I remember the shock I felt the first time I read about a cis man enjoying nipple stimulation. True to form, it was in a romance novel and I probably was a tween or young teen. By that time I knew my own breasts were sensitive but had this belief that men’s nipples were a fluke of nature. I hadn’t even thought they could derive pleasure the same way I could…and I filed that knowledge away for the future.
Of course, every body has breast tissue, regardless of sex or gender. And that means everyone has both risks—though these risks are not evenly distributed, with both sex and racial disparities, among others, in screening, diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes—and the potential for pleasure.
This potential is big. According to sex educator and blogger Tatyannah King, “a 2011 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine indicated that nipple stimulation activates the same areas of the brain as stimulation of the clitoris and vagina. So, don’t undermine the power of nipple play.”
Large or small, all flesh or implants, nipples or not—read on for nine ways to enhance and enjoy chest and breast play. As always, take which tips work for you and leave the ones that don’t. You’re the only one who gets to determine what forms of breast play—and sex in general—feel good for you.
Good sex starts with knowing what you want. Certified sex therapist, Dr. Reece Malone suggests taking time to explore and experiment with different items on yourself. “Explore how your breast(s) or chest responds with hair. vs no hair, heat vs.cold, thumpy vs.stingy, soft vs. more firm and dry vs. slippery.” Each of these items can “elicit different sensations [which]] can amplify the erotic experience.”
Try, Try Again
“We all have [a chest] so [breast play] is great for all genders. I often advise my clients to stimulate their
[chest] during sex, foreplay, in the shower, on dry land lol. Try it and thank me later,” says certified sex coach Shani Hart.
You can explore using both a variety of sensations as well as shifting your focus to different parts of the breast and chest.
Take Your Time
One of the most common complaints I hear from my sex coaching and couples counseling clients with breasts, is that their partner goes straight to them without any warm up. Having experienced this myself, I know how shocking and unsexy it can feel! Eva Blake, a somatic sex coach, echoes this frustration and shares a specific technique to romance the breasts for more and deeper intimacy, arousal, and pleasure.
“Please don’t go for the nipples right out the gate!!!! Personally, my breasts and body need lots of contact, warmup, and erotic engagement before my nipples are even thinking about enjoying any kind of direct, intentional stimulation.
Full hand contact or grasping of the breast that holds the outside and underside of the breasts can warm up the body. It stimulates more of the tissue of the whole breast and begins to also lubricate the sexual arousal links between the breasts and the genitals. This full grasp also communicates a sense of safety and being held to me whereas someone pinching or pulling at my nipple before my body or mind is ready for that feels like a bug I need to swat away.”
Another slow, sensual way to start is by hugging naked. This idea comes from certified sexologist and coach, Lanae St. John. She says, “Line up your torsos so that your [chests, nipples if you both have them] are aligned. Then one of you slooooowly and gently sways back and forth. You can do this with some pressure or a just barely touching, tickle-like touch. Notice which feels the best to you and to your partner.”
You can try this lying down or standing up, whichever feels more comfortable, intimate, and/or sexy to you and your beau(s).
Over licking and sucking? There are so many more fun ways to use your mouth to play. Take St. John’s advice and try this simple-but-advanced technique on your arm or the back of your hand first:
“Press your teeth against the skin of your partner. Then open your jaw along their skin, dragging your teeth along the skin. Now, use your teeth to grab and raise the skin you’ve scraped with your teeth. You should have a small amount of skin to nibble on… If you want, you can incorporate your tongue and breathe to blow hot or cold air onto the area you lick as you go.”
You aren’t looking to draw blood or leave a hickey, unless that’s what you’re into and you both consent to it. It’s more of a nibble. If your partner is extra sensitive, you’re worried about being too rough, or you like having multiple options, you can also use your mouth to suck up on the skin that you’ve gathered instead of nibbling.
Repurpose your favorite sex toys
Many sex toys offer so many more ways to play than their name—butt plug, cock ring, clitoral vibrator—implies. Take clitoral sucker toys. Such toys were a complete game-changer for both Hart and sex educator Rae Kennedy’s feelings on nipple play.
“I never thought I was a breast person,” Hart says. “Attention there never gave me a boatload of pleasure until I tried my clitoral suction toys on my nipples. I like getting more bang for my buck anyway so having another use for these clitoral toys was a win-win.”
An added bonus according to Kennedy is that using one of these toys during partner play means your partner can cover both of your nipples! More sensation, more pleasure, yes please.
Want to try it out? I recommend the Melt as it’s easy to hold and designed for partner sex in addition to solo (and nipple!) play. For a more affordable, entry-level (aka slightly less powerful), check out the Starlet 2.0.
Don’t have a suction toy? Don’t have nipples? Not into that much sensation? That’s ok. Regular ol’ vibrators can also feel delightful on the breasts, chest, and nipples. As always, start with the lowest setting. Here are some of me and my clients’ favorites.
Try nipple clamps
Want something a bit more adventurous? Looking for a hands free option? Nipple clamps are one fun, sexy, pleasure-enhancing option. Not only do they look gorgeous, they can be worked into a variety of scenes and anybody can wear them.
“Nipple clamps are a fun and sexy way to enhance the power of an orgasm,” says Maxine Lynn, founder of Stript Erotic Designs. “These often-overlooked toys look great on your body and also have an erotic function. They slow the blood when applied, and then let it gush back in after removal. This exponentially increases the pleasure at climax! Give them a try and see for yourself….”
Prefer your breast play a little less nipple focused? Blake offers another option: chest harnesses. These can be made of rope that’s tied in the moment or a [chest] harness that’s already constructed. “The pressure of the rope or leather in the push and pull or rolling around of play brings lots of blood flow to the whole chest area and warms up the nipples. It serves the function of engaging your chest and breasts without being too pinpoint specific in touch and when the binding comes off, your body is left with the lingering sensations of the harness and that sense of being held.”
Playing with temperature is another fun way to switch up and enhance breast and chest play. King explains how it’s done:
“Put ice in your mouth before sucking on your partner’s nipples to send chills throughout their body. Afterward, use your tongue and lips to draw their nipple into your mouth and mimic a vacuum suction to stimulate extra blood flow and increase overall sensitivity.”
This also works for kissing, licking, and sucking the breasts and general chest area.