Nipple stimulation or breast stimulation is stimulation of the breast. Stimulation may take place during breastfeeding or sexual activity, or be an indirect non-sexual response. It may be performed with the use of fingers, orally, such as by sucking or licking, as well as by the use of an object. As a sexual act, the objective which is to achieve sexual arousal, especially in the person whose nipples are being stimulated. The practice may be performed upon, or by, people of any gender or sexual orientation.
Breast, areola and nipples, are very sensitive erogenous zones in humans, the stimulation of which often results in sexual arousal. One of the physiological responses to sexual arousal is an erection of the nipples, and the erection of nipples in both women and men is often an indicator of sexual arousal, though such erection may be a result of other forms of sexual arousal; and nipples may become erect from non-sexual causes, such as from cold or during breastfeeding. Adult women and men report that breast stimulation may be used to initiate or to enhance sexual arousal, and a some women report experiencing orgasm from nipple stimulation.
Development and anatomy
Male and female breasts, nipples and areolas develop similarly in the fetus and during infancy. At puberty, the male's breasts remain rudimentary but the female's develop further, mainly due to the presence of estrogen and progesterone, and become much more sensitive than the male ones. Smaller female breasts, however, are more sensitive than larger ones.
Breasts, and especially the nipples, are erogenous zones. Nipple stimulation may result in sexual arousal, with all the physiological response arising therefrom, including an erection of the nipples. Erect nipples is often an indicator of sexual arousal, which their sexual partner may find erotically stimulating. A survey in 2006 found that sexual arousal occurred in about 82% of young females and 52% of young males or was enhanced by direct stimulation of nipples, with only 7–8% reporting that it decreased their arousal.
The stimulation of women's nipples from suckling, including breastfeeding, promotes the production and release of oxytocin and prolactin. Besides creating maternal feelings, it also decreases a woman's anxiety and increases feelings of bonding and trust. Oxytocin is linked to sexual arousal and pair bonding, but researchers are divided on whether breastfeeding commonly incites sexual feelings. Nipple erection during sexual arousal or breastfeeding are both caused by the release of oxytocin. Nipple erection is due to the contraction of smooth muscle under the control of the autonomic nervous system, and is a product of the pilomotor reflex which causes goose bumps.
Oxytocin, in its natural form or in a pharmaceutical form,  can also be used to cause contraction of the uterus to start labor, increase the speed of labor, and to stop bleeding following delivery.
Few women report experiencing orgasm from nipple stimulation. Before Komisaruk et al.'s functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) research on nipple stimulation in 2011, reports of women achieving orgasm from nipple stimulation relied solely on anecdotal evidence. Komisaruk's study was the first to map the female genitals onto the sensory portion of the brain; it indicates that sensation from the nipples travels to the same part of the brain as sensations from the vagina, clitoris and cervix, and that these reported orgasms are genital orgasms caused by nipple stimulation, and may be directly linked to the genital sensory cortex ("the genital area of the brain").
- Breast fetishism
- Contraction stress test
- Erotic lactation
- Fingering (sexual act)
- Mammary intercourse
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There are some females who appear to find no erotic satisfaction in having their breasts manipulated; perhaps half of them derive some distinct satisfaction, but not more than a very small percentage ever respond intensely enough to reach orgasm as a result of such stimulation (Chapter 5). [...] Records of females reaching orgasm from breast stimulation alone are rare.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
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A few women can even experience orgasm from breast stimulation alone.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
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