How To Stimulate This Underrated Erogenous Zone

Nipples are undoubtedly having a moment in pop culture: Rihanna proudly flaunts hers; The Bold Type touched on the #FreeTheNipple movement in a recent episode; Harry Styles allegedly has three; and Kendall Jenner uses hers as a statement piece. But nipples aren't just powerful political tools or fashion accessories, they're also hot spots for pleasure and an often under-appreciated erogenous zone.

There are hundreds of nerve endings on a person's nipple, which makes them extremely sensitive to the touch and susceptible to pleasure, explains Shannon Chavez, PsyD, a certified clinical sexologist. Research has shown that nipple stimulation can mimic the same action and chemical response in the brain that's caused by genital stimulation. "In light of this, it is not at all surprising that many people are aroused by having their nipples touched, and with the right stimulation, it can lead to orgasm," Dr. Chavez says. And even if you can't orgasm from nipple stimulation, it's still a fun way to explore different parts of you or your partner's body.

It's important to note that, while everyone who has nipples has the same number of sensitive nerve endings on them, not everyone is down for nipple play, says Sadie Allison, PhD, AASECT-certified sexologist. Make sure that your partner consents before you jump in, because everyone is different, and they might have certain sensitivities about their nipples that you weren't aware of.

Ahead are some ideas and tips for stimulating the nips, from Dr. Allison and Dr. Chavez.

Slow down.

It takes time for your body to become primed for nipple stimulation and play, so take it slow, Dr. Chavez says. "Start with slow caresses, licks, and strokes, and then gradually start to experiment with pressure and different forms of stimulation," she says. As you become more aroused, you can let your motions build up intensity, too.
Be gentle with your hands.

Use a light, gentle touch with your fingertips, Dr. Allison says. "Glide over them using saliva or a dab of lube, run them up and over nipples, and circle them on the areola." If you don't know what to do with your hands, just follow this popular oral sex tip, and spell the alphabet with your fingers.
Work your way to the nipple.

There are levels to breast sensitivity: "The nipple is the most sensitive part of the breast, then the areola, then the breast," Dr. Allison says. Start by massaging the breast with your full hand, then work your way into nipple play after your partner is well-massaged, she suggests.
Communicate before biting.

Biting can be a real turn on for some people, but it can also be painful, so it's important to ask if your partner is open to biting before you nibble, Dr. Allison says. If they are, "counter that pain with pleasure, by teasing them with your hand or finger below," she says. Or, if you're on the receiving end, you can stroke your own genitals while your partner plays with your nipples.
Figure out where to bite.

If your partner is comfortable with biting, start with your teeth closer to the breast (as opposed to towards the tip of the nipple), because it can be more comfortable for many people, Dr. Allison says. Move your way down so that the tip of the nipple is between your teeth, she says. If they're okay with that, then you can "roll" a nipple between your teeth by sliding your jaw back and forth, left to right, she says.
Turn it into oral sex foreplay.

Tease your partner by kissing down their neck, chest, eventually nipples, and then genitals, Dr. Allison says. "Use a lot of tongue and juicy kisses," she adds. By the time you make it to their genitals, they'll be eager for your mouth to be all over them, she says.
Don't just suck.

There are tons of different ways you can utilize your mouth on your partner's nipples. Mix it up and use your breath to blow across their nipples, Dr. Allison says. "Add a sloppy lick of saliva for the wetness, which will offer a cool, breezy feeling," she says.
Try different textures.

Surprise your partner by stroking their nipples with objects and items with varying textures: fingernails, the palm of your hand, your mouth, your tongue, or even a vibrator, feather, or flogger, Dr. Chavez suggests.
Make out.

Don't be afraid to kiss, lick, or suck your partner's nipple with your mouth, Dr. Allison says. "Make out with the nipples like you’re giving a French kiss," she says. "Slither your tongue quickly back and forth, wiggle your tongue quickly like a snake, or lap it like a dog kisses."
Add food or flavored lube.

Top your partner's nipples with whipped cream, honey, or melted chocolate, and lick it off, Dr. Allison says. (While placing sugary foods on your genitals can cause infections, it's totally safe on nipples.) Or, if you have flavored lube in your nightstand, swipe it on your fingers or partner's nipples, she says.
Alternate sides.

Focus on one nipple at a time, but switch it up so you don't over-stimulate a nipple, Dr. Allison says. "Incorporate massage on one breast while stimulating the nipple with the other hand," she says.
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