Men Aren’t Hard Wired To Find Breasts Attractive

Men aren’t hard wired to find breasts attractive?

No.

And how do we know this?

The same way we discover that many things aren’t biologically-based. By learning about other cultures. And the breast fetish does not exist in them all.

Men and women both resist the claim until they’re reminded of tribal societies. We’ve all seen pictures from National Geographic. And we all know that among tribal people women’s breasts are no big deal.

By the mid-1980s, topless beaches and overexposure to nudity in advertising had a similar effect in Europe. Topless women were plastered all over billboards, magazine and television advertisements because both men and women looked. But by the mid-eighties, no one paid much attention anymore. It was all so blasé. European men studying in the U.S. asked why American men were so obsessed with nudity. What’s the big deal, they wondered.

Even men who are overexposed to porn can lose interest, according to Pamela Paul, who has studied porn’s effect on male sexual arousal. As one man put it,

At first, I was happy just to see a naked woman. But as time has gone on I’ve grown more accustomed to such things.

Now he seeks more extreme stuff.

Meanwhile, studies show that even women learn the breast fetish, with images of a nude woman creating greater blood flow to the vaginal area than images of a nude man. More on that later.

How odd. Breasts turn on Western women, but not tribal men? And hetero women get more aroused by a nude woman than by a nude man?

Fetishes are created by selectively hiding and revealing — making that which is hidden enticing. Both men and women become intrigued. (Women do experience all this a bit differently from men, which I’ll discuss later.)

Meanwhile, a student of mine lived in Iran after the Islamic revolution when women strictly covered themselves except for the face. She told me that every now and again she would pull her veil back a little and watch the men go wild over her “hair cleavage.”

In America around the turn of the last century even seeing an ankle was sexy because they were always covered. In some old family photos one of my grandmothers is pulling her skirt up above her ankle to look scandalously sexy. I couldn’t even comprehend what she was doing until someone explained.

Covering is captivating. If you see the same thing all the time, it’s no big deal.

We always hear that men are visual. This isn’t based in biology. Men learn to become visual, while hetero women are left with nothing acceptable to look at. Culturally, we don’t sexualize the male body.

The fetish feels real enough, but then, much of what is learned feels biological.

As we shall see, all this can heighten bedroom excitement. Or it can have the opposite effect. More later…

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych, women's psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State University. And I have blogged for Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos.

Posted on November 4, 2010, in body image, feminism, gender, men, objectification, pornography, sex, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 184 Comments.

  1. I am currently learning about the similarities and differences in gender roles. This article was very interesting to me and reminded me of the argument about how the drinking ago should be lowered to 18 or 16. Just like how because nudity is not as uncommon in other countries it is not as big of a deal, because alcohol is allowed at a young age it is less of an issue. It is interesting how these issues aren’t made issues anymore because they are made less of a big deal.

  2. After reading this blog it does make me think a little more about perception. Things that we see here in the U.S. as socially awkward or demoralizing such as a women’s breasts exposed , in other parts of the world it’s seen as nothing but normal. Why is it that a majority of women are more enamored with the physical appearance of a women naked and more disgusted by men. In fact last week a conversation with my friends came to the topic of strip clubs and it was funny because I was the only one who had never wanted to go to one. As many of my girl friends who had gone to women’s strips clubs had never thought to go to male strip clubs because they thought of it as trashy and gross? Is anyone else confused?

  3. All this time I believed men WERE hardwired, that it was biological chemicals and sparks going on at the site of nudity; however, I learned that this is no more natural than wearing clothes. Truth is the more a body part is hidden the more likely it to become deviant if it ever becomes revealed. This makes me wonder about the benefits of a clothing-optional and even reduced drinking age society. Overexposure to nudity could subdue sexual arousal due to overexposure. Being flattered by sexual activity will make it no more sexual than it ever was. It might even reduce the number of pornography viewers and have many other potential advantages.

    • Well, clothing-optional beaches (etc) will probably only have that effect if people use them extensively.

      • How odd. Breasts turn on Western women, but not tribal men?

        According to your post, isn’t that because of being desensitized? It reminds me of the axim “People want what they can’t have.” I agree; I’m sure if all women in America took off their tops tomorrow, breast would soon become less interesting. I believe the same holds true for sex (with love-making as an exclusion)—if people could have sex anytime they wanted, with no consequences of sexually-transmitted diseases, sex would become far less appealing. Of course that wouldn’t solve the rape problem, which, from my understanding, is about control, not sex.

        I haven’t read all 175 comments on this post, so please forgive me if I’m reiterating ideas that others have stated.

      • Well, it’s not really odd, given what I discussed. Just what most people would think was odd if they hadn’t read my post.

        On sex, I think what you say is certainly true in a repressed culture like ours. Then you often kind of need fetishes. But in sex-positive societies I’m not sure. The Tahitians and Iroquois, prior to contact with Europeans, were very sex-positive and loved sex. But there were some no-nos, like adultery, though it was treated less harshly.

        Interesting question. Thanks for chiming in.

  4. Female breasts are viewed as sexual or functional depending on the culture. I believe that the media plays an important role in the way that female breasts are perceived in the United States. Our constant flood of media visualizations compounds the idea that female bodies are sexual objects. Marketing schemes used in television advertisements and magazines reinforce this objectification. Patriarchal religious stories reveal females as dangerous and enticing to males which may encourage the objectification of women by making women’s bodies seem a little “dirty” or “naughty”. It is possible that the media in conjunction with the dominant majority’s religious beliefs have “created” a culture where women are perceived as objects and breasts are naughty things.
    S. Walker, 11.14.10

  5. I get frustrated on this topic because I breastfeed , have been for 15 months. sometimes In public my son gets hungry or wants comfort, i get nervous, ” oh crap wat should i do , or where should i go?” the woman in my family say ” who gives a crap about what people think, go for it”, the men say “wtf, na go somewhere else, like the bathroom or something, no one wants to see that!”. at this point my son n i are growing frantick , I say ” wtf, screw that. im not feeding my child in the bathroom or in a baking car, im busting out a tit weather u people agree with it or not”. The sole purpose of a breast is to provide food for our babies/children, it shouldnt be known or used for sexual purposes. It nice to know that people find them specially attractive but some ppl get offended and uncomfortable, but why cant people see past the ways of America? Sexualizing the breast can ruin our enjoyment to bond and feed our babies.

    • Personally as a hetero male, I don’t find breastfeeding the least bit sexually arousing. My wife breastfed our son just past 2 years, I think and it was never a big deal. Boobs are hot, no doubt, but obviously that’s 100% a product of social environment. It’s conditioned response, all be it a very strong one. Plus “tribal breasts” are kinda… you know.

      Nobody should ever say anything to a mom breastfeeding wherever. I mean it’s like popped out for a second and then covered up anyways. Plus lots of moms use blankets and such. If there was more social acceptability, there might be more commonplace breastfeeding, thus more companies would create and market products designed to help breastfeeding moms do so in public discreetly, (i.e. clothing products with “flaps” and such, etc.)

      Something tells me the infant formula companies might be somewhat behind the social “tabboo” of public breastfeeding. Plus breastfeeding is seen as somewhat base I think by a lot of more “trendy” moms. Just my opinion, obviously. Nice post, good points.

    • Men hate to be reminded that breasts are not solely existent for their pleasure and instead serve a biological function not to their personal benefit as adults. Women tend to be very discrete about it and males can be selfish babies themselves. They need to grow up…..

  6. Men aren’t hard wired, I believe it’s our society and culture and portrays the female’s body. The example of the tribal men does not find breasts as attractive because they find breasts a natural part of human life. Since in the tribal culture has more exposure to the female body while in the Western culture it is all about “covering up.” Once a female shows off a piece of her body she is considered to be “slutty.” I doubt females in tribal cultures or communities do not find exposure of breasts as offensive or “slutty.” The different amount of exposure of breasts in our culture plays a huge part of how males are attracted to breasts or not.

  7. yes, this is so true. Being exposed to breasts everyday will make you get used to them to the point of not caring anymore when you see other womens breasts.

  8. It was interesting to see how overexposure to porn led the man to become less interested before I believe the man in the story who was overexposed to porn and then looking for “more extreme” things. I wonder if he may had a pre-existing addictive personality. I know that people can get used to seeing things and not notice them as much. But I guess some still need what it gives them in the first place. I could take this in another direction by mentioning how I think that many of the things that society calls “natural” (such as gender roles) aren’t natural at all. They are socially constructed. This story makes me think that certain elements of physical attraction may be no different.

    • Well, you do see overexposure leading to a loss of interest in breasts, not just among men who are overexposed to porn (and not just one man), but within entire cultures. And yes, this definately points up the social construction of both beauty and fetish.

  9. I think that one aspect of this discussion that is apparently overlooked is the natural human attraction to breasts from infant breastfeeding. Infants need to be attracted to their mothers’ breasts (or nipples) because they represent a food source. This could help maybe to explain why both males and females show arousal (greater blood flow to the vaginal area in women) from images of nude women and breasts. The fact that in our conservative society that the breasts are covered up after breast feeding may make them all the more a noticeable, likable and comforting and intriguing image when they are viewed later in life.

    • Sure, infants being naturally attracted to breasts (food source) is one thing.

      But men (or women) being “naturally” attracted to breasts as a sexual stimulant is quite another.

      A sexual attraction based on breasts-as-food-source doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, though. If that were the case, it would be found in all cultures, but it’s not. And the attraction of women would be equal to men’s, but it doesn’t seem to be. And I would be sexually attracted to chocolate.

      Thanks for putting an interesting theory out there, and reminding us about the actual purpose of breasts: feeding babies.

    • As stated by the blogger, nourishment and sex are two very different things. The rooting reflex is proof that a newborn’s ‘attraction’ to the breast is instinctual, whereas the adult attraction to breasts is the product of social conditioning as evidenced by the above cross-cultural study.

  10. I feel rather disturbed by the overtly sexual attitudes and super-human standards that many males seem to have toward women’s breasts, and it seems to be the dominant attitude held by males and females alike. For that reason, I think I’d feel extremely demoralized if feminists made an effort to “normalize and desexualize” breasts by exposing them publicly in protest. I hate being in the presence of males when women’s breasts are exposed, in my experience their responses have consistently indicated arousal or pleasure and it makes me feel self-aware and uncomfortable.

    I had a male tell me directly that my breasts were disappointing to him for their size and imply my diminished “appeal” as a result. That said, I would be SO happy if breasts were seen as they were in tribal times as not-sexually stimulating, normal, natural, not a big deal, and certainly not definitive of a woman’s worth or value. Intimate relationships are great for exposing the attitudes shared by both you and your partner on sex and body image; I believe they are exactly the place to see, cast out, and replace these attitudes if there is enough trust, understanding, and mutual respect between you and your partner.

    • It’s funny that you blame feminists for ‘demoralizing’ you. I think you’ll find the women most likely to take their tops off in public are not feminists. Just fyi….

  11. Well, none of this actually matters anyways. What we do in this life is a “bunch” of crap to fill in the blanks. We are here to experience this physical plain. We are very different from every other creature on this planet. Natural or not many things were bound to become unnatural or twisted or distorted and redefined because we are here to expereince. We do things because sitting around in a jungle is not a very good expereince. Not wholly.

    It was only inevitable that breasts would become points of desire. The same as how penis length in some cultures is more desirable than other cultures. The same reason that feet are a fetish with some people. Why we enjoy skydiving and drinking alcohol and smoking weeds or tobaccos. None of these are natural activities. If we lived to eat have babies and never invent or discover than life wouldn’t be worth living….NOT with our capabilities as humans.

    Those of you who get angry because some men or women enjoy large plump breasts and don’t see them for the only purpose they are here for, to feed children, because it it is not natural. Then I suggest stop typing on a computer because we didn’t have one spontaneously organise itself through millions of years and become a natural needful object to our survival. Your fingers werent made to type it’s unnatural.

    Anyways that’s my 2 cents.

    • Here are my thoughts.

      1) It’s simply interesting to many people to learn that the breast fetish is a cultural construction
      2) Learning that something isn’t natural can help people to change if they so desire. So, girls who feel inferior because they don’t have huge breasts can take heart knowing that huge breasts aren’t valued in all cultures. No need to feel physically inferior.
      3) Problems can come when women do things to harm themselves to get large breasts. Better to know you’re fine as are
      4) About 30% of wmn who get augmentation lose sexual sensation in their breasts. They become more objects of men’s desire – enhancing men’s desire – while losing capacity for their own sexual enjoyment.
      5) Sometimes mothers won’t breast feed (natural reason for breasts) because she sees her breasts as sexual. Now, that is a problem.

      Just my 2 cents.

      Thanks for your comment.

      • My point is all about the experience. Look at this from a much broader point of view. And the whole breast feeding thing is optional. It is actually not a necessary function these days. I guarantee you that an infant will not know the difference between sucking on a woman’s nipple while the mother holds them or sucking on a bottle’s nipple while the mother holds them. That’s purely choice these days.

