Women's sexual health and breast and nipple stimulation
Women are more aroused by breast and nipple stimulation than men during lovemaking according to the first ever evidence-based research, published in the May 2006 issue of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. There are limited studies in the medical literature examining the importance, during lovemaking, of nipple or breast stimulation in enhancing sexual arousal in females and males.
While older research reported that men employ nipple and breast stimulation to induce sexual arousal as part of foreplay, Kinsey reported that the significance for the female was probably overestimated.
The new research in The Journal of Sexual Medicine entitled, "Nipple/Breast Stimulation and Sexual Arousal in Young Men and Women" by Roy Levin (Sheffield, UK) and Cindy Meston (Austin, TX), reports that in 82% of women studied, nipple/breast stimulation caused or enhanced their sexual arousal, and that when they were sexually aroused nipple/breast stimulation increased their arousal. Only 7% of women reported that such stimulation caused a decrease in their arousal while approximately 25% asked their partner to stop stimulating their nipples/breasts during lovemaking.
In the case of the men, like the women, nipple stimulation was excitatory for their sexual arousal but the percentage was significantly less (52% compared to 82%). Thirty nine percent of men (compared to 78% of women) reported that nipple stimulation increased their arousal when they were sexually aroused. While virtually the same percentage of men as women found that nipple stimulation decreased their arousal when sexually aroused, a smaller proportion of men asked for the stimulation to be stopped (14% versus 25%).
This gender difference could feasibly be due to a number of factors including gender differences in reporting biases or social desirability, or gender roles ascribed to this behavior. One aspect of breast/nipple stimulation is the putative release of central neuropeptide hormones that are strong stimulators of sexual activity.
In this novel research, the authors provided a short questionnaire to 148 males and 153 females who were undergraduates at a major University. Participants varied in age from 17 to 29 years old, and mean age was 19 years for both men and women. The sample consisted of 56% Caucasian, 7% African American, 22% Hispanic, 14% Asian American and 1% other. Participants were administered a series of six questions inquiring about their sexual arousal response to breast/nipple stimulation, a demographics questionnaire, and a variety of other sexually relevant measures. Read: Hot Women Make Men Feel Bad >>
"This study was undertaken in young western men and women," noted lead author of the study Dr. Roy Levin, Department of Biomedical Science,University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK. "To widen the perspective we need to undertake breast and nipple behavior studies in groups of different ages and cultures."
Dr. Cindy Meston, co-author of the research and Professor of Psychology, University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA stated that "nipple stimulation could be enhancing sexual arousal via numerous different hormonal and/or brain neurotransmitter pathways. The next step in this research is to try to understand the precise underlying mechanisms involved and whether they are the same for men and women. Such information would bring us a tiny bit closer to answering the bigger question of what exactly is sexual desire and arousal." Read More About Sexual Health >>
"There are important take home messages from this study," said Dr. Irwin Goldstein, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Sexual Medicine. "The difference in responses between genders is the obvious take home message. Just as important, this is one of the first studies to investigate the effect of non-genital stimulation on sexual arousal, written by a psychologist and a physiologist, an example of the broader, multi-disciplinary investigations being performed in contemporary sexual medicine research. There is a paucity of basic science studies that explain the mechanism of these gender differences."
The manuscript is published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine.