I've written about breasts on here before. Foods that are good for your breasts. How to pamper your breasts. Even tips for how to keep your breasts looking as youthful as possible. Yet while I was actually giving myself a breast exam not too long ago, I thought about how nipples don't seem to get as much attention (or media love) as breasts, as a whole, do. I mean, we've all got 'em and they certainly serve a purpose. So, let's explore a few facts about nipples that will hopefully help you to gain a greater appreciation for the ones that you have.
1. They’re One of the First Things to Develop in the Womb
It really is a trip, just how much a baby develops, very early on. For instance, by the time an expectant mom is in her ninth week of pregnancy, her child is already starting to form arms, toes and organs. Another thing that pops up are nipples and hair follicles, making nipples one of the first things that fully develops within a mother's womb.
2. They Are Sisters, Not Twins
If you were to draw a line straight down your body from head to toe and then looked very carefully at each of your body parts, you'd probably notice that while things like your eyebrows, eyes, ears, hands, feet, etc. look very similar, they aren't exactly identical. This point applies to your breasts and most certainly your nipples. One might be larger or higher than the other—and you know what? That's totally OK.
That said, what I will throw in is, something that I found to be a trip, is if you wanted to "measure" the space between both of your nipples, they're basically the same distance apart as your earlobes are. The more you know.
3. Some Folks Have More than Two of ‘Em
For the record, just like your vagina and labia aren't exactly the same thing (your vagina is the tube that connects to your uterus while your labia are your outer lips; both ultimately make up your vulva) neither are your nipples and your areolas. Your nipples are at the very center of your breasts that connect to your mammary glands. Your areolas are the darker part of your skin that surrounds your nipples. Well, depending on how your mammary glands are designed, it's actually very possible for you to have a couple of nipples on each areola. Health-wise, it's not that big of a deal, although it could make breastfeeding a little challenging for your baby.
4. They Resemble Belly Buttons. Kinda.
Now, here's what I mean when it comes to this particular point. Believe it or not, there are several different kinds of nipples. Like belly buttons, some women have nipples that protrude out (an outie) while others have inverted ones (an innie). Then there are women whose nipples remain pretty flat (even when they are aroused), women with multiple ones and even some who have nipples that look somewhat divided in the middle. Oh, and remember what I said about how no two nipples are exactly alike? This means that it's also probable that a woman could have one inverted nipple while the other protrudes. Nothing is wrong with any of these dynamics. It's just one more thing that speaks to how unique each of us are.
5. The Bumps Are There for a Reason. And a Purpose.
Ever wonder why your nipples have those little bumps all over them? It's not some random freak of nature.
The technical name for them are Montgomery tubercles and what they do is secrete oil to keep your nipples moisturized.
The secretions increase, significantly so, while you are pregnant. When it comes to these, some women only have a few of these bumps while other women have many.
6. Human Nipples Differ from Other Mammals
A fun fact that I found to be interesting is while our nipples (male and female) are able to remain prominent and become erect for as long as we're alive, other mammals only appear to have nipples during pregnancy and lactation. It could be nature's way of cosigning on the fact that humans become stimulated and have sex for more reasons than just being "in heat" and procreating, since nipples are an erogenous zone 'n all.
7. There’s a Scientific Reason for Having “Headlights”
Most of us know that when we get cold or aroused, our nipples typically get hard (become erect). The main reason why is because nipples have a collection of nerve cells that basically control the erectile muscle that's inside of your breast tissue. And the more sensitive those nerves are, the more likely your nipples (some call them "headlights") are going to show. While you need to give hard nipples time to warm up or to come down from being aroused in order for them to blend back in with the rest of your breasts, if you want to prevent hard nipples from being seen in public, a padded bra should do the trick (for the most part, anyway).
