How much time do you spend thinking about the nipples on a man? Probably none. Well, the fascinating things you never knew about men’s nipples might change the way you look at dude nips forever, because there's actually a reason why they're there.
Some such fascinating facts about men's nipples includes their ability to lactate, chafe, bleed, and feel, and that the reason they exist is the same as the reason why women's nips exist. As far as body parts are concerned though, male nipples receive a lot of flack. In fact, a quick search for "why do men have nipples?" brings up about 1,440,000 Google results, with the first several pages of results focusing on that question alone. The very fact that male nipples exist seems to cause a lot of confusion. For a body part that doesn't appear to cause much trouble, the male nipple is subject to a lot of derision. Colloquially, comparing something to "tits on a bull" is another way of saying it's useless, according to the Glossary of Idioms. Pity the male nipple — the reason for its existence is constantly questioned, and it's often written off as useless.
Although they may not be used to breastfeed children, the male nipples deserve some more respect. Biologically, historically, and culturally, the male nipple has accomplished quite a bit for a so-called useless organ. Hey, you never see an appendix leading the charge on an Instagram campaign, do you?
1They Can Lactate
Here's the fun fact for today: male lactation is a rare but possible phenomenon. For the most part though, male lactation is associated with serious stresses to a man's body. Prolactin, the hormone responsible for stimulating breast milk production, can surge in males under certain conditions, according to Live Science. For example, men who have endured periods of starvation sometimes experience spontaneous lactation, according to Scientific American and has been observed in male survivors of Nazi concentration or Japanese POW camps.
2They Can Be Sensitive
Men can also experience sensitivity in the nipples. "We don’t always see sexual stimulation with men but many times it’s definitely sensitive," said Dr. Zoran Potparic in Very Good Light. Apparently nipple stimulation and genital stimulation light up the same way in your brain, according to a study reported by Bustle, for both men and women. It looks like the nipple area should be handled with care on everyone.
3They Can Chafe And Bleed During Activity
If you're ever at the finish line of a marathon, chances are at least one of the male runners will have red streaks down his chest. Sometimes men's sensitive nipples can chafe or even bleed when rubbing against a shirt during activity. To cope with this painful annoyance, some male runners even use adhesive bandages or lubricant on their nipples to prevent bleeding, according to Runner's World. Finally, a reason to be grateful for sports bras.
4One Percent Of Men Have A Third Nipple
Third nipples are not all that rare. In fact, about one out of every 100 men in the general population have a third nipple, according to Health Research Funding. These extra nips are also called supernumerary nipples, which makes it sound like they have special powers.
5Breasts Develop Before Sexual Organs
As far as mammalian embryos are concerned, nipples (and, more to the point, breasts) are a crucial part of development. In fact, all human embryos develop the same way for the first few weeks, and the formation of mammary glands and tissue begins early on, before sex determination kicks in around the fourth week of development, according to IFL Science. Whether a person has XX or XY chromosomes, everyone begins life with breasts. Isn't that strangely comforting?
6Nipple Piercings Possibly Originated With Male Sailors
Although verified research was hard to come by for this idea, male nipple piercings may have roots in sailor culture. For years, stories have claimed that sailors got nipple piercings when they crossed the equator for the first time, according to The Point. Whatever the case, this interesting tradition sounds totally plausible.
7They're Allowed On Most Media
For whatever reason, female nipples are censored on a lot of media platforms, while male nipples are permitted to roam free at any time. Instagram's double-standard on nipples led to the #FreetheNipple movement in 2015, in which women photoshopped the (apparently safe) image of a male nipple over their own, according to People Celebrity. The resulting photos, many of which featured hilariously obvious photo manipulation, highlighted this bizarre trend. Artist Michol Hebron even created a male nipple template to make the censorship process easier.
8They Are Subject To (Weird & Unexpected) Injury
Like any other part of the human anatomy, nipples are subject to injury. Perhaps the strangest accident involving a man's nipple occurred in 2015. A Muskogee, Oklahoma man was doing yard work when a nearby pet zebra leaned over the fence and bit off part of the man's nipple, according to KRMG. The zebra's owner paid the man's medical bills, and the city of Muskogee made the owner find a new home for the wild animal. We have yet to confirm whether the zebra has struck again since.
Wasn't that thrilling?
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