Guest written by Rain Andersen (@wearenotfriends_), a marketing and e-commerce coordinator for Lovers. Rain is a retired sex worker, pleasure advocate, and sexual wellness expert. Rain has worked in the adult entertainment industry for eight years and in the adult retail industry for four years.
If you or a partner enjoy having your breasts and nipples stimulated, a recent study from The Journal of Sex Medicine may give you some clues as to why. The 2011 research study used fMRI imaging to see which areas of the brain were activated when stimulating different regions of the body. They discovered that the brain’s genital sensory cortex activated from nipple stimulation in the same way that it did when providing stimulation to the clitoris, vagina, and cervix. Some scientists theorize that these regions of the brain are activated by the production of oxytocin- a feel-good hormone that is released during nursing, labor, and sex.
Scientists say that the oxytocin hormone plays an essential role in our ability to pair bond- helping mothers to form stronger maternal bonds with their infants, and activating the bonding circuit between partners. Professor Larry Young, of Emory University illustrates this concept in chapter four of his book, The Chemistry Between Us. “The Mommy Circuit” as Young refers to it, is a neurological circuit that evolved from breastfeeding to fortify our partnered bonds. “It’s a behavior that males have evolved in order to stimulate the females maternal bonding circuitry,” he explains in an article with LiveScience on the public fascination with breasts.
What is so interesting about this theory, is that it is unique to humans. While mammary glands are a defining characteristic of mammals, very few mammals demonstrate a sexual response to nipple stimulation. Young believes that this can be attributed to the fact that humans are predominantly monogamous, and engage in face-to-face sex, creating more opportunities to stimulate these erogenous zones.
Licking, sucking, nibbling, pulling, and/or squeezing on the nipples are all popular ways to stimulate this erogenous zone. In a 2006 study on human arousal, researchers reported that approximately 82% of young people with vulvas and 52% of young people with penises reported to be aroused by, or recognized peaks in their arousal when stimulating the nipples.
Many people that enjoy nipple stimulation will invest in different sexual aids, designed to enhance the experience of nipple play. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular methods, below.
Most beginners to nipple play will gravitate towards a set of nipple clamps. Nipple clamps are a staple for anyone interested in exploring nipple play or extending foreplay. They are a type of BDSM accessory designed to apply pressure to the areola, usually in combination with other types of foreplay. Clamps can be tugged on or flicked to provide a sudden burst of sensation.
Vibrators are a simple and effective way to add stimulation to the nipples. We recommend using vibrators with a tapered tip to improve control and precision. We suggest the Lovers Ruby Bullet and the JOPEN Starstruck Flickering Vibrator, for two contrasting sensations.
Pulsators are a new and innovative style of sex toy that use air to stimulate the genitals. You can use a pulsating sex toy in a number of unexpected ways. We love to use pulsators for recreating the gentle suckling sensations we associate with partnered sex! Place the mouth of your pulsator directly over your areola to allow for 360 degrees of stimulation.
Pumps and suckers are designed to increase blood flow in a desired area, thereby enhancing the sensation of touch. Breast pumps will engorge the size of the breast and nipple simultaneously, while nipple bulbs and nipple suckers provide more pinpoint results. Many people find pumps to be erotic because they keep the nipples in an erect state- a physical characteristic of arousal that is often limited to the excitement phase of our sexual response cycle.
Have you ever experimented with temperature play? The nipples are extremely sensitive to temperature, which is why so many nipple stimulants incorporate elements of heating and cooling. Eliminate the mess of melting ice cubes by opting for a glass sex toy. Glass sex toys are conductive to temperature and can be used to graze, glide, or massage into the breasts. We suggest the Bling Bling Plug, which can be held by its base to control pressure and grip.
Looking to heat things up? We have some ideas about how you can get started. Sportsheets La Cire Drip Candles are the perfect foreplay enhancement, tapered to create a focused and precise drip pattern. Pour them over your partners breasts to treat them to an erotic tissue massage. These fetish candles melt at a lower temperature then traditional candles- so that you feel all of the warmth and none of the burn!
Nothing tempts and teases quite like a feather tickler. These foreplay-focused accessories are the perfect way to coax a shy partner into a more relaxed state-of-mind. Lighter, more ticklish sensations can often times feel more approachable than the feel of a fully powered vibrator, and can appeal to people with more sensitive breast tissue.
Do you love the feeling of a partner sucking and licking on your nipples? We know a fun hack that can help you to incentivize longer, more enthusiastic nipple play. Edible lubricant is a great way to enhance flavor, encourage enthusiasm, and heighten the senses. Place a pea sized amount of edible lubricant on the nipple, and allow your partner to reapply as they desire.
Slow Sex Nipple Play Gel, $18.50
Take your foreplay to the next level with a nipple stimulant like Slow Sex’s Nipple Play Gel. This cooling, tingling, and kissable gel is sold in a metallic roll-on applicator designed to glaze over your favorite pleasure zones. Formulated with Frescolat®, a patented molecule that interacts with your body’s mucosae membranes, Slow Sex Nipple Play Gel is the perfect product for exploring your partner’s body. Kiss this gel to transfer the cooling sensation to unexpected regions or glide it over your pulse points for a mid-day pick-me-up.
Alligator & Bullnose Clamps: Alligator clamps and bullnose clamps have a flat and wide shape that is often compared to the head of an alligator or bull. They are often sold with a rubber or silicone buffer, that helps to minimize damage to the breasts during stimulation. We love the versatility of alligator and bullnose clamps, that allow you to customize the intensity of your experience as you move closer and closer to the clamps edge.
Tweezer Clamps: Tweezer clamps are another way to add pressure to the nipples. This style of nipple clamp is fashioned after a pair of tweezers, just as the name suggests. Tweezer clamps feature a small metal bead that can be moved up and down the rods to control pressure.Magnetic Clamps: These piercing-inspired sexcessories are an excellent option for people who have tried and enjoy the sensation of nipple clamps. Magnetic nipple clamps create weight through magnetic force, which prevents the wearer from making adjustments to pressure. Remember that magnetic nipple clamps are designed specifically for breast play- household and industry magnets should never be used on the body.
Vibrating Clamps: Vibrating nipple clamps contain a small motor that allows the wearer to combine sensations of pressure and vibration. Many people enjoy incorporating vibration into nipple play because it allows for a constant flow of stimulation.
Clover Clamps: Clover clamps are a great option for people who enjoy advanced nipple play. This style of clamp features two holes that are connected by a chain. As the wearer pulls on the chain, the clamps become tighter.