8. Discharge Is Pretty Normal. However…
Believe it or not, having a bit of nipple discharge can be pretty normal/common prior to menopause. That's because, contrary to popular belief, discharge doesn't only happen when you're pregnant. Birth control pills, nipple stimulation, antidepressants (because they can trigger the production of prolactin which is a milk-producing hormone) and shifts during your cycle can also cause discharge to come out of one or both of your nipples. However, because it could also be a sign of breast cancer, if you're getting discharge all of a sudden and/or the texture or amount has increased, talk to your doctor about it. Just to be on the safe side.
9. Nipples Shouldn’t Be Inflamed
The more I study the body, the more I realize that inflammation, anywhere, is problematic. Nipples are certainly not exempt. If you happen to notice that yours are red, painful or even super warm whenever you touch them, that could be a heads up that you've got either mastitis (a blocked milk gland) or possibly even breast cancer. Bottom line here is, don't ignore it. Make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible. (By the way, if your nipples are constantly dry and nothing seems to relieve them, that also could be an indication of breast cancer; another reason to book an appointment with your physician.)
10. Stimulating Nipples Can Help to Induce Labor
Something that I learned while training to become a doula is stimulating your nipples when you're right around your due date can actually help to induce labor. The reason why is when nipples are touched/rubbed on, it increases the production of oxytocin which can help to trigger contractions. Matter of fact, women who have their nipples stimulated during this time tend to have shorter deliveries and less pregnancy complications too. While we're here, it should also go on record that nipples can change color during pregnancy. And, it's not uncommon for a breastfeeding mom to lactate whenever she hears a baby (any baby) cry.
11. Think Long and Hard Before Getting Them Pierced
So, here's the thing about getting one or both of your nipples pierced—they come with more cons than pros.
Let's do the cons first, shall we? Getting them pierced is pretty painful (the healing process takes around eight weeks). Switching them out can prove to make things worse in the long run (the new earring may not go all the way in and/or it can be as painful as the original piercing). Some people are still cleaning theirs, months later, before foreplay (due to the crusting that continues to accumulate). Because your bra is rubbing up against your piercings for hours on end, you are constantly at risk for an infection. Then there's the scar tissue (especially if you're someone who is prone to keloids); it can affect the shape, size and sensitivity of your breasts.
OK, so what the heck are the pros? Well, it can definitely take arousal levels up a few notches. Oh, and if you're wondering if you'll still be able to breastfeed, most health care experts and piercers say "yes".
12. Nipplegasms Are Very Real
I once read an article on Live Science's site that was entitled, "Nipples 'Light Up' Brain the Way Genitals Do". I'm thinking that when it comes to my final nipple fact, the point is pretty self-explanatory. Because our nipples have a lot of nerves in them, that makes them really sensitive. And so, when they are fondled/caressed/licked/etc., that can result in us climaxing, just from the stimuli alone. If you've never had one before and want to test this out, while there are no guarantees, deep breathing, lots of foreplay and intentional attention given to your nipples can certainly help. And shoot, even if it doesn't happen, you at least had a damn good time trying. Right?
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Imma tell y’all what — it seems like not one week goes by when I don’t see some sort of so-called term that has me like, “What in the world?” For instance, when I first stumbled upon “self-partnering,” honestly, I laughed. Then shared it with some other single people as well as married folks I know. And I kid you not, every individual was like, “What the heck does that mean?” When I told them that it was yet, one more way to seemingly define single living, basically everyone’s follow-up was, “Oh, brother.”
Why can’t (more) singles just be single and be okay with that? Good Lord. Why does there need to be some sort of relational play-on-words to make it sound like we’re with someone — even if we’re not?
Now masturdating? Even though it’s not even close to being a “real” word, it’s something that also brought a laugh outta me — although it was then followed by a genuine smile. The laugh because I almost immediately caught the play-on-words. The smile was due to the intention behind it all.
If you’re not familiar with what masturdating is and you’re curious about why you should even care, take a few moments to at least skim through what it’s about and why I think participating, as a single person, is a pretty cool (and effective) concept.
Masturdate: a date w oneself
What’s Masturdating All About?
