IF YOU’RE READING this story, then you probably agree that boobs are pretty fantastic. Whether they’re big or small, perky or droopy, real or surgically enhanced, breasts are both visually appealing and extremely fun to play with.
Because of the universal truth that boobs are amazing, we could all do with some solid information on how to touch them and play with them in a way that brings our partner(s) pleasure. There’s even evidence to suggest that a few lucky folks can orgasm from nipple stimulation alone.
The nipples have a ton of nerve endings, and studies have shown that the nerve endings in the nipples stimulate the same part of the brain as the clitoris does: the sensory-cortex. The nipples, brain, and genitals actually end up “talking to each other” during nipple play, using the spinal cord as a messenger system. If the stimulation feels good, the brain gets a thumbs-up signal, and sends a corresponding message to the genitals that pleasure is being experienced—which triggers the sexual arousal process. From there, the clitoris becomes engorged, the labia swell, and the vagina becomes lubricated. Isn’t the human body amazing?
READ: Best Way of Fingering Your Lady for Extreme Pleasure, According to Sex Experts
Now, before we get into our expert-approved tips and tricks for making breast and nipple play the best it can possibly be, it’s important to understand that breasts should be handled with care. They are precious cargo. For the love of all things holy, don’t smack them or squeeze them with all your might, like you see in porn—unless your partner specifically tells you they’re into rougher boob play and want you to do those things.
Everyone enjoys different things. One person might like to have their nipples slightly bitten, while another person wants absolutely nothing to do with that. One person may want you to pop a nipple sucker onto their goods, and another may crave a gentle squeeze n’ suck with your mouth. It’s all grand, as long as everyone is enjoying themselves.
Now, here are 15 legendary tips for mastering your partner’s pleasure zones, as well as some moves you’d probably be better off avoiding.
If you want to know what feels good for your book, there’s actually a pretty easy way to find out: Just ask your partner what they like! Lots of people really, really enjoy breast play.
Being able to openly communicate about sexual touch is such a big game changer. Ask them what they’ve liked/not liked in the past. Ask them about fantasies that involve their breasts. Knowing what they’re into is a great starting place.
In a 2006 study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine—kinda old, we know, but there isn’t a ton of boob research out there—81.5% of women reported that breast and nipple stimulation causes or enhances sexual arousal. That being said, 7.2% of women said breast and nipple stimulation decreased their arousal, so once again, you should probably check in with your partner to find out what they like.
And if they aren’t sure? Well, it’s time to get curious. Take some time to go on a little journey together. Be willing to make mistakes and learn from them. We’re all just trying to figure out what works for us, you know?
According to a UCLA study, women who are unhappy with their breast size are 16 times more likely to hide their breasts during sex. Which is a bummer, because you don’t just want to see your partner’s breasts—you also want them to feel safe and secure and turned-on.
It might help to compliment your partner’s breasts early in foreplay. “Comment on her high responsiveness to stimulation,” says Patti Britton, Ph.D., a clinical sexologist (i.e., “your nipples are so hard right now.”) Alternatively, something as simple as “Oh, wow, you have amazing boobs” could be just the confidence boost your mate needs.
READ: 13 Sex Positions That Hit the G-Spot Just Right
Don’t head for the nipple right away.
As Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., previously explained to Men’s Health, nipples vary widely in terms of sensitivity, so if you’re not quite sure what your partner likes, you need to work your way up to nipple stimulation. Start off by gently stroking or massaging the tops, bottoms, and sides of their breasts. Alternate with lightly kissing their neck, earlobes, and collarbone. That’ll help build anticipation and leave them wanting more.
Focus on the areola.
When you feel like your partner is ready—and if they’re making a lot of noise or writhing around with pleasure, they’re probably ready—move onto the areola, the dark-colored circle that surrounds the nipple, which is actually more sensitive than the nipple itself. Focus especially on the upper quadrant of the breast, between 10 and 2 o’clock. It’s the most sensitive part of the bull’s-eye. Gently stroke the nipple and circle the areola with a finger, or circle the nipple with your thumb and forefinger.
Get your mouth involved—but be gentle.
If your partner seems to be enjoying things, use your tongue to very lightly draw circles around their nipple. If their nipple is erect, gently flick it with your tongue a few times before slowly and gently taking the nipple into your mouth. Alternate between licking and sucking on the nipple. (If your partner has inverted nipples, which approximately 10 to 20% of women do, you can lure the nipples out with touching, kissing, licking, and gentle sucking, but you might have to work a little harder.)
After a while, you can give your mouth a break and go back to gently circling and stroking their nipples—they might enjoy the varying pressure.
Pay attention to the whole breast, too.
While the nipple is definitely the pleasure center of the breast, it can be very pleasurable to fondle, feel, and caress the entire breast. While your mouth is focused on the nipple, you can use your hand to gently squeeze the breast at the same time. This will engage the entire area and hold the breast in place for easier suction/licking of the nipple.
