Breasts and nipples

A Beginner’s Guide to Nipple Play

Published: JANUARY 29, 2019 | Updated: AUGUST 24, 2021
Nipples can often be overlooked. And they absolutely shouldn't be! Try these tips to spice up your foreplay with some super-hot nipple play.

If you want to have hotter, more intense sex, add nipple play into your repertoire. Nipples are a wondrous erogenous zone with more than 800 nerve endings. A study published by the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2011, suggests that nipple stimulation travels to the brain in the similar way as sensations from the cervix, clitoris, and vagina. The study also supported that nipple stimulation can release the happy hormone, oxytocin.


Jim, 45, from Phoenix, AZ, first discovered he was really turned on by nipple play when he was in college and really starting to explore his own body. “I think it started because I associated nipple stimulation with a woman's nipples, and so I thought I'd practice on myself to get a sense of how a woman might want to be touched,” he shares. “Needless to say, I found that I really liked it.” But he kept quiet on the matter for probably the next 15 years. “Sometimes a partner would happen to touch my nipples, and I'd try to respond in a way that let them know I liked it,” he says. “But finally, at some point, I just cut to the chase and would say that I liked it. That's never a bad policy.”

Stimulating the nipples just so, can kick sexy time into overdrive. Cut off the blood supply to the nipples' network of nerve endings, and you can achieve off-the-charts awesome levels of sensitivity. Trust me on this one. Some people can even have nipplegasms, which is an orgasm from nipple stimulation. (#SexGoals.) No matter your gender, nipple play can be a sensual way to spice up foreplay. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to have nipple play:

Touch Them

Basic hand-to-breast contact can be highly erotic. Give my breasts a slow, featherlike rub, circling my nipples, and I'm sure to melt. Bonus points for slathering them up with almond oil and taking your sweet ‘ole time.


Have your partner begin by circling the areola, or the pigmented portion on the breast, around the nipple. This can be done with the mouth, fingers, or a vibrating sex toy. This is the first step in arousal, and it draws extra blood to the nipple area. Move to the nipples themselves next, stimulating them one at a time. A person's nipples will begin to harden; the harder they become, the more sensitive they are to direct stimulation.

Read: 6 Little Known Nipple Facts

Take Your Time

Few things get me more hot and bothered than when a partner takes their sweet, leisurely time with breast play. I mean, really pays attention and pushes my mammary pleasure buttons.


Find out what your partner likes and doesn’t like. Some like licking, but can’t stand biting or sucking. Others like rougher play, like clamps, flicking or flogging. Some will deem nipple play a straight-up no touch zone – and that’s OK.

Tease Them

Tickle my nipples with a finger, tongue or slowly formed lips, and I'm bound to go wild. When it comes to sex, the buildup can be just as arousing as the actual act itself. I may be super on-task/Type-A in my day-to-day, but I like slow moving and uncertain play when it comes to my nipples. Take all the time you want when it comes to nipple stimulation.

Pinch Them

Few things excite me quite like having my nipples pinched and slowly twisted. I dig a partner who will take his or her time stimulating me with various intensities of touch.


Read: 5 Tips for Finding That Elusive 'Nipplegasm'

Suck Them

OMG, the sight of my nipple in a partner's mouth is a total panty dropper. Nuzzle up and suckle while I tread on all sorts of strange (but super-hot) fantasyland. My nipple plus your mouth is the making for sexy time magic.

Increase the Intensity

To keep the tension and pleasure mounting, twirl your fingers around both nipples simultaneously. At this point, you will begin to notice your partner's genitals have become acutely aware of this sensation and breathing will become heavier. The more sensitive and turned on your partner becomes, increase the pressure of circling, pinching, pulling, sucking on both nipples.


Bite Them

I'm a big fan of biting. It's one of those tactile sensations that can start with slow pressure, then build up to whatever pain threshold is desired. I happen to like pain and pressure, so generally, the harder, the better. Take note of your partner’s cues, and make sure they have space and safe words to communicate, in case pain or pressure becomes too much.

Experiment With Nipple Clamps

As much as I like taking my nipples from "Ooh!" to "Ouch" with clamps or clothespins, these toys can be intimidating, especially if you're just starting to wade into the nipple play pool. Find a toy you like, then gradually warm up, so the recipient can ease into whatever level of intensity feels best. Likewise, for the release. Think slow and steady, rough and tumble or anywhere in between.

Read: 5 Steps for Choosing Nipple Clamps


Play With wax

Recently, a partner turned me onto the ways of what hot candle wax drizzled on nipples can do. Spoiler alert: It sent wave after wave of intense pleasure straight to my genitals. Who knew? Regulate the temperature of the wax by how high you hold the candle above the breasts – you don’t want to burn your partner.

Don’t Rule out a Nipplegasm

Some people are lucky enough to orgasm from nipple stimulation alone. It may take some time to ride the almighty waves of nipple pleasure; think 10-20 minutes of stimulation. Remember to be patient and enjoy the experience of intimate touch. It can take you to Big O places (above the belt) you never imagined.

The next time you hop into bed for sexy time, be sure to give your partner's nipples some extra special attention (pending they're a willing recipient). We're so hard-wired to think all our pleasure must come from penetration or clitoral stimulation, that we overlook other vital nerves. It's high time this often-overlooked source of pleasure deserves some love and attention.

Ryn Pfeuffer

Ryn Pfeuffer is a versatile print and digital writer specializing in sex, lifestyle, and relationship topics. She got her start in the mid-90s at the Philadelphia Weekly, managing a 10-page section of the newspaper and more than 500 lonely hearts.Her professional stock skyrocketed when she started writing a saucy (and pre-Carrie-Bradshaw-era) dating advice column called “Ask Me Anything.” She appeared regularly on local radio stations and late-night TV as an expert on everything from grooming...

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