How To Stimulate The Nipples Safely, Because No One Wants Permanent Nerve Damage

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle
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Now, I think many of us can agree that a little (or a lot) of nipple action is pretty fantastic during a sexual encounter. The nipples are one of our hottest erogenous zones, after all. An erogenous zone is a place on the body besides the genitals where it feels amazing, sensual, and sexy to be touched. Nipples aren’t an erogenous zone for every person, but they're a common one. Sandra LaMorgese, PhD., a former Dominatrix, tells Bustle that people enjoy nip play because the nipples are one of the most sensitive, nerve-rich areas of the body.

When it comes to me personally, if there is no nipple play when I'm hooking up, I’m not as into it. It adds an extra layer to everything sexual. The nipples are essentially the eye into the vulva, IMHO.

From clamps, to fingers, to feather, to teeth, there is no limit to the ways you can stimulate the nipples. The issue arises when you go a bit too hard on the nips. Some pain feels awesome in the moment, but it can leave you with scabby nipples the next day. “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.” That does NOT sound fun.

I’ve definitely wound up both with scabs and with bruises on my nipples and the sounded breast tissue. Have all the fun you want, but do it safely. Here's how:

Start Slowly

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Don’t just go clamping and biting nipples with all the fury of 1,000 suns. You have to test things out first. Just like all experiments of a ~sexual nature~, you have to be fully aware of your body and what feels good to you. Make sure both you and your partner are on the same page about what works for you and what doesn't.

So, start carefully. “Come in soft and pay attention by 'listening' to the responses as you begin," Taylor Sparks an erotic educator, certified in both holistic aromatherapy and human behavior, tells Bustle. "Even better, before you are 'eye to eye' with a nipple or two ask the person you intend to play with if and how they like their nipples played with." Communication is key. Always.

Be Mindful Of Your Limits

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“Those inexperienced with nipples and nipple play may make the mistake of coming in too 'hard' without first seeing what level of play the receiving nipples enjoy," Sparks says.

When we’re in the moment, about to orgasm or close to it, we often forget how much something may actually be causing physical pain. Our ability to feel pain actually diminishes as our bodies are flooded with dopamine and other delightful neurochemicals (as well as a helluva lot of endorphins). “When we're extremely turned on, our tolerance for pain goes wayyyyy down," Harrison says. "It's all too easy to get carried away, so being mindful of this fact is definitely a good first step; stopping at eight instead of 10 will hopefully prevent you from going too far."

Then Test Your Limits With Care

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“Put a drop of organic massage oil (stay away from anything chemical based, which includes mineral and baby oils — do you really want that in your mouth later?)," Sparks says. "Grab one nipple ever so gently between the thumb and fore finger and squeeze starting off soft and gradually increase the pressure, without letting go, until you get an ouch!”

Follow this experiment with the other nipple. Determine what worked for you, without too much pain and move from there. Experiment with different ~fun things~. Not everything is relegated exclusively to fingers and teeth.

“Try starting with an ice cube," Sparks says. "Run the ice over the nipple, now purse your lips and blow. Be sure to listen to the reaction as this is your guide to what they like and don't like. Now take the nipple between your teeth and bite ever so gently, adding more pressure, until you get that familiar ouch! Ready for something more? Baby clothes pins that you can get from the dollar store are quite fun for pinching...not just the nipple but the nipple and the areola and the entire breast. How many clothespins can they take? Purchase and set aside for nipple play a fly swatter! Yes, swatting nipples is very erotic to some people. So again, start soft with up and down and then side to side. Nipple suckers bring on the intensity a little at a time and can really make the nipple 'swell' and stay erect for a good amount of time. Nipple rings and clamps bring on the pain but in a good way thanks to those endorphins!”

Another option? "Put on the nipple clamps over the top of a sexy silk top or bra. The thin layer of fabric will minimize the friction, and it can even enhance the sexiness by adding mystery," LaMorgese says.

Aftercare Is A Must

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Now, if you were gentle-ish with your nipples during your sexy playtime, that’s totally fabulous. It doesn’t stop there though! No, ma'am! “Wash your nips with warm water and don't use soaps with alcohol or chemicals in them as these can dry out and irritate the nipples," Harrison says. "You can also use a warm washcloth to apply as a compress to your nips after play. Another good solution is to nuke a small bit of organic coconut oil (make sure it's not too hot) and massage on your nips after. Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties and it's great for the skin. Any other type of natural alcohol-free lotion or oil works too.”

You need to make sure those nips are well-tended after, just like you would your face after a long night of partying. Go forth, nip out, and live your best life.