By Jessica Berget, Editor-in-Chief
The human body is so strange. It’s interesting to think about all the things we still don’t know about the science of our flesh vessels. For instance, there is a condition that still confuses and vexes many people—known unofficially as “Sad Nipple Syndrome.” Anyone who experiences it says that when their nipples are aroused or touched, they have an overwhelming sense of dread, anxiety, depression, nausea, and even rage. I know this because I am one of those people.
Yes, it’s true. Sometimes when my chest is touched or stimulated, I experience an overwhelming depression and dread that I can’t explain… and then it just goes away. This is not just something I experience in a sexual context either, sometimes all I need to do is have something brush against my chest and I feel the dread in the pit of my stomach. I always thought it was just me experiencing this until I looked it up.
Doing an internet search of the term brings up many forums from Reddit, Women’s Health, and baby community boards of people discussing their experiences. What’s interesting is that this isn’t just reported in women. Both men and women have said they also sometimes become incredibly sad or uncomfortable when their nipples are touched. Yet, there is little to no scientific or medical data, studies, or reports about this pectoral phenomenon.
Many people might think you are referring to a similar ailment known as Dysphoric milk ejection reflex—a condition that often happens to mothers who are breastfeeding. They experience brief dysphoria before milk ejection. But this condition is generally reported in lactating mothers and there are still many people who are not lactating or have ever been pregnant who experience dread or overwhelming negative emotions when their teats are touched.
In my research, many people cite this condition as the nerves in the chest releasing a fast dose of endorphins which then causes the dysphoria. Or just an irregular case of extra sensitive nipples. But there’s no definitive cause or answer to why this happens, but hopefully awareness will lead to research on the topic and the forming of communities.