Kinsey Confidential

QUESTION: I am a female in my 20s and lately, I have been experiencing rather large orgasms. After I am finished, it seems as if I have urinated on the bed, my partner and myself. What causes some orgasms to be large and fluidy and others mild? I am confused, please help. Thanks.

ANSWER: Sexual expression involves various sights, sounds, scents, emotions and yes, bodily fluids. As a culture that likes to weigh, calculate or measure things, we sometimes talk about the "typical" amount of ejaculate that comes out of a man's penis during orgasm or the "average" amount of blood loss during menstruation. But averages are only averages, they don't reveal the wide variation of things that happen at the small or large end of the continuum.

When it comes to vaginal fluids and wetness during sex, there is an equally wide range both between women and among women. Some women feel dry, perhaps more so during certain times of their life (such as menopause) or during certain times of their menstrual cycle, or when they are feeling stressed out, taking certain medications or following a warm bath or shower. Some women note that they feel very wet either during the day (as with vaginal discharge) or during sexual excitement or orgasm.

More often, though, women notice variations from day to day, or based on the type of sexual activity they are engaging in -- and as researchers, we don't fully understand why some kinds of stimulation are linked to larger or smaller amounts of wetness.

For some women, stimulation of the front wall of the vagina (particularly the area sometimes described as the g spot) seems to be associated with a greater release of vaginal fluids -- including the release of fluids through the urethra - and a good number of women worry that they are peeing during sex. However, if they are having sex on white sheets or if they get up and go to the bathroom to wipe with toilet paper, often they find that the fluid is clear and closer to the appearance of vaginal lubrication rather than being yellow or looking and smelling like urine. Though there have been a few analyses of these fluids, the results have not been consistent.

People's reactions to vaginal wetness varies. While some women and their partners are surprised at what seems like a lot of fluid release (either during arousal or orgasm), the surprise isn't necessarily a bad one. Many people are excited by this aspect of sexual response and some even to try to learn to "squirt" or try "female ejaculation," as it is occasionally called. Pressure to be or act sexual in certain ways, however, often has a dampening effect on one's mood or expression, whereas an emphasis on pleasure, exploration and acceptance of each other's bodies may contribute to a better experience. In other words, don't drive yourself -- or your partner -- crazy in an effort to make this happen or to stop this from happening.

If the wetness bothers you, consider experimenting with different positions that still allow you to feel pleasure or orgasm but with less wetness. If you are curious about your experience and want to learn more, consider exploring your body in different ways during masturbation to see what feels best and which types of stimulation produce such wetness, and which types of stimulation do not. If you like the feeling and the wetness, but simply want a dry bed when you are done, consider placing a towel on the bed prior to sex. Finally, you might be interested in reading "The Good Vibrations Guide: The G Spot." It provides research-based information about g spot stimulation and vaginal wetness in addition to anecdotes about women's orgasm and pleasure.

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