        My point though really goes to those who don’t like things that they deem natural or unnatural. I contend that it is consciousness experiencing that brings these things about.

      • I don’t think things are better just because they’re natural, either. It depends on the matter.

        W/breasts, natural is better in the following ways, for example:

        1. breastfeeding is healthier for babies
        2. Emphasis on large breasts damages many women’s self image/self-worth
        3. Emphasis on large breasts can damage the sexual experience for men who want more, and for women who can sense this.
        4. Women feel pressure to get unnatural implants which can dull their sexual sensitivity or create pain
        5. Women feel pressure to get unnatural implants which can kill them. Surgery is not just a simple matter

  12. LustyBlackCanadianLad1953

    Oh,really???This libidinous lad will NEVER TIRE of ogling big boob babes,regardless of my age!!!(I’ll be 58 July 6,and look at luscious ladies MORE NOW than at 18,28,38 and 48!!!)

  13. Makes sense to me. Excellent, thoughtful post.

  14. Women should worship their bodies!

  15. It’s about the “forbidden” aspect. Something is only “dirty” “hot” whatever when it’s a “forbidden fruit.” That’s exactly what happens when you make something “illegal,” people get all stir-crazy about it, because “they can’t have it.”

    Sorry for all the punctuation.

  16. I must have missed something. How does the fact that some cultures do not cover up their breasts prove that “Men aren’t hard wired to find breasts attractive”? Does our culture’s failure to cover up women’s faces (unlike, say Islam), prove that men aren’t hardwired to find women’s faces attractive?

  17. I find it very interesting that straight women are turned on by looking at another woman’s breasts. This has actually happened to me since I was in high school, and I could never figure out why. Did it mean that I was bisexual? I am still a little confused on how it works that way, when I have my own breasts, why should another woman’s get me excited? Since learning about the nebulization occurring in our culture I am no longer questioning myself. I love men and being with a man. I have never felt that lovey dovey feeling about a woman, so I am 99% sure that I am straight. It is just really interesting that some women don’t realize or can’t admit that naked breasts turn them on. I can admit it, although I was ashamed, because it made me question my sexuality. In my other women’s class that I took in college, it explained how tribal women are always topless and that doesn’t make the women or even the men in that culture get horny. Georgia has explained that breasts are so sexualized in American culture because they are hidden but exposed at the same time, but I still don’t completely understand how that works. And I have felt that my own were too small in the past, now that I have gained weight , they are a lot larger, but it actually causes me pain, so I would gladly exchange them for the ones I used to have. It was definitely something that bothered me in middle school and high school. I don’t have any children yet, but when I do, I would like to breast feed but I have heard that it is painful. I have also heard stories of some women having orgasms from the sensation and then the women feel uncomfortable with that and stop. There is also the stigma of breast feeding in public, which I personally dont have a problem with, I think it more that male partners (husbands, boyfriends, baby daddy’s) that don’t want other people to see their ladies breasts. I have two relatives who have had boob jobs, and they both lost most of the feeling in their nipples and neither one can sleep comfortably. I would never get implants, unless I got cancer and had to remove mine.

    • A lot of women end up on my blog because they’ve googled phrases like “I’m straight but find breasts erotic” or people refer this blog post on Yahoo Answers (and the like) when a woman asks, “I’ve always been attracted to men, but I find breasts erotic. Am I secretly gay or bi?”

      It’s a common issue.

    • According to this: article, straight men are aroused by penises. So unless you want to claim that penises are not sexual, I think we can safely say that the tribal argument is irrelevant. Breasts and penises are inherently erotic, and tribes just happen to get lots of free porn.

      • Here are the opening lines of the link you sent: “Straight men are as aroused by penises as homosexuals.”

        But this is a misreading of the research. Researchers, Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam, were only looking at what men searched for on the internet, not whether they got aroused by it. That’s an assumption made by the authors of the article.

        Men could be searching for penises out of curiosity. Wondering how theirs compares, for instance.

        Another study that actually wired men up and showed them porn found that straight men became engorged by hetero images and gay men by gay images. (Women were not consistent.)

        In studies of men and porn, some hetero guys do describe starting out interested in women only, but when that becomes blase from over-exposure, they move on to other things. The focus on ejaculation (on women’s faces and bodies) comes to be a turn-on for many. But after a while the thrill of seeing penises ejaculate can create eroticism around the penis itself for some. But that is learned. It wasn’t exciting at first — not until the association was made.

        And if penises are naturally arousing, you’d expect that straight women would get all excited about them. Yet (unlike porn’s depiction) women are more likely to feel nauseated by texted penises. See this post: Sexy Weiner?
        http://broadblogs.com/2011/06/10/sexy-weiner/

      • You must’ve missed the part where the tribal nation was not aroused, so much for ‘free porn’, ugh…your misinterpretation proves that the breast fetish IS a result of social conditioning. Also, penises and breasts are completely different body parts and it’s unnerving that you would equate an organ expressly used for sex with a body part that nourishes children.

  18. Good points… but if this were true, then my husband of 12 years who has seen my breasts daily would not STILL is attracted to them, BUT he IS… LOL I found this interesting someone else shared: “Humans in every culture recognize firm shapely breasts as a fertility symbol and therefore sexually attractive and stimulating, in France, the idea behind topless sunbathing was to desexualize breasts, it failed and now French feminists want topless sunbathing banned. The reasons that women topless isn’t allowed are down to one anti sex social movement or another, religion and feminism being the two main influences”

    • While some feminists wanted toplessness to de-eroticize breasts, that was not the motivation of most women on topless European beaches. It was the style and sexy. But it did have the effect feminists wanted.  toplessnss became no big deal.

      Most men who’ve responded to this issue have told me that while they continue to find their wives breasts attractive over time, the feeling isn’t the same heightened fetish that they experienced at first. New women’s breasts get them way more aroused. 

      Also, for the breast fetish to fall away completely, men must see them constantly. This can happen when all women are topless all the time, as with tribal societies (where the fetish is never created in the first place — the fetish is created through hiding breasts or by hiding and selectively revealing them + signifying them as sexual). In societies where toplessness is common, but where where breasts are still usually covered, the fetish is greatly reduced, as in Europe in the 80s. Or, men who are overexposed to breasts from too much porn actually stop finding them arousing.

      Also, see my response to xpusostomus, below.

      Size preference varies greatly by culture, for instance, tribal societies that lack bras prefer small breasts because they sag less. (When breasts have no support, bigger one’s become long and tubular.)

      But the last sentence isn’t correct. Feminists have often advocated for toplessness. 

      • I hardly think men’s desire for new toys has any bearing on whether breasts are sexy.

      • No one’s saying breasts aren’t sexy any more than that legs aren’t sexy. But when a man has been exposed to the same breasts over time they lose the intense fetish appeal that breasts have when seen for the first time.

  19. I dispute some of Dr. Platt’s facts and conclusions and am disappointed because her other posts are really informative.

    1. She takes it for granted that tribal men don’t factor breasts into their assessment of a woman’s sexiness – her only evidence is that they don’t cover them or make a big deal out of them. But we don’t make a big deal out of mens’ hip-to-waist ratios – in fact, women don’t even consciously notice it much of the time. However, we know from experiments that certain hip-to-waist ratios are extremely attractive to women. Also, we do sexualize parts of the body that are not covered (foot fetishes are very common), so the fact that tribal peoples often don’t cover breasts isn’t good evidence that they don’t like them.

    2. We have some independent reasons to suspect that breasts may be sexy cross-culturally. We know that some hormones associated with sexual activity will affect the breasts and reproductive organs simultaneously – in a sense, they are hormonally wired together. This breast-vagina connection gives any man a reason to regard breasts as extensions of a womans sexuality. Also, breast size is an (extremely) rough indicator of hormonal levels related to fertility, and therefore, to sex. So, factoring breasts into the attractiveness equation may help a man reproduce successfully. Many primitive cultures understood this, hence the representation of fertility goddess figurines with huge breasts. Also, symmetry is a universally sexy attribute, and it can be observed readily by looking at breasts which are often near-mirror images of each other that lie on the same horizontal plane.

    It makes sense that some women want to portray the attraction to breasts as shallow. Women are constantly objectified, evaluated sexually, and have to deal with the threat of rape. This is a lot of pressure, and male fascination with breasts contributes to it. Anything that diminishes the validity of male fascination with breasts can be comforting, and I’m all for it. But it’s complicated and should be treated as though it is complicated.

    • Traits that aid survival are more likely than others to be successfully passed on. If large breasts were so good at indicating fertility and aiding survival, then genes for large breasts would be passed on more often than genes for small breasts. And yet, when there is low obesity and no implants (like the US in the 1950s) 70% of women are an A or B-cup – considered small today.

      Sure, when a woman’s body weight is so low that she is no longer fertile, her breasts will be smaller, but that is completely different from perfectly healthy women who are an A or B-cup.

      Of course, the notion that large breasts reflect physical superiority was evidenced at the Olympics, where the women competitors all had enormous breasts. Or, turning to intellectual superiority, go to any academic department – Harvard, Yale, Princeton — and you’ll see that all the female faculty are of the most buxom sort.

      Not.

      Even the breast-vagina (clitoris, really) connection you mention would argue for the “superiority” of smaller breasts. Smaller breasted women usually feel this connection more strongly. And it’s probably in the service of getting women to BREAST FEED (since it feels good), anyway!

      And, tribal societies tend to prefer smaller breasts (even if they don’t experience a breast fetish) because without bras large breasts get long and tubular. Seen a National Geographic lately? (Maybe that’s why we have so many smaller-breasted women today.)

      Also, I was referring to the BREAST FETISH, not general attractiveness – and I think most people got that. (I specifically used the term “breast fetish” in the post). There’s no fetish involving waist-hip ratios.

      People often use evolutionary psychology to justify the status quo. In this case, justifying US men’s obsession with big breasts – “They can’t help it, they are just looking for the best genes” — a fixation missing in many parts of the world, like Europe.

      Do you get that if men in our culture preferred small breasts, all of the above would be used to explain that status quo?

      Who cares if the obsession unnecessarily objectifies women and crushes their self-esteem (almost no women feel good about their bodies, and a perceived failure to live up to the standards of the big breast fetish is one big reason why). It also leaves many wonderful women out of the running – while leaving many men missing out on wonderful mates, even as the big breast fetish leads too many women to do UNHEALTHY things like get breast implants.

      Here’s another reason why objectification and the big breast fetish hurts men, by the way:

      Does Sexual Objectification Lead to Bad Sex?
      http://broadblogs.com/2011/07/27/does-sexual-objectification-lead-to-bad-sex/

      • I hope that our interactions on this blog are warmer from now on. After all, I only bother you because I think you’re good (and because I think there are few things more important that women’s issues.)

        I think we’ve been using a false dichotomy when it comes to the origin of male attraction to breasts. We say “Is it hard-wired or is it just socialized”. I think there is a middle ground I’ll describe here.

        Almost universally, humans consider prototypically masculine things sexy in men and prototypically feminine things sexy in women. A lot of the time, the things that are considered feminine are constructed by society (Japanese think that talking a lot isn’t masculine, but the Azores Portuguese don’t think that.). But pronounced breasts aren’t socially constructed – they are present in almost all women and absent in almost all men. Hence they will represent femininity by raw behavioristic association and therefore will be a focus of male sexual desire. Does that mean attraction to breasts is hard-wired, No. But it’s not deeply sociological either – a man raised by wolves who had only seen men and women from afar would associate breasts with those creatures he wants to mate with (women).

        Does that mean that the appeal of large breasts is hard-wired? No. But it may be a non-sociological default state for men based on association (of course, it may be a default – that doesn’t mean that societies won’t change it). If I write the word BREAST in caps it may get our attention more than if I write “breast” in lower case. There may be something similar going on when the wolf-man sees large breasts vs. small breasts. If the breasts are big, the signal in his brain that says “Hey look, breasts” may be a little louder than if the breasts were small. This may result in more arousal/attraction.

      • I’m glad you like my blog. Just saying the breast fetish is socially created.

    • You claim to dispute the Dr.’s conclusions and yet you proceed to make several unsubstantiated claims without citing a single source. How disappointing….

      Also, your claim about fertility idols doesn’t hold water among the many other claims you’ve made. The breasts on those statues were larger probably because a woman’s breasts become engorged with milk, not from any kind of hypersexualization.

    • In that case, beards are a typical sign of masculinity. They’re a result of male hormones, and thus indicate fertility (i.e. the man has reached puberty). Then, the longer the beard, the sexier. Women should be all crazy around the world for big beards….
      Oh, well, they aren’t.

