The stuff that women's sexual secretions are made of

Dear Alice,

My boyfriend and I were discussing the sexual secretions of men and women the other day. We found out the components of a man's ejaculate here at your web site. Now we are wondering what the components of a woman's sexual secretions are?

Signed, The Inquisitives

Dear The Inquisitives,

Now, that's interesting coffee talk! While this may seem like a simple question, the general components of a woman's sexual secretions are all that is known at this time.

Throughout a woman's menstrual cycle, vaginal mucus changes in response to the body's hormone production. During sexual arousal, blood flow to the vagina, vulva, and clitoris increases, causing swelling known as vasocongestion. At this time, a "sweating reaction" occurs that lubricates the vaginal walls. The combination of vaginal mucus and lubrication makes up women's sexual secretions, which can contain carbohydrates, amino acids, proteins, and other acids produced by the normal lactobacillus bacteria.

In addition to these sexual secretions, some women have the ability to "ejaculate." It is believed that the Skene's glands, located in a woman's urethra, produce a liquid that is believed to contain high levels of prostatic acid phosphatase (a chemical secreted by the prostate gland and found in semen), glucose, and fructose. This fluid differs from a woman's secretions during arousal. You can read more about this phenomenon in Female ejaculate — Where does it come from?

So, there you have it! Best of luck in future conversations about sexual secretions, but remember, the topic can be a slippery slope!

Last updated Feb 20, 2015
Originally published Jun 21, 2002

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