OpEd: America’s Love/Hate Relationship with Breasts

To say American men are enamored of breasts is an understatement.

The “red-blooded-ness” of the American male’s manhood is quantified by the degree to which he holds breasts in esteem and wants to hold them in his hands… and his mouth… and slide his erection between them.  As one former beau put it, “There’s a whole world of breasts out there, and I can’t die till I’ve seen every pair of them.”

Over the last 40 years, breasts have not only become a national obsession, they’ve become big business spurring the porn and plastic surgery industries to gigantic proportions — a different kind of #WarOnWomen.  One might think that porn invented breasts — or even the proliferation of showing breasts, but ancient art and fertility sites clearly indicate the female form has been revered for millennia.

The breast is a gland.  Anatomically, female breasts are almost identical to the male breast, though we are unaccustomed to referring to the male’s pectoral/nipple area as a “breast.”  The underlying structure of the breast is the pectoral muscle, over which the mammary glands and ducts and fat tissue protrude from the body in post-pubescent females and some men.  Men can get breast cancer, and some men even lactate and have breastfed their babies.  Men who have excess breast tissue may have a hormonal condition known as gynecomastia, treatment of which is usually surgical male breast reduction.

Our perception of breasts — what they should look like, how they should move, what they should feel like, has changed drastically with the mainstreaming of porn and the life-altering rise of the internet.  With sex readily available on any device capable of an internet or wi-fi connection, fake breasts and staged sex are literally at your fingertips 24/7.  But what has all this accessibility done to the breast?  To women’s bodies?  To our body image and self-esteem?  Do men even know what real breasts look like anymore?

Real breasts come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.  Though the exact look and feel of the breasts varies with the woman, for the most part women’s breasts are oval shaped (not spherical), with the majority of the breast tissue being at or below the nipple/areola complex, and the nipples angled slightly outward, away from each other.  In larger breasts, the areola may be oval-shaped as well.  Because real breasts function at the demand of the law of gravity, they move — sometimes down, sometimes to the sides toward the armpits, or away from each other all together.  Real breasts move.

(Photos from Dian Hanson’s book Big Book of Breasts)

Thanks to porn and plastic surgery, the placement and the size of implants has created a distorted view of women’s breasts. At times, it seems as if even the doctors don’t know what breasts are supposed to look like!

With results that can appear as if basketballs were surgically implanted, fake breasts can look completely unnatural: spherical instead of oval, the areolas too small in proportion to the size of the breast, the nipples pointing straight out — or worse, upwards.

Implants are inserted at the areola line, inframammary line, or under the armpit, cutting through the nerve-rich tissue and leaving some implantees with little to no sensation in the nipples.  Permanently.  Considering the nipples are wired directly to the clitoris, why would a woman sacrifice a lifetime of orgasms for money she might earn in porn or stripping — or worse, because she feels inadequate with her body because of the pressure to have huge, high, perfect breasts?

With fake breasts, the implant is placed under the pectoral muscle. Essentially, the implant is held up by the chest wall muscles, rendering the breast an almost motionless appendage.  (How are real breasts supposed to compete with this?!)

I’d like to say I don’t have a problem with implants, but yes, I really do have a problem with implants when the woman is getting them because she feels inferior due to media and socio-cultural conditioning.  But I recognize this is my problem, and a woman’s body is hers to do with as she chooses.  I certainly have no problem with implants for women who are reconstructing their breast(s) post-breast cancer or are evening out a condition in which one breast is underdeveloped.  But these are not the majority of women seeking breast augmentation.

Having worked for a plastic surgeon, I heard many women say that they wanted the implants to give them the look of a push-up bra without having to wear a bra.  Many implantees get their breasts done with a “pushed up” curvature in the center.  Presto!  Permanent cleavage.

The proliferation of the push-up bra phenomenon is a direct result of the breast-obsessed culture.  While you can argue that the pushed up nature of brassieres harkens back to the days of corsets, the reality is that for most of the corset’s history, the job of the corset (or “pair of bodies” as it was originally called) was to shape the torso into the desired look of the time, not push the breasts up and in.

The pushing up and in of the breasts is actually the complete opposite of what is natural for the breasts and for innate biological signs of sexual maturity. The dropping of the breast tissue is the last phase of puberty for the breasts, and this may not fully happen until the woman is 21 years old.  When plastic surgeons are taking measurements for a patient’s breast reduction, they gauge the new nipple line at the inframammary fold, where the underside of the breast meets the torso.  So if cosmetic surgeons can get this right with breast reduction, why do they purposely get it so very wrong for breast augmentation?

The hypersexualization of women’s breasts has surpassed the porn and skin mags industry, with the cups of commerce spilling over into stripping, lingerie, comic books, video games, mainstream film, mass market paperback books, and even kids’ cartoons and national beauty pageants.

This doesn’t begin to cover the topic of how breasts naturally change throughout a women’s life.  Breasts change constantly through a woman’s monthly cycle.  You could say that once puberty starts, the breasts never stop changing!

