A lot of what we see in pop culture suggests that the only way women can orgasm is by stimulating the vaginal area. But that’s not true — not by a long shot. It’s possible for a woman to orgasm without ever touching their genitals. That’s where erogenous zones like the nipples come in.

Nipples, when played with, can set off fireworks throughout your body. Enough stimulation, and you can even reach that big O. Keep reading to learn more about nipple play, how you can get started, and what you can do to really turn up the heat.

Thank your nerves! Each nipple has hundreds of nerve endings, making them super sensitive to touch. And playing with your nipples can bring you a lot of pleasure. When your nipples are stimulated, they shoot off sparks in the genital sensory cortex. This is the same area of the brain that’s aroused by vaginal or clitoral stimulation.

Many women describe a nipple orgasm as something that sneaks up on you and then explodes out of nowhere. The sensations spread throughout your whole body as the pleasure builds slowly and gradually. Then, bam! You’ll feel a powerful climax that’ll come in waves.

A nipple orgasm may feel even more intense during that time of the month. Hormonal changes during menstruation can increase breast sensitivity and tenderness, which may heighten arousal.

In theory, yes! But it may take some trial and error until you discover what works for you — or that nipple play may not be for you at all. The only way to know is to give it a try! And who knows? You may have a lot of fun.

Yep! Men can absolutely have nipple orgasms, so you can try out nipple play with your interested male partners, too. Talk to your male partner about what techniques they’d like to try, what makes them feel good, and what you need to avoid. The method is the same, and communication — plus a sense of adventure — is key.

Nipple play doesn’t have to lead to orgasm. But if you’re in the mood and want that endorphin rush, there are a few things you can do to help your body achieve the big O:

  • Set the mood… by turning down the lights, lighting some candles, and listening to some sensual tunes. A sexy and relaxing setting can really get the mood going.
  • Get into a comfy position… so you can focus on feeling pleasure without feeling uncomfortable.
  • Let your mind wander… and think about what turns you on. Fantasizing can help you become even more aroused as you play around.
  • Take your time… and enjoy all of the different sensations you feel from playing with your nipples and breasts. Experiment with techniques to find what makes you feel good.
  • Start with your fingers… but feel free to add other sensations. Oils, lotions, clamps, and nipple vibrators can really ramp up the pleasure.
  • Let one hand wander… to your other erogenous zones or to your clitoris. Even though you can achieve an orgasm from nipple play alone, why not make the experience explosive by exploring other parts of your body?

You can try nipple play on your own or have your partner give it a go. Don’t forget, though: You can do more than just play with your nipples! Exploring the rest of your breasts may help with arousal.

If you aren’t sure where to start, you may find it helpful to:

  • Start slow by first focusing on your breath. Take long, deep breaths to help you relax and get out of your head and into your body.
  • Tease yourself by playing with other erogenous zones. Use your fingers and hands to stroke your belly, then move on to your rib cage, and then around and in between your breasts. But don’t touch your breasts or nipples just yet — let the sensations build up first.
  • Use a light touch to circle your breasts and areola with large strokes. Then ease into a gentle breast massage. When you’re ready, give your breasts a little squeeze.
  • In between massaging and squeezing, trace your areola without touching your nipples. This will help build up anticipation.
  • Now that you’re hot and bothered, move your fingers over to your nipples, which should be erect. Start to rub your nipples slowly, increasing speed and pressure as you become aroused.
  • Ramp up the pleasure by pinching your nipples. A pinch will send a rush of sensation throughout your body. The harder the pinch, the better — but play around with pressure to find out what feels best to you.
  • Don’t limit yourself to pinching. Try giving your nipples a slight twist or pull to see what gives you the most pleasure.
  • Bring yourself to the edge of orgasm, pull back, then repeat. Play with your nipples and rub your body to create waves of orgasmic pleasure that ripple through your body. Arch your back, and rock back and forth as you let your hands wander.
  • When you’re ready, push yourself to your limit and let go. Enjoy the rush as you experience that big O.

All the techniques you’d use in a solo session can be followed when playing with a partner. But there are other things your partner can do to add to the experience, whether it’s during foreplay or right before you orgasm during intercourse.

If any of these techniques pique your interest, talk to your partner:

  • Hot breath. Your partner starts by slowly breathing warm air around and onto your nipple to stimulate the nerves.
  • Licking. There are so many ways your partner can lick your nipples. They can trace little circles around your areola, flick your nipple with the tip of their tongue, or use the flat of the tongue to cover more surface.
  • Sucking. Don’t limit it to just licking — have your partner suck on your nipples, too. Drawing your nipple into their mouth will stimulate extra blood flow and increase sensitivity.
  • Nibbling. If you’re into it, have your partner nibble a little bit on your nipples for added sensation.

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to ramp things up. Add in some fun extras to really get things hot, whether you’re solo or with a partner:

  • Oils and lotions. Applying warming oils and lotions all over your breasts may enhance arousal during nipple play.
  • Ice. Adding ice to nipple play can send chills throughout your body and cause an instant nipple erection.
  • Vibes. Nipple vibrators are a great, hands-free way to massage and stimulate your nipples, as well as feel sensations throughout your whole breast.
  • Clamps. Clamps, whether vibrating or not, can tease and titillate your nipples by giving you versatility. You can wear the clamps loosely for a little bit of fun or tighten them to apply pressure and intensify arousal.

Despite popular belief, stimulating your clitoris or vagina isn’t the only way to have an orgasm. Nipple play can also bring you to that big O. And there are so many ways you can stimulate your nipples to make that orgasm explosive. Experiment with techniques, find out what makes you feel good, and just have fun!