. Male scientists were probably afflicted with traditional delusions of grandeur, and didn't like the idea of women being so phallic, so thrusting. But resistance to female ejaculation wasn't based entirely on sexism. Gräfenberg's discovery, unhappily for him, coincided with the beginnings of the late 20th century's clitoral revolution. Since the Victorian Age, the conventional vaginal orgasm had been considered the only morally acceptable orgasm a girl could have: clitoral play, which doesn't make babies, challenged the Judeo-Christian beliefs that sex should have a reproductive purpose and that pleasure for its own sake was sinful (especially for women). But in the early twentieth century, just as Western culture was loosening up and becoming a bit more secular, Freud damned the clit still further by declaring vaginal sexuality more "mature," suggesting that "clitoral women" over-identified with their fathers. So when Kinsey proclaimed the clitoral orgasm superior and emphatically rejected the G-spot, many women rejoiced. For the next thirty years, there was little medical or scientific interest in the G-spot or female ejaculation.


That changed in 1982, with the publication of The G-Spot, which psychologist Alice Ladas co-authored with sexologists John Perry and Beverly Whipple. That book presented research confirming Gräfenberg's juicy findings, and made female ejaculation a matter of heated public and scientific debate. Staunch clit-boosters tended to regard it with suspicion; in the early '80s, feminists worried that G-spot research represented an attempt to re-instate the vaginal orgasm as the Real Thing, a backlash against the mighty clit, and thus women's sexual independence and self-reliance.


Today, though few doubt that female ejaculation occurs in some women, Alice Ladas says there is still a lot of controversy around it. "We still don't know what it is or where it comes from," she says. The most recent research, performed on seven catheterized ejaculators in California, confirmed that female ejaculate is indeed different from urine, though most of it does originate in the bladder. On the all-important geographical question, says Ladas, "the current consensus is that the "G" area is not a spot. It is an analogue of prostatic tissue that surrounds the urethra. For some women it is a sensitive area and for others it is not." No one knows why that is, just as no one knows why some women ejaculate and others don't.

To this day, female ejaculators are often embarrassed about their bed-soaking prowess; many worry their lovers will find it odd or unsanitary. Worse, female ejaculators sometimes assume they've wet themselves, since it can feel as if you're about to urinate. Physicians used to advise female ejaculators to undergo surgery or psychological counseling for urinary incontinence.


Because lay people and doctors alike have treated female ejaculators as malfunctioning anomalies (or compulsive liars), their rhetoric can get a bit defensive, even excessive. In one of the popular sex-ed videos, called "How to (Female) Ejaculate," a toothy and frighteningly gung-ho "performance artist/sex activist" named Fanny Fatale, warns us that it's "unhealthy not to ejaculate." Fatale paints herself and her four co-stars as superior women truly in touch with their bodies. Under lighting so bright one wouldn't want to eat under it, much less jack off, the women nervously narrate their ejaculation herstories and then get down to business — some with toys, some without. The scenes end in cascades of come, with a few of the ejaculators shooting their wads clear across the room, and Fatale concluding that "all women can ejaculate." That last statement might sound empowering, but there's no scientific evidence to support it. And I could glean no actual instruction from their explanations or demonstrations. (After watching it, I confess I suffered a spot of G-aversion.)


Such zealots are showing up everywhere. Gear magazine recently outdid Fatale with a relentlessly jingoistic essay by a seasoned ejaculator: "Make no mistake: women who ejaculate are different in bed (and in the kitchen, in the car, in a movie) than those who don't. Clitoral women like the filled-up feeling of a penis inside them, but know that their bread is buttered elsewhere . . . Ejaculant women flow and beam and exude fecundity."


As I immersed myself in this kind of "instructional" material for my own spurty pursuits, I realized I too had begun to neglect that most perfect of organs which brings more ecstasy to more people (myself zealously included): the clit! The only human organ which has no apparent evolutionary use whatsoever — other than to provide endless hours of joy to its owner. So why dis it? Especially when the clit revolution, a great advance to civilization, maybe more important than the wheel or even sliced bread, is still unfinished. Most women — an estimated fifty to seventy-five percent — need some sort of clitoral play in order to come. Apparently, a lot of them aren't getting it; studies cited in The Good Vibrations Guide to the G-Spot suggest that anywhere from one-fifth to two-thirds of women rarely have orgasms. So crucial is the clit to female sexuality that, as New York Times writer Natalie Angier points out in her book Woman: An Intimate Geography, some in the pro-clit camp even allow their favorite body part take credit for female ejaculation and all other G-delights. After all, they argue, the clitoris has so many nerves extending all over the place, who knows where it ends. Angier, an unabashed clit partisan herself, writes: "The roots of the clitoris run deep . . . and can very likely be tickled through posterior agitation. In other words, the G-spot may be nothing more than the back end of the clitoris."


