Like snowflakes, every pair of breasts is unique. They can be symmetrical, asymmetrical, big, long, small, perky, and everything in between, so it should come as no surprise that nipples themselves are just as diverse.
They can be your standard anatomy textbook nips; they can be flat, they can be puffy, or they can be what at least 10 percent of nipples are: inverted.
Inverted nipples are nipples that don’t protrude out; instead, they’re kind of pinched back into the boob.
In this week’s Sex Talk Realness, Cosmopolitan.com spoke to three women who have inverted nipples and asked them how it has (or, really, hasn’t) impacted their lives.
Woman A: I’m 23.
Woman B: Twenty-three.
Woman C: Twenty-three.
Are you in a relationship?
Woman A: Yes.
Woman B: Kinda.
Woman C: Yes.
When did you realize you had inverted nipples?
Woman A: About two years ago when my boyfriend pointed them out to me.
Woman B: For a long time, I think I thought this is just what nipples look like before you go through puberty, but then puberty came and went, and it wasn’t until early high school when I knew something was up.
Woman C: Probably sometime in high school, but I’m pretty sure I was in denial about it.
How did you find out?
Woman A: After he mentioned they were different, we Googled “inverted nipples.” It was a very educational bonding experience.
Woman B: I definitely saw the term used in a magazine but didn’t want to believe that’s what it was, but then a friend said she had them, and I felt comfortable being like, “OK, yes, me too.”
Woman C: Actually, a few of my friends in high school had inverted nipples, but, again, I didn’t want to accept that as my destiny, so I blew it off for a few more years. The person I dated in high school didn’t have a problem with them, so I never really noticed until I started watching more shows on HBO and Showtime, where there are nipples every five seconds.
Did your inverted nipples ever affect your body image?
Woman A: Not really. Only people I trust see them, so I know they won’t judge me.
Woman B: I think it affected it more when I didn’t know what they were. I didn’t want people to notice they were different and confirm my fear. But now I know they are, I’m like, “Hey, wanna see this cool thing?”
Woman C: Sometimes; it was definitely harder to feel comfortable without a bra on in front of people, fearful someone would scream, “What’s wrong with your nipples?!” You know, like how it would happen in a really bad ’90s film.
Have you experienced any downsides or negative reactions to having inverted nipples?
Woman A: Not really. I’m nervous about breastfeeding in the future, but I’ve done some research and learned inverted nipples have no effect on breastfeeding.
Woman B: No, I honestly think it’s better.
Woman C: Nope.
What are some things you like about your inverted nipples?
Woman A: I like having an uncommon characteristic that I share only with people I’m intimate with.
Woman B: Nobody notices when I’m not wearing a bra!
Woman C: I can go braless, and it looks like I have a bra on still because my nipples don’t get super hard!
Have you told your friends about your inverted nipples?
Woman A: No. My close friends have seen them, and I don’t feel the need to talk about it with anyone else.
Woman B: Yep, I feel like I show people way too much.
Woman C: Yes. It’s a topic of discussion sometimes.
Before or after you get intimate, do you talk to your partners about your inverted nipples?
Woman A: Sometimes when they’re really obviously inverted, my boyfriend will point them out.
Woman B: Yeah, I’ll point it out if it comes up because I’m curious if they noticed.
Woman C: Yes.
Have your inverted nipples ever affected the way you feel about sex? Do you ever feel anxious?
Woman A: I was a little anxious about them at first, but now I’m comfortable with them.
Woman B: A little every time there’s a new partner, but once the bra is off and the opportunity for them to be weird about it has passed, I don’t care.
Woman C: At the beginning of a relationship, yes, but once they didn’t say anything about them, I felt more comfortable … My nipples may be inverted, but they can still get hard, especially when I am really in “the mood,” so he does everything he can to try and get them hard.
Have you ever considered undergoing cosmetic surgery to change your nipples?
Woman A: Nope. They are the way they are, and I’m proud of them.
Woman B: Eh, I think if I were ever to get a boob job I’d be like, “You can bring out my nips too,” but I don’t feel the need to get surgery just for them.
Woman C: Not seriously. I have done some research, though, on the procedure itself, and it kind of freaked me out. I think the only time I would really consider it is if I felt like it would affect breastfeeding when I plan to have children down the road.
What’s one thing you want people to know about having inverted nipples?
Woman A: They’re not weird, so don’t call them weird.
Woman B: The term sounds a lot more intense than they really are! I actually think they’re less noticeable.
Woman C: There are a lot of kinds of nipples, and inverted is only one of them. No nipple is the same. Go braless, and love your bod just the way it is.