Masturdating. Okay, so let the word marinate for just a moment. What does it sound like? Yeah…exactly. And since a huge part of masturbation centers around self-pleasure, it’s cool to explore how “self-dating” could produce similar (as far as pleasure is concerned in a broader sense) results. Because masturdating is all about spending quality time with yourself, pampering yourself, treating yourself— and yes, taking yourself out on dates.
Any of you who may think that masturdating is a consolation prize — and a pitiful one at that — for not being able to go out with another human being or get that dream $200 first date that social media was all in a tizzy about last year (bookmark that) — personally, I think that you’re the demographic who needs to try out masturdating first and the most. Why? Off top, I’ll share my three good reasons.
3 Reasons To Strongly Consider Masturdating
1. It’s an intimate way to get to know yourself better. I’ve been working with couples for a pretty long time at this point and if there’s a pattern that I see arise, OFTEN, it’s that two people are oftentimes so busy trying to “find their person” that they didn’t even know who they were. As a direct result, they found themselves in a relationship with someone who only complemented the “kiddie pool version” of who they were.
That’s why it can be so beneficial to spend time getting to know yourself on the “deep end” of things: what makes you tick, what your passions are, what you want most out of life, what are your interests beyond obvious things — and masturdating can help you to discover all of this. Whether it’s traveling alone or taking out a weekend to drink some wine and journal, the more you get to know yourself, the clearer you’ll be about who complements you on a romantic and friendship level.
2. It will definitely help to boost your confidence levels. I guess since I’m an ambivert, I don’t really get why people freak out at the mere thought of going to a restaurant or movie alone. Personally, I think it requires a helluva lot more energy and gumption to wait around and plan stuff with other people (#Elmoshrug). However, whether you’re an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert, there’s no way around the fact that the more comfortable you get with doing things alone, the more your confidence levels will increase — no, soar — because of it.
One article that I read on the topic said that doing things alone can make you more creative, improve your mental health, and help you to be totally okay with being alone (so that you’re not “needy” for other people’s attention). A psychotherapist from a New York Times article on the benefits of spending time alone said, “Getting better at identifying moments when we need solitude to recharge and reflect can help us better handle negative emotions and experiences, like stress and burnout.” And when you’re able to stare negativity in its face without flinching, how could that not make you bolder, more self-secure, and hopeful about your life?
3. It will teach you to value your time more effectively. In every facet of your world, you’re gonna operate from a healthier place if you’re operating from a “full cup” rather than an empty one. When it comes to this topic, think about it — if you’re constantly waiting on someone to call you to go out or wishing for a dream date with some guy, all you’re doing is wasting precious time that you could be spending taking a cooking class or hell, hiring a chef to make you dinner at your own home.
Indeed, waiting has two sides to it: when it’s in the form of patience, it is indeed a virtue, yet when it’s wrapped up in the notion that you’re not really living life unless you have an audience…it is totally working against you. Choose wisely.
10 Solo Date Ideas To Help You To “Master” Masturdating
So, what if you’re someone who has either never considered actually masturdating before or you don’t really know what to do beyond dinner and the movies? Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Attend a workshop or masterclass that you’re interested in. If there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn, sign up for a workshop or masterclass. The cool thing about this option is there are probably some in your city, as well as some that you can find online (like here) that are convenient and affordable.
2. Binge-read at a local coffee shop. Aside from their coziness and oftentimes inviting scents, I once read that a lot of us gravitate to coffee shops because we can be around people without having to actually socialize with them. So, if you want to “hang out” while still being able to enjoy a bit of solitude, take a book that you’ve been trying to finish to a local coffee shop, order your favorite latte, and sit in a big-ass comfy chair. Usually, you can sit there for hours, and the staff will be just fine with it (another bonus).
3. Have a spa day in the next town. You can never go wrong with a spa day. And while going with a friend can be fun, sometimes there’s too much talking transpiring to be able to fully chill out and relax. So, go off of the grid, get a change of scenery, and hit up a spa in the next city (or town). There are lots of studies out here supporting that day trips or “daycations” can actually be really good for your long-term health and well-being.