      You’re also forgetting that nipples are an erogenous zone for men as much as they are for women (in fact, many women don’t have much sensibility in their breasts), and they can also reach orgasm by nipple stimulation alone. But still, society doesn’t regard male nipples as sexual as female nipples.

      • Your comment actually assumes that the breast fetish is biologically based, when it is not. And in fact, men in cultures where women’s hair is covered come to see hair as erotic. I believe it was on this post that one of my commenters described his experience in the Arab world that way. But I also had a student from Iran who lived there when the dress code was very strict. She said that on occasion she would slip her veil back a bit and watched the men go crazy from her “hair cleavage.”

  20. I found this article interesting, but I have some objections to your assertion. Firstly, I think I’ll be pretty comfortable in a tribal society with exposed breasts and all. However, I would have a more difficult time if that were the case in these parts. Let’s just say it was never an issue for me when my grandma went topless.

    Secondly, you claim that it’s not natural for men to find breasts attractive and you base your claim on effects of overexposure to porn etc. I can’t help but wonder if the American men are experiencing a case of ”oversexualization” while the European men are experiencing a case of ”desexualization” or more accurately, ”desensitization”. In other words, there’s a middle ground with American and European men on both extremes. Afterall, we all know the effect of repeated stimuli which by no means imply that there was never a natural affinity involved at the beginning.

    We observe the same effect in drug addicts. They keep requiring a higher dosage to achieve the same high, but that does not mean that this higher dosage is their natural disposition. No, it’s just a case of natural stimuli becoming ”dulled” due to overexposure. The proof is in the example you gave about the man that seeks out more ”extreme” stuff. Based on these objections, I feel your conclusion on this issue was a bit off. Nevertheless, it was an interesting and thought-provoking read. Thanks.

    • Overexposure to porn was not the only example I gave. I gave 4:

      1. Tribal men who constantly see breasts don’t fetish them
      2. 1980s European men largely lost the fetish with overexposure
      3. Overexposure to porn leads to loss of fetish
      4. Western women learn the fetish, too. No biological reason for that

      All four must be kept in mind, as they make the argument together.

      You say you’d be comfortable in a tribal society, but consider that, as a whole, breasts in those societies are defined as non-sexy. We all, then, learn that definition, so that could play a role in your non-interest. That said, I’ve dated guys who told me about their fetish reaction to those breasts when first encountering a National Geographic. Wouldn’t surprise me if part of the reason National Geographic uses those pics is to appeal to the fetish. So it affects other Western males, even if not you.

      Based on tribal societies, breasts do not appear to be naturally arousing, but become so as they are hidden. And, tribal societies were the norm until more recent history. Consider this:

      An Iranian student of mine told me that when she lived in Iran years ago (when they were more strict than today) she sometimes let a bit of her hair show because it drove the men wild. If all the world had women cover their hair, except small tribal societies, you’d probably assume that “hair cleavage” was naturally sexually arousing, but that tribal societies had lost simply lost the fetish from overexposure.

      Fetishes are created by covering. Which is what non-tribal societies do.

      Just seeing your grandma’s breasts isn’t enough to overcome a fetish. The whole society would need to go topless.

      And how do you explain that women learn the breast fetish, too? There is no biological reason for that.

      And if you think that the breast fetish helps women and men in the bedroom, it doesn’t. Especially not in the long run as men lose the fetished response to their wive’s breasts. The focus on women’s bodies hurts both women and men sexually, and in a variety of ways.

      Does Sexual Objectification Lead to Bad Sex?
      http://broadblogs.com/2011/07/27/does-sexual-objectification-lead-to-bad-sex/

      The appeal of sexuality goes far beyond visual stimulation, which is largely learned by men in this culture — not in all cultures. (And what male-embodied fetish do men offer women to get women aroused, anyway?)

      Generally speaking, I don’t respond to long rants. Rarely ever even read them. I made an exception here.

      • The example of women learning the fetish is a somewhat stronger argument. It’s an entirely valid point, but the evidence you gave on this point was of women looking at pictures of nude women. I’m assuming nudity includes exposure of other body parts besides the breast, so how can you single out the breast as the sole cause of arousal in these women?

        No wonder the bare breast tribes are almost extinct today- evolution at work. Time will reveal the effect of the European sexual desensitization on their population. Why do some women get orgasms just from fondling their breasts if it’s not a sexual organ? I really don’t think there’s enough evidence to rule out biology here.

      • Ok, which part of women’s bodies is so intriguing to women, if not the breasts? Having experienced the phenomenon myself, it’s what I look at. I don’t care about seeing a woman’s hair, legs, arms, stomach… See them all the time. And genitals don’t interest me much (or men either, judging from what men google search for — which is interesting. They’re inherently more sexual)

        And here is a sampling of terms used to get to my blog:

        is it normal for women to have breast fetish
        im not gay why am i attracted to breasts
        straight girl with boob fetish
        straight women who like breasts
        why would a woman be aroused by viewing another womans large breasts

        My blog has also been referred to on forums like “Yahoo Answers” when questions like the following are posed:

        I’m a female and not a lesbian but i get turned on seeing women naked than seeing men naked. What the heck is wrong with me! …

        OR

        I am a woman and enjoy watching lesbian porn and thinking about girl on girl when i get myself off. I’ve never been attracted to another woman only guys. I would never want to have sex with a woman. Does this make me a lesbian or bi?

        Also, yes, breasts are aroused by stimulation. Ever occur to you that that enjoyment might encourage women to breast feed? The real purpose of breasts?

        And until quite recently in human history, ALL of the world was tribal. Yet people reproduced without the fetish!

        The reason there are few tribal societies today isn’t because tribal people don’t reproduce, but because most humans advanced in technology and moved out of a tribal life — especially important in cold climates where people can’t live in the elements, hunting and gathering.

        I generally won’t post huge rants. I made an exception to your last post. Other questions you brought up in this post were answered in my last response (I recently added a few more points).

      • I’m sorry about the long rant. I think I’m hard-wired for long rants, haha! Thanks for your responses though, great points! I’ve learnt much so far. Please, bear with me one more time though. I value your opinion on this.

        I now think you’re right in saying that it is a learned behaviour. However, isn’t all sexual behavior learned then, including the very act? I mean we try something, we like it, continue it and introduce it to others.

        The first humans (hypothetically speaking) must not have known what sex was until they tried it. They liked it so they continued it. They discovered (learned) a way to obtain pleasure and biology supported it. Eventually, they would discover (learn) other ways to maximize that pleasure i.e. breast, leg, bum fetishes, sex positions etc. All supported by biology.

        P.S. I’m totally with you when it comes to the objectification of women. I’m just trying to be objective here.

      • I come from an area of academia which sees the world as socially constructed, in terms of what things mean. Though there are some instincts: a baby’s sucking, a need for food, and the basic sex drive, for instance. How those things manifest, though, varies from culture to culture. The way we discovered the social construction of meaning is by discovering that different cultures see/understand things differently.

        And sorry about calling your comment a rant. That’s how “on-and-on” can appear to me.

      • Ok, thanks a lot. I really appreciate the article and you taking the time to respond to my questions and objections. It was very enlightening.

  21. I’m fascinated by the varied perspectives presented in this chain of comments related to the topic presented. It’s interesting to find that here and primarily in other discussions on this topic throughout social media, western men may argue the point of their attraction to breasts in a subconscious effort to affirm their hetero status, while western women at times belabor the issue with the attempt to draw the correlation that “I have breasts” and “men find me attractive” therefore “breasts are what make me attractive/are my source of validation”.

    For those who are interested in giving this subject a closer look, I highly recommend the documentary Busting Out, which can be found on Netflix (watch instantly) and other film-hosting sites.

    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/busting-out/

  22. This is the first evidence I have heard against the “biologically hardwired” theory. This is fascinating to me because it is one more step towards understanding the media’s inherent power in our (and many other) cultures.
    This entry also started me thinking on a totally different subject. I wonder what would have happened if they had done an identical study with groups of homosexual women and heterosexual men? What would their reactions be? Would there be a difference in their arousal when shown pictures of breasts? I would think so considering the fact that the women have a pair of their own… but based on what you have found, I am probably wrong. Well, I would be very interested to see that study’s results.

  23. Well I am glad to say that after reading this blog, I no longer think that man only have breast on their mind. I have always felt that way due to the fact that I have a “huge rack”, as said by my guys friends. I always felt as if that is the only good part of my body that attracts a guy to me. But now I will have an open mind when it comes to talking to guys without feeling as if all they are looking at is my chest. One thing that I found interesting about the blog is how it’s states that, “Even men who are overexposed to porn can lose interest”… I feel that this is true in all aspects besides nudity. Anyone doing or seeing the same thing over and over again will just build immunity.

  24. Since large breasts are so highly portrayed in movies, media, etc, it makes sense how women would feel self conscious if they don’t have large breasts and that they have to have them to be beautiful or have a boyfriend. I remember being in 7th grade and since I was skinnier then the average girl at my age I was what you would call flat chested. I would stuff my bra to feel better about myself. Looking back at that now it makes me sad that I felt I had to do that to be accepted by both my peers and feel accepting of myself. A woman is beautiful no matter what size her breasts are and when you find someone who values you even if your breasts aren’t double d’s you realize that large breasts don’t matter. It is wierd that girls can get more stimulated by looking at a naked woman then a naked man. However, it all comes down to the fact that women are seen as sex objects while men arent. I think its dumb that girls feel if they get breast implants they will feel beautiful and all of their problems will go away. As many of these women have experienced, this isn’t the case and large breasts don’t solve problems.

  25. It’s so funny, every time I see this title I think, “are you sure?” it makes me smile.

  26. It makes sense that after reading this post that what becomes attractive and appealing to people is what it covered up and hidden. Breast are considered very sexy in our culture because it is not presentable for women to walk around exposing them. While in other cultures that is perfectly normal and is not considered attractive at all. In other cultures you have described to us how it could be just a womens neck or hair that is considered irresistable in other peoples cultures and when people from our culture hear that it just sounds so strange to us because it is in our cultures norm to expose that. I guess it is true that you always want what you can’t have. But I was wondering how does this situation work for men in diffrent cultures? I can not really think of ways in other cultures that parts of men are considered dirastically sexier than others?

  27. Great article. I’ve been telling this to people for ages now, that breasts aren’t more sexual per se than necks or ears or feet. They’re there to feeding babies, that’s all. It’s as if women had eroticized men’s Adam’s apple just because we haven’t it.

    However, you’re wrong about the experiment that measured vaginal blood flow. That experiment, as well as several others conducted by the same researchers and other ones, concluded that women’s bodies respond more or less THE SAME to all kinds of stimuli: men, women, consensual sex, non-consensual sex, even sex between animals.
    The most common theory is that women evolved to lubricate automatically in response to any sexual stimuli, to prevent damage during rape. So it’s not really that women are educated to find breasts erotic, it’s just the body responding to something sexual, no matter if you find it attractive or repulsive (this is specially clear in the experiment that used consensual and rape scenes; men’s genitals responded only to consensual sex, while women’s responded to both, even when they found the rape scene disgusting).

    • Thanks. Glad you liked the post.

      Otherwise, depends on whether the women were watching men/wmn having sex (with themselves or others) or whether they were simply looking at a nude body.

      Equivilent arousal if sex-oriented (hence, need for protection).

      More arousal toward women if just looking at bodies.

      Also, when wearing glasses that track eye movement, and watching a nude couple in foreplay, men looked only at the woman. Women spent half their time looking at the man’s face. Other half at the woman’s body.

      More evidence that the breast fetish is learned by both sexes and that women have culturally come to be seen as the sexier sex.

      All this is discussed in this NYTimes piece:

      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/25/magazine/25desire-t.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=What%20Do%20Women%20Want?%20bonobos&st=csehttp://&

      • As for women showing more physical arousal to the female nude than the male nude, here’s the trick: It turns out that the two nudes didn’t have the same erotic content in reality. The naked man was simply walking in the beach, and his penis was completely flaccid. However, the naked woman was shown exercising, opening and closing the legs, and thus showing genitalia in a way that could be interpreted as of sexual nature. Thus the physical response to the sexual cue.
        This was explained in the original research here: http://files.embedit.in/embeditin/files/45IleOWgm/1/file.pdf
        But of course, the press just ignored this important detail.

        However, your theory is perfectly true when you examine the subjective responses of the women, instead of the physical ones. If you look at the research data, you’ll see that straight women rated the heterosexual sex scene as the most arousing, but then rated the gay sex scene lower than the lesbian sex scene (actually, they rated higher the scene of a solitary man masturbating than the gay porn). This is where I see how much the homophobia and prejudices of straight men have affected the minds of women. Both straight and lesbian porn is seen as “normal” and “acceptable” in society, but gay porn is seen as deviant and disgusting.
        At least for those “weird” women, because gay male erotica is a very common “turn-on” for straight women around the world. There are entire genres, like slash fiction and yaoi, dedicated to this (gay male erotica made by women for women). On the other hand, there’s not a market of lesbian erotica for straight women.
        That’s why I wonder why those women rated the gay porn so low. The only explanation I have is that they had the same homophobic prejudices of men. And they were AMERICAN. If the same study was conducted in Japan, where yaoi is so popular among girls, I guess they’d had found a completely different result.

