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  • Oh nipples, without you chests would be pointless.

  • Hello everyone, Julian here for DNews.

  • Nipples: everybody has them, but you probably don’t pay them much attention.

  • That is unless youre cold, aroused, or talking about science

  • and your little bosom buddies decide to stand at attention for all the world to see.

  • How do nipples get hard, and what purpose does this serve?

  • Answering the how is a bit easier than answering the why, especially thanks to a recent study published in Nature Neuroscience.

  • Researchers were interested in the sympathetic nervous system, which is

  • most known for its role in the fight-or-flight response.

  • If youre not familiar with it, of course weve covered it, and

  • you can check out that video to learn about it in-depth.

  • But back to the researchers -- When they were examining the sympathetic nervous system in mice,

  • the researchers found that it was more specialized to respond to specific stimuli than previously assumed.

  • The scientists followed nerves in the system from where they originated in the spinal cord

  • to where they connect to other structures like the blood vessels, muscles, and yes,

  • nipples.

  • They found there were 8 distinct types of neurons wired to specific areas, each expressing

  • different genes and responding to different stimuli.

  • So there is actually a type of neuron that exists just to make your nipples erect.

  • When these neurons are activated by the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, they cause erector muscles

  • to contract, tightening your areola and causing your milk duds to harden.

  • Titillating as this information is, it still doesn’t answer why nipples need to get hard

  • in the first place.

  • What’s the point of the point?

  • The most obvious reason is for breast feeding.

  • A baby’s suckling reflex is activated when something strokes the roof of their mouth,

  • so a stiff nipple will help get the little sucker to latch on for a meal.

  • But what about when it’s time to make a baby, or when it’s cold, or when nipples

  • go rogue and pitch a shirt-tent for no obvious reason?

  • Science is a little more perplexed about that.

  • It’s possible that hard nipples are supposed to serve as a signal of arousal, but it’s

  • a pretty terrible signal if it also shows up just because it’s cold.

  • That’s like having a thermometer where all the numbers are replaced with winking emojis,

  • it tells you nothing!

  • It’s possible we get nipply when it’s nippy because the muscles in our areolas and

  • under our hair follicles respond to the same stimuli. The scientists who discovered what

  • I will heretofore call thenipple neuronfound another kind of neuron that also responds

  • to norepinephrine and causes your hair to stand on end.

  • This might be a vestigial trait from when we were more hirsute, and our hair puffed

  • out to trap air and keep us warmer.

  • It’s also frequently suggested our hair rises in stressful situations in an effort

  • to make us look bigger.

  • You can imagine how puffed out hair would be helpful when youre being attacked by

  • a predator, though it’s a little harder to see how stiff nips will intimidate a bear.

  • Maybe itll think youre aroused and be kind of weirded out.

  • If the only surefire reason nipples get stiff is to help with breastfeeding, then why do

  • men even have nipples?

  • It’s a classic question, and it’s one that deserves a classic episode, so I’ll

  • let Laci Green explain it here.

  • The human body is totally fascinating and awesome and if there are any weird bodily

  • phenomenons you’d like us to explain, tell us!

  • You can let us know in the comments, subscribe for more and I'll see you guys next time on DNews.

Oh nipples, without you chests would be pointless.

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B2 neuron stiff hair puffed norepinephrine nipple

Why Do Nipples Get Hard?

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    posted on 2016/09/29
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