8 Facts About Your Nipples You Didn’t Learn In Sex Ed

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Like every part of the human body, when we really examine nipples, they're pretty interesting. But, as is the case with most of our body, we tend to take our nipples for granted. Sure, we may acknowledge them during sex, when we get cold and are extra aware of them, or while breastfeeding, but I can't imagine many people are sitting around on their lunch break thinking about how fascinating their nipples are. Or, if someone is and you're that person, then high-five to you. But facts about your nipples will probably surprise you in ways you didn't expect.

"There is no one universal template of normal [nipples] and [people] should not have to feel like they must fit a single standard mold," board-certified dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse MD, FAAD tells Bustle. "By showing different variations of 'normal'... [people] can understand that they are both unique and more similar than they think, and that they are not alone."

Now that you know your nipples are unique to you, maybe with some more information and input from experts, you'll start looking at your nipples a little differently. Not that you have to, of course. Here are eight fascinating things about your nipples that you may not have known.

1. Nipples Range In Sensitivity

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Just as everyone has a tolerance for pain or a minimum for pleasure, nipples are no different.

"Nipples range in sensitivity and that doesn’t just mean they require different levels of intensity to feel pleasure," sex educator Lola Jean tells Bustle. "For some, nipple sensation isn’t pleasurable at any level of sensitivity. Meaning, just because you can feel it, doesn’t mean it feels good."

2. There's No Such Thing As One Type Of Nipple

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Not sure what kind of nipple you have? Well, give it a pinch. Seriously. The Nipple Pinch Test can tell you in what category the nipple falls. You might even discover, for the first time ever, that you have inverted nipples — something that 20 percent of people, of all genders, have.

3. Nipples Can Be Stimulated By A Whole Variety Of Things

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Although nipple stimulation tends to be done with the mouth and hands, as they're easily accessible thanks to be attached to our bodies, that's just the tip of the iceberg.

"We can stimulate the nipple with different tools," Lola Jean says, "Our mouths lips and tongue (which can be a bit softer), our teeth (which can be more intense), our fingers (which provide more pinpointed pressure), or other objects like feathers, clothespins, ice, and other fabrics (for added different sensations)."

Lola Jean also says to keep in mind that fingers can feel rough because we use them all the time.

4. There's Such Thing As Too Much Nipple Play

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Regular nipple play that gets so rough you're getting scabbed and bruised, can actually cause internal scar tissue and de-sensitization," Mal Harrison, the Director for the Center for Erotic Intelligence tells Bustle. "We're talking permanent nerve and tissue damage.”

Permanent damage is not a road anyone wants to go down. So even if you're into the rough stuff, keep in mind that your body sometimes needs a break to recover.

5. Nipples Can Be Stimulated Without Direct Contact

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"You can stimulate the nipple in a variety of ways and it doesn’t have to be direct stimulation," Lola Jean says. "You can target the nipples from an outside approach, meaning providing sensation to the areola or just outside the areola, drawing blood flow inwards as well. This can be done with fingers, mouths, or other tools."

For people whose nipples are too sensitive, stimulating the areola can be just as exciting and arousing.

6. Your Nipples Change With Age

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Although you may already be aware that your nipples will change if you choose to get pregnant, then change even more if you decide to breastfeed, but simply aging can cause a change in your nipples.

"Many women notice small bumps on their areolae as they get older, especially during and after pregnancy," plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, M.D., F.A.C.S. tells Bustle. "These little bumps are called Montgomery glands and create oily secretions to keep the nipple and areolae moist. They typically aren't anything to worry about."

7. Nipples Can Be An Erogenous Zone On Anyone

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A person doesn't have to have breasts to enjoy nipple play, according to Lola Jean. People without breasts can have nipples that are equally sensitive with both direct and/or indirect stimulation because they can be an erogenous zone for anyone. Because of this, don't ignore them and communicate with your partner if you're into having your nipples given extra attention.

8. Nipple Play Alone Can Induce An Orgasm

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Considering how many types of orgasms a person can have, it should come as no surprise that nipple stimulation can lead to an orgasm for some people.

A 2011 study found that nipple stimulation activates the same part of the brain — genital sensory cortex — as if someone were to stimulate parts of the vulva.

So whether it's Nipple Appreciation Day — which is a thing in some circles — or not, take a gander at your nipples. Because no matter what they look like or how they like to be touched, they're pretty damn awesome.