        As for the eye-track movement study, I agree that the differences are due exclusively to culture. Also, I suppose that they used some commercial porn movie for the study, instead of making a new one, and the focus of those movies is always on the woman. Probably the women didn’t look so much at the male body because there wasn’t anything to watch in the first place.
        As for the men watching just the woman, I don’t buy it. If men didn’t like to watch male bodies and penises, why would they put so many scenes of fellatio in pornography, why would they seek actors with large penises? They were probably just repressing themselves because they knew they were tracking their eyes.

      • Re the trick: It turns out that the naked man was simply walking in the beach w/flaccid penis while the naked woman was exercising, showing genitalia in a way that could be interpreted as of sexual nature. But the press just ignored this important detail.

        Actually, the press didn’t ignore that detail and I discussed it in a separate blog post: Women Learn the Breast Fetish, Too http://broadblogs.com/2010/11/29/women-learn-the-breast-fetish-too/

        You can read what I wrote there. For now I’ll just repeat that this theory you cite comes from someone who is only an expert in biology but not culture. I chose to consider how culture/socialization could have played a role. After all, as I note a woman is no more likely to be penetrated by a vagina than a flaccid penis.

        Most people in our culture assume that all of our responses are biologically based and not cultural. Certainly a biologist would have that same bias. I sought to consider how culture could be having effects.

        Next you suggest that: As for the eye-track movement study, I suppose that they used some commercial porn where the focus is always on the woman. Probably the women didn’t look so much at the male body because there wasn’t anything to watch in the first place.

        If they had shown that sort of movie it would have been useless for their purpose. Why track people’s eyes to see what they look at if the male body is not shown?

        And if you read comments from women above (or from http://broadblogs.com/2010/11/29/women-learn-the-breast-fetish-too/) you will see that many of them agree with me that they find the female body more erotic than the male, even though they’re hetero. When I talk about this in my classes many women often nod their heads in agreement.

        My alternate theory of socialization came out of my own experience. I was puzzled because I had always been attracted to males — boys when I was younger and men as I aged. And I had always ignored women. They just didn’t seem interesting to me sexually. One woman who was very beautiful and sexy actually did want to have sex with me one time, and while I thought she looked very sexy the thought of sex with her made me nauseous. Yet I have always seen the female body is more erotic and I have heard other women say the same thing. I could never understand the inconsistency until I got into sociology and the social construction of sexuality and learned that the breast fetish is not experienced in all cultures. I began to see from a variety of sources that women in our culture learn the breast fetish along with men. And if men learn it why wouldn’t women? We are all exposed to the same sorts of images and talk about how erotic breasts are.

        Here are a couple of other posts I’ve written on the topic:
        Women Seeing Women as Sexier than Men
        http://broadblogs.com/2011/01/10/women-seeing-women-as-sexier-than-men/
        Women, Objects of Desire (Even for Women?)
        http://broadblogs.com/2011/10/03/women-objects-of-desire-even-for-women/

        Maybe you’ve never been drawn to breasts so don’t get it. Culture creates patterned behavior in variously shaped bell-curve forms. So some people are less affected than others for a variety of reasons.

      • You seem to assume that I’m against the idea of the breast fetish being a cultural development. I’m not, I’m 100% sure that it has to do ONLY with culture.
        In fact, I had once a big discussion with a group of girls because I told them that I didn’t find the female body attractive, and the only reason people found it more attractive is because of society, and they went on a rampage, shouting things like “How can you say that!? A woman’s body is a piece of art!”, and so on, and so on.
        However, those girls came from South America and had a very sexist (and paradoxically homophobic) attitude and education. I’m from Spain, so I don’t know, maybe here the breast fetish isn’t as important as in America. And it’s usual that women watch male strip shows in parties, or crowd around male go-go’s in discos (certainly, they DON’T watch female strip shows, and don’t go to those clubs).

        My only objection is to the interpretation of Chiver’s study and the physical response of those women as indicator of cultural bias. The same study found also physical arousal in women when viewing bonobos mating, even when there’s no such a thing as a “bonobo fetish”. Also, after reading this study: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/12/28/0956797610394660.abstract is hard to conclude that women would have a “rape fetish” while men didn’t. Also, notice that in both studies there was a significant disconnection between their minds and their bodies. The body reacted, but it wasn’t acknowledged by the mind, which supports the idea of the reaction being just a protective reflex and hard-wired.

        As for some straight women feeling a strange attraction for other women, it may be due in some cases to cultural distortions, but in others, it may be just that many people isn’t completely and absolutely straight. There are lots and lots of straight men that are aroused by gay porn and the sight of penises, or that have gay fantasies (no joke, just look in Yahoo Answers or simply google “straight but likes gay porn” or “straight but likes penis” or whatever comes to your mind). And this happens even when men aren’t sexualized in media.

      • You’ve said repeatedly that you think the fetish is learned. But only by men. One of your comments makes sense only if deep down you think it’s biological, even as you say it’s not. Men learn it. But women don’t? Why wouldn’t they?

        Otherwise, I already know, and have dealt with, everything that you just said. I’ve already made my argument, several times, as to why I disagree with Chiver’s biological-only based interpretation of the data – which she says she doesn’t fully understand, herself. She says she’s giving her best guess.

        Arousal may be socially constructed, or not. A fetish is a social construction (whether breast fethish or so-called rape fantasy). Arousal (however unconsciously) by bonobos is not. That’s instinctual.

        I’m also aware of bi-sexuality. That doesn’t fit my, or many other women’s, experience.

        A few more posts related to your comments:

        Why Aren’t Male Strippers Sexy?
        http://broadblogs.com/2012/07/09/why-arent-male-strippers-sexy/
        Gays Find Strippers Sexy; Women Don’t?
        http://broadblogs.com/2012/07/16/gays-find-strippers-sexy-women-dont/

        Magic Mike Turns Tables on Objectification, Desire
        http://broadblogs.com/2012/07/18/magic-mike-turns-tables-on-objectification-desire/

        Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze
        http://broadblogs.com/2011/10/24/man-as-object-reversing-the-gaze/
        Women Gazing At Men
        http://broadblogs.com/2012/07/23/women-gazing-at-men/

        Men, Women React to Male/Female Nudity
        http://broadblogs.com/2011/10/12/gendered-reactions-to-male-and-female-nudity/

      • No, I haven’t said at any point that the breast fetish was learned only by men. I’m aware it can be learned also by women, and I’ve known many women that think that the female body is more attractive than the male one, or that think that breasts are naturally erotic. I’ve said before that the subjective responses of women in Chiver’s study are a sign of a learned fetish and/or of homophobic prejudice (i.e. perceiving lesbian porn as more arousing than gay porn).
        What I don’t see as a sign of a learned fetish is the PHYSICAL response.
        In the first study conducted by Chivers (here: http://www.canyons.edu/faculty/labriem/psych230/sexdifferencesinspecificitysexualarousal.pdf) is even more clear. The physical arousal of straight women is almost perfectly equal to all stimuli (straight, gay and lesbian). If the physical response was influenced by cultural fetishes or prejudice, then it would be much higher towards straight and lesbian porn, than towards gay porn, but it’s not.
        In fact, the physical response towards gay porn is much, much higher than the subjective response towards that same kind of porn. This suggests that fetishes or homophobia have an influence over women’s minds and perceptions, but not over the body itself. For the body, all stimuli are equally sexual, no matter if it’s a lesbian scene (which is usually considered “sexy” in American society) or a gay scene (which is usually considered repulsive in that same society).

      • Well, you do actually see a difference when women look at just bodies, rather than people having sex.

        But thanks for your comments and links. You’re clearly a thoughtful woman of intelligence.

      • Thanks. I find the theme of this blog quite interesting. This issue should be explored more often, since it has such negative consequences for women.
        Geez, one woman at my ex-job was going to have breast implants very soon, despite having already medium-to-big breasts. And it turned out that other woman at the office had also breast implants. This in a workcenter that had only 10 women, counting me!
        The world is going crazy.

      • I think it is sad when women feel like they need to mutilate themselves whether for their self-esteem or because they think that’s what it takes to attract men. They will often lose sexual sensations in their breasts, too. And it’s basically unhealthy.

        Did you read my post today? A bit of an antidote.
        http://broadblogs.com/2012/12/12/fat-actress-is-most-desirable-woman/

      • Yeah, that was refreshing to read. Shows how the media has the power to change people’s minds towards the better, instead of towards the worse, as usual.

      • A good sign, for sure.

  28. I completely agree, most men and women believe that being attracted to breasts is a natural male instinct. Whether or not men are attracted to breasts depends on the culture. In our culture women are sexualized that is why breasts are so desired. If the female body and sometimes the male body weren’t only thought of as sexual objects then maybe people will would be more comfortable with their bodies and not feel ashamed of them. Men use the excuse “I can’t help but like them, it’s in my nature” but that’s just an excuse.

  29. So what do we do to not sexualize body parts so much? I can look at a naked woman who is not doing anything sexual and not get aroused, because she isn’t doing anything sexual. But breasts spend more time in the view of the imagination than the view of the eyes. I understand how that gives them power. It’s like any form of censorship. Censorship just gives more power to what is censored. But we can’t just decide to all walk around naked, so my question is how can we change our minds to just look at the human body and see it as a human body? My answer to my own question would be to just make people aware of this and spread the news. If one searches on the internet for a picture of a naked man or woman, it is usually in a sexual pose or situation. So other than informing people of what is happening how do we change the way this is going? And another issue is that my friends can’t look at a picture of a naked man without looking away as if it is wrong, or the same situation for an “unattractive” woman. Like talking about whether a man is attractive. Women can point out if another woman is attractive, but men are scared to say that a man is attractive. I don’t mean to stray from the subject, I just don’t know what to do.

    • I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with you getting aroused by seeing breasts.

      The problems come when either men expect breasts to look a particular way that is fake such that women would need to get surgery to achieve that look — which is ridiculous. Another problem is when men can only see women as their breasts: When men turn women into sex objects – things that are only about sex and men’s pleasure and they can’t see the whole woman. Which can lead to things like use and abuse. Also, being rude to the woman you’re with by staring at some other woman’s breasts.

      See this post:

      Anything Good About Being A Sex Object?
      http://broadblogs.com/2011/05/23/anything-good-about-being-a-sex-object/

      On the homophobia that keeps men from being able to acknowledge attractive men, maybe have a conversation about it? You could start by saying the topic came up in class and what do you think about it?

  30. It is strange to be the one to point this out, but where does the standard for this “breast fetish” come from? Why are we using African tribes to prove that the breast fetish in America is learned? Africans are exposed to breast, therefore they lose their interest. Perhaps, it isn’t Western cultures the learn breast fetish, maybe it is the over-exposed tribes that have lost it.

    • I guess you didn’t read the other comments. Granted, there are a lot of them. But you aren’t the first.

      First, in my post I mentioned that women learn the breast fetish, too. If it were natural, hetero women wouldn’t experience it. For more on that see this post:

      Women Learn the Breast Fetish, Too
      http://broadblogs.com/2010/11/29/women-learn-the-breast-fetish-too/

      So yeah, in Western societies both men and women come to experience the breast fetish on some level whereas in tribal cultures neither men nor women do.

      In a follow-up article I write about how even women come to see women as the sexier sex. Hetero women shouldn’t see women as the sexier sex. That would have to be learned, and I describe how it is:

      Women Seeing Women as Sexier than Men
      http://broadblogs.com/2011/01/10/women-seeing-women-as-sexier-than-men/

      And consider student of mine who is from Iran. She was there soon after the revolution when women were expected to cover themselves completely except for their face. During that time hair became a fetish because it was always covered. She told me that every now and then she would pull her veil back a little bit and watch the men go wild over her “hair cleavage.”

      In America prior to the 1920s flappers, even seeing an ankle was very sexy and scandalous. (Same with Afghanistan under the Taliban today.) I was looking through some old family photos and one of my grandmothers was pulling her skirt up above her ankle to be very sexy. I couldn’t even comprehend what she was doing until someone explained what was happening.

      So there are a number of ways in which you see that when you cover, or selectively hide and reveal (because a body part is deemed sexual) that body part becomes highly sexualized and fetished.

      So much of what we think is biological is actually all about the social construction of reality.

