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Their findings—besides the fact they have the coolest job ever? Nipple stimulation activates the same brain regions as clitoral stimulation and penetration, according to the Rutgers University study.
“We expected nipple stimulation to activate the chest areas of the brain,” says lead study author Barry Komisaruk, Ph.D. “But it activated the erotic areas, too.”
The sensation isn’t necessarily the same, he notes, but nipple stimulation can heighten the orgasm by sending even more signals to this area. “Nipple stimulation is usually associated with foreplay,” he says. “But you shouldn’t ignore the nipples—and breasts in general—during sex.”
Translation: Multi-tasking is your friend. “The more stimulation you can provide, the more intense the orgasm will be,” he says. Meaning, if you try the downward dog, for example, she can rub her clitoris while you penetrate her vagina and cup her breasts, sending tons of signals to the erotic area of her brain.
But don’t pinch and turn like you used to do to your little brother. “Stimulate the breasts, not just the nipples,” explains Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., research scientist at Indiana University and author of Because It Feels Good. “Zeroing in can be uncomfortable for a lot of women.” Use the whole hand to touch or massage the entire breast, focusing on the outsides and seeing how the woman responds, she says. “If she enjoys breast touching, then you can often proceed to touching or licking the nipples.”