Don’t leave one nipple out.
When we’re so caught up in the moment sucking on a nice nipple, we can get carried away and forget that there are two nipples. Double the fun, you know?
You want to be sure that you’re giving the nipples and breasts equal love. Too much stimulation of one breast can lead to becoming either overly stimulated or even painful. There are so many nerve endings in the nipples that they need to be treated with some TLC.
Pay attention to your partner’s physical and audible cues. If you’re unsure if something is working for them or not, just ask.
Don’t bite—unless your partner asks you to.
Even if your partner is writhing and moaning with pleasure, you shouldn’t get carried away and bite or pull their nipple without her consent. If you sense that your partner might like it rough, ask, “Do you want more?” or “Harder?” before nibbling on or pulling on their nipple. While some people really enjoy rough breast play, others do not, and you don’t want to interrupt your good time or theirs by crossing that line without their consent.
Check in before you bounce, jiggle, honk, or slap.
Not everyone is into rougher breast play, but some people are! If you and your partner are both into slapping breasts, honking them, jiggling them, or even biting them, that’s completely normal and OK. Just be sure you ask first and communicate before jumping in and doing whatever you want (this goes for any sexual activity, BTW.) If you’re unsure how they’re feeling about something during sex, just say, “Is it OK if I do X?” or “Would you like it if I did X Thing?”
In a study conduct
Different types of breasts enjoy different things.
In a study conducted at the University of Vienna, researchers found that large breasts were about 24% less sensitive than small ones. “This is probably because the nerve that transmits sensation from the nipple is stretched,” says Alan Matarasso, M.D., a plastic surgeon in New York City. So if your partner has larger breasts, you may want to spend more time stimulating the outer sides of their breasts, just below the armpits, with your tongue or fingertips.
Similarly, if your partner is pregnant, nursing, or on their period, their nipples will be tender. (And this is assuming that your partner wants you to play with their breasts at all—many people with boobs do not, particularly if they’re breastfeeding.) Focus on your partner’s underboob, which is a frequently neglected area, and gently cup and support their breasts.
Bring nipple clamps or suckers into the mix.
If you’re into accessories, take your breast and nipple play to the next level by using nipple clamps or suction devices. These toys provide a different, more intense sensation than simply caressing or pinching your partner’s nipples with your own hands. Nipple clamps also allow for consistent nipple stimulation. Your partner can wear them the entire time you’re having sex, freeing up your hands to touch other parts of their body.
A vibrator can be fun, too.
Your sex toys don’t have to be nipple-specific to feel good during breast play. Vibrators can also offer some delightful stimulation to the nipples. While they are designed for the clitoris, the buzzy sensation can definitely feel amazing.
You can even get creative and hold a vibrator against one nipple while you lick and/suck on the other. It’s all about getting a little creative and being willing to try new things.
We recommend using a girthier wand for this kind of play. Because they have a big head, they offer a more widespread sensation.
Get the clitoris involved.
Somewhere in the 85-95% range of all people who own a clitoris need external clit stimulation in order to have an orgasm. So, if you’re trying to deliver on a nipple orgasm, combine nipple play with stimulation of the external clitoris for a sweet blended orgasm.
Stimulate your partner’s nipples gently with your fingertips or tongue. You can increase sensation as you move along and they become more aroused. Then, add in stimulation of the clitoris, either with hands, mouth, or a sex toy. It’s really that simple. Don’t forget to communicate to make sure they’re loving it!
Play with temperature.
Feeling something cold or hot on certain areas of the body can send a shock through the system, especially when those body parts are extra-sensitive, like the nipples. It’s something we’re not expecting, and experiencing that level of surprise increases blood flow and heart rate.
When it comes to temperature play on the breasts, run a cold (or hot) object around their nipples, and then over each one. You don’t need a ton of equipment. Simply grab an ice cube from the freezer and have at it. Try holding the ice cube in your mouth and use it to draw circles around the areola. Now, combine all this with some stimulation of the clitoris and you might be in a R-I-D-E. (To deliver a surprising warm sensation, you could take a sip of hot tea before gently sucking on their nips.)
To make this extra kinky, you can gently restrain your partner. If you don’t have handcuffs or other restraints, simply use a T-shirt or neck tie to bind their wrists above their head. Have some safety scissors nearby, just in case.
Now, this is possibly the most important tip of all: Be enthusiastic.
Female-bodied people have been raised to believe that their pleasure is secondary to their partners. They are told that they should be serving others, and that enjoying pleasure is selfish. Because of these damaging (and false) messages, they need as much assurance that you’re enjoying yourself as possible. This is true of everyone, sure, but it makes a huge difference.
Make some noise. Moan while you’re sucking. Take a breath between play to let them know how hot they are and how much you love giving them pleasure.
READ: Why The 5 Love Languages Are Still Popular, Even After 29 Years