  31. Media definitely plays a huge role in the way society perceives a naked body. For example, Victoria Secret sponsors an annual fashion show which is televised and broadcast online. They promote and advertise the show among the male media outlets. They succeed by creating a hype regarding the fashion show and men love watching the models strut themselves in lingerie. Perhaps we need to guide our culture on not to portray a women’s body in such sexual manner.
    We should not interpret women showing their breast in public (breast feeding or sunbathing nude) as appalling. Every time I see a women breast feed in public I am happy that women chose to breast feed. Because it’s not easy! I breastfed both my daughters and it’s not as easy as just popping out a breast and putting your child to suck. Its dedication and commitment and we as society and a culture need to promote the benefits of breastfeeding.

  32. I do agree that men are not hard wired to find breasts attractive. The research shows that men in different cultures find different things about a women to be attractive. In America I find it very funny that men seem to be hard wired to notice anyone showing skin. Doesnt usually matter what is being shown; legs, waist, cleavage, or the back. Out of the corner of there eye they will notice any female showing skin. The facination is what I find to be very funny. The few times I have been around friends of friends that are from Europe, they seem to make fun of how immature American men seem to be. Over all, American men are not hard wired to find breasts attractive, it just so happens that in America, women seem to be more covered up.

  33. It is no positive thing that breasts are highly sexualized in our culture — just consider the breastfeeding deficit in this country. People who dissapprove of public breastfeeding tend to argue that breasts are inherently sexual, but this cannot be reasonably shown, particularly in light of the primary function of feeding babies. What those people fail to accept is that this (sexually arousing) aspect of breasts clearly falls under the category of Fetish: note definition [3.] from dictionary.com:
    Psychology . any object or nongenital part of the body that causes a habitual erotic response or fixation.

    • “People who dissapprove of public breastfeeding tend to argue that breasts are inherently sexual” is crazy, and goes completely against the primary purpose of breasts.

      So true. Thanks.

  34. I can’t and wouldn’t attempt to say whether or not breasts being sexual is biological or not. I do tend to lean toward the view that it is biological based on the fact that no other primate has breasts until they are needing to feed their young. Though I have been trying to research and think about views to the contrary. I appreciate your point of view on the subject and love the fact that you’ve discussed it. However I’ve read through the comments and replies and it doesn’t seem to me like any of the arguments presented have proven that it’s not biological.

    The one thing I did not see answered is how we know that these other cultures didn’t just become desensitized to breasts. I read your responses and didn’t see how they proved that other cultures didn’t become desensitized. Every example you gave showed ways in which these cultures actually could have become desensitized to breasts. I have done a lot of research on men becoming desensitized by porn (probably because I was afraid the same would happen to me!) and found that men can watch porn to the point of not being aroused by general sex anymore and they need something more out there and weird in order to get aroused. I don’t think that proves that men aren’t naturally aroused by normal sex.

    Also I’m not sure about the anecdotal evidence that you knew someone who said Iranian men went wild when they saw her “hair cleavage”. Perhaps they did and perhaps she was imagining this, maybe they were trying to make her uncomfortable. I’ve heard many stories about men in these countries getting angry when a women revealed too much of her hair but never turned on. I attended an international university and a lot of the men there were from places where the women covered their hair and none of them discussed feeling excitement and arousal when they first moved to England-a country where no one had their hair covered. In fact I used to make jokes about that just to get to some of them. Since I wear extensions I used to ask them if that was the equivalent of getting huge breast implants. I also used to flip my hair around (jokingly of course) and ask them if it was turning them on. They all knew this was a joke and not all of them were amused but they did explain to me that it wasn’t about the hair getting them turned on and that wasn’t why they insisted their women cover their hair. And yes ankles used to be seen as sexy but it’s never been described to me as being an instant turn on – even back in the day. Hair and legs are still sexy even in our culture. I find that something is usually scandalous because of sexism and not because of how much it turns a guy on.

    Also I really don’t see how women being turned on by breasts proves that it’s learned. That presupposes that there are only two types of sexuality-heterosexuality and homosexuality. But there are a lot of people that believe sexuality is on a scale. Some people are more or less heterosexual depending on where they are on the scale. Not saying that’s fact but if it is then it more then explains why a woman may be aroused by breasts even though she knows she’s heterosexual. I’m sorry if I didn’t pay attention but how large were these experiments you‘re citing? I ask that because not all women are aroused by breasts. I am very attracted to large breasts only but one of my close friends and my mother have no idea why they do anything for me. (yes we have that open a relationship!) My best friend is technically a heterosexual girl and yet she gets very aroused when she watches lesbian porn or sees vaginas. I think vaginas are gross but I am very turned on by penises. I also get more turned on by gay porn then by lesbian porn. And there are many studies showing that heterosexual men will get aroused by gay porn but does that prove that they learned this?

    And what about gay men- most of them aren’t attracted to breasts so why didn’t they learn the attraction? Or is your assertion that everyone learned it they’re just lying to themselves? And why are gay men (and me) attracted to penises but many women aren’t? Do you believe this attraction is biological or always learned? And as far as there being no biological reason for women being attracted to other women’s breasts that argument can and has been used to prove that homosexuality is not biological but learned which I don’t believe it is. For that matter if what you’re sexually attracted to is learned why would there by gay men at all? We live in a very macho male centered country and I would think every guy would learn to be attracted to breasts if it were that simple.

    Aside from that we pretty much never get to see penises. Even in the supposedly so much more liberal European countries and films you’ll see rampant naked women but only rarely get to see an erect penis. If we become aroused by things that are covered shouldn’t women learn to be aroused by the sight of a penis?

    I have more questions but that’s already a whole lot!

    • First, please read my comment policy. I don’t really have time to read comments that are this long but I will this time. In future I probably won’t approve if it’s this long because I don’t approve any comments that I haven’t read.

      No other species but kangaroos have pouches. Does that make pouches sensual? What does the fact that “only one species has a trait” have to do with the trait being sensual? The reasoning doesn’t follow. Why shouldn’t other sorts of animals have breasts to attract males? btw, udders actually do protrude, too, and I’ve seen some breasts on primates before.

      Also, the higher you go up the evolutionary scale the fewer instincts we have. And humans have very few instincts.

      If the breast fetish is biological then how could it serve its purpose with early humans when women in tribal societies typically walk around topless? So that is most of human history. Sounds like a pretty useless thing to have breasts be inherently erotic and yet most of human history men desensitized.

      Also, males lose the fetish very quickly with any particular woman. After he has seen one woman’s breasts they don’t arouse him that much after the first few times — though he can still find them attractive. That’s why you need so much fresh flesh in porn. Why would that be biological to see your partner’s breasts just a few times and then no fetish response, anymore?

      Also, on Muslims getting aroused by hair, you must have missed the comment that one man made on my blog when he said that when he was in the Middle East all he wanted to see was women’s hair. He didn’t care about breasts nearly as much – he was just craving seeing hair. He may have written that on a different post — I’ve written more than one on the topic.

      Also, it’s easy to tell the difference between anger and sexual excitement. And research has shown that people – and women in particular — are very good at reading emotions and nonverbal language. So the Islamic woman was probably right in her assessment of sexual arousal, and not anger.

      She also said that this happened during an earlier time when women’s hair was strictly covered, and when you didn’t have satellite TV and the Internet and Islamic men watching porn, which is very different from now.

      Of course, the hair-thing is still a bit different because men would see their mothers, grandmothers, daughters, etc. hair. Imagine if men constantly saw the breasts of their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters and close female friends. That would certainly dampen the breast fetish.

      Still, I also read a New York Times article on allowing swimsuits in Dubai. In response the men who worked near the beaches started staring and taking pictures and getting in the water to try to cop a feel. That is all about women being covered and their bodies becoming sexualized in that way. Their reaction is very different from American men who see women in swimsuits routinely.

      And do you think that all women are bisexual? Women, generally, responded to a naked woman more than to a naked man. And all women looked at the woman’s body instead of the man’s body in the film of a couple in foreplay. What does that have to do with there being a continuum of straight to bisexual to gay? In my own experience I have never been interested in women. I just don’t think of them and am not drawn to them, sexually. The thought of a relationship with a woman seems boring. And when I have been offered sex with women (I live in the Bay Area and know a lot of lesbians an bi women) the thought of genital contact nauseates me. That shouldn’t happen if I were bi. Some have insisted that I’m bisexual because I have experienced the breast fetish but that makes no sense to me given my lack of interest in women. I just can’t relate. I had never understood why I could be so uninterested in actual women and yet experience the breast fetish until I learned about this sociological theory that the breast fetish is learned. Other women have told me the same thing when I discussed this with them.

      While we have cultural patterns there can be — and always are — individual differences. Some women who are focused on comparing themselves with other women and see other women as competition are unlikely to experience the breast fetish. I don’t when I’m in that mode. Women who get angry over women being objectified also aren’t aroused because they are distracted. Other things I’m unaware of could also explain why some women don’t experience the fetish. I mostly experienced the fetish when I was younger and wasn’t in the mode of comparing myself or feeling angry about objectification. In fact, I rarely experience it anymore.

      And there actually is evidence that straight men can learn to get aroused by penises. A lot of porn these days has men climaxing outside of a woman. As men come to associate their own orgasm with seeing penises this way, they start to get aroused by penises, themselves.

      Why don’t gay men find breasts erotic by learning to do so? Women’s bodies are responsive to EVERY sex signal they see — including bonobos (an ape species) having sex — while men’s bodies are not. Perhaps to protect vaginas from harm thru lubrication. And breasts have become a very strong sex signal in our culture (by being focused on obsessed about, etc). So it’s no surprise that women respond to them.

      For men this flexibility doesn’t come so easily. They don’t respond to EVERY sex signal they see. Monkeys having sex? No response. Yet, straight men can come to associate VISUAL images of the penis with orgasm through conditioning (associating penis and orgasm). I guess gay men never come to associate breasts with orgasm.

      On your attraction to penises all I can say is that culture creates social patterns but it doesn’t determine everyone’s personalities or ways of seeing. In addition to cultural influences we have individual personalities and different people also have different types of social interactions. That’s why you find large cultural patterns with individual variations.

      I once had a discussion with a man on why men don’t tend to find vaginas all that sexually exciting. He loved breasts but not vaginas. (Just like women are more interested in breasts than vaginas.) But vaginas aren’t searched for very much on the web – relative to other sorts of sexual searches – despite the fact that vaginas are more inherently sexual than breasts are. (Vagina is the true equivalent of penis. Breasts are not.) So men tend not to be as interested in vaginas as breasts and women don’t tend to be as interested in vaginas or penises as breasts. This man and I wondered if maybe it’s because penis and vagina both seem more like organs, and organs are like, gross.
      Finally, sexualization takes more than mere covering. Breasts are not only covered, they are also labeled as highly sexual and obsessed over. The camera follows them around and lingers on them. More than any other part of the body. Nothing is more sexually labeled or sexually obsessed over. No wonder even women develop the fetish.

      Finally, where the breast fetish isn’t in effect people still have plenty of sex and do just fine. But where men become visual and learn the fetish, the breast fetish can actually harm sexuality and relationship among men and women. See this post for example:

      Does Sexual Objectification Lead to Bad Sex?
      http://broadblogs.com/2011/07/27/does-sexual-objectification-lead-to-bad-sex/

      The common sense view is that human behavior is biological. I’m trying to get people to think outside the box. If you’re not interested in doing that, that’s fine with me. It’s not important to me to convince you of anything. So if you still don’t agree, fine. People can hear the evidence and make up their own minds.

      It’s way past my bedtime.

  35. Sarah Lau Y. G

    It is almost a certainty in everyone’s mind that men are fascinated about breast. Thanks for bringing this topic up and telling me about this fascination in a different angle. I personally know a few guys that they don’t look for breasts and focus on other parts of women body. It is surprising to know that men will lose interest in breast if they are overexposed to porn. It is pretty interesting that women are attracted to female breast, just like men. I agree that this might be due to the fact that women is often regarded as sexual objects, instead of men. Therefore, both gender will be more likely to link women to sex.

  36. I really love this post. I hadn’t ever really thought about how society affects how people can become sexually aroused. Psychologically, it makes perfect sense how society would effect what we see as arousing and what we don’t. It is natural to want what you don’t or can’t have. Therefore, people want to see what is covered or hidden from sight. Because these things are hidden and concealed, they are linked with promiscuity and seen as arrousing. This isn’t really a topic I had thought of before and I can see how one would argue and think that these attractions are natural since they are all people have known from their culture. Following the example of Britain, when something is common it is no longer special. If someone was aroused by pavement then they would always be aroused which is completely impractical. They would learn to suppress that arousal and eventually, it would go away through generations. The more common things become, they less special or arousing they would become. I completely agree with your view on this topic. Thank you for posting this.

  37. I really like what you said in your blog about the picture you saw where your grandma was showing her ankle and to them that was sexy. I find that very curious because to our modern day men and women it is very unusual to see women all covered up. Now a days we see women in little booty shorts and tight tank tops which is what is attractive. The other day me and my boyfriend went to the mall and I was looking for some clothes for the summer and my boyfriend was so set in getting this tiny piece of clothing that had my butt-cheeks hanging out and he got upset because I didn’t want to wear them because I didn’t feel comfortable in them and he said that that’s what every girl wears so that experience made me think about how women are always showing skin to look attractive and men want other things to look at since he was not happy with the clothes I wear.

