Why Some People Have More Sensitive Nipples Than Others

If you've ever had your nipples handled in the sack, you probably know whether nip play gets you off or just feels...off. As it turns out, no set has quite the same sensitivity level.

"There is no such thing as normal nipples,” says Sherry Ross, M.D., an ob-gyn practicing at Providence St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California.

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Whether your nips are receptive to every touch or you've got nips of steel, you’ve probably noticed an increase in sensitivity during PMS or pregnancy (which is super unfair for moms who breastfeed—ouch).

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These fluctuations in nip feels throughout life are due to changes in levels of estrogen and progesterone, says Ross. And when it comes to the difference between your pair and any other woman's, a sensitive set could be caused by denser nerves throughout the breast and areola, she says. (Spice up your foreplay with these fun sex products from the Women's Health Boutique.)

And while having touchy nipples might seem highly annoying when it comes to breastfeeding or going braless, they might come in handy in the bedroom.

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“Nipples are an erogenous zones with heightened sensitivity, which may cause sexual arousal,” says Ross. “Some women are able to have an orgasm through nipple stimulation alone.” Touchy nips, FTW!

Obviously, not everyone gets aroused through nipple play. But, hey, it's worth a shot, right?

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And while sensitive nipples can be an annoyance (or a serious perk!), either way, they're not usually a health concern unless they hurt or itch, says Ross. Nipple sensations can turn painful for some women on birth control pills and those who have fibrocystic breasts, a common condition that causes benign lumps to appear in one or both breasts

Heavy smoking, caffeine, and a diet high in saturated fat can also lead to nipple pain (weird, right?). If you've got itchy tatas, exercise clothing and bathing habits might be to blame. Creams and gentle baths can usually help, she says. Just talk to your healthcare provider if your sensitivity goes off the charts. 

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