Entertainment Fashion & Style A Guide to Nipple Piercings Share PINTEREST Email Print Janet Kimber/Getty Images Fashion & Style Tattoos and Body Piercings Accessories Tops & Sweaters Dresses Skirts Jeans Pants Outerwear Lingerie & Swimwear Do It Yourself Shoes Skincare Advice Makeup Hair Fragrance Kids and Teens Bumps & Babies Learn More By Karen L. Hudson Contributing Writer Karen L. Hudson is a tattoo artist and contributing writer for Byrdie. our editorial process Karen L. Hudson Updated March 28, 2019 Nipple piercings are essentially the same for both men and women - genetically, we have the same origins in the womb and only the addition of the male or female chromosomes (and resultant hormones) determine whether the nipple will become functional or not. Men still have breast tissue, milk ducts, blood vessels and nerves just like women, but they stay undeveloped as long as high levels of estrogen aren't introduced. However, there are a few slight differences. Size Obviously, in most cases, a woman's nipple size is more generous than a man's, allowing more space to insert a piece of jewelry. If a man's nipple is extremely small and tight to the chest surface, it's possible that it can't safely be pierced at all. It's important that nipple piercings do not puncture breast tissue. That could lead to a nasty infection known as mastitis, which can actually be life threatening. Functionality A woman who has or may have a child and wishes to breastfeed, a safely done nipple piercing does not hinder the ability to nurse. The jewelry, however, should be removed and it's very important to make sure that the fistula is clean before doing so. Any bacteria, infection, or even the jewelry itself can pose a danger to your nursing baby. Arousal One of the primary reasons for getting nipple piercings is to increase arousal. Not everyone enjoys nipple stimulation, but if you do then a piercing may increase that enjoyment. But it's also possible that it could actually decrease stimulation and there's no test that can be done to know beforehand which outcome you will get. Only you can decide if it's worth the risk. Starter jewelry is usually a 16-14 gauge straight barbell, CBR, or circular barbell. Nipple shields are designed to work with straight barbells and are for healed piercings only. Healing takes a minimum of 6 months.