  38. Guilherme Paludeti

    The other day I was sitting in class wondering “how come a man can walk around the beach topless(it’s not even considered that for a guy) with his chest out, as oppose to a woman who can only take it off in the bedroom.” I guess that’s because cultures around the planet have sexualized that area only for women, and with that in mind I think “how is it that in every culture(besides tribal) women’s breast are sexualized?” I also find it weird that women in Iran have their entire body sexualized, especially being raised in a culture where seeing 90% of a women’s body is normal as opposed to 10%.

    • I’ve thought about this question, too. I suspect it’s because in climates where people wear clothing for protection from the weather one of the few differences between women and men are having breasts versus not. Other than genitals, is the only area where women and men look quite different. And when it comes to genitals it’s harder to tell much about them from the outline of clothing — especially women, who are the ones that are sexualized in patriarchal cultures.

      So that’s my guess. I don’t know for sure.

  39. Wah, great topic.The only living being attracted to breast sexualy are humans. Just because they are covered casually. In every beings males initiate to do sex, because of more testosterone in them. Males are less emotional ie why men pron do deadly jobs with out thinking its effect. Among 5 sense organs eyes and ears are the key of attraction, but mens are behind their eyes where as womens their ears. Men see women as parts and women see men as whole. No wonder why men go for strip clubs and prostitutes. No man will love breast unless they are attached to a beautiful women. I think changes during adulthood happens more in men than women. Body strength, deep voice, body hair, height, emotion less etc. Men are beautiful when they are emotional as well as emotion less that is why we have MMF in most films ie hero, heroin and villain. Women’s are not women any more if they are emotion less.
    I am 60% man and 40% woman, because I have a father and a mother. Some how we all are hetero-lol

  40. I don’t think the study mentioned in the linked article says that women learn a breast fetish, just like they probably don’t learn a bonobo fetish or a gay men fetish. It’s more that women are hard-wired to have a relative disconnect between actual arousal, or perhaps conscious arousal, and some unconscious lower-level arousal as measured by the instruments, or yet, something along the lines of social conditioning to consciously interpret only the more socially acceptable stimuli as actual arousal, which may even have some sort of causal role rather than being merely lying on reports.

    I also don’t think that there is a single study, cross-cultural or otherwise, that leads to the conclusion that men aren’t hard-wired to find breasts attractive. And there are cross-cultural studies on variations of what men find attractive in women’s bodies, I doubt that any has breasts scoring zero points, regardless of shape and size.

    The facts mentioned here don’t lead necessarily nor more parsimoniously to this conclusion, it’s just a matter of modulation, of a relative desensitization by more constant exposure. It’s true that keeping the parts hidden will help culturally make it much more enticing than it would be in a nudist culture, but that doesn’t lead to the conclusion that no other parts than the genitals are of any special hard-wired interest (even though perhaps not even genitals really are, according to such rationale).

    Similarly, we’re probably hard-wired to have some sorts of responses such as get in a flight-or-fight state when witnessing situations of danger, specially danger of violence, which is probably also modulated by exposition. One can see the escalation of violence and gore in movies as an example of that. Movies or video-games that once were shocking have become dull or cliché, something as gruesome as a realistic decapitation scene doesn’t elicit the same sort of response it would do in an earlier audience, or in a non-overexposed audience. While the same logic could be used to try to propose that we don’t have even hard-wired responses to this sort of thing, it’s should be more obviously faulty and hard to maintain without some creationist-like explanation that humans don’t inherit any animal instinct at all, and that everything is 100% socially learned.

    • The study didn’t say that. I put 2+2 together using sociological social psychology – a.k.a.”social construction of reality” theory. I’m not reporting what she said. I’m using her research – along with other data – to build an argument.

      While we do have some biological instincts, for humans, most of our reality is socially constructed. A lot of people have a really hard time getting outside of the paradigm that says everything is biologically-based. That’s the common sense way of understanding the world. And you seem to be one of the people who is tied to that paradigm.

      No use arguing with you all. So thanks for your comment.

      • Men learning the breast fetish has nothing to do with heterosexuality?

        If there was a research, showing images of breasts to a group of men without asking them their sexual orientation, most of the men would get aroused and some of them wouldn’t.

        And if they were asked about their sexual orientation after the research, most likely those who got aroused would replied that they are straight and those who didn’t get aroused would replied that they are gay.
        Is that a coincedence?
        That would indicate that there is link between breast fetish and heterosexuality.

        The men in tribal societies don’t have the social learning to experience breast fetish.

        So in order a man to learn the breast fetish there are two requirements.
        Social learning and heterosexuality.
        If one of these two is missing then the man can not learn the breast fetish.

      • Men learning the breast fetish has nothing to do with heterosexuality?

        Plenty of men who are heterosexual don’t experience the fetish. Or, they don’t experience a breast fetish with their partner – since it goes away with a partner.

        And, plenty of women who don’t want to have sex with women experience the breast fetish.

        So this fetish is something that is learned and has little to do with sexual orientation. Other than that men may experience it more strongly because they don’t need to repress it for homophobic reasons, there’s no competition with other men that distract them from it (How big are his boobs compared to mine – if they’re bigger I hate him), and it’s attached to someone who they’re actually sexually interested in.

      • Plenty of men who are heterosexual don’t experience the breast fetish.

        I wouldn’t never have thought that. I have never met an heterosexual man who wasn’t interested in the female breasts. But then again, anything is possible.

        Still gay men, even though they are men, they don’t learn the breast fetish.
        It’s like for a man to experience the breast fetish must have the social learning AND also be heterosexual. If one of these two requirements is missing then the man can not experience the breast fetish.
        In tribal societies heterosexual men don’t have the social learning so they don’t learn it.
        In western society all men have the social learning but only heterosexual men experience it, gay men can not experience it.
        Many heterosexual men can not experience the breast fetish with their partner, but still they experience the breast fetish with other women.

        male heterosexuality + social learning = experiencing breast fetish
        male heterosexuality w/o social learning = No breast fetish
        gay male + social learning = No breast fetish

      • re:
        “Plenty of men who are heterosexual don’t experience the breast fetish.

        “I wouldn’t never have thought that. I have never met an heterosexual man who wasn’t interested in the female breasts. But then again, anything is possible.”

        I’m not surprised that you haven’t met anyone like that so long as you live in the modern world circa 2013. You must not have read this post. Or you must’ve forgotten what it said:
        Men Aren’t Hard Wired To Find Breasts Attractive
        http://broadblogs.com/2010/11/04/men-aren%e2%80%99t-hard-wired-to-find-breasts-attractive/

  41. Men do like women’s breasts and do find them inherently attractive. I don’t understand why this is controversial. I have watched plenty of porn and seen many nude women both live and online. I am not as heavily aroused by breasts as a was when I was younger. But I have ALWAYS found them attractive. In the same way a women might find a man with wide shoulders attractive. Fetish is different than attraction. And there is zero evidence that men in tribal cultures do not find breasts attractive. Or that men in Europe do not find breasts attractive. There is a big difference between attraction and getting heavily aroused. A women may find a man’s face attractive but yet not be sexually aroused by it.

    There is also strong evidence that women’s breasts are sexually attractive to men. The evidence is that women’s breasts are abnormally large compared to all other primates. You do not need women to have such large breasts for milk production. They serve no useful purpose and we know that women with larger breasts are more likely to get breast cancer. So large breasts are actually a liability. THe fact that women do have large breasts is a strong indication of sexual selection.

    As a man I do consider a woman’s breasts when evaluating my attraction to her. If the girl has nice breasts its considered a good thing. We do pay attention to it. That said it is one variable among many we consider.

    • What I meant by “attractive” was the breast fetish.

      There is no evidence that tribal men experience it. And European men in the 1980s lost it with a proliferation of topless women on beaches and billboards. And men who are overexposed to porn often lose the fetish response as well.

  42. Although (in tribal) communities where women go topless, breast aren’t an overt obsession, I still wonder whether men don’t find the woman’s breasts uniquely attractive when becoming privately physically intimate? I wonder if the breast aren’t one of the first areas they’ll reach out for .when making love? My point is that although the general community may not publicly be obsessed about breast, because of its normalcy and immunity, nevertheless there may still be a biological attraction that’s becomes conscious when they’re intimate. .

    • There’s no evidence of that. Sometimes guys write in telling me that butts, and not breasts, are what’s hot. Others of African decent say they prefer the butt for cultural reasons, viz a reaction against white western culture.

      I have to wonder if God or nature would be so cruel as to create the fetish:

      This is one of my most popular posts. Likely its a relief to many women because so few women like their breasts (about 30%). The rest are likely to feel their breasts are inadequate in some way, too droopy or small (even some women with C-cups), mismatched, or whatever. And the obsession leads to problems like body monitoring (see my most recent post) — though breasts are not the only thing to monitor. It also leads to plenty of sexual dysfunction: “Does Sexual Objectification Lead to Bad Sex?” http://broadblogs.com/2011/07/27/does-sexual-objectification-lead-to-bad-sex/

  43. I just wanted to note that I appreciate the article and I think your philosophy which emphasizes on the sociology behind human behavior is vital. We often conclude that our culture is reality, while in reality it’s only a the evolution of our society. So thank you!

  44. madhavaraopabbaraju

    Ms.Georgia, Namaskaarams ( my saluation )

    It is my first time to read your blog and it is nice.

    Entire world we see the male dominated society. Mostly, woman is used as an object and is commercialized. But, over a period of time the subject is given less attention. But, on the other hand, over exposure of woman has affected the thinking of the youth in the society and the woman has become vulnerable. As a result, we see the negative changes in the society.

    In India, on some temples, we see the sculptures of sexy women and men in love making postures. Most of the people do not know the idea behind the theme. The top of the Temple is divided into three parts. The first part is shown with sculptures of sexy young women and men with love and passion and we see a beautiful woman in love with a horse-faced man (ugly faced man – love is blind). The second part is shown with men and women with their children in different moods and in the third part of the temple i.e. sanctum of the sanctorium, we see the scultptures of women and men worshipping the God concentratedly. It speaks about: the first part being the first part of the human being’s life i.e. young age men and women do naturally fall in love and attraction which leads to the second part of the life i.e. homely life where the young age attractions are normalized and accepted as normal and people start living happily with their children. This is depicted in the second part of the temple. In the third part of the temple which is the third and last leg of the life of the human being, we see the men and women worshipping the God for the Peace and Realisation.

    This concept is to be realised by everyone and know the real values of a woman and man in the society by the human beings.

    yours friendly,
    Madhava Rao.

    • Thank you for sharing this.

      By the way, rape and harassment aren’t about how much of women’s skin is shown. American Indians – before contact with Europeans – went around topless, and there was virtually no rape. And it was a non-patriarchal culture. Rape and harassment are about male dominance. Right now India is facing a rise in these things as a backlash to women having more rights. See this:

      What Do Rapists Want?
      http://broadblogs.com/2013/01/04/what-do-rapists-want/

  45. I would actually have to disagree with this point of view simple because women do have enlarged breasts. I don’t believe that females would have evolved them if it was simply a recent social trend, and if it is a social trend it is one that has persisted throughout all human cultures for hundreds of thousands of years.

    • Despite the fact that:

      * men in many cultures — most importantly, tribal societies like those of our earliest human beginnings – don’t find breasts erotic?
      * men who have been with their partners for a while stop seeing their partners breasts as erotic — the fetish fades?
      * men have a large exposed penis – unlike other animals – and yet most women don’t find that erotic?
      * kangaroos have pouches and yet the male of the species don’t find it erotic. Just because you’ve got something that other species don’t share, doesn’t make it erotic.

      ?????

    • This assumes breasts don’t have another function.

      This also assumes sexual selection takes as long as natural selection. Sexual selection is rapid. There has been plenty of time since the modesty trend began to hide boobs, create the boob fetish, and produce women with massive ones.

  46. There’s a significant difference between the tribal clans and our Western culture. When tribal clans have bodily exposure, this is their typical culture; when we have bodily exposure, our people go nuts, and we have outrageous sex fetishes, teen pregnancies, and the like. What we are likely experiencing when we look at a National Geographic photo is these people being as they are: there’s no arousal because we are witnessing people being true to themselves, in a sense. When we expose ourselves in the West, we aren’t being true to our culture and heritage, and it drives us up a wall. This is just something that’s plainly observable. I don’t see how the two can be reasonably compared in any legitimate way.

    • I don’t know though.. I also get the sense that we’re salivating over what’s forbidden or hidden from us. If nothing is forbidden or hidden then…..? Fantasy has to become ridiculously depraved.