G-spot fanatics — like the alarmingly frothy Ms. Fatale — make me worry not only about potential clit neglect, but also about sexual pressure. When G-spot researchers Perry and Whipple first started publishing their research in medical journals and getting much mainstream media attention, they received letters from people who felt their sex lives had been ruined by having this arbitrary new standard to live up to. A thirty-two-year-old woman from Pennsylvania wrote that her husband, since learning about their work, was constantly badgering her: "'Did you spurt, did you spurt?' . . . It was bad enough being watched over about having a climax. Now I'm supposed to ejaculate."


Personally, I haven't made a serious attempt at ejaculation since that one satisfying bathroom interlude, though I've been enjoying some highly agreeable G-tickling. I figure I'll try again sometime, or perhaps it will just happen. But let's be clear: All orgasms are good. There's no reason to categorize some as more spiritual or world shattering than others. (Even obsessing about having an orgasm at all can be silly; some of the most explosive encounters between bodies never come close to physiological orgasm.)


Although I'd never privilege one kind of orgasm over another, I will say the fascination with squirting cunts is understandable. The challenge itself is undeniably part of its appeal. After all, it's fun to master a tricky stunt. That G-spot is not easy to find — in fact, I still can't reliably locate it, but then I've always had a terrible sense of direction — and ejaculation is an irresistible project for sexual over-achievers. The lure of the challenge may be even greater for an ejaculator's partner.


Beyond the novelty, the lure of mastery and the tactile joys of fluid (none of which are anything to dismiss), the G-spot orgasm just feels different, though to me not better, than the clitoral one: a little more extreme and unpredictable, almost bordering on a pleasurable pain. And its innate queerness suggests that perhaps the ancient Greeks were right: men and women's bodies aren't so different. For me, it gratifies a long-standing ejaculation envy; I have always watched men come and thought, What fun to soak the environment — and your lover — with your orgasm, to really make your mark. But the ultimate charm of female ejaculation may be its unexpectedness, its mystery, even now, in an era we thought left no aspect of sex in the shadows.

For more Liza Featherstone, read:

Going with the Flow

Shocking Fuzz

Paradise Lost: Living in Latex

Let's Talk About Saving $8.50

The Art of Noise

Seduced by Casanova: The Psychoanalyst on the Lover

Circling the Threesome

Liza Featherstone and Nerve.com

Comments ( 26 )

