The Titillating Truth

The nipple.

Throughout human history it has been revered, demonized, fetishized, and politicized. The subject of both art and scientific study–we as humans are fascinated by nipples. During the early stages of embryonic development, nipples are one of the first features to form. Regardless of gender, all mammals have mammary glands and nipples. Ours react sensitively to various forms of touch, so let’s talk about how we can use them in the realm of pleasure.

What is a nipple?

Nipples act as a built-in barometer of sorts, reacting to all manner of stimuli, from external air temperature to internal states of arousal. However, unlike the clitoris or the penis, nipples are not comprised of erectile tissue. Underlying the connective breast tissue are specialized smooth muscle fibers, aptly named, nipple-erector muscles. These muscles have dedicated neurons which control their function. When these muscle fibers contract, this causes the nipple to become erect. Only recently, researchers have been able to demonstrate the relationship between these specialized muscles and neurons. Nipples are one of the more highly innervated areas of the body, with a vast network of different types of nerves and nerve endings concentrated in the area.

A Tweak to the Science

In 2011, science took a giant leap forward for woman-kind. Using magnetic resonance imaging, (MRI), to scan the brain, researchers were able to map the exact locations in the sensory cortex that respond to different erotic stimulation. Note: up until then, this research had only been performed on male patients. Initially they were looking for the location of response to clitoral and vaginal stimulation only. The researchers were surprised to find that nipple stimulation shows up in a location very near to that of clitoral stimulation. The women participating in the study were not surprised by this discovery.

 

A line drawing of nipple stimulation

 

Nipples and the Orgasm: A Hands-on Endeavor

If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you know we’ve been discussing the different types of orgasms all month. There are anywhere from 4-14 different types of orgasms, and the nipple orgasm is one of them.

It’s not common, but some people report being able to orgasm through nipple stimulation alone. With a rich supply of blood and nerves, nipples are without question, one of our primary erogenous zones. Our Sexual Pleasure Study confirmed this; over half of respondents enjoy nipple stimulation during sex. This insight is what leads us to conclude that freeing the hands during genital stimulation allows them to explore more forms of self-pleasure, including nipple stimulation.

Nipples respond to temperature, pressure, moisture and direction, so there is no shortage of fun ways to stimulate them. Just like all erotic play, it’s important to explore different kinds of stimluation to learn how your nipples react. Start with light touch using your finger to circle the areola. In addition, using your hands and mouth to kiss, suck and pinch may bring further pleasurable stimulation. As you come to understand your preferred level of touch, you may explore other implements like ice, melted wax, clamps and vibrators. Start slow as you try different techniques and notice how the stimulation augments or enhances your awareness of other erogenous zones. As the sensations build, and neurons fire, you may find yourself in the throes of a nipple orgasm.

Since we now know that nipple sensation is linked to the same part of the brain as genital sensation, it is thought that nipple orgasms are actually another pathway to reaching genital orgasms. Either way, if it brings you or your partner pleasure, nipple play can greatly enhance your sexual experience and open new doors of erotic discovery.