The presence of nipples on males seems strange, given that males do not produce milk. Are these vestigial organs? Remnants of evolution? Examples of poor design? Actually, there are a couple of good reasons men have nipples. One is related to sexual stimulation, and the other is simple efficiency.
This may come as a surprise to some, but both male and female nipples contain a large supply of nervous tissue—both male and female nipples are very sensitive to touch. The female breast does more than produce milk—it is an important part of a woman’s experience of sexual pleasure. But the male nipple has just as many nerve endings as the female nipple and is as equally sensitive to manual stimulation. So, one of the reasons that men have nipples is for sexual pleasure. God designed the male body to respond pleasurably to touch in certain areas, and the nipple is one of those areas.
The other reason that men have nipples is based on efficiency of design. The same principle that explains unused features in many modern automobiles explains the similar design of male and female breasts. When purchasing a car, you will notice there are often several different options available for the same model. A higher price tag provides additional features. Those features typically add switches, buttons, or dials to the dashboard. More basic models without the advanced features don’t need the extra switches and buttons, so it would be understandable if basic models were built without the extra (unused) holes in the dashboard.
However, manufacturing different dashboards for the same model of car would be very inefficient. Making two, three, or fifty different dashboards in order to accommodate all the possible combinations of features would require two, three, or fifty different streams of production. Instead of multiplying the size and expense of dashboard production, it’s more efficient to simply design one dashboard that can accommodate all possible features. For those models with fewer options, unused spaces on the dash can be plugged with blank caps.
Biologically speaking, this is why men have nipples even though men don’t naturally produce milk. God designed both sexes with a feature only one needs for milk production. The biological equivalent to patterns and factories is our genetic code, contained in our DNA. Instead of adding further complexity—and the increased risk of damage or error—it is more efficient to leave nipples as a common attribute of males and females, even though they are not needed for lactation in men.
Observations of human embryos support this idea. Male and female fetuses have identical form (but different chromosomes) for the first few weeks after conception. Early in gestation, the fetus begins to produce either male or female hormones, which guide its growth from that point forward. Nipples are formed prior to this process, very much like the dashboard of a car is manufactured before it’s installed and before it requires specific trim.
Men have nipples for two reasons: a single chest design makes the genetic code simpler, more efficient, and less prone to error; and nipples are an aid to sexual pleasure. God’s design of the human body is wise beyond imagination (Psalm 139:14).