A to Z of Sex N is for Nipple

N is for Nipples

N is for Nipple

Nipples are extremely erogenous zones for men and women.  Nipples can become hard for all genders during sexual arousal.      Nipples come in many sizes.  Some women have small breasts with large nipples, others the opposite.  The areola  (the area around the nipple) can also come in different sizes – and nipple size doesn’t predict the size of areola.

Nipples and areola come in many different colours.  Some are flat and others stick out even when they are not erect and look swollen all the time.   Pregnancy often makes nipples get larger and darker.  Many nipples have bumps around them which are actually glands.  The glands have no apparent purpose.  Most people have some hair around their nipples.  If you are a woman and don’t like extra hair, this can be really annoying as plucking these hurts!

Nipples chafe easily so if you are not wearing a bra where fabric is tight to the nipple, be aware.

A to Z of Sex N is for Nipple

You can have an orgasm solely as a result of nipple stimulation.   Some women simply find nipple stimulation too intense.  Just as some women find direct clitoral stimulation too intense.   For these women, stimulating the whole breast is far more likely to bring them close to orgasm.

Other women love many types of nipple play.  Nipple clamps are a challenging form of stimulation that are enjoyed by some men as well.  There are clamps that tickle more than pinch and those that are industrial strength.   People who like stimuli that cause pain can enjoy nipple clamps with weights attached.    If you have never played with nipple clamps you might think that the pain comes when they are attached to the nipple.  Actually, the pain is often much more intense when the clamp is released and blood flows back into the part of the nipple that was pinched.


Nipple piercings take between three and six months to heal.  Once they have healed, they can increase your nipple sensitivity a lot.  Some people talk about being continuously aroused by the fabric of a shirt or bra rubbing over their nipples.  While they are healing, they can be continuously irritated.    Women’s nipples tend to take longer to heal than men’s nipples.  While they are healing, they are prone to infection so you should never let anyone lick or suck them until they are completely healed.

Some people have inverted nipples.  If nipples suddenly become inverted this can be a sign of cancer and should be checked right away.   If they have always been inverted this is not an issue.

Sometimes women’s nipples leak fluid despite the fact that they are not lactating.  In some women this is a result of certain medications which stimulate prolactin production.  In some women it is the result of stimulation alone.  In others it can be the result of a pituitary gland benign tumour so if you leak you should see your doctor.    In fact, major changes to your nipples should signal a trip to the doctor as this can be a sign of cancer.

A to Z of Sex N is for Nipple

Breast feeding can feel good and can also be very difficult.  Nipples can crack and become raw which feels awful.  There is a fetish around lactation so some people look for breast feeding women to have sex with and some women will stimulate lactation outside of breastfeeding a baby in order to indulge in this fetish.

Everyone can get breast cancer.  So men should do regular self-exams and be aware of changes.

Some people have more than two nipples.  Third nipples are called supernumerary and are found in about 1 in 100 men and 10 in 50 women in the general population.  Many times they are very small and people think they are a mole.  Extra nipples are usually found in line with your regular nipples.  However there have been cases where they appeared elsewhere on the body and in one reported case on the bottom of the foot.  Women who are pregnant can find they swell and they may produce milk though that is rare.  The largest number of extra nipples reported is 8 but it is far more usual to have 1.  Often having a third nipple is an inherited trait (eg runs in families).  Research suggests 1 in 18 people in the UK have an extra nipple.

There have been all sorts of superstitions built up around extra nipples over the ages.  In Roman times, a woman with an extra nipple was prized as a wife because it was considered to be because of enhanced femininity (and greater fertility).  In the 1600s, a third nipple was the sign of a witch.  It was seen as where the devil suckled.

Got a story about or question about nipples?  Email me at drloribeth@atozofsex.com