Kinsey Confidential

POSTED AT 12:00 AM ON Aug. 31, 2005 


Q: I have no feeling in my nipples -- is that normal? Boys have touched and kissed/sucked them, but I feel no sensation at all. When I've talked to some of my girlfriends about it, they thought it was weird as well. Is there anything I can do to help this, or is this just something that happens to some women?

A: Breast sensation -- like sensation in all kinds of other places on the body -- varies from person to person. Research actually suggests, however, that the nipple is the LEAST sensitive part of a woman's breast, and that the tops, bottoms and sides of breasts are more sensitive areas. Even the areola (area

around the nipple) is considered only moderately sensitive, with the nipple being the least sensitive part of the female breast. In some ways, this makes great sense considering how many women breastfeed their babies. Can you imagine if the nipple was any more sensitive? Breastfeeding could be even more challenging than it already is for some women!

That's not to say women don't enjoy breast or -- more specifically, nipple -- stimulation. Some do, some don't. You may never enjoy it. Then again, you might enjoy it under different circumstances (for example, a partner who is more gentle, slow, fast, rough, rhythmic, etc.) than you've previously experienced.

I don't know what kind of stimulation you might enjoy (if any), but if you're curious, try touching your own breasts -- the tops, sides, bottoms, areola, nipple -- as a way of exploring what you do and don't like. If there's truly nothing about breast stimulation that you enjoy, then at least you know that -- and it doesn't really matter if other women like it, because you don't and you don't have to. If it turns out there is something you enjoy, you can try communicating that to a partner ("Slower" or "softer" or "I like it better up here").

It's also interesting to note that research suggests women with larger breasts tend to be less sensitive all over their breasts than women with smaller breasts. Though I don't know what your breast size is, that may partly explain your experience. If you do want to experiment with nipple stimulation, there are some flavored products like Bosom Buddy ( and Nipple Nibblers ( )that contain ingredients such as menthol, which some suggest may increase sensation or blood flow to the skin. Mints may have a similar effect and are easily found at drugstore and grocery stores. If you are breastfeeding, then I'd suggest checking in with your health care provider prior to putting creams, mints or other products on your breasts with which your baby might come into contact.

While some people find mints or sexual enhancement products to be enjoyable during sexual play, there is no scientific research for or against (to my knowledge) the use of these products in regard to breast sensation. For that reason, they're considered playful, novelty items rather than products with a known outcome.


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