wow. this is an entirely new addition to the avenues of "traditional" thought for me. i have witnessed this on video maybe once or twice but always thought it to be extremely rare. to think that it could be less rare of even "common" and attainable really wracks my brain.
kg commented on Oct 09 00 at 3:24 pm
Finally! Liza Featherstone has offered the only sane info about female ejaculation out there! Yes, the Good Vibrations lit is fabulous, but Featherstone here gives us a thought-provoking history and a critique of those contemporary G-spot moralisms that make even the most avid sex-students feel inept. I, like Featherstone, have ejaculated once, years ago, and have been confused about why I hadn't done it since. I watched Fatale's video, and was totally turned off. These women were so mechanical, so show-offy, and the whole deal was, in its attempt to be "demystifying", completely unsexy. I had no desire to see any of these women come. Featherstone's description of her own explorations of her g-spot in relation to the urethra, taking cues from the "need to pee" sensation, is practical, helpful and encouraging. I hope she writes about this more often, because this issue is still grossly misunderstood, and the misunderstandings, whether they be shame-inducing or hyper-expectant, don't help anyone expand their realm of pleasures. What a treat to have Featherstone on this topic!
BAS commented on Oct 09 00 at 4:23 pm
It's fucking piss!
RPM commented on Oct 10 00 at 12:42 pm
isn't this great???
commented on Oct 10 00 at 10:17 pm
hi you just thought it might be fun to try. love you B
commented on Oct 10 00 at 10:48 pm
i agree with all you say and hope you get other women to open up and enjoy their body.i love it when that squirt covers my cock and the wetness lets me enter with ease and the woman is in another world from the feeling in her body
eqs commented on Oct 14 00 at 2:13 pm
This is what you do sometimes!!! We need to play and practice more..
Tig commented on Oct 16 00 at 3:40 pm
I always try for the fine line between pleasure and pain and now I know why. thank you
lp commented on Oct 18 00 at 10:48 am
I'm a squirter, and it is definitely connected to the g-spot for me. I can have a g-spot orgasm without squirting also. Clitoral orgasms are local and short lived, while g-spot orgasms envelope my entire entity, last much longer and I lose conscious control of all muscular function (tending to flail about)...that is partially how I would describe the difference.
imz commented on Oct 20 00 at 6:14 pm
We have found that women who ejaculate are in a "male identification". (Go to http://www.wco.com/~popinjay and read about De-Identification Processing for more information.) Once they release this identification they cease to ejaculate. If you would like more information on this we shall be happy to send it to you. In case you are interested in the research work we do we are adding a recent article on multiple male orgasms. Best wishes, Rayner Garner D.O The Nurturing Center THE MALE MULTIPLE ORGASM I was puzzled why some women could have long, full bodied multiple orgasms whereas most men including myself didn't seem to be able to have them. Of course this was from reading the literature on the subject and from asking my friends. Both women and men. I was quite startled to find that some women would also ejaculate several times, with no refractory period required. Why couldn't men do that too? Then I met a young woman who was Tahitian. With her I was able to have the most intense, full bodied orgasms that I had sometimes witnessed some of my female lovers having. I also found myself retaining an erection once I had come and having a series of ejaculations which I had never experienced before. A few years later I went to the Pacific Islands to study this phenomenon. While there I also experienced several threesomes with non-Polynesians and found that again I became multiorgasmic with frequent ejaculations. It was quite common in some of the Pacific Island communities for men to be multiorgasmic. Of course they had more time and energy available than their Caucasian counterparts to devote to lovemaking. I think that the key to this puzzle is quite simple. Usually most men tend to give a great deal of sexual energy to their lovers in cultures such as ours. This is the norm. Whereas most women in this culture are not encouraged to freely flow sexual energy. This quite natural ability is damped down for sensible reasons. There are too many frustrated predators around for it to be safe for a young woman to retain this ability. In addition any woman that openly enjoys sex is viewed with hostility and suspicion. Not so for men. We are expected to have and enjoy sexual activity or are not shamed if we are satyrs. Any young woman who proclaimed herself as a good lover and who was horny and wanted sex often would be labelled promiscuous and a slut. Not so in some of the Pacific Islands, although this attitude is fast disappearing as the need for production and consumption is paramount. Sexually satisfied people are not terribly motivated to produce and consume in excess of their need just to make someone else rich! So either a overtly sexually flowing woman, or a woman who had become more aroused than usual by making love with another partner, would, with their combined energy, provide enough intense and continuing energy to fully satisfy a male. Most women that I discuss this with nearly always stop when their male partner comes. Something which does not happen when the male is making love to a woman. The reasons for women halting their efforts are understandable. Usually most men do not seem to have the energy or ability to continue. This however is due to a misunderstanding of the potential of a male's potency. If a man stopped his efforts and sexual energy flow at his beloved's first orgasm it is unlikely that unless she masturbated she would be capable of multiple orgasms without his energy. If at the first orgasm, and ejaculation of a woman's lover, she continued flowing her sexual energy and attention it is most likely her lover could continue for much longer than usual and be capable of multiple orgasms. Certainly if she had a companion who also added her energy and sexual attention most males who are healthy have the same sexual capacity that a woman has. Obviously I am broadly generalising, and also have not gone into more detail on why some other cultures allow women to be overtly sexual whereas ours do not. Your comments are welcome. Copyright 2000 Rayner Garner All rights reserved Tel: (707) 887-8158 Email: intuit@ncal.verio.com Intuit Productions P.O.Box 1804 Sebastopol Ca. 95472 USA.
