Sex ed being what it is, many of us make it to adulthood without answers to some of life’s big questions: Do lesbians scissor? Can people with penises fake an orgasm? And, is squirting actually real?

What is squirting?

Squirting happens when liquid releases from the urethra of a person with a vagina when they’re sexually aroused.

It’s not the same as an orgasm or female ejaculation and can happen independently of either.

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If you’ve only ever seen squirting in porn (which often is embellished), it makes sense you’d wonder whether the whole idea is fake. But while squirting IRL might not always be so, um, gushing, there’s no doubt it’s a real thing — and some people seem to really dig it.

Whether you’re curious about why it happens, what it is, or what it feels like to do it, we got you. Just remember that when it comes to sex, all those moments in between are just as important as the destination.

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Squirting is a release of liquid from the urethra that happens when a person with a vagina is turned on.

“There appears to be erectile tissue surrounding the female urethra quite analogous to the male urethra,” says gynecologist Nicole E. Williams, MD, FACOG, FACS, “It is this tissue that contracts to release the fluid.”

The fluid can appear as anything from a dribble to a spurt to a gush. “Squirting varies a lot from time to time and person to person,” says Caitlin V., MPH, and clinical sexologist for Royal, a vegan-friendly condom and lubricant company.

“You might experience a lot of liquid expelled out quickly, or a little dribble that slips out slowly.”

Is squirting the same as an orgasm?

Nope! “Squirting and orgasms are not mutually exclusive but can follow one another due to occurring stimulation. [People] have been known to [squirt] before orgasm, with orgasm, after orgasm, or without orgasm altogether,” says Williams.

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Now for what you’re really wondering: Is it pee?

Pretty much! One study referred to the sexy elixir as “a form of urine.” In addition to urea, creatine, and uric acid (components of urine), squirting contains a dash of fluid from the Skene’s gland (your prostate if you have a vagina) with some vaginal lubricant mixed all in. It’s like a sexy soup.

And people really need to know if this is pee or not. One small study examined the ultrasounds of participants’ bladders before and after they squirted. Researchers found that the participants’ bladders contained liquid before they squirted and were emptied after they finished.

But honestly, does it really matter? Sex is messy. It involves a ton of fluids, ones that aren’t always cute. Why are semen and vaginal lubrication any sexier than a special type of pee? You’re washing the sheets anyway.

Our advice: Don’t worry too much about it.

Female ejaculation isn’t the same as squirting

Like squirting, female ejaculation refers to the expulsion of fluid from the vulva during arousal. However, the secretion is distinct: a small amount of thick, milky fluid that comes from the Skene’s gland, usually during orgasm.

So while squirting and female ejaculation can totally happen at the same time, they’re separate phenomena.

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The most commonly reported way to squirt is through G-spot stimulation, especially when it’s combined with clitoral touching. Here are some ways to achieve that.

DIY: How to squirt solo

1. Invest in a toy

It can be hard to hit the G-spot with your own fingers, so a pleasure toy is a great idea.

The OhMyG by is a favorite by sex educators, and sexologist Caitlin V. suggests the nJoy Wand, if you really want to get in there for some manual pleasure.

2. Try to avoid getting fixated

As with most sexual practices, the key is to relax and not put too much pressure on it. It’s never OK to pressure your partner into feeling like they have to perform for you, or vice versa! If you’re trying to squirt, it should be because you want to.

Sex shouldn’t be goal-oriented. Yes, the possibility of squirting adds an extra element of intrigue, but it’s not the end-all-be-all.

With a little help: How a partner can make you squirt

3. Have your partner finger you

If you have a partner to lend you a hand, let them tell you to come hither! Cory B, doula and sex educator has a few tips on how to achieve this:

  • Penetrate the vagina with one or two (lubricated) fingers, about 2 inches deep.
  • Find the urethral sponge, which feels like a small mound of sponge-y tissue on the front wall of the vagina.
  • Apply consistent pressure. Use the “come hither” motion.

“The hardest part is fighting the urge to clench those pelvic floor muscles,” says Cory B. “This can be accomplished through practice, deep breathing, taking things slow, and even internal massage.”

Hot tip: Rub your clit while your partner fingers you.

4. Have sex with a person with a penis

Positions that allow for shallow penetration work best. Remember, you’re aiming for the top wall of the vagina, so positions that “aim” for the belly button are ideal. Here are some popular sex positions that may get you or your partner squirting:

  • Missionary position. Missionary position is when you place a pillow under the butt of the person with the vulva so you can more easily penetrate the upper part of the vagina.
  • Straight as a Board position. Have the person with the vulva lay on their stomach with their legs together. The partner penetrating enters them from behind. The trick here is to start slow and shallow to try to locate the G-spot.

Hot tip: Try using a vibrator on your clit when your partner is inside you.

Squirting doesn’t feel the same for everyone, but one thing most people can agree on: It feels pretty damn nice.

And according to a 2013 study, the majority of the 320 respondents said squirting enriched the sex lives of themselves and their partners.

Here’s how:

“I need a partner (I have yet to figure this out with a toy or to reach myself) to penetrate my G-spot with their fingers consistently and firmly. I need to be fairly comfortable with this partner as it’s definitely a pretty intense release. It feels like this warm eruption and it lasts for several glorious seconds. Sometimes I can squirt again only minutes later.” — Anna, 32, from Toronto, CA

“I definitely can say I’ve never ‘tried’ to make myself squirt, but my orgasms are always pretty intense and frequent! I will push down, I guess… the way people describe giving birth? Pushing against whatever is penetrating me or having a partner use the ‘come hither’ finger motion works very well! It feels like a super, super intense orgasm. [Squirting is] thinner and watery. I wouldn’t say it feels like pee, per se. It’s more like a splash of water, like when you jump in the pool!” — Lexi, 26, from Portland, OR

“I never used to squirt, but now I do all the time (2 to 3 times every time we’re intimate, lol). It feels like more of a release than a standard orgasm, which is nice. But also sometimes it feels kind of silly because it’s just so messy. [My partner] loves making me [squirt]. It turns him on to know I feel that good, and it feels nice to do something cool with my body,” — Sky, 25, from San Diego, CA

Honestly, some people just can’t and it’s nothing to be ashamed of! Just like orgasming it isn’t necessary to have a good time or to feel as freaky as you want to be.

In one small 2013 study the average age of the participants who were first-time squirters was 25.5 years old, including one person squirted for the first time at age 68! So, maybe your body just needs some time to work up to it.

“Keep in mind, squirting is not a merit badge to be worked toward and earned. One should seek pleasure where it can be found, either alone or with a partner,” says Williams. Sex isn’t a win-or-lose game! It’s all about feeling good. So, try not to stress about it.