Nipples. Everyone has them, but many are not privy to just how sensitive and sexual they can be for any gender. Nipples are erogenous zones, which means they respond to touch and stimulation and can feel sexual pleasure.
In a 2006 study on nipple arousal, 51.7% of men found that nipple stimulation caused or increased arousal. Only 17.1% of men had ever asked to have their nipples stimulated even though when already aroused, around 40% said nipple stimulation increased how turned on they felt.
But if men can feel pleasure from their nipples too, why isn’t this more celebrated and explored? Well, thanks to misogyny, because breasts are often sexualized, people might wrongly think that nipple play is demasculinizing. That thought is sad because it’s shaped by sexist stereotypes and not by the science of pleasure.
Ready for some science bombs? Nipples belonging to people of all genders have the same amount of nerve endings. This means that regardless of your gender, you can get pleasure from your nips. There’s very little distinction between nipples belonging to men versus women. The Instagram account Genderless Nipples does a great job showing just how little difference there is between men’s and women’s nipples.
If you’re still looking for more convincing as to why you might experiment with nipple play, it can bring on nipple orgasms! In theory, anyone can have nipple-gasms, and as always, what gets you off is determined by myriad factors like psychology, personal turn-ons, and specific stimulation.
Not sure what feels good? There are several different types of touch to try, which we’ll get into. And, you can always experiment by yourself before trying nipple play with a partner. Nipple play can be part of foreplay, a portion of sex, or a primary sex act. There are a few ways to incorporate it into your sex life and ways you can easily experiment. Let’s get started.
What to know beforehand
Everyone’s nipples are different, which means that some people can have nipple-gasms, and some might not be as sensitive. Sometimes, sensation is determined by how turned on someone already is, so nipple play might be best to try in late foreplay or during sex. For this reason, you can experiment with nipple play not only in different ways but at different times.
Always check in with a partner before, during, and after trying something new to know how they feel.
Tips and tricks for nips
- De-stress first
Before trying something new, try and ease into it rather than going for it out of the blue. This means that you’ll set the mood and will have engaged in some kissing, touching, and various turn-ons beforehand.
- Start slowly
Especially if someone is new to nipple play, you’ll want to start with a lighter sensation (i.e., don’t go straight for a bite or scratch!) You can gradually increase pressure or sensation as you continue playing and checking in with a partner.
- Incorporate into other sex acts
Nipple play can serve as part of sex. Pro tip: while giving a partner oral, you might reach up to caress their nipples. Nipple play is easily accessible from most positions and works well to perform either as a top or as a bottom.
- Try it with fantasy play
Pro tip: blindfold a partner (with their consent, of course) and play with their nipples. Taking away one of the senses may allow someone to focus on one sensation at a time and may increase nipple stimulation. You can also use nipple play as a punishment or reward in a BDSM scene and might experiment with tying a partner up and playing with their nipples.
- Add nipple play to masturbation
If you’re curious about nipple play, add it to your masturbation practice. You can experiment with the different types of nipple play either as a primary sex act or as part of masturbation. While one hand stimulates your genitals, stimulate your nipples with your other hand.
Ways to practice nipple play
There are endless types of touch you can use on the nipples, and how someone responds to them depends entirely on their preferences and sensitivities.
- Types of touch
From gentle to intense, you can caress, brush, suck, flick, pinch, twist, or bite. Always opt for a softer touch first, and increase with time and comfort level.
You can experiment with temperature directly on the nipples. You might try letting an ice cube trickle down, rubbing ice directly on the nipples, dripping the warm wax of a massage candle on the nipples, or using a warming lube for nipple massage.
Vibrators are not just for genitals! They can amp up nipple sensation. To really drive your partner (or self!) crazy, use a vibe back and forth between their genitals and nipples, switch which area the vibe touches just as they are getting close to orgasm.
You can also use nipple clamps or vibrating nipple clamps to get the best of both worlds. For nipple clamps, start with gentler forms of sensation before trying them. Feathers work wonders for teasing and building sensation, too.
- Use your mouth
Start by tracing your partner’s nipples with your tongue. You can also try flicking with your tongue, sucking, and biting. You might try using your mouth while touching your partner’s genitals simultaneously.
- Use food
Incorporating food with nipple play is easy to do, and it’s relatively safe (read: you don’t want specific foods around your genitals for risk of yeast infections.) You can try licking off whip cream, ice cream, or a dripping ice pop as a way to explore food and temp play at the same time.
However you’re experimenting, you deserve the facts about what sensations bring pleasure.
If you’ve often overlooked nipples as part of your sex routine, they’re definitely worth a visit. Whether you use nipple play as part of foreplay or for a toe-curling orgasm, the effects can be tantalizing.