Excerpted from "Sex in the Romance: A Review of Romantic Encounters of the Close Kind".

(copyright John L. Ferri 1994, jlferri@epix.net)


As with breasts, the words and phrases that were used to refer to nipples were further divided into four self-explanatory subcategories.

Adjectives for descriptions of the nipple or nipples, Things to Do to or With Nipples, Synonyms for other names for nipples, and Things that Nipples Can Do.


When describing those delectable protuberences, romance authors used some form of "hard" or "hardened" 18% of the time, "taut" or "tight" 16%, and "erect" 10%. Most of the time, it was clear when the author was referring to the nipple instead of the breast. However, there were a few instances where either would have satisfactorily fit the description. In those cases, I applied the description to whichever seemed best under the circumstances. The following table lists adjectives used for nipples.

  • bare
  • delectable
  • dimpled
  • distended
  • erect
  • flushed
  • hard
  • little
  • peaked
  • perky
  • pert
  • petite
  • pink
  • plump
  • pointed
  • protruding
  • pulsing
  • quivering
  • rigid
  • rose-red
  • rose-tipped
  • rosy
  • sensitive
  • small
  • stiff
  • swollen
  • taut
  • throbbing
  • tight
  • tightly beaded
  • tingling
  • turgid
  • velvet
  • waiting
  • wet.

Other descriptions include:

  • color of pale pink tea roses
  • like little pebbles
  • little hard dagger-points
  • pink and just barely dark and hardening at the very tips
  • supremely ticklish and tingling
  • Examples would include "delectable nipples", possibly "quivering, tingling nipples", or "perky, erect, protruding, wet, throbbing nipples." My personal favorite is "sensitive, distended, rose-tipped, pulsing, supremely ticklish and tingling, plump nipples." There are many combinations. Use one in a conversation today.

    Things to Do to or With Nipples

    When confronted with one or more nipples, the favorite activity, with a frequency of 25%, is to "suckle" them. Occasionally, they are "sucked". A distant second with 3% is "teased". I've often wondered what the difference was between suck and suckle. Have I ever sucked when I should have suckled or vice versa?

    The dictionary describes "suckling" as what an infant does when nursing, although "sucking" and "licking" are much more consistent with the adult activity in the love scenes of the romance novel. However, "suckling" sounds more erotic and is probably used because of that connotation even though it is technically incorrect.

    If you ever begin to wonder whether you should "suck" or "suckle" the next time you have one between your lips and you start thinking about technical definitions, then it's time to seriously consider a vacation because you are severely overworked and on the verge of a breakdown.

    The complete list is shown below:

    • captured
    • captured between his lips
    • caressed
    • circling
    • flicked
    • found
    • gentle suckling
    • kneading
    • lashed into hardness
    • licked
    • nibbled
    • pinched the hard little tips
    • pinching
    • probed
    • rasped hungrily
    • rolling her nipples gently
    • rubbed
    • shaping
    • sucked
    • sucked the tortured peak
    • suckle
    • taking it between his teeth
    • taste
    • tease
    • touched
    • tugging gently
    • wetting one lush rosy nipple
    • whisked it with his tongue.


    Referring to them as just "nipples" seems so impersonal. Tied at 10% of the time each, "throbbing peak" or "throbbing tip", and "tight bud" were the favorites of the authors. Others are:

    • aching peaks
    • bare tips
    • dusky crest
    • dusky tips
    • engorged tip
    • hardened peak
    • heated bud
    • melon-colored centers
    • most delicate point
    • nub
    • pale pink buds
    • peaked rosebud
    • peaked tips
    • pearled tips
    • pebbled pink tip
    • pebbled tips
    • pink tip
    • proud nubbin
    • proud peak
    • quivering tips
    • ripe buds
    • rock-like points
    • rose colored areola
    • rosy crests
    • rosy diamond
    • rosy tips
    • sensitive peaks
    • shimmering bud
    • stiff crest
    • taut pebble
    • tender crest
    • throbbing peaks
    • throbbing peaks of red
    • throbbing tip
    • thrusting points
    • tight buds
    • tiny pink buds
    • tiny rigid nub
    • velvet peaks.

    Things that Nipples Can Do

    Like breasts, nipples are deceivingly inanimate. They "ached" 15% of the time. But they don't just "ache", they "ache with need". Others include:

    • ached
    • ached with need
    • apices to swell and harden
    • brushed across
    • erection
    • grew large
    • grew rigid
    • harden
    • hardened in empathy
    • peaked
    • puckered
    • push hard against her bra
    • rigid with desire
    • rise
    • shivered erect
    • spring to attention
    • swelled
    • throbbed
    • tightening to pebble hardness
    • tightened
    • tingled
    • uncommonly sensitive.
    PREVIOUS.... ....NEXT
    This page: home.epix.net/~jlferri/nipples.html
    Ferri Tales (home)