Nipple stimulation is really an underappreciated sexual art form that deserves some attention.

By Gabrielle Kassel
May 22, 2020
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You may need to keep your nipples off your social feed 🙄, but that's no reason to keep these nerve-dense pleasure centers out of the bedroom.

With up to 800 nerve endings each, nipples are an erogenous zone that can pack a serious pleasure-punch. "The nipple tissue itself is erectile tissue," says Lisa Finn, a sex educator at sex toy mecca Babeland. Meaning, those rosebuds above your waist are made of the same stuff as your clit or cock. "When nipples are stimulated, they fill with blood, become erect, and for many people become very sensitive," she says. (Related: Tap Into These 7 Female Erogenous Zones for Whole-Body Pleasure)

In fact, for some, nipple stimulation is a whole other way to climax. Introducing: the nipple orgasm (aka nipplegasm!). "It's an orgasm focused away from the genitals that incorporates nipple stimulation in some way shape or form," says Finn. Many people who've experienced a nipple orgasm describe them as more full-bodied than clitoral orgasms, she adds.

Sounds hot. But how do you explore the orgasmic-potential of your nipples, exactly? Glad you asked. Read on for 13 tips for making the most of nipple play, and potentially even scoring a coveted nipple orgasm.

1. Talk tata terms.

First things first: There are like a bajillion different words for breast tissue and nipples. "Some people find the word 'boobies' infantilizing, while others find the word 'breasts' too medical (in a bad way)," says Finn. Have you ever been mid-hookup and a partner used a word that (to you) felt suuuuper weird—thus killing the mood? Having this discussion ahead of time nixes that possibility. "And for some folks, certain words can trigger body dysmorphia, while others are essential to their gender expression," says Finn. That's why she recommends sharing your preferred word if you're the receiver of pleasure and asking your partner what words they like if they are.

2. Use your hands.

When starting off, rather than going right for the nipple, Finn recommends stroking, caressing, and lightly massaging or squeezing the entire breast. Next, use your palm to make broad strokes over the nipple itself before experimenting with more pinpointed stimulation. "Let the area adjust to stimulation before trying things like rolling, pinching, flicking, twisting, or rubbing the nipple," she says.

Whether you're stroking your own nipples or someone else's, start soft and increase the intensity slowly. Going too hard or intense too quickly can be painful—and not in a hot way. (P.S. Don't just use your hands for nipples—here's how to have great hand sex with any body.)

3. Invite a partner to use their month.

"Your partner can use a sharp, bratty tongue to circle it; a strong, pointed tongue to flick it; a broad flat tongue to lick it like an ice-cream cone; a floppy tongue to lap it," says Finn. "Or they can use their teeth to nibble on or bite it for more intense nipple stimulation." Or you can try nipple sucking, blowing, or circling, she says.

TL;DR: There are probably more ways to use your mouth on a nipple than there are nipples in the world (lol). To figure out what nipple stimulation you respond to best, have your partner try them all. (Related: Tips for Mind-Blowing Oral Sex)

4. Use lube.

PSA: Chapped nipples are absolutely a thing! Continuously rolling, pinching, and tweaking nipples creates A LOT of friction that's essentially the nipple equivalent of chub-rub. That's why Finn recommends using lube. Specifically, UberLube (Buy It, $20 babeland.com), a silicone-based lube that's infused with Vitamin E, "will leave your nips super-well moisturized," she says. How's that for a win, win?

But, if your partner is looking for a flavored lube to use during oral nipple play, check out Sliquid's water-based flavored line Swirl. Green apple tits? Methinks yes.

5. Better yet? CBD lube.

Quick refresh: CBD acts as a vasodilator, promoting circulation and drawing even more blood flow to the area. So, using a CBD lube like GoLoveCBD (Buy It, $68, golovecbd.com), Foria's CBD Awaken Arousal Oil (Buy It, $48, foriawellness.com), or Her Highness Highly Orgasmic CBD Pleasure Oil (Buy It, $60, herhighnesscbd.com) on your nipples can boost blood flow for increased pleasure. (Have more questions? Check out this guide on CBD lube.)

"You might even try massaging CBD massage oil or CBD pain-relief cream into the chest tissue for a relaxing and arousing sensation," adds Finn. For this, try Quim's Intimate Serum (Buy It, $48, itsquim.com) or Her Royal Hempress Supreme Relief CBD Muscle Rub (Buy It, $75, herroyalhempress.com).

6. Try nipple clamps.

Nipples clamps are intended to, well, clamp your nipples. If you enjoy having your nipples tweaked, bitten, or squeezed, the benefit is pretty obvious: nipple clamps allow you to enjoy that sensation completely hands-free. But even if you have sensitive nipples, nipple-clamps deserve a place in your sex toy collection.

"Different types of nipple clamps allow for different degrees of squeezing and pressure," explains Finn. The Lovehoney Adjustable Clamps, (Buy It, $16, lovehoney.com), for example, feature a slide-to-fit design for easy adjustment, while the Calexotic Nipple Play Playful Tassel Clamps (Buy It, $15, calexotics.com) use a little screw. Both allow for very customizable nipple pressure, so even people who enjoy more gentle nipple play can take advantage while their parter's hands/mouth (or their own hands) are off doing other things.