      This is the first time i’ve ever considered this and don’t necessarily agree with it. I’m merely opening up the dialogue for discussion.

  47. This whole time I’m being reminded of Seinfeld’s “Good naked” versus “Bad naked”.

  48. If a species has a very prominate structural feature that seems to serve no clear function, only appears on one gender, and the opposite gender seems to find it sexually attractive, then wouldn’t it be a fair assumption to say that the purpose of the structure was for sexual attraction.

    • Then why hasn’t the breast been a source of sexual attraction for most of human history? It never is in tribal societies, and that is most of human history. I have seen such protrusions on some primate species, as well. I’m not aware of the protrusion attracting the male of that species.

      And, it may well serve a function in feeding babies. Maybe it’s easier to latch on when the protrusion is out there. Might be pretty hard for a baby to latch on to a nipple that’s attached to something as flat-chested as men are.

  49. Breast fetish remains a big deal in some cultures but not in some others. For instance, American men are attracted by women’s breast while African males are not since in most African villages (except in modern cities) women are still topless.

    There is less interest when the same thing is seen very often.

    Men are sexually attracted and captivated by women’s breast in a culture where women’s breast are covered.

  50. In most tribal societies women wear very little or nothing at all, are you saying the men don’t find them attractive? Just because something is covered doesn’t make it sexually attractive. Likewise just because something is exposed doesn’t make it unattractive. Most people don’t find kneecaps attractive. Just because a male finds something attractive doesn’t mean he’s always ready to mate. Female proboscis monkeys seem to find the males large nose sexually attractive, and the nose is always exposed, but they don’t spend all of their time mating.

    And of course people from different regions are going to find various traits attractive, that’s how natural selection works. Traits that are successful in Indonesia may not be successful in Greenland, that’s why there are different ethnicities.

    And if the enlarged breast does serve a function like (and there isn’t really any research that backs this up) making it easier for babies to latch on and feed then of course it would be sexually attractive. That would mean that larger breast gives the offspring a better source of nutrition and therefore a better chance of survival, if that’s not sexually attractive I don’t know what is.

    Also sorry if this comment is long I know you don’t approve comments that are too long but I’m not quite certain what you define as “too long”.”

    • Comment length is fine.

      Not everyone knows what the word “fetish” means and so I used the word “attractive” in the title, assuming that people would get my point once they read the post. Women find men attractive even though there is nothing fetishy about them. After men have been with the same woman for a while the fetish disappears in terms of his partners breasts, but he still finds her attractive.

      And I know that just because something is covered doesn’t make it sexually attractive. Where the breast fetish is created the breast is selectively hidden and revealed (which creates tension), obsessed over, the camera follows it, people talk incessantly about it…

      So much so that even women learn the breast fetish. Western women learn the breast fetish but tribal men don’t. How is that functional? How does that make any sense?

      And people aren’t attracted by what is healthiest in each area of the world. Because people have learned to value lighter colored skin, hair, and eyes, blue-eyed blondes are the most valued everywhere, even though they don’t get as much sun protection as you near the equator.

      Victoria’s Secret models are awfully attractive and yet they are anorexic.

      In West Africa, obesity is preferred even though it’s unhealthy.

      And I’m confused. The way we know the breast fetish is natural is because it doesn’t serve a function. But the fact that it does serve a function is actually what indicates that it’s natural? You have proposed two contradictory ideas to make your point. Sounds like your argument isn’t very good but rather, that you are attached to your point.

      The penis serves a function and yet women don’t find it attractive. At least most don’t.

      Also, large breasts don’t provide any more nutrition than any other size, if you are looking at the breast size before pregnancy. Absolutely no evidence for that. A woman could be AA when she gets pregnant, but by the time the baby is born they get larger and can go to DD. And I don’t know whether the protrusion helps to feed the baby but try to imagine a man nursing a baby with his flat chest or a woman nursing a baby with her enlarged chest as she cradles the baby in her arms. One does seem easier. And as I said, by the time a woman nurses, even if she was AA before the pregnancy, her breasts get larger to feed the baby. (Again, there is no evidence that babies get any more nutrition from larger breasted mothers.)

      Why is the idea that the breast fetish is natural – and in particular a large breast fetish – such a big deal to you anyway? What difference does it make?

      And while I agree with evolutionary biology I don’t agree with evolutionary psychology (even Darwin ended up with some problems with it). Here’s why:

      Are Women Naturally Monogamous? 
http://broadblogs.com/2010/12/20/are-women-naturally-monogamous-2/

      Are Men Really More Polygamous? 
http://broadblogs.com/2013/06/03/are-men-really-more-polygamous/

      Guys Just Wanna Have Relationships? 
http://broadblogs.com/2012/11/28/guys-just-wanna-have-relationships/
      
Women Want Casual Sex? Yes and No
 http://broadblogs.com/2011/03/23/women-want-casual-sex-yes-and-no/
      
Women Want Emotionally Connected Sex. Why? 
http://broadblogs.com/2011/07/20/women-want-emotionally-connected-sex-why/

      Why We Lie About Sex Partner #’s 
http://broadblogs.com/2013/06/05/why-we-lie-about-sex-partner-s/

      In addition to these posts I have others that also show how evolutionary psychology tends to be socially conservative: supporting the view that the status quo must be maintained because it’s in our genes. So don’t bother trying to change anything:

      Racism: Genetic or Learned?
 http://broadblogs.com/2013/02/01/racism-genetic-or-learned/

      Black Isn’t Beautiful Claims Evolutionary Psychologist
 http://broadblogs.com/2011/06/06/black-isn%e2%80%99t-beautiful-claims-evolutionary-psychologist/

  51. I can say that for the most part I agree with this subject. It brings up many interesting to points that relate physicologically to the minds of both men and woman. It does make sense the fact that people can become so accustomed to things that they have no joy or pleasure from them. This can relate to almost anything people become so used to and in this case it is breast. For example when a little kid wants a toy he cry and crys and crys until he has the toy. After the little kid obtains it, he will play with for a short amount of time and leaves it. Another example would be if that same kid is playing with his toys but sees another kid play with a certain toy, so then the kid wants the toy just because the other kid was playing with it. Like the blog mentioned that in some places around the world people have gotten used to seeing breast it, it has become the norm and have bring no shock to them. In our society here, nudity is still looked at a certain way and people still raise the eyebrows. In our society nudity is view differently in many a lot of ways and to some point we are not accustomed to it yet.

  52. “Culturally, we don’t sexualize the male body.” This is not true at all. We sexualize a very specific SET of male bodies. Magic Mike? Calvin Klein? Dozens upon dozens of other adverts and media that sexualize the arms, the shoulders, the chest (hairless almost always), the abs, and the “V” just above the pant-line of men. We, as a culture, sexualize men with a 5% body fat ratio. We sexualize the muscular, sculpted, sweaty, shiny men of make-believe land.

    More important is the fact that how we sexualize men doesn’t just extend to the body. it’s the overall look, not just the muscle tone. The suit, the underwear, the shoes. The car, the house, the ROLE. We sexualize men, albeit far less expansively than we do women. But we also tie in that sexuality to a dozen other roles. In our society it is simply enough for a woman to fit into a certain window of physical beauty to gain social capitol. A man must fit into this (even more narrow) margin AND have dozens of other roles fulfilled on top of that in order to gain social capitol at the same rate. Of course, the imbalance is STILL on women, who may gain that social capitol faster, but who reach that glass ceiling far quicker as well.

    In any case, I just think that part is wrong. And sexualizing ANYTHING isn’t biologically based. Of course it isn’t. Gender and sexuality (not sex, as in biological gender) in a social sense is a social construct. We learn what is sexual through our socialization, not through some miracle of sexual instinct. The problem is, not having a root in biology doesn’t necessarily give the construct less weight.

  53. This blogger draws a different conclusion on Chivers’ research
    http://jaymans.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/the-evolution-of-female-bisexuality/

    and this page at the paragraph “Predictions” indicates that it’s more psychological
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-entertainment/201304/born-both-ways

  54. This article made me think about something that I had never thought about before. The idea that overexposure makes something less appealing is such an odd concept. In America, the image of a naked lady in the public eye would be seen as inappropriate while it would be the complete opposite in Europe. One’s culture definitely has an impact on how attracted they are to a body part. Just like the author mentioned, at one time, the view of a women ankle was seen as sexy. If a culture exposes their people to certain body parts, their view of the body part would be less appealing.

  55. In Brazil, it is forbidden for females to go topless and only a few women are courageous enough to show their breasts. Protest organisers say they want an end to the “criminalisation” of the female body, and are fighting for the right to go topless in public.

    • I’m not really sure why you posted this. I find it interesting that the main critique I would make is contained within the post, and yet the title and general writing treat the theory as having merit.

      Neuroscientists don’t tend to be aware of cultural differences. And yet for most of human history men have not fetishized breasts — most of human history has been tribal, and I haven’t seen a tribal society yet that had this fetish. So why would it be evolutionarily helpful when for most of the human experience it didn’t work the way it’s “supposed to”?

      It makes sense that women would find breast-feeding pleasurable in order to encourage breast-feeding. And men have nipples, so why create one-way pleasure of men fondling women’s nipples? Why not make men’s nipples arousable too so that women could fondle men and bond that way? Maybe because the reason they are pleasantly sensitive is to encourage breast-feeding? Not partner bonding?

      I think evolutionary psychology is not very good. Here are a number of posts I’ve written that critique it:

      Are Men Really More Polygamous?
      http://broadblogs.com/2013/06/03/are-men-really-more-polygamous/
      Guys Just Wanna Have Relationships?
      http://broadblogs.com/2012/11/28/guys-just-wanna-have-relationships/
      Women Want Casual Sex? Yes and No
      http://broadblogs.com/2011/03/23/women-want-casual-sex-yes-and-no/
      Why We Lie About Sex Partner #’s
      http://broadblogs.com/2013/06/05/why-we-lie-about-sex-partner-s/

      Racism: Genetic or Learned?
      http://broadblogs.com/2013/02/01/racism-genetic-or-learned/
      Black Isn’t Beautiful Claims Evolutionary Psychologist
      http://broadblogs.com/2011/06/06/black-isn%e2%80%99t-beautiful-claims-evolutionary-psychologist/

      • “Why not make men’s nipples arousable too so that women could fondle men and bond that way? Maybe because the reason they are pleasantly sensitive is to encourage breast-feeding”

        Ermm are you implying that men’s nipples are not arousable? A lot of men find it very difficult to cum without a lot of nipple manipulation. I think other men are just unaware of how linked they are to arousal. For me it feels like there is almost a direct link between nipples and genitals. How could a part of the body so intimately connected with sex not be arousing?

      • Maybe men’s nipples are also arousable. But that’s not necessarily for sex.

        The most likely reason women’s nipples get aroused is to encourage them to feed babies. Since men’s have nipples, it makes sense that they could have that same sort of stimulation.

        It’s also good evidence that just because something is arousing to the recipient it doesn’t mean that it must be visually arousing to your sexual partner.

  56. It really does feel like even at a fresh age of 19 I am already finding it hard to be aroused by the things I am overexposed too by Media, Magazines, and especially the internet. Breasts are definitely one of the most overly exposed things you can find in porn, and with it being so easy to access, it left me with lots to imagine, but left little to the experience. It doesn’t mean I’m completely bored with what is considered to be arousing of women, but it makes me worried about other men who will be bored with women before they reach their 30′s. Although I won’t underestimate the many fetishes men will come up with, I personally want to just get away from porn the rest of my life before I find myself using the word “bored” which will leave me out on the street. I wouldn’t blame my girlfriend neither, I only look for her satisfaction. Hmm… I will be honest though, I’m never going to be bored with her in my life.

  57. I’m a man and I’m not actually attracted to breasts, I just never found anything sexy about them, but I am a bisexual though, but I’m mostly attracted to a women’s bottom half of the body.

    • I’ve heard from other men who have said the same thing. Including straight guys. There is always a bell curve to these things, so not everyone experiences things in the exact same way because who we are and how we see things is created by a mix of culture, our social interactions, and the personalities that we are born with.

  58. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    Very very interesting post. And copped a load of interesting comment. Really enjoyed reading this post.

  59. I think we are all desensitized by all the craziness that we see every day. Seeing breasts and naked people on the internet and magazines wasn’t enough, so we added different fetishes to add to the shock value. I found the mention of your student showing her “hair cleavage” in Iran to be something that must have felt so empowering for her! In society today there really isn’t anything a girl could reveal that would shock people like that. You go out and see girls with their bras and breasts showing, their bottoms hanging out of their shorts, or their pants and dresses so tight it leaves nothing to the imagination. Even at parties, there will always be the girls that are pretty much in their bras and what looks like underwear. Back in the days of I Dream of Jeannie, she wasn’t even allowed to show her belly button; even though she did sneak it in in a few shots. In the times we are in now, belly buttons and ankles are comparable to a women walking down the street completely naked! Alright, maybe not quite THAT extreme, but you see where I’m going with it.

