Stimulation of nipples

Stimulation of nipples
A woman having her nipples orally stimulated by her sexual partner.

Stimulation of nipples is a common human sexual practice, either for itself or as part of other sexual activities. The practice may be performed upon – or by – people of any gender or sexual orientation, but is more commonly performed on women. Breast and nipple stimulation of women are a near-universal aspect of human sexual activity, but stimulation of nipples of males are not as common.[1]

The male or female breast, nipple and areola develop similarly in the foetus and during infancy. At puberty the male's breasts remain rudimentary but the female's develop further, mainly due to the presence of oestrogen and progesterone, and become more sensitive. All breasts have the same number of nerve endings no matter how large they are. Accordingly, smaller breasts are more sensitive while larger breasts may require more forceful stimulation.[1]

The touching by one person of the breasts and nipples of another is normally an indicator of intimacy, and allowing breasts to be touched is an indication of either an emotional bond and trust between the individuals or, if unwelcome, of submission. Breasts, and especially the nipples, are highly erogenous zones, for both men and women, and have a heightened sensitivity, the stimulation of which may result in the production of erotic sensations or sexual excitement. The touching of the nipples can be a form of foreplay giving raise to the sexual arousal of the female and an erection of her nipples.

Erect nipples are the most prominent indicators of a female's sexual arousal, and the female's sexual partner may find their partner's arousal and erect nipples as their own erotic stimuli. Some people achieve their own sexual arousal by sucking on a female's nipple or by the sight of an erect nipple, including through clothing. The practice of an adult suckling on a female's breast is sometimes referred as erotic lactation, while a person who is sexually aroused by the sight of a female's breast may be a breast fetishist.

A person may experience a spontaneous erection of the nipples, with all the associated physiological changes, as a result of exposure to erotic stimuli or as a reaction to cold.



Erect nipple

Nipples can be stimulated orally, digitally, manually or by the use of an object. Oral nipple stimulation would involve a sex partner stimulating a person's nipples by licking, sucking, biting or blowing on the partner's nipples.[2] Other ways of stimulating nipples include fondling or rubbing them with the hands or by using a soft object. Some people self-stimulate their nipples.

Physiological effects

Stimulation of a woman's nipples promotes the production and release of oxytocin and prolactin. During the stimulation of the nipples, large amounts of oxytocin are released, which would normally prepare the breast for breastfeeding. Besides creating maternal feelings in a woman, it also decreases her anxiety, and increases human bonding and increases trust. [3][4]

The release of oxytocin can also result in a female's sexual arousal, with the resulting physiological effects including the erection of the nipples. The erection of nipples is due to the contraction of smooth muscle under the control of the autonomic nervous system. An erection of the nipples makes them even more sensitive to touch.

Oxytocin is also believed to result in breast orgasm in some women.[5][6] A 2011 study using magnetic resonance imaging has shown that the area of the sensory cortex in a woman's brain, associated with the genitals, is aroused by stimulating her nipples.[7]

Prolactin produces sexual gratification after sexual activity. Prolactin represses the effect of dopamine, which is responsible for sexual arousal,[8] and is thought to cause the sexual refractory period following orgasm during which the individual does not desire any further sexual stimulation.[9] During this period, the nipples can become extremely sensitive to touch and further stimulation can be painful. The amount of prolactin can be an indicator for the amount of sexual satisfaction and relaxation. Unusually high amounts are suspected to be responsible for impotence and loss of libido (see hyperprolactinemia symptoms).

See also


  1. ^ a b Levin, Roy J. "The breast/nipple/areola complex and human sexuality". Sexual & Relationship Therapy. Vol.21, Issue 2 (May 2006). p.237–249
  2. ^ Babeland - How to Play with Breasts
  3. ^ "Physiologic Mechanism of Nipple Stimulation". Medscape Today from WebMD. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 
  4. ^ Lee HJ, Macbeth AH, Pagani JH, Young WS (June 2009). "Oxytocin: the Great Facilitator of Life". Progress in Neurobiology 88 (2): 127–51. doi:10.1016/j.pneurobio.2009.04.001. PMC 2689929. PMID 19482229. 
  5. ^ Levin R, Meston C (May 2006). "Nipple/Breast stimulation and sexual arousal in young men and women". The Journal of Sexual Medicine 3 (3): 450–4. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2006.00230.x. PMID 16681470. 
  6. ^ "Treat Her To A 'Nipple Orgasm'", Men's Health.
  7. ^ Komisaruk, B. R., Wise, N., Frangos, E., Liu, W.-C., Allen, K. and Brody, S. (2011). "Women's Clitoris, Vagina, and Cervix Mapped on the Sensory Cortex: fMRI Evidence". The Journal of Sexual Medicine. doi:10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02388.x. 
  8. ^ Haake, P.; Exton, M.S.; Haverkamp, J.; Krämer, M.; Leygraf, N.; Hartmann, U.; Schedlowski, M.; Krueger, T.H.C. (April 2002), "Absence of orgasm-induced prolactin secretion in a healthy multi-orgasmic male subject", International Journal of Impotence Research 14 (2): 133–135, doi:10.1038/sj/ijir/3900823,, retrieved 2007-07-30 
  9. ^ New Scientist article on prolactin function relating to sex - University of Paisley and the ETH Zürich

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