I’m a girl, and my girlfriend was fingering me when a lot of liquid came out of me at once. It wasn’t like how I normally get wet. I was pretty embarrassed, but my girlfriend said it was fine and that I was “squirting.” What is that? Do girls ejaculate?

Good news! What happened was completely normal. Bodies do all sorts of things (and make all sorts of sounds, and look all sorts of ways) during sex that are out of our control. That’s something to celebrate, not shy away from! Girls can ejaculate. It sounds like your girlfriend is probably right, and you were “squirting,” or ejaculating.

Squirting is slang for what’s sometimes called “female ejaculation.”

Ejaculate (or come/cum) from someone with a vagina is clear or whitish and doesn’t have much of a smell. Like the slang term implies, it usually “squirts” or gushes. It typically doesn’t come out of the vagina, but out of your urethra. (This is the small hole right above your vagina that urine comes out of.)

Every body is different. This means that some people with vaginas ejaculate a lot, while others never ejaculate. Some people release just a little fluid, while others release a lot. Different sex acts can make different people ejaculate. (For example, you may only ejaculate when you’re being fingered, but someone else may only ejaculate when someone is touching their clitoris.) You might ejaculate when you have an orgasm (or come/cum), or when you don’t. All of this is completely normal.

Keep in mind that in porn, squirting isn’t always “real.” Often, porn actors will appear to release way more fluid than most people with vaginas do when they ejaculate.

There’s still some debate about exactly what the ejaculate from someone with a vagina is. Some argue that the fluid comes from small glands near your urethra called the Skene’s gland. Others argue that this fluid is similar to watered-down urine.

That being said, ejaculating is NOT the same as peeing yourself.

You’re right that ejaculate is different from vaginal lubrication. Natural lubrication is the slippery fluid your vagina makes when you get turned on or sexually stimulated. It makes sex feel comfier and more pleasurable, and without it penetrative sex is often uncomfortable. Usually you won’t notice it “all at once,” but instead realize that you’re a bit wet or damp down there.

Keep in mind that ejaculate from a penis contains sperm, which is necessary for a pregnancy to begin. Fluid released when someone with a vagina ejaculates, of course, does NOT have sperm and cannot lead to a pregnancy.

Unfortunately, it’s not surprising that you felt embarrassed about ejaculating.

We often don’t talk enough about sex and bodies, especially when it has to do with pleasure. This meant you didn’t know what was happening, which couldn’t have been fun. We hope that now that you understand what it is, you won’t feel embarrassed if or when it happens again. If you do, remind yourself that ejaculating is a completely normal part of sex. Some people really like ejaculating, some people like it sometimes, and some people don’t enjoy it at all. No matter what they are, your feelings about it are completely valid! If you want to make ejaculating a normal part of your sex life, go for it. If you’d rather avoid it, that’s also totally fine! You do you.

If you’re 10-22 years old in NYC and have more questions about sexual health or your body, you can get free, confidential health care at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center.