Breasts can be pleasurable to play with, for both the giver and the recipient alike. Some women can even have orgasms from breast play alone. Others need breast play in combination with clitoral or vaginal stimulation.
Art by Jim Cooke/GMG
Here's your field guide to the breast.
Not Everyone Loves Breast Play
Like any other sexual act, consent is important when it comes to breast play. Keep in mind that some people may not want you to play with their breasts. For some people, it's a matter of personal preference; for others, it's a gender identity issue. Trans and genderqueer folks may not want their breasts touched.
You can directly ask your partner what they feel comfortable with, or you can try slowly tracing your hand across their shoulders and collarbone area. If they tense up or move your hand away, move on to other parts of the body.
One of the great things about strap-ons is that anyone can use them. If you have a penis, you can use a strap-on. If you don't have a penis, you can use a strap-on. You can use a strap-on to penetrate a partner of any gender, to subvert stereotypical gender roles or to play with those roles. You can use one for fun, or you can use one to manage erectile or orgasmic challenges. You can use a strap-on for vaginal sex, anal sex, oral sex, manual sex or masturbation.
Be Sensitive to Timing
Be aware that breast sensitivity changes throughout the month. There will probably be certain points in her cycle where she's much more sensitive than usual. There may even be times when she's too sensitive for any sort of breast play. Don't be surprised if she needs different things from you.
Breasts also change a lot after a woman has given birth and while she's breastfeeding. She may not want any breast contact for a while, or she may need you to be much more gentle than usual.
No Honking, Please
We're all unique when it comes to how we like our bodies to be touched, but there are few sexual acts more universally despised than the breast honk. I have never met a woman who enjoyed having her breasts squeezed this way (especially not as sexual initiation). Please don't treat your partner's breasts like old-fashioned horns.
The same goes with kneading. It just doesn't feel good for most women. Remember Jon Hamm's breast play move on Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids? If you haven't seen it, it's the perfect example of lacklustre kneading. Don't pull that move.
In general, breast sensitivity comes from the skin, not from the fat of the breast itself. So honking, kneading and squeezing don't typically feel as great as stroking and kissing. These moves also neglect the nipple, which tends to be the most sensitive part of the breast (more on this later).
Work with Clothing
You don't need to be in a rush to unclothe your partner's breasts. Breast play can feel pleasurable even through clothing, and it can also be a nice way to tease her. Rub her breasts over her shirt. To evoke a sense of teenage nostalgia, put your hands up her shirt and play with her breasts over her bra. Once you get her shirt off, touch the parts of her breasts that the bra doesn't cover, gliding your fingertips along the top edge of her bra.
Take Your Time
Even once you've gotten her clothes off, you can still take your time teasing her. Spend some time tracing her collarbone with your finger, then kissing along it. Touch and kiss along the sides of the breasts, without going straight for the nipple right away.
Pay Attention to the Underboob and Sideboob
Most people tend to squeeze the entire boob, or focus on just the nipple. That's a shame, because the underboob and sideboob can both be exquisitely sensitive. The areas I'm talking about are where her breast meets her ribcage. As the names imply, the underboob is the lower part of the breast, and the side boob is the outer edge (the side near her armpit).
This area tends to respond best to delicate touch. Very gently trace a fingertip along this sensitive curve. Start at the outer edge and slowly work your way around to the middle of her chest. You can also do this with your tongue, or with light kisses.
Nipples are Unique
Nipples are sort of like clitorises: Some women can hardly stand direct contact, while other women need very firm pressure. As with the clitoris, it's best to err on the side of being too gentle, then work your way up to more pressure. Start off by lightly stroking her nipple and circling the areola (the flat section around the pointy nipple). If your partner pushes her body towards you or makes a lot of noise, try gradually increasing pressure. Or just ask her, "Do you want more?"
If she wants more intensity, try gently pinching her nipples between your thumb and forefinger. Slowly increase the pressure, and ask her to tell you when it's too much. Or you can try pulling on her nipples. Cup her breast in your hand, and pull on her nipple with your thumb and forefinger, pulling the breast further away from her ribcage. You can also gently twist her nipples, but be careful with this move, as it's pretty intense.
Get Your Mouth Involved
Get your lips, tongue and teeth involved as well as your hands. You can lick, suck and nibble on her breasts. Try licking the curve from sideboob to underboob, or sucking or nibbling on her nipples. You can also get some temperature play involved, by licking her breast then lightly blowing onto the area.
If she likes a lot of pressure, try sucking and biting on her nipples. Again, start off gentle, and gradually increase the pressure until you find what she likes.
Fantasies come in many different intensities. Some are so compelling that you just have to act on them. But other fantasies fall under another category. Ones that pique your curiosity, but also make you a bit nervous. Maybe it's a fantasy that's lingered in the back of your mind, and you're not sure you want to bring it to fruition. Or maybe a partner suggested something that you hadn't thought of before. When your feelings aren't very strong one way or another, it can hard to know whether you should actually give it a shot.
Bring in the Toys
You can use vibrators or feather ticklers to create new sensations on her breasts. Even running a silk tie or scarf over her breasts can feel great. If she likes more intense nipple play, you can buy nipple clamps or suckers. You can also try blindfolding her, and touching her breasts with different toys or materials. Not knowing what's coming can be a wildly intense experience. Or try using use lube or massage oil to help your hands really slide around on her breasts.
Ask Her to Touch Them
Another way you can learn what she likes is to ask her to touch her own breasts. This can be especially hot while you're in the middle of another activity, like intercourse or fingering her. Watch the specific ways she touches herself, and try to get a sense of how much pressure she uses.