  60. I always thought the American male fascination with breast was interesting compared to other countries, but I did not realize the effect on woman was similar. When I was in Kenya, women breast fed their children in public with no extra attention paid to them. My sister lived in Europe for a few years and is often topless in her own home; she can flash her husband who is English, and he doesn’t even notice. The U.S. has come a long way from flashing ankles and full coverage bathing suits, to soft porn Victoria Secret Commercials and Janet Jackson Super Bowl bare breast mishap.

  61. Men’s obsession with breasts is learned, as most men’s obsession with threesomes.
    After all women’s body is highly exposed in popular media.

    But some women also learn some fetishes about men even though these aren’t exposed in popular media.
    I wonder if M-F-M threesomes became popular in the media would many women feel like trying it, just like many men now want to experience the popular F-M-F threesome?

    It seems that not only men learn to experience fetishes about women but (some) women also can learn to experience fetishes about men.

    http://yaoiresearch.com/2013/02/13/why-straight-women-love-gay-romance/
    http://www.villagevoice.com/2008-05-13/columns/girls-love-gay-male-porn/
    http://metro.co.uk/2008/10/14/women-who-like-to-watch-gay-porn-30888/
    http://www.salon.com/2011/10/14/i_love_gay_male_porn/
    http://voices.yahoo.com/why-women-like-yaoi-1809359.html?cat=9

    • It makes sense that women could come to see the male body in a sexual way with exposure to those sorts of sexy portrayals. Since women are getting more and more exposed to porn, I imagine that that could be happening. Exposure to porn does seem to affect people’s Brain wiring.

      But I also don’t know enough about context to know whether they are experiencing this in the same way that men do. Do they get aroused enough by this alone or do they need something else, like a partner, too? And I noticed that some of this was about romantic stories rather than visual. But what are the stories about? I feel like I don’t have enough information to comment much other than to say that your theory may be true.

      • As you have written women are interested in reading romance. And (many or at least some) women are even interested in gay male romance.

        As for the gay male porn, I highly doubt that these women are watching it with a partner.
        No heterosexual male would be interested in watching gay male porn. But then again no one can be certain of anything.
        Most likely the women who like gay male porn won’t be vocal about it.
        Gay males aren’t portrayed as sexy in the popular media (as we said heterosexual men have no interested in that sort of thing) so these women probably won’t say anything because the men would make negative comments about it.

        Men learn to find breasts attractive because the female body is everywhere in the media and it’s portrayed as sexy.
        But it’s strange how these women learn to like gay male porn since gay male porn isn’t popular in the media and the gay males are never portrayed as sexy.

      • Well, they are having sex rather than just exhibiting a sexy body. Women seem to get more aroused while watching sex, Rather than looking at mere bodies.

        I asked about watching it with a partner because A movie– I think it’s called “The kids are alright” shows two lesbians watching gay porn while they have sex.

      • Those links were talking about heterosexual women.
        But you are right about the difference between women watching sexual acts and mere body parts.
        Still the interest that (some) heterosexual women have in gay male porn it can’t be hardwired. (Many) heterosexual women actively seek to watch gay male porn, and since they can’t “accidently” run across this sort of things in the popular media they have to actively search for it.
        Porn companies that produce gay male porn have realized that a big part (probably the majority) of the viewers are heterosexual women and they produce their porn with women as the main target group.

        I am not interested in gay male porn at all but what I find interesting is women watching gay male porn.
        They can’t be hardwired to it, right?
        And that definitely can be described as a fetish.
        But how did they learned that fetish since gay males aren’t portrayed as sexy in the media?
        Men learned the breast fetish because they are constantly “bombared” by naked female bodies in the media. Everywhere we look we see the female body.
        But that’s not the case with gay male porn. It’s very unpopular, even considered to be undesirable, still many women learn to like it

      • I haven’t seen any research on this. I don’t know what percentage of women watch gay porn, or what percentage of the audience for gay porn is women. I don’t know what the distribution of lesbians and straight women is. And I don’t know how they are experiencing it. I don’t have any idea how arousing the women find it–how it compares to men seeing a woman’s naked body. And I have no idea what these women’s experience with porn is. Now days with porn on the Internet, Women may be exposed from early ages to something that no generation before them has, and that could be having an effect on them– Possibly even a fetish affect.

        The only thing I’ve seen that addresses how women experience it are women who get annoyed with Women being objectified and submissive, and so preferring to see men in that situation. But if that’s the reason they like watching it, it’s hard to tell how much of A turn on it is.

  62. Rather not say

    I think from a personal experience your article might be wrong. I grew up in the most conservative society. To be honest, I didn’t even notice that breasts only come on women and I didn’t care much. I know it sounds stupid but I really didn’t think about them at all. As I was heading to puberty, all the sudden I started noticing them all the sudden (shows were pretty conservative in term of dressing so no cleavage or such). To be honest, they are the most thing that attracts me in a woman visually beside a nice face. Other than that nothing else does what so ever. I really believe I was wired this way.

    • Actually, what you say is completely consistent with my post.

      Human beings have very few instincts. Most of how we see the world is symbolic. In the modern world the female breast has become eroticized. As I said in the post, this becomes obvious when you look at cultures where the female breast isn’t eroticized. If it were biological, you wouldn’t get these cultural differences.

      But that doesn’t mean that we learn our symbols the minute we are born. It takes time to learn them, and different people learn them at different rates. So I learned the fetish sometime around the age of nine or ten, before I hit puberty. And you learned it right around puberty. But probably not too far off from the time I learned it.

  63. Well, I know for sure I wont be aroused by David’s statue. I agree with over-exposure numbing the senses. A little mystery goes a long way.

  64. if straight men and women learn the breast fetish, then why don’t gay men also learn the breast fetish?

    • Best guess:

      Women’s bodies are responsive to EVERY sex signal they see — including bonobos (an ape species) having sex — while men’s bodies are not. Perhaps to protect vaginas from harm thru lubrication. And breasts have become a very strong sex signal in our culture (by being focused on obsessed about, etc). So it’s no surprise that women respond to them.

      For men this flexibility doesn’t seem to come so easily. They don’t respond to EVERY sex signal they see. Monkeys having sex? No response. Maybe female hormones is what makes the difference?

      Yet, straight men can come to associate VISUAL images of the penis with orgasm through conditioning (associating seeing the penis and orgasm). I guess gay men never come to associate breasts with orgasm.

  65. Excellent points in this post, interesting to read opinions in the comments too. A subject which we will never get tired of discussing it seems! ;) x

  66. It has become a sex signal in our culture and we can thanks the media for it. This is interesting because Ive seen the commercials between the 80′s and present day. women are more and more exposed on TV, even on adds about food and cars. And its somewhat normal to our culture and society.

  67. I know that most girls care about their breasts sizes because they think men find them attractive the bigger their breasts are. I don’t know it’s true or not, probably depends on person’s preference. This is, for sure, the effect by media such as porn video and magazine, or even the models of bikini and underwear brands. So I found this article very interesting. In my home country, women don’t often wear the closes that show off their breasts compared to the western country. So when I first came to the US, I was kind of surprised that how sexy the clothes they are wearing in pubic. But I totally agree with your opinion which said that “covering is captivating. If you see the same thing all the time, it’s no big deal.” Once women start showing off their breasts, I mean nude bodies, there will be no sexual attraction at all.

  68. Speaking of tribal societies there is an interesting article about tribal societies.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/12/where-masturbation-and-homosexuality-do-not-exist/265849/

    • That’s really interesting. A lot of food for thought there. Thanks.

      • These tribal societies are more honest than the so-called civilized ones.
        We have unlimited access to porn and images of (mostly female) bodies objectification but we still are very “shy” about sex. It is forbidden in public places etc. but most people, especially men spend a lot of time thinking about sex.
        But in these tribal societies, sex is a natural “habit” and no one makes a lot of fuss about it.
        And they have no media or porn to influence them and addict them to porn.
        This could indicate that many habits and behaviors are influenced by the media and the society.

      • Yes. Good points.

  69. I agree with you “Covering is captivating” it magnifies the allure and excitement.
    Interesting post! Thanks :)

    • That would make sense if you found the fetish in every culture.

      You can take pretty much anything that exists in society and come up with some so-called evolutionary reason why it makes sense. Even when the reasons contradict themselves. Here are just a small sampling of contradictory theories that have been put forth in evolutionary psychology:

      In societies where women are more monogamous: Women are monogamous because they are picky and want the man with the best genes.

      In societies where women are not monogamous: Women have sex with lots of men — an orgy, in fact — and let the best sperm win.

      More contradictions:

      In societies where women are more monogamous: Women are monogamous because they need a man to stick around and provide resources so her children will survive

      In societies where men sleep around: men best reproduce by spreading their seed widely.

      But if these men’s children don’t survive because the men aren’t sticking around to provide resources, how are the children going to survive?

      Another contradiction: men can’t be promiscuous if women are monogamous. The math doesn’t work.

      • Seemingly contradictory theories doesn’t mean both theories are not right. That’s the nature of life, it’s called genetic diversity. Why are people thin? To better outrun and out climb a lion, and be fitter to go find food. Why are people fat? To better store energy for a famine. Why are people black? To protect from the sun. Why are people white? To better absorb sunlight and vitamin D. Why are people tall? It makes you stronger and better able to compete. Why are people small? You require less food. Depending on the environment different combinations of attributes come to the fore over time. But the other attributes tend to stay recessively in the genes until the environment changes. Like the peppered moths where mostly light until the industrial revolution, then they became mostly black as everything was covered with coal soot. Some attributes can change quicker than that. You’re born white, but become dark from sitting in the sun. Or you’re born dark but become lighter because you stay out of the sun.

        One might posit a theory. In cold climates, naked women are rare. So when you see a naked woman, with bare breasts, its important to take advantage of the situation and become aroused. In a hot climate naked women are plentiful, so there is no urgency. It doesn’t mean the breasts are not arousing the hot climate, but its suppressed considerably because of lack of necessity, like melanin is suppressed if you stay out of the sun.

      • I don’t see it. That would condone rape. And rape isn’t the best way to raise a healthy happy child.

        In 1980s Continental Europe men saw a lot of naked breasts, the interest in them decreased, and I don’t know that the sex rate went up or down.

        Among married couples the fetish goes away because a man has seen the same woman’s breasts an awful lot of times. And yet, the sex can get better. http://broadblogs.com/2014/05/07/did-you-score-last-week/

        What is consistent is that when you selectively hide and reveal something it becomes eroticized. You can even hide ankles and hair and create eroticism around those things.

  70. I have something that kills your whole argument….

    When women get aroused THEIR BREASTS GET BIGGER. Now why do you think that is.

    Dont believe me, look it up.

    • Enlargement doesn’t cue men’s attraction in the first place. Enlargement happens after she’s found a partner and is already engaging. (And they don’t enlarge very much.)

      Plus, smaller breasted women’s breasts are typically more sensitive and strongly aroused, so what does size have to do with it?

      Finally, You simply don’t find the fetish in every culture, so it can’t be natural.

  71. the TV series “The Client List” is one of the rare occasions where the male body is portrayed in the media

    • I’ll have to check it out. So does “vampire diaries.” So you are starting to see it here and there. But as a culture we just aren’t bombarded with it.

      • But for what reason would the media bombard the “consumers” with images of the male body?
        The number of women who could be lusting visually over the male body seems to be small. So the media couldn’t exploit the male body in any way to make profit. Unless they were targeting for gay men.

      • Men have been in charge of art, literature, poetry, media until very recently. And women are the target of the sexuality in each case. Plus, for period of time women could not make a living and so in seeking a mate the only thing that would matter for men would be their looks. (Unless they were British aristocracy, In which case a woman’s wealth mattered very much. Jane Austen novels often get into this. Charles Darwin also brought it up as a critique of evolutionary psychology.) Women on the other hand, would need to be very aware of their own looks and how attractive they were. But because women weren’t allowed to make a living, they would need to focus on things other than just looks when it came to finding a mate. Put it altogether and women come to be seen as the sexy ones. Women and men both end up internalizing that, and re-creating it.

    • Not everything is socially constructed. But most of our experience is.

      I haven’t seen the original research for their claims that pedophilia and incest are natural, so I can’t comment on the biology of it.

      Regardless of the biology of it, pedophilia and incest are still wrong, Unlike being gay.

      That’s because gays are having consensual sex. Children aren’t old enough to be able to consent. So sex with children is always abusive. Adults are meant to nurture children, Not to take sexual advantage of them.

      And whether or not men are naturally aroused by children, they are certainly aroused by women. So 1) they have a natural sex outlet and 2) pretty much all men control their sexual urges (and all men should). The vast majority of men don’t rape every woman they want to have sex with, for instance.

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