Once you know you enjoy nipple clamps, intensify the sensation by trying vibrating nipple clamps like these Calexotic Nipple Play One Touch Micro Vibro Clamps (Buy It, $35, calextoics.com) or clamps connected by a chain, like Unbound Nipple & Clit Clamp (Buy It, $34, unbound.com). "The chain gives you or your partner something to tug, which creates a pulling sensation on the nipple," she says.

Whatever pair you opt for, Finn recommends experimenting with where you clamp down on the nipple. "Clamping at the base of the nipple, at the areola, traps the blood in the nipple, like a cock ring for the nipple," she says, while clamping closer to the tip of the tit is more likely to create a pain-as-pleasure experience.

7. Or a nipple pump.

Sometimes called nipple suckers or nipple vacuums (lol), these hands-free babes latch over the nipple like a mouth. Then, they use suction to promote blood flow. You can either keep them on for sustained sensation or remove them to experience a gushing-sensation.

There tons of different styles of nipple pumps. Some, like the Lovehoney Colorplay Color Changing Nipple Suckers (Buy It, $15, lovehoney.com), look like clown noses. Some, like the DOMINIX Deluxe Cupping Set (Buy It, $30, lovehoney.com), have a medical vibe. (Fun fact: That one can actually be used for cupping therapy anywhere on your body.) And some like Calexotics Intimate Pump (Buy It, $64, calexotics.com) can be used on your clit or nips and looks like a G-spot vibrator.

8. Repurpose a sex toy.

Good news: You might not need to buy anything new to stimulate your nipples in a fun new way. Grab onto your trusty downstairs sex toy, whether a vibe or clit suction-style toy.

Again, nipple tissue=erectile tissue. And you know how good vibration can feel on your other erectile tissue (*cough* your clit *cough*). "Try using a vibrator along the chest tissue, areola, and nipple," says Finn. Some people prefer the buzzier vibrations of bullet vibrators on their breasts, while others prefer the rumbly vibrations of a wand vibrator.

Clit suction toys are best-known for giving many-a-vulva-owners their first-ever clitoral O. But they can also be used as a nipple toy! "Air-sucking toys fit nicely over nipples, and when used with lube can feel like a mouth," says Finn. Don't already own a clit suction toy? Above all else, look at the shape and size of the nozzle. If you have larger nipples and areolas, opt for one with a larger nozzle, like the Chickie Emojibator (Buy It, $84, emojibrator.com) or We-Vibe Melt (Buy It, $150, lovehoney.com) compared to the Womanizer Premium (Buy It, $200, lovehoney.com) or Satisfyer Pro 2 (Buy It, $55, babeland.com).

9. Explore temperature.

If you've ever walked outside in a thin shirt on a below-freezing day, you know just how (ahem) responsive nipples can be to temperature. And that's exactly why certified sex coach and sex educator Davia Frost says (intentional) temperature play can be so fun. "Whether it's ice or a cooled-down glass wand or candle wax, varying temperatures can be really stimulating," she says. Obvi your nipples are sensitive, so temperature-check whatever you're using with inner arm before bringing it to your nipples.

Another option: Use a warming and cool lubricant. Finn usually doesn't recommend these because most have ingredients that can be irritating to the vaginal and anal microbiome, you don't have to worry about that with nipples. Bless. "Sliquid Sensation is great for this because it has heating and cooling capabilities," she says. "If you pinch the nipples, the lube heats up. If you blow on the nipples the lube cools down." Think: nipple-safe Icy Hot.

10. Get a nipple piercing.

Yup—went there. When it comes to pleasure, nipple piercings are kind of hit or miss, says Frost. "Sometimes they really increase sensation and sensitivity, while other times they stymie it," she says. Still, if you like the aesthetic of nipple piercing, the risk might be worth it! Just know: These take months (plural!) to heal and you can't have any oral-nipple contact during that time.

11. Combine sensations.

It's simple math: "If one sensation feels really good, adding another sensation on top of it can be incredibly pleasurable," says Finn. In fact, for some folks, paying attention to just one body part can create an overwhelming feeling of toomuchtoomuch that gets in the way of climax. (Ex: Think about how different it feels to focus all your energy on your clit vs. going for a ~blended~ experience by stimulating your clit and G-spot at the same time.)

Her suggestion: In addition to nipple stimulation, "add anal stimulation with rimming or a butt plug, clitoral stimulation with a vibrator or mouth, or penetration with a dildo, penis or G-spot toy." (On the market for a new G-spot toy? This review of the nJoy Pure Wand will convince you to invest).

12. Engage your pelvic floor muscles.

With any sexual activity, the goal shouldn't be to orgasm, but to experience pleasure. That said, Frost has a tip for making an orgasm more likely: "When you start to feel the pleasure (and pressure) build, do Kegels." Intentionally activating your pelvic floor muscle can actually spur an orgasm in folks who usually can't climax from nipple stimulation alone, she explains. After all, orgasms are essentially just a bunch of really quick pelvic floor contractions in a row. (More here: Things Everyone Should Know About Their Pelvic Floor Muscles)

What If Nothing Happens??

No sweat. It's totally possible that you'll try all of the nipple-teasing tips above and feel...nothing. Don't worry: Nothing is wrong with you!

"Just as some people have really sensitive necks and others don't, or sensitive bums and others don't, some people just don't have very sensitive nipples," says Finn. So while your nips may not do it for you, your anus, G-spot, cervix, A-spot, or belly might. Happy experimenting!

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