Roman Centurions wore leather armor breast plates which were shaped to fit the body and rings were sometimes placed in these breastplates where the nipples appeared to be, the rings were used to hang a cape from. This has led to the belief by some people that the actual nipples were pierced to hang a cape from, but anybody who has had their nipples pierced would tell you that this would be a very uncomfortable practice.
“In the middle of the 14th century … Many women suddenly wore ‘such low necklines that you could see nearly half their breasts;’ and among the upper classes in the same century, Queen Isabella of Bavaria introduced the ‘Garments of the grand neckline’ where the dress was open to the navel. This fashion eventually led to the application of rouge to freely displayed nipples – those ‘little apples of paradise’ – and to placing diamond studded rings or small caps on them; even to piercing them and passing gold chains through them decorated with diamonds.” – Dreamtime by Hans Peter Duerr
In the late 1890s the ‘Bosom Ring’ came into fashion briefly and sold in expensive Parisian jewelry shops. These ‘Anneux De Sein’ were inserted through the nipple and some women wore on either side linked with a delicate chain. The rings enlarged the nipples and kept them in a state of constant excitation … The medical community was outraged by these cosmetic procedures, for they represented a rejection of traditional conceptions of the purpose of a woman’s body.” – Anatomy & Destiny by Stephen Kern
“For a long time I could not understand why I should consent to such a painful operation without sufficient reason. I soon, however, came to the conclusion that many ladies are ready to bear the passing pain for the sake of love. I found that the breasts of those who wore rings were incomparably rounder and fuller developed than those who did not. My doubts were now at an end … so I had my nipples pierced, and when the wounds were healed, I had rings inserted … with regard to the experience of wearing these rings, I can only say that they are not in the least uncomfortable or painful. On the contrary, the slight rubbing and slipping of the rings causes in me an extremely titillating feeling; and all my colleagues I have spoken to on this subject have confirmed my opinion.” – London socialite writing in Vogue, 1890.
Nipple piercing was once practiced by the Karankawa Natives of Texas and is still practiced in the Mountains of Algeria by women of the nomadic Kabyle tribe. In the West, nipple piercing has made a resurgence with many famous people having their nipples pierced; Lenny Kravitz, Jaye Davidson (The Crying Game), Gerry Connelly (Comedian), Tommy Lee (Drummer Motley Crue) and Axl Rose (Guns & Roses).
The benefits of having your nipple pierced are the same today as they were for the fashionable ladies of Paris and London in the 1890s. It makes the nipples larger, more sensitive, more sexually attractive, and provides a constant stimulation. One friend of mine describes his nipple piercing as “a light switch for an erection.” Nipple piercing is very effective for increasing the size of small nipples (especially men’s), and can stop nipples from becoming inverted by pulling them out. In fact, it was recommended by doctors in Victorian England to increase the size of the nipples to make breastfeeding easier. It provides greater sexual pleasure because it gives your partner something to play with during sex.