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The Elusive Mystery of the Rare Nipple Orgasm

Pinch them, suck them, lick them — they’re there for a reason, and it might be to make you cum

Anecdotally speaking, there are plenty of stories online which seem to confirm that nipple orgasms are a very real, very intense phenomenon. One popular advice thread on Reddit is filled with tales of explosive pleasure and off-the-cuff tips, which range from smoking weed to pressing vibrating clit suction toys against your nipples for maximum stimulation. These horny tales come largely from cis women, yet a handful of other accounts indicate that cis men, trans women and trans men can experience them, too.

Despite this, the internet still seems skeptical, especially when it comes to whether or not cis men can cum from nipple play alone. So what’s really going on with those perky little titty caps?

First, a disclaimer: Sexual arousal is hugely subjective. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that bodies of all genders were fans of nipple play during sex, and that 81.5 percent of women and 51.7 percent of men reported that stimulation of their breasts or nipples either caused or enhanced their sexual arousal.

These stats indicate that throwing nipple stimulation into your regular sexual routine could boost a few boners, but other than that, there’s seemingly no statistic to prove it can directly and solely result in orgasm.

That said, a breakthrough research paper from 2011 offered a neurological explanation for higher rates of cis women enjoying nipple play. The study showed “nipple self-stimulation activated the genital sensory cortex,” meaning it triggers the same parts of the brain as clitoral stimulation, firing out sensory signals to the body. “When you touch, lick, suck or play with the nipples, the clitoris lights up and begins to swell as it fills with blood, just like when you touch it directly,” explains Gigi Engle, a sex expert at Feeld and author of All the Fucking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love and Life. “The same places in the brain light up when you touch both. It’s pretty rad, actually.”

As a result, plenty of women can theoretically experience nipple orgasms, either through nipple stimulation alone or by combining it with other forms of play. “Basically, your body becomes sexually aroused in almost the exact same way with nipple stimulation as with genital stimulation –– the brain can’t really tell the difference,” clarifies Engle. One anonymous redditor describes her nipple orgasm as a series of intense waves of pleasure, more akin to a vaginal than a clitoral orgasm. “My vagina contracted in the same way it always does, so I had a vaginal orgasm by touching only my nipples,” she confirms. 

Other factors like periods and pregnancy play a role, too. Breasts become particularly sensitive during pregnancy as they prepare to give milk, whereas days 14 to 28 of the menstrual cycle is when breasts can be extra-sensitive too (though nipple stimulation during these times could be doubly pleasurable or painful, depending on the person). Be careful if you’re pregnant, too –– nipple stimulation close to the end of term can apparently induce early labor, arguably not the result you’re after!

As for how to make them happen, try this: If you’re with a partner, they can try licking, sucking, biting (lightly at first, and always with consent) and sensory play. The magic formula seems to be a slow, sensual build-up, combining breast massage with a few well-timed pinches, twists and pulls, depending on how much pain you’re into. Nipple clamps, vibrating toys and massage oils –– especially those that warm the body –– can be used to heighten sensation, and there’s obviously no rule to say you can’t play with your clit (or another part of your body) at the same time.

Much has been written about the “male nipple” –– and from an evolutionary standpoint plenty of commenters have argued they’re pointless –– but the fact remains that for many bodies, they’re a key erogenous zone. So with enough practice, there’s no evidence to show that nipple orgasms for cis guys are impossible. In fact, some horny forum users humble-brag about how five minutes alone can have them “bursting with cum,” and sex educator Mysterious Witt wrote about her firsthand experience of making guys shoot their load through nipple play in and of itself.

But although people with penises can experience intense arousal from nipple play, there’s no research to suggest the same neural connection that ties assigned-female-at-birth nipple stimulation to the clit, making nipple orgasms harder to come by for men. Yet, there is one redditor who almost has it mastered. He suggests it’s about rewiring your pleasure by regularly working nipple play into masturbation sessions before amping up the intensity over a series of weeks. In his eyes, it’s a full-body experience that only heightens the pleasure of regular jerking off. “I can now almost get a full-on orgasm from nipple stimulation,” he writes. “It’s much more powerful than just traditional masturbation and feels so amazing.”

Whether or not nipple orgasms are possible for you depends on a pretty wide range of factors –– again, orgasms from nip play alone aren’t exactly well-known, and that’s seemingly because they’re rare. “Very few people can have these kinds of orgasms,” continues Engle. “This isn’t going to be a quick ‘tweak the nips and bam, you’re cumming’ situation. You need patience.”

That said, even if your nipple exploration doesn’t end in a cum shot, there’s a pretty high likelihood you’ll at least experience some serious sexual pleasure along the way. And what’s not to love about that?

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