You might think of orgasms as something that can only happen through gential stimulation. After all, that’s how most of us first learn to orgasm, and it’s the primary way most people orgasm throughout their lives.
But the truth is, the whole body is one big orgasmic machine with many erogenous zones, the nipples and breasts among the most sensitive. One study actually found that nipple stimulation activated the same areas in women’s brains as clitoral and vaginal stimulation.
“The brain is the most important sex organ,” explains Daniel Sher, clinical psychologist and consultant for the Between Us Clinic. “All physiological input is mediated and interpreted by the brain. This is why, for example, males and females can orgasm during their sleep.”
I didn’t used to believe in breast orgasms — in fact, I used to have almost no sensation in my nipples or breasts. But after giving myself breast massages, asking partners to take their time stimulating my breasts, and doing meditations to expand sensation in the area, I actually started experiencing breast orgasms myself.
“Breast or nipple orgasms are definitely real,” says sexuality coach Maria Hubmann. “They feel like an explosion of pleasure throughout the chest and breasts. They can even feel a bit confusing, because of the strong orgasmic sensations of intense pleasure and its expansion, yet at an unusual location.”
“The breast orgasm can be a bit different for each person,” says Robert Thomas, sex therapist and co-founder of Sextopedia. “Some of my clients have described the feeling to be very similar to a regular orgasm from intercourse. Others, on the contrary, have said breast orgasms are even more intense than ‘normal’ orgasms!” For me, the sensation starts in my breasts and spreads to my genitals; I’ll get vaginal contractions and a feeling of release, but it doesn’t feel final like a usual climax; I can keep going after and usually want to.
“Beyond physical pleasure, breast stimulation leads to a burst of oxytocin, the brain chemical associated with feelings of love and attachment.”
Thomas has had both male and female clients experience breast and nipple orgasms, so they seem to be possible for anyone. If you’re curious about having one yourself, here are a few ways to explore the sensation in your own chest.
Step 1: Give Yourself a Breast Massage
Set aside some time just to explore sensation in your breasts, whether or not that leads to an orgasm. Lie down, use massage oil if you like, and try out different kinds of touch. “What I notice working is running the fingers, knuckles, or fingernails over the nipples, either on the skin or, when that feels too intense, over some clothes,” says Hubmann. “Relax into the sensations.” What worked for me was making big circles around my breasts, then little ones just around the nipples, with coconut oil on my fingers.
Step 2: Ask Your Partner to Play With Your Breasts
Your partner can also join in the effort. Hubmann suggests having them try out different techniques like stroking, licking, and sucking. Some people like rougher play — if this is you, you can have your partner pinch or nibble your nipples, or even use nipple clamps or breast bondage, says Thomas. Hot and cold play can be another fun way to open up sensation in your breasts. Making noise while partners were playing with my breasts helped me get into it and increase the sensation there. A big part of the journey was just learning to think of my breasts as sexual organs.
Step 3: Touch Your Breasts and Genitals at the Same Time
If you stimulate your breasts while you’re also stimulating someplace that already gives you orgasms, like your clitoris, you can begin to associate orgasmic sensations with your breasts, says Hubmann. Try to bring awareness more and more to the breasts while you do this, until they’re the main area you’re focusing on.
Step 4: Stimulate the Genitals, Then the Breasts
Once you’ve gotten close to orgasm through genital stimulation, breast stimulation may actually push you over the edge, says Hubmann. “Stroke yourself in a way that brings you the most pleasure, and stroke and play with your breasts at the same time, then only the breasts, and so on,” she suggests. “Build your pleasure and focus on the breasts and the pleasure there. If you are close to orgasm, keep breathing and stroking your breasts while you rest the stimulation of your genitals. The pleasure in your body might be enough that the breast stimulation brings you to orgasm.”
Step 5: Use Meditations to Bring Sensation to Your Chest
This tip might sound kind of woo-woo, but Inscape’s sex meditations were a big game-changer for me. Among their meditations for women is one specifically meant to open the heart and bring sensation to the breasts. There are also a lot of meditations in there that simply help you connect to your body and feel more sexual sensation, which is helpful for any kind of orgasm you’re trying to open up.
Even if you don’t orgasm through breast stimulation, there’s a lot you can gain from exploring it. “Beyond physical pleasure, breast stimulation leads to a burst of oxytocin, the brain chemical associated with feelings of love and attachment,” says Sher. “This means that breast simulation is not just a possible route to physical pleasure, but also a key to improving emotional intimacy.”
In addition, breast play is a great alternative for those dealing with sexual issues that make genital arousal challenging, Sher adds. “Using breast stimulation is an incredible tool to broaden your sexual horizons and strengthen your emotional bond.”
Suzannah Weiss is a freelance writer focused on gender and sexuality whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, New York Magazine, and more.