Nipples are an erogenous zone, meaning they’re receptive to sexual pleasure. While their sensitivity varies from person to person, nipples (and the surrounding chest tissue) are teeming with nerves that deliver signals to the same part of the brain as our genitals. No wonder it can feel so good to play with them!
Nipples are often treated as a focal point for foreplay – and they’re great for that! But nipple play can be its own experience, and can even result in an orgasm. If you’re curious about how to make the most of these (sometimes perky) pleasure receptors, I’ve got some tips…
- Consider and communicate your individual needs.
It’s important to remember that everyone’s body is unique. What kind of stimulation you enjoy is individual, and your preferences can change over time or even throughout different states of arousal. For example, you might prefer gentle touches at first, but crave rougher play when you’re close to orgasm. Or maybe that’s how you liked it last time, but today is different! That’s normal and part of what makes sex a constant adventure.
Because our needs are specific to us and can vary, it’s important to communicate with our partner(s). If you find it difficult to provide feedback in the moment, you can disguise it as dirty talk. For example:
- “I love it when you suck hard” tells your partner what you want them to do.
- “Mm, your hands feel so good – a little gentler, please” offers positive reinforcement and a correction.
- “Yes, just like that” is a great way to keep your partner on-course.
- Warm up to the good stuff.
Like our genitals, nipples require some warm up before they’re fully sensitized and eager for stimulation. When you become aroused, the muscles under the areola contract, which can create that “pebbled nipples” effect you’ve read so much about in erotica. But not everyone’s nipples get hard. If yours aren’t standing to attention, that’s perfectly normal too.
Not sure where to start? Light chest kneading while making out or watching something spicy can get your blood pumping. If you’re playing with a partner, you can ask them to start with open-mouthed kisses, gentle nuzzles, or stroking fingertips. Temperature play – like trailing an ice cube across your chest – can also get things started.
Technically, any stimulation method covered in the next section can be warm up! Just start off slow so your nerves have time to wake up and appreciate the attention.
- Explore different stimulation methods.
The easiest tools for nipple pleasure are the ones at your immediate disposal: hands and mouth.
Fingers can grip, pet, pinch, tug, and twist. Mouths and lips can kiss, hold, rub, and suck. Tongues can lick, circle, and flick. Teeth can nibble and bite. Any of these actions can be done gently, firmly, or any pressure in between. They can be combined or alternated. There’s an endless diversity of pleasure to be experienced with just hands and mouths.
Sex toys offer different experiences. Not better, but not lesser either; just different. Here are a few options:
Temptasia Nipple Pumps
Pumps create suction that’s toe-curlingly intense and promotes bloodflow – so your nipples get firmer and more sensitive! There are several Temptasia Nipple Pump styles, including squeeze bulbs and levered handles. These pumps allow you to control the pace of your pumping, so you can take your time and experiment with the pressure.
Even better, Temptasia pumps have detachable cylinders. That means you can plump up your nipples, then disconnect the pump so the cylinders stay in place while you keep playing. Sexy!
Of course you can technically use any vibrator on your nipples. But there are a couple that work even better than your average buzz maker:
- Play With Me Finger Vibe: Extend your reach with this vibe that wraps around your finger and offers vibration and a textured touch.
- Aria Flutter: A tiny tongue rapidly flickers inside this toy’s nozzle. It won’t suit people with large or flat nipples, but folks with peaked nipples can enjoy a buzzy tongue-lashing.
- Lush Juna: This vibe has multiple textured tips, so you can vary sensation. The brush-looking tip’s bristles and soft and flexible for a prickly nuzzle.
- Noje Quiver: Use its ultra-pinpoint tip to deliver concentrated vibrations, or pop on its rabbit ear head to frame or flick.
- Fauna Wand: A pair of detachable heads for this powerful little wand each offer something different: rapid flapping that stings, or targeted hugging that rumbles.
Temptasia Twist Suckers
If you’re not ready to try pumps or you’d like something with less fuss, Temptasia Twist Suckers provide similar suction sensations. Turning the screw knob pulls air out of the cylinder just like a pump. The larger set is great if you have flat nipples or large areolas.
Noir Feather Tickler
Looking for a tease? The Noir Soft Feather Tickler’s large feather can provide torturous or tantalizing tickling with a few well-placed flicks and wiggles.
Temptasia Fox Drip Candle
The warm, fast-cooling patter of this Temptasia Candle’s soy-based wax is exciting anywhere – but your chest is a wide stretch of sensitive skin that’s doubly fun to paint. Build up the anticipation by decorating everywhere except your nipples first.
Pom Nipple Clamps
Nipple clamps offer a tight, continuous pinch. The Noir Pom Nipple Clamps have decorative poofs that – in addition to being adorable – wobble and sway when you move. The poms don’t tug like weighted adornments do, but the tremble of their swaying adds a whisper of extra sensation.
- Take your time, and let your nipples be the focal point.
Too often, nipples are treated like a pit stop on the way to other kinds of sex, or overlooked completely. To fully enjoy them, try giving them your full attention during a pleasure session, whether you’re playing solo or with partner(s).
While it’s possible to experience a nipple-based orgasm, consider decentering orgasm for a while. Focus on pleasure itself, with no specific expectations or goals. Explore different sensations and pressure levels. Discover which parts of your nipple are the most sensitive and when. Pay attention to the ways pleasure is communicated from one part of your body to another. When you twist, does that sensation travel to your genitals too? When you’re licked, does it make your toes curl? When you’re using a nipple pump, how ‘deep’ can you feel the pressure?
While nipples are our smallest erogenous zone, there’s plenty of pleasure to be found. You just have to start exploring!
Betty Butch (they/she) is a queer sex and relationships writer. By blogging about their experiences as a fat, trans, autistic person, they hope to help change the narrative of who has sex and what sex “should” be. You can find their work on bettybutch.com and follow them on Twitter or Instagram.