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Breast Orgasm: Breastfeeding Arousal Explained

Breastfeeding arousal might be considered a taboo subject, but it’s one that cannot be ignored. If you’ve ever felt arousal during breastfeeding, you’re definitely not alone. Read on to learn more about breastfeeding pleasure, what it means, and how to deal.

Whether it’s your first, second, or third baby, breastfeeding can still be quite a struggle. Many women remember those early days of nursing as full of white-knuckle, toe-curling engorgement and nipple pain. But what’s very rarely discussed is a commonplace phenomenon known as breastfeeding arousal. Once your body’s grown more accustomed to nursing and overcomes the initial discomfort, you may notice feelings of breastfeeding pleasure. 

So is it really true? Does breastfeeding turn you on? It certainly can. And there’s a valid scientific explanation for it.

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.” 

The professor believes arousal during breastfeeding is linked to the breasts’ natural response to physical stimulation and the rush of oxytocin which 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.

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Popularly referred to as the “love hormone” or the “cuddle hormone,” oxytocin is secreted by the brain’s posterior pituitary. It was long thought that oxytocin played a key role in female reproduction, particularly as it related to childbirth and breastfeeding. However, recent studies have shown that oxytocin factors heavily into male and female behaviors, including orgasms, bonding, social recognition, and maternal instincts.

Oxytocin is released in large quantities during labor, and as a result of nipple stimulation in the process of breastfeeding. When a mother is nursing, the levels of two different hormones tend to surge: oxytocin and prolactin. Secreted by the anterior pituitary, prolactin is responsible for postpartum milk production and it drives a mother’s desire to be near, or to embrace, her child.

As far as postpartum lactation is concerned, the release of oxytocin serves two major functions:

  • It causes uterine contractions
  • It triggers the milk ejection (or “let-down”) reflex associated with breastfeeding and/or orgasm

Oxytocin and its receptors are inextricably linked to breast orgasms. In recent years, studies have proven that oxytocin increases sexual receptivity and even counteracts impotence in men. There’s plenty of evidence highlighting noticeable spikes in the plasma levels of oxytocin during orgasm for both sexes. It should come as no surprise then that excess oxytocin is capable of bringing about breastfeeding arousal.

In fact, several parallels exist between breastfeeding and orgasms. Both experiences involve uterine contractions, nipple erection, and potentially, the milk ejection reflex. Similar to sexual foreplay, the nursing process includes nipple stimulation and breast stroking. Some experts suggest that women who are completely comfortable with their own sexuality will also feel more at ease with breastfeeding.

The acknowledgment and discussion of breastfeeding pleasure prompts a lot of questions regarding the appropriateness of masturbation while nursing. It’s totally up to you to decide whether this topic should be explored with your partner or health care provider, or if it should remain private.

Unfortunately, very little research is available on the subject, and whether or not you choose to engage in masturbation while breastfeeding is a personal choice.

As mentioned, the similarities between sexual arousal and the biological process of breastfeeding demonstrate how natural it is to feel arousal during breastfeeding. There’s nothing wrong with being physiologically stimulated by nursing. Inversely, there’s no need to feel guilty for not deriving sexual pleasure from your partner touching your breasts during lactation.   

Furthermore, the postpartum period also significantly impacts the female libido, which in turn affects arousal and orgasms. This usually happens in one of three ways in the weeks or months devoted to nursing:

  • Sexual desire decreases due to frequent feedings, fatigue and lack of sleep, and/or insecurity about your postpartum body
  • Sexual desire increases, and you become easily aroused now that you’re fully in tune with your body
  • Sexual desire fluctuates between highs and lows

Research into postpartum sex life has been largely conclusive. The frequency of intercourse for couples with a new baby, regardless of female libido, is relatively low in the first 12 to 16 weeks. This temporary hiatus from sexual activity, especially combined with heightened sexual desire, also raises the likelihood of orgasms during breastfeeding.

If the thought of having an orgasm while breastfeeding makes you uncomfortable, try changing feeding positions. For example, some believe that keeping the legs crossed while nursing causes the labia minora to rub against each other and stimulate the clitoris. Such stimulation, particularly in conjunction with oxytocin-induced uterine contractions, could up your chances of having a breastfeeding orgasm. 

Despite being a topic that many would prefer to avoid altogether, breastfeeding arousal is nothing to be embarrassed about. It’s estimated that as much as 50 percent of nursing mothers experience arousal during breastfeeding. 

Although having an orgasm while breastfeeding might seem sexually inappropriate, that could not be further from the truth. Breastfeeding pleasure is simply the female body’s natural, physiological response to nipple stimulation and hormonal activity. 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.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3431754/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183515/

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