The female phenomenon known as “squirting” may be unfamiliar to you. Or it may be something of a fetish (hey, to each his own). Or maybe you can’t help but cringe at the prospect of coming face to face with a woman who experiences this so-called “massive fluid emission.”

Well, whatever your feelings, you’ll probably be surprised by this little piece of information: Scientists have unearthed a stream of information—a deluge, really. A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine has concluded that women who squirt during sex are actually peeing. 

This “gushing” or “involuntary urination” comes out the urethra, where urine is carried from the bladder out of the body (a red flag, perhaps?), but the researchers sought to find the nature and origin of this elusive squirting. 

Samuel Salama, a gynecologist at the Party II private hospital in Le Chesnay, France, along with his colleagues, recruited seven women who report producing large amounts of liquid upon orgasm—”comparable to a glass of water,” New Scientist reports. Not sure if that’s a new scientific measurement.

The women provided urine samples, and ultrasounds of their pelvises confirmed their bladders were indeed empty at the start of the experiment. Next, the women stimulated themselves through masturbation or with their partner until they were close to orgasm. This took anywhere from 25 to 60 minutes in the lab. Right before climax, a second ultrasound was performed. (Don’t worry; it didn’t kill the mood.) The squirted fluid was collected in a bag (not a cup), and a final pelvic scan performed. 

Even though the women urinated before the stimulation began, the second ultrasound showed that their bladders had completely refilled, and a third ultrasound revealed an empty bladder. Quite the magic trick. A chemical analysis was performed on all fluid samples. The chemicals present in two women’s squirted fluid showed no difference from their urine; the other five’s had small amounts of prostatic-specific antigen, basically an enzyme which is part of the “true” female ejaculate that comes from the Skene (prostate) gland.

The female body is a beautiful and terrifying thing, kind of like a natural disaster—a monsoon, a hurricane, a typhoon. Err on the side of beautiful when it comes to this ebb and flow, though: 

“Why some women experience these different types of ejaculation and others don’t is not yet clear,” says Salama. “But he believes every woman is capable of squirting” ‘if their partner knows what they are doing,’” New Scientist reports. 

You heard the man; set the bar higher and don’t tread so lightly. Just make sure to keep your head above water.

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