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Breastfeeding orgasm and arousal: Is it normal to get turned on by breastfeeding?

Feeling turned on while you breastfeed might not be widely spoken about, but it’s incredibly common. Here’s everything you should know about the involuntary arousal you may feel while nursing and the links between breastfeeding and orgasms.


Nursing your baby can be a journey, and it may not be exactly what you expected. Some new parents struggle with sore or cracked nipples or mastitis, while others find feeding a little easier. It can be a great way to bond with your baby, but is it normal to get turned on while you’re breastfeeding? 

While arousal may not be the most commonly listed reaction to breastfeeding, nursing can trigger strong involuntary responses within your body as hormones are released. And it’s important to remember that while these feelings may be confusing, they’re absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and more common than you might think.

What is breastfeeding arousal?

While it’s a pretty commonplace phenomenon, breastfeeding arousal is rarely talked about. You might think there’s absolutely no way you’d be able to experience feelings of pleasure when you’re coming to terms with a new feeding schedule and trying to get your baby to latch on. However, once your body has grown more accustomed to nursing and overcome any initial discomfort, you may notice feelings of arousal. This is completely involuntary and may take you by surprise. 

According to Associate Professor Viola Polomeno at the University of Ottawa’s School of Nursing, breastfeeding arousal happens more often than you think. “It goes with all the hormonal changes that are going on in pregnancy and childbirth,” she explains. 

Professor Polomeno believes arousal during breastfeeding is linked to the breasts’ natural response to physical stimulation and the rush of oxytocin that occurs during nursing. In most instances, the emotional components of connecting with your newborn and actually being able to sit and relax also enhance breastfeeding pleasure. These feelings have also been associated with an increase in breast size, increased sensitivity, and direct stimulation of the nipples.

How should it feel when breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding orgasm and arousal

It’s important to note that if you feel arousal while you’re breastfeeding, it’s not because you’re turned on by the idea of nursing your baby. It’s an involuntary reaction, and while some people may feel embarrassed or ashamed, it’s totally natural. 

When you’re nursing your baby, your brain secretes the hormones oxytocin and prolactin. Prolactin has been dubbed the “mothering hormone.” It stimulates your body to make milk, helps you to form an attachment with your baby, and reduces the physiological symptoms of stress. It’s also responsible for the sensation that many parents feel before nursing that’s described as milk ejection or let down. 

Oxytocin is more commonly known as the “love hormone” or the “cuddle hormone.” It’s responsible for strong feelings of security and empathy. It’s also linked to sexual desire and pleasure and is secreted during orgasms

While you’re nursing, oxytocin triggers the cells surrounding your milk ducts to contract. This encourages milk flow to the ducts, helping your baby to access a greater supply. It may also lead to a tingling feeling around your nipples or in your breasts while you feed. 

What are the links between breastfeeding and orgasms?

Oxytocin provides a fundamental role in encouraging milk flow while you nurse. However, research has drawn direct parallels between breastfeeding and the physical sensations of sexual pleasure and arousal due to the effect that the love hormone has on the body. 

During breastfeeding, oxytocin causes your uterus to contract and your nipples to remain erect. Along with the tingling sensation in your breast, this emulates your body’s reaction during orgasm. It’s reported that around 80% of women say that nipple or breast stimulation is necessary for sexual pleasure. And contact with the breasts and nipples is a fundamental part of nursing. 

Breastfeeding and your sex drive: What you should know

You may have been taken aback by the arousal you experience while you breastfeed. However, the postpartum period (after you have a baby) can have a monumental impact on your sex drive and libido. Your body has gone through a massive physiological and psychological change. While it differs from person to person, your hormones will continue to be in flux for between six to eight weeks after you’ve given birth or as long as you continue to breastfeed. 

As you mentally and physically adapt to life with a newborn, sleepless nights, and night feeds, it’s totally natural for your desire for sex to decrease if you’re tired. It’s estimated that up to 60% of women experience some kind of disturbance to their sex life in the first year after giving birth. Similarly, you may notice that your desire for sex fluctuates as you breastfeed. 

Your estrogen levels dip after you’ve given birth which may decrease your desire for sexual intimacy. And if you haven’t noticed any change to your libido postpartum, then that’s totally fine too. What’s most important is to listen to your body and move at your own pace. 

Breastfeeding orgasm and arousal: The takeaway

Breastfeeding arousal is a rarely spoken about but pretty common phenomenon. It’s your body’s natural, physiological response to nipple stimulation and the release of oxytocin. In fact, it’s a good indication that oxytocin is hard at work, providing you with the ability to feed and bond with your child.

You may notice a number of changes to your sex drive and desire during the postpartum period. While this can be really confusing, it’s also completely normal. What’s important is to take your time and do what feels right for you.

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