Artificially Dilated Nipples?

In Phillip K. Dick’s Clans of the Alphane Moon, the procedure is named while introducing Mary:

“Let off on the roof field Mary descended by in-ramp to floor ninety, came to the glass door, hesitated, then allowed it to open and entered the outer office in which Mr. Field’s receptionist — very pretty, with much make-up and a rather tight spider-silk sweater — sat. Mary felt annoyed at the girl; just because bras had become passe, did a girl with so pronounced a bosom have to cater to fashion? In this case practicality dictated a bra, and Mary stood at the desk feeling herself flushing with disapproval. And artificial nipple dilation; it was just too much.

What was nipple dilation? Some new fashion trend? Some type of more permanent surgery? Was it ever explained?


2 Answers 2


It's a fashion trend. It evidently requires some sort of surgical operation to make the nipples larger and more prominent.

Joan Trieste wore skin-tight dark pants and slippers and a cotton man’s-style shirt; as far as he could tell, she had on no bra, as fashion dictated, but her nipples were merely flat dark circles beneath the white cotton fabric of her shirt: she could not afford or did not care to have the currently-popular dilation operation. It came to him then that she was poor. Possibly a student.


“She has big breasts,” Chuck said.

“Who? Patty? Oh yes.” Hentman nodded. “Well, it’s that operation they give in Hollywood and New York. It’s more the rage now than the dilation, and she’s had that done, too.

  • 4
    Given the reference to "flat dark circles", it seems safe to assume it includes making the nipples erect. Nov 28, 2021 at 9:49
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    @JackAidley - Hence "more prominent" (e.g. Adj. projecting from something; protuberant)
    – Valorum
    Nov 28, 2021 at 9:51

I don't believe it's explained in the story, but given "dilation" generally refers to an expansion with an implication of making it more open, my guess is that, at the least, the receptionist has done something to make her nipples larger, with a possibility that this is done in a way to make them look more open (which kind of falls into the false thinking that nipples have a single opening for milk, while it's actually secreted from multiple ducts that the concavity of the tip tends to make appear to come out in a single stream).

  • 2
    "with a possibility that this is done in a way to make them look more open" My assumption would be piercings like ear stretchers, which sort of makes me wince.
    – nick012000
    Nov 29, 2021 at 13:53
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    @nick012000: My brain went more into implanted rings, but yeah... I almost added a comment that people who want a reference on what a "more open" appearance might look like could check into Japanese hentai, which occasionally includes openings large enough to cough interact with.
    – FuzzyBoots
    Nov 29, 2021 at 14:03

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