(There will be some sex talk, and a photo of men being papillarily affectionate, but, I think, nothing seriously problematic. Use your judgment.)
Another item backed up in my posting queue: from the Gaily Grind on 5/14/15, “Did You Know It Was Illegal For Men To Show Their Nipples In Public In The 1930s” by Adrian Garcia.
Nipples, then and now
Up until the mid 1930’s it was illegal to publicly flaunt the male nipple in public [note: in certain jurisdictions in certain countries].
Men were forced to wear nipple-covering swimsuits prior to 1936, when it became legal to expose nipples in New York state.
In the early 1930’s, a group of men gathered on Coney Island to fight for their right to swim and sunbathe in shirtless swim trunks.
In 1935, another group of brave male protesters got themselves arrested in Atlantic City for hitting the beach while baring their torsos.
Baring a nipple in protest
Then in 1936, these men legally gained the right to show their nipples in public, laying the foundation for existing New York state laws that allow women to be topless wherever a man is legally allowed to be, Yahoo reports.
Today, women can still be charged with public indecency, disturbing the peace, or lewd behavior for going topless.
Louisiana specifies that “female breast nipples in any public place or place open to the public view with the intent of arousing sexual desire or which appeals to prurient interest or is patently offensive” can receive up to three-years in jail for a first-time offense and a $2500 fine.
Women in Delaware can be arrested if they expose their breasts “under circumstances that she knows her conduct will likely cause affront or alarm.” In Arizona, a woman can be arrested for indecent exposure if she exposes the areola or nipple of her breast if someone else is present.
Today, the #FreeTheNipple movement is gaining momentum, fighting a similar fight that men waged in the 1930’s to liberate their nips. The movement has garnered support from Miley Cyrus, Lena Dunham, and Rumer Willis, among other celebrities.
Nipple erections. The idea seems to have been — and for some people, with respect to women, still is — that nipples are sexual organs, providing pleasure when stimulated, and in fact stiffening during sexual arousal. From a Body Language website on 4/16/15, “The Body Language Of Nipple Erections’ by Christopher Philip:
Both men and women experience nipple erections. Research has found that reflexive nipple erections may be the result of stress, fear and anxiousness, and also occur in association with cool temperatures.
In fact, it seems that the piloerector muscles, the same muscles that produce “goose bumps” are the main agent in producing an erect nipple. The muscles which usually surround hair serve to wrinkle the skin of the areola forcing it to tighten up. The piloerector muscles are also intimately linked to the autonomic “fight or flight” response in humans. Thus, the nipples can become erect due to anxiety and arousal generally.
As we know, nipples also become erect in response to sexual stimulation. This is particularly so for women, but men also infrequently experience nipple erections during sex.
Here I need to register an objection. In my experience, most men experience nipple erection as part of sexual arousal. Starting with me, and going on through most of my sexual partners. More pronounced in some men than in others, but very common indeed.
A nice torso shot of a guy with erect nipples:
Nipple enlargement. Given the analogy between nipples and penises, and the involvement of both in arousal, it’s no surprise that for some gay men, large nipples (aka nips) have become a symbol of masculinity, not unlike a large penis. So they work to enlarge their nipples. Relatively easy to do in the short term, with suction cups and stretching devices, but it seems to take time and devotion to achieve significantly large nipples: if you’re into this, the goal is pencil eraser nips. The basic item:
But more extreme eraser nips can be achieved, as here:
I’ve played with nips like this (on a very fit, older guy, way back in my distant dissolute past), but I didn’t get around to asking how he cultivated them. Some sites say that the way is through nipple piercing: a piercing produces some scar tissue and enlarges a nipple; you then just — just! — need to have repeated piercings.
Nipple play and nipple pigs. Which brings me to getting or giving nipple stimulation as a (minor-league) sexual act — something I was very fond of when I was sexually active, so I find photos like this satisfying:
Men who are into this sort of play are known as nipple pigs, nippigs, or (metonymically) titpigs — all terms instances of the sexual X pig snowclonelet. On this blog, on 9/23/25:
titpig in a gay sexual context, using “the snowclonelet X pig, denoting someone who’s seriously into X (sex pig, involving sex in general or specifically “dirty sex” of various kinds; dick pig; piss pig)” (posting here). Specifically, a gay man who’s seriously into titplay, either as receiver or giver (very often both), so a gay man especially aroused by getting or giving nipple stimulation or (in a BDSM context) pain. Titpigs are stereotypically big hairy men, bears, leathermen, and sexual fetishists. [as in #5]
A couple more X pig postings on this blog:
on 10/19/15: a fuck pig / fuckpig is someone (of either sex) who’s seriously into getting fucked / stuffed
on 12/22/15: a cock pig is a man who loves to suck cock, … a spit-roasting pig is a man who loves to be spit-roasted