Nipples! We all have them and yet there is a lot more to them than we realize. Nipples are unique and intriguing. Whether our intention is wellness or pleasure, knowing the little details about nipples can be a rewarding learning experience. Nipples facilitate breastfeeding, enhance sexual arousal when stimulated and can offer you an orgasm on its own! It can also warn you about potential health threats like breast cancer. Since we have agreed that there is a lot more to learn, let’s get started with some nipple facts.
Nipple and Areola
No! All of that is not nipple. Nipple is only the center portion of the breast and the area surrounding the nipple is called areola. Montgomery glands found on the areola produce an oily secretion. It’s purpose is to protect the breasts and nipple from irritation and cracks. Yes, you read it right. Cracks are very common during breastfeeding. Areola can be round or oval in shape and it is quite normal for them to be asymmetrical too.
It comes in all shapes…
You might have known that breasts can be in different shapes and sizes. Same is applicable to nipples too. And believe me, no two nipples are the same. There is the protruding nipple that appears projected from the areola by a few millimeters and there is the flat one. Both of these can be pronounced more with simulation or while breastfeeding. Then there is the puffy one where the areola and the nipple together looks like a small mound. Every breast will pass through this puffy stage during puberty as they transform to fully-developed ones, but some prefer to keep the puffiness.
Nipples come in all sizes, too. We saw how the various shapes are defined based on the positioning of the nipple in relation to areola. There can be differences in nipple and areola sizes. The diameter of an areola can range from less than an inch to several inches. The size of your nipple will increase through puberty. It can also change during pregnancy. The length and the width of nipples as well as the size of the areola has been observed to increase during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Just like breasts, your nipples can also develop at and have different sizes. If one or both of the nipples are inverted from the beginning and continue to do so, there is nothing to be worried about. But, if they become inverted all of a sudden, it's better to consult a doctor.
Inverted, Bumpy, Hairy and More
There is the inverted nipple where the nipple is retracted to the inside. Whitehead-like bumps on the areola called Montgomery glands is the reason for the bumpy nipple. Hairy nipples are also common where you see stray, dark hair growing out of the areola, but there is nothing to be scared about.
How many nipples can one have? Two, isn’t it? Not always. Some people have extra, small nipples and are called supernumerary. There is also a situation called athelia which is the absence of nipples! Even in normal cases, the two nipples in a body don’t have to be the same. It can be a combination of any of the different shapes mentioned above. Amazing, isn’t it?
Nipples and Orgasm
It is absolutely possible to have an orgasm without even touching your genitals and nipples are one of the erogenous zones that make it happen. With the perfect blend of techniques and experimentation, you can achieve the Big O if you are into it. But, nipple play can elevate the erotic sensation during sex. Be gentle as some extra pressure can cause a lot of pain and ruin the mood. Contrary to popular belief, some studies show that nipples can be erogenous zones for men too. That’s one of the coolest nipple facts you are going to hear, ever!
Nipples and Breastfeeding
Nipples usually become larger and sensitive during pregnancy. When the baby starts feeding from them, it is unlike anything experienced before. Even though breastfeeding is important for the baby as well as the mother, the pressure and suction, especially if it is the first time, can be hard on the nipples. The shape and the size is not a deciding factor in the ability to breastfeed. Irrespective of the nipple shape and size, most babies can breastfeed conveniently. The size of both nipple and areola can increase during breastfeeding. Care should be taken during breastfeeding to keep the nipples pain-free and infection-free as the feeding process can last longer and repeat in shorter intervals.
Why Do Men Have Nipples?
And there is the controversial question. Even though we said that nipples can be erogenous for both women and men, if the main biological purpose of a nipple is to breastfeed, why do men have them? It goes back to the fact that all human embryos are the same in the beginning. Breast tissue starts to grow even before the XX or XY decision is made. So, technically there is no way to do away with them.
Once you start understanding something deeper, you will be welcomed with unforeseen information. Same is the case with nipple facts. Since each of us has got unique nipples, they all will have some new story to tell. What is your favorite nipple fact? What is your biggest concern when it comes to their care? What natural solutions do you use to keep them just as they are meant to be? Share with us.