Add in to this ever-evolving metamorphosis the life cycles of pregnancy, breastfeeding, post-partum hormone craziness, weight gain, weight loss, menopause, and just getting older.  The life of real breasts is tough physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

Could there be a shortage of real breasts in the next few decades?  While scientists are looking for a cure for the common cold and AIDS, are they already working on a DNA breast augmentation injection so that future generations of girls won’t have to suffer the indignity of not measuring up to society’s demands for unnaturally shaped breasts?

I certainly hope not!

So then why do men buy porn?  And skin mags?  And go see strippers?  I know men are viscerally oriented and generally lack imagination when it comes to getting off, but this is ridiculous.

And why the hell do men think women want lingerie as a gift?!  All of these industries are run by men for men with women not being considered in the equation at all — except to feel like something is wrong if they’re a size A cup instead of FFF or their breasts hang naturally instead of defying the laws of gravity.

Why are men so desirous of seeing breasts bigger and bigger and in completely unnatural formations and perfectly, unnaturally symmetrical?  How would men feel if they were expected to have their sensitive parts pushed up and in when these parts are supposed to be down, free, and maybe slightly uneven?

Whether temporary pushing up of the breasts via a bra or permanent cleavage due to manipulated implants, society not only accepts but expects this violation against women’s biology.  In fact, when women’s breasts do not meet the porn/skin mag fake implant standard, the real, living, breathing, feeling, natural, un-airbrushed women are made to feel as if something is wrong with them — that their bodies are somehow misshapen or ugly if their breasts do not match society’s porn-induced standard.

Breasts come in many different sizes, shapes, and colors.  Before passing judgment on a woman’s body that will make her feel less than human, think of other females you know — your sister or your daughter, even your mother.  Would you want someone else to make them feel less than worthy as a human being just because of the way their body is naturally?

Then don’t pass the socio-cultural brainwashing on by passing judgment on your girlfriend or wife.  And stop supporting the very industries that propagate the brainwashing.  Stop buying porn and skin mags and comic books.  Start buying erotica directed by women and starring natural women.  Buy books about women written by women, or subscribe to sites that feature natural women being naturally sexy.

Better yet, get off the computer and go hug your woman.


For more of my personal orgasm journey, read Trish’s Daily O.J.
Visit the AW site: Aroused Woman


  1. Thank you immensely for this. I come from a family where EVERY SINGLE WOMAN I am related to is at least a natural D cup. I have been chastised and ridiculed from both men and women, and especially those from my family for my “smaller than average” breasts. And it’s only been made worse since losing a ton of weight (thanks to stress) and breastfeeding. I’m now lucky to be considered an A and ALWAYS wear super padded bras, so people don’t think I’m a 12 year old boy. Having very small breasts breaks me every single day. My husband has state many times that finding my body attractive in it’s current state (underweight-not by choice-and smaller breasts than when we met). With every picture I see and every woman I pass on the streets, I feel inferior. I no longer feel like a woman and would get implants in a second if I wasn’t allergic to silicone. For my own sake, I wish the breast obsession would just stop. I hate feeling like shit everyday. No matter how hard I try to accept myself, someone is always there with a remark or disgusted look. I just want to feel like a “real” woman for once. Thank you for your push to ask both genders to accept what’s natural.

  2. The idea that women are the only ones fed a line of profiteering bull$#!t that would be bad if followed/clung to is something I have a problem with. They’ll say/sell anything to anyone for a buck… I mean, think about the pharmaceutical industry. I admit the whole “beauty” thing is a bit more onerous on a personal level than anything we males have to deal with – but, in the end, if you follow it to the point of self-mutilation… that’s sort of on you.

    As somebody who has spent a lot of time looking at depictions of unclad women, I can say without reservation that natural breasts are *much* more widely seen/appreciated today than they were 12 years ago… a man who wanted to see images of nude women was kind of stuck with what was in the mainstream, or skin mags, or porn… and most of it was fake and blonde. Natural was like a “niche” or something (wincing as I type), requiring great effort to locate. With the advent of the internet, men have had the opportunity to sit and quietly contemplate women of all ages, shapes, and colors, and there has been a very significant broadening of the palette. The effects have leeched into the mainstream, too.

    As far as implants go – it’s an illusion… looks swell under clothing, but… when a male reaches the age where he begins to deal with reality, not just illusion – things become rather obvious. Fake breasts? Beach balls stuffed under the skin? Unmoving, unyielding, rubbery… scarring, loss of sensation, *loss of functionality*….. ?? Placed alongside the real thing, most _men_ come around pretty quickly.

    Of course, with regard to the mainstream, while it’s broadened… I can’t really speak to makeup ads, or fashion, or the whole celebrity worship thing… my guess is a lot of women see that stuff and believe that it’s somehow real (i.e. not just a ruse constructed to get you to buy something) – and that’s a bad idea for anyone.