4. See a community play. Some of the best solo dates that I’ve ever been on consisted of taking in some of the local arts in my city. What’s really cool about this particular option is, oftentimes, they are extremely inexpensive, if not totally free of charge (in exchange for making a donation or putting money into a tip jar).
5. Plan a trip. Whenever people say something along the lines of, “If you don’t expect anything, you won’t be disappointed,” I know that they low-key have some (additional) healing to do from past disappointments. There’s simply too much intel out here to support that anticipation (of good stuff) makes us more motivated and optimistic, keeps our dopamine levels up, and makes life more exciting overall.
Since traveling alone is more cost-effective, gives you the freedom to do whatever you want (when you want), and increases the possibility of meeting new people and having new experiences on your journey — why not devote a day this weekend to planning a solo trip? All the way around, it’s good for you.
6. Try your hand at your own “$200 date.” Uh-huh. Roll your eyes if you want to, but it’s real easy to talk left about how a man should be able to just drop $200 like it’s nothing…until you actually try to do it. So yes, while taking yourself out on this type of date could serve as a bit of a reality check, it can also “scratch the itch” of waiting on some dude to do it for you. It’s also way less emotionally draining because, at least when you’re taking your own self out, it’s guaranteed that you’ll enjoy the company…right?
7. DIY some pampering. When you get a chance, check out “5 Reasons You Should Unapologetically Pamper Yourself,” “Want To Love On Yourself? Try These 10 Things At Home.,” “I’ve Got Some Ways For You To Start Pampering Your Soul,” and “When's The Last Time You Actually Pampered Your Vagina?” The bottom line here is pampering is all about, not mere self-maintenance; it’s all about treating yourself to levels of EXTREME SELF-INDULGENCE. So, if nothing else tickles your fancy on this list, at least consider doing that, chile.
8. Feed your creativity. Something that I used to be really good at is art. That said, one of my goddaughters is insanely talented, so she has reminded me to tap back into it. Also, a big part of what got me into the writing world is poetry; I actually used to be a house poet at a local spot. Sometimes, my best quality time moments with myself have been revisiting these creative sides of me — and this is definitely easier to do (and enjoy) alone.
9. Try some stargazing. When’s the last time you took a blanket into your backyard, laid down on it, and just stared at the stars for hours on end? While some say that stargazing can teach you to be mindful, others say that being in that form of nature reduces stress, while others believe that looking up at the universe at night can increase your attention span. All solid reasons to give it a shot, if you ask me.
10. DO. ABSOLUTELY. NOTHING. Let me tell you something that nobody will ever be able to make me feel bad about: doing absolutely nothing. I’ve got data to back me up. Good Housekeeping shares that doing nothing can help you decide how you want to respond or react to certain things. I like howThe Guardian says that taking this approach helps you to regain control of what you give your attention to.
TIME magazine says that it can ultimately make you more productive.BBC offers up that it can help you tap into your ingenuity.Henry Ford Health says that it can make you kinder and a better problem-solver. So, if you want to invest in yourself, do nothing sometimes.
Closing Thoughts from the Lovely Javicia Leslie
While some of y'all may know Javicia Leslie from being the former Batwoman, I discovered her back in the day from the indie series Chef Julian (and yes, "Julian" was right to say that "Mo" looks like Tatyana Ali...the real ones know). Sometimes I'll hop on her IG to see what she's got going on and this story popped up within a few hours of me penning this...so, I took it as hella confirmation.
TREAT YO SELF. WAIT FOR NO ONE.
WAIT FOR NO ONE. TREAT YO SELF.
RINSE AND REPEAT.
Sooo…what kind of masturdating plans do you have for this coming weekend? While going out with others has its perks, hanging out with yourself has a ton of ‘em too. Enjoy!
No…for real. ENJOY!
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