16th and 17th Century Squirting

In the 16th century, the Dutch physician Laevinius Lemnius, referred to how a woman “draws forth the man’s seed and casts her own with it.” when referring to female ejaculation.

Nederlands: portret van Reinier de Graaf

Engraving of the Dutch anatomist Reinier de Graaf

In the 17th century, François Mauriceau described glands at the urethral meatus that “pour out great quantities of saline liquor during coition, which increases the heat and enjoyment of women.”

This century saw an increasing understanding of female sexual anatomy and function, in particular the work of the Bartholin family in Denmark.

In the 17th century the Dutch anatomist Regnier de Graaf wrote an influential treatise on the reproductive organs Concerning the Generative Organs of Women which is much cited in the literature on this topic.

De Graaf discussed the original controversy but supported the Aristotelian view where he identified the source as the glandular structures and ducts surrounding the urethra:

[VI:66-7] The urethra is lined by a thin membrane. In the lower part, near the outlet of the urinary passage, this membrane is pierced by large ducts, or lacunae, through which pituito-serous matter occasionally discharges in considerable quantities.

Between this very thin membrane and the fleshy fibres we have just described there is, along the whole duct of the urethra, a whitish membranous substance about one finger-breadth thick which completely surrounds the urethral canal […] The substance could be called quite aptly the female prostatae or corpus glandulosum, glandulous body […]The function of the prostatae is to generate a pituito-serous juice which makes women more libidinous with its pungency and saltiness and lubricates their sexual parts in agreeable fashion during coitus.

[VII:81] The discharge from the female prostatae causes as much pleasure as does that from the male prostatae.

He identified [XIII:212] the various controversies regarding the ejaculate and its origin, but stated he believed that this fluid “which rushes out with such impetus during venereal combat or libidinous imagining” was derived from a number of sources, including the vagina, urinary tract, cervix and uterus.

He appears to identify Skene’s ducts, when he writes [XIII: 213] “those [ducts] which are visible around the orifice of the neck of the vagina and the outlet of the urinary passage receive their fluid from the female parastatae, or rather the thick membranous body around the urinary passage.” However he appears not to distinguish between the lubrication of the perineum during arousal and an orgasmic ejaculate when he refers to liquid “which in libidinous women often rushes out at the mere sight of a handsome man.”

Further on [XIII:214] he refers to “liquid as usually comes from the pudenda in one gush.” However, his prime purpose was to distinguish between generative fluid and pleasurable fluid, in his stand on the Aristotelian semen controversy where he argued that the female contributes what might be called prepared matter; all it needs is the presence within it of the heat from the male and it begins a more or less lengthy and complicated developmental process, which he analogizes to a sort of automaton performing a complex set of coordinated movements once it is set in motion.

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