RG commented on Oct 22 00 at 5:37 pm
Marie, I thought fondly of you :-)
commented on Oct 26 00 at 8:53 am
This is an immensely helpful article. The G-spot and female ejaculation have been such mythic phenomena, maybe Nerve should do a series. Debunk the myth.
BD commented on Oct 27 00 at 10:38 am
i thought you might find this interesting! i love you!
d.h. commented on Oct 28 00 at 12:43 am
I've ejaculated several times, but I'm always afraid I'll short out the vibrator -or worse- and have a very embarressed husband explaining to his relatives how his wife died. As for Rayner Garner- what a load of horseshit he's selling. And he even has a copyright for it!
ab commented on Nov 01 00 at 12:07 am
Read me
FYI commented on Dec 26 00 at 12:49 pm
I have orgasms in more than two ways. I have even had them over the phone, just from the power of my mind. I am also an ejaculator. I looked up this information to pass on to my partner from last night. He had never been with a woman that squirts and assumed that I had wet myself. I had about 50 orgasms during our four hour session (he is the only man I know that can do that)and during that time I had several ejaculations and completely soaked a whole bed. The biggest surprise ... at least two of them were during anal sex. We have found only in each other this height of sexuality, most people think we are lying. Are their more of us out there?
st commented on Jan 05 01 at 3:32 pm
I myself believe that female ejaculation is quite an experiece. However, I had no idea that not everyone was having these experiences. Every time I pleasure myself and have an extremely intense orgasm (clitoral), I ejaculate. Oh sure, it took me years to find out what exactly was going on and that I wasn't peeing on myself, but I can make it happen any time I want. No G Spot necessary. All I need is some intense non-stop clitoral stimulation (a shower massager usually does the trick) and it's on. However, I do agree that it is a feeling of almost pain. I don't do it for the ejacualtion though, just the orgasm. I've only achieved this once with a partner. Got to keep on trying.
BG commented on Jan 21 01 at 3:17 pm
Yay G-Spot... Next, on to the butt - The G-superhighway!
MAN commented on Nov 29 01 at 8:45 pm
Thank you, thank you, thank you for the wonderfully written article on female "spurting." I have long questioned why it was that I had never heard anything whatsoever about female ejaculation, when in fact I often end up watering my partner after I orgasm. My ex and I actually had a name for it... "pop"... puddle of pleasure. It's strange but it only happens when I'm on top with my partner AND when I'm alone with Mr. Vibes, my always consistent magic wand. I have to actually lay out a towell before I go at it with my vibrator and once I start, I can have as many as I want, in a row, and they all end in me "spurting" my love juice... I do love myself after all! So thanks for, well, acknowledging that women too can release juices as a result of the big "O."
JMB commented on Nov 30 01 at 12:32 am
that was really thoughtful and eyeopening. thank you.
ak commented on Nov 30 01 at 4:40 am
I almost always ejaculate when I come, especially when my partner is well, talented--which includes myself, incidentally. Thanks so much for an article long overdue. I must say though, that while I notice my "wet" orgasms tend to be more intense (though not painful, I might add) it is a little annoying to deal with the aftermath--a towel just doesn't contain it for me.
KAM commented on Dec 01 01 at 1:26 pm
Wow! What a great article. Having been there and done that I can assure that it's not urine. The taste and the smell (extremely erotic) are in a class by themselves. Going down on my ejaculating partner became the most exciting foreplay that the both of us could come up with. Unfortunately, the relationship ended several years ago (due to other circumstances) and I'm only left with the great memories. Nothing that great before or since>
wv commented on Dec 03 01 at 7:57 am
In my 20 years of sexual activity (with a partner) I have had only one who ejaculated routinely. She was highly charged sexually, enjoyed a good fuck in a way often associated with men, and was one of my greatest partners and sexiest women (with or without the ejaculation) I have ever met. What seems clear is that, while this thrilled me, I had little to do with it. It simply was in her nature.
ar commented on Dec 03 01 at 10:27 am
Funny, smart, erotic, very well done. I'm dyin over here. I am a self proclaimed expert on the G spot (ahem), but have yet to see or feel a woman "spurt" I sure do want to though. :) Cheers and love, Matt
MEM commented on Dec 05 01 at 3:12 am
urethra i found it! i am 24 years old and never had an O. it was the same with me, i always felt like i was almost there and suddenly it feels like i have to pee real bad. i never gave into the feeling cause i didn't want to piss all over him although he said he doen't care (freaky...). so is this what i have been waiting for? do i finally give in an nut all over him just like he does me? hell yes! i'll let you guys know how it works out. great article, thanks
qg commented on Jan 20 02 at 4:39 am
As a boyfriend of a female ejaculator, I can say that it is very exciting. At first it was a tiny bit weird. Only because I had never heard of it. It was a new sensation to be soaked during sex. But she warned me ahead of time. Now I look forward to her gushing. It allows me to feel when she has an orgasm. This is a big turn on. Also, if I wait to cum when she does, we both feel each other's juices. Romantic isn't it? Thanks for the article
vw commented on Feb 08 02 at 9:28 pm

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