On December 24, a group of French scientists published what is probably the first medical journal article on squirting. They gave pelvic ultrasound scans to seven women who previously reported emitting about a cup full of liquid when they had sex. By administering the scans after the women peed, and then twice during sexual stimulation, they were able to conclude exactly where the liquid was coming from and what it consisted of. Although there have been plenty of studies done on female ejaculation – this is the first one to specifically explore the gushing, porny trope in specific.
Since at least the 80s, there's been a lot of debate around whether or not women ejaculate at all, or if any instance of it is just a "mature" version of bedwetting. For a debate that can essentially, and crudely, be boiled down to "cum vs. piss," it's a surprisingly fraught with important implications. Some feminists say that reducing the physical manifestations of their orgasms to urine diminishes the importance of female pleasure during sex. Other feminists say the opposite: that saying it's more than urine perpetuates a male fantasy. It's kinda confusing for a well-meaning person to know what to think about women maybe-jizzing, assuming they think of it at all.
In recent weeks, the is-it-or-isn't-it uncertainty has even given ammunition to censors in the UK. Along with a litany of other practices, squirting was recently banned in porn. Because no one could say definitively whether it was piss, their reasoning went, they were bound to assume it fell under the category of "urolagnia," which is considered obscene.
One thing that's for sure, though, is that people love watching it. For instance, it's making the site PornHub a lot of money. Mike Williams, who works at the site's communication team, told me it's the 7th most searched term worldwide.
But why? Justin Lehmiller, who edits the popular blog Sex and Psychology, has a couple of theories. "It probably stems from a desire to know that the woman enjoyed herself and was sexually satisfied," he told me. "A lot of guys actually care about this and they want to know the sex was mutually enjoyable." He also adds that it's just as likely an ego thing, or a validation of masculinity.
But does female ejaculation exist? It's a debate that's as old as vaginas themselves, and one that's never really been solved. There are studies that say, yeah, there is something that comes out that definitely isn't pee. But in this specific study – the first to focus on women who soak the sheets like in a Pornhub video – the answer is, nah. "The present data based on ultrasonographic bladder monitoring and biochemical analyses indicate that squirting is essentially the involuntary emission of urine during sexual activity, although a marginal contribution of prostatic secretions to the emitted fluid often exists." So that's the closest we've, uh, come so far to solving the age-old debate. Sorry, porn viewers of the world. And for the record, "golden shower" didn't even crack PornHub's top 20.