Men Aren’t Hard Wired To Find Breasts Arousing

Men aren’t hard wired to find breasts arousing?


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” (but that women are not). 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…

If you would like to tell me why you disagree with this post, please read this first and comment over there: The Breast Fetish Is Natural? Afraid Not.

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social 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. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on November 4, 2010, in body image, feminism, gender, men, objectification, pornography, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 473 Comments.

  1. Immediately after reading this post I thought about how the number one reason women receive plastic surgery is for breast implantation. Big, perky, perfectly round breasts receive an incredible amount of praise; they are plastered all over the media and consumed by millions of people. Before reading this post, I had never thought of breasts being fetishes of the current time and place; however, thinking about the fashion of men and women in the past it makes sense that fetishes are formed by what is concealed on the human body. I think another reason why men find breasts arousing is how sexualized they have become. Fashion magazines, womens clothing companies, restaurants like Hooters and lingerie companies sexualize breasts to the public, creating societal norms.

  2. This is very interesting, I never thought of learned fetishes before (probably due to the fact that I’m not sexually active). I know that our society and culture revolves around what we learn at early stages of life, for example, gender roles. This makes sense though, people are intrigued with the unknown and if something is always hidden away, then it’s sort of natural to be curious. For example, people wanted to know what was in space, then came the great space race up until the US got to the moon. It’s interesting to see how much the times have changed, over the years people have started to reveal more and more skin, going from covering the ankles to being completely normal to see booty shorts and cleavage. I wonder if our society would be more comfortable with the naked body in the future, or will we go back to conservative ways, or maybe stay where we are.

  3. Its human nature to discover and get excited to know what lies behind the curtain. To seek out what lays hidden. Imagine in a “Hide & Seek” play . . .when the person supposed to hide is standing right infront of the seeker after the count. . . well – Game Over 🙂

  4. The fetishization of breasts isn’t something I have really stopped to think about. As a female, I have actually been very self conscious about my breasts, I remember hoping during puberty to become big chested. It never happened, and I always felt self conscious about it. For some reason I felt like I had nothing to show off, even at a young age I knew how big boobs would be attractive to most men. However, I never really stopped to think WHY men found boobs so fascinating, and according to this post it seems that heterosexual women find boobs attractive. In media we see that female nipples are always censored, however the rest of the breast seems to be okay with media companies. Compare this to a male chest, which is acceptable to show without any coverage. What is the difference that separates the male and female chest? Some may say it might be size, but even for men with bigger chests, it is acceptable to show on television. My boyfriend brought up this hypothetical situation, which I find absolutely hilarious, but also thought provoking. He asked that if women aren’t allowed to show their nipples in public, would wearing nipple pasties with a photo of a man’s nipples be allowed?

    • It would be interesting to see how people reacted to men with pasty’s on their nipples. Even though there’s no reason to squirm I’ll bet a lot of people would. That’s because for human beings most of what is out there how symbolic meaning. In some cultures people are aroused by women’s breasts and some they aren’t. So we put pasty’s over their nipples. But if men did the same thing people would squirm because that would be associated with the sexualization of men’s nipples, which we are used to. If a guy just had a similar sized patch over some other part of his body no one would think anything about it. That shows the symbolic effect of patches over nipples.

  5. Lesley Miranda

    Men Aren’t Hard Wired To Find Breasts Arousing?
    When reading this article, I just kept thinking about how society is stronger than we think. I mean really our culture makes us who we are and how we perceive each other in any given context. In other cultures, we are not obsessed with nudity or women’s breasts or buttocks. I also found it interesting how western women are more aroused by naked women than naked men. I kept thinking as to why? But the truth is, we are surrounded by what to like and what not to like. We like women being seduced, taken advantage of, because that’s what we see. When women are on billboards they are materizaled and so we learn to not value them and along with that is their body. Men are usually not half naked in an ad or billboard and so it’s no big deal. But it always does surprise me how strong the societies influences can affect our lives and how we live our lives day to day.

  6. The obsession with breasts is actually mostly a modern obsession of English speaking nations(most prominently the USA).
    I firmly believe that most men around the world find the female breasts less arousing than the
    female buttocks. For most of the world outside USA, and throughout most of history, breasts
    are/were a much more common sight than buttocks.
    Also, there is a theory that breasts are nothing more than pseudo-butts. And any innate
    attraction to breasts are because of its similarity to buttocks.

    One only has to travel the world a little to get disillusioned. For example, just a few weeks
    ago, I was in a trip to Bhutan for 5 days. And during that short tour(mostly in car), I saw 3-4
    topless women. Now, none of them were in their teens or twenties. These were all mature 40+
    women, but they were completely topless with no effort to hide their nipples. I did not see any
    buttocks though.
    During a previous trip to Thailand, I saw openly visible topless bars in some streets. In my tour to European countries, I have usually seen breasts on hotel TV in daytime many times (and occasionally some full nudes too, but breasts are much more frequent).

    Latinos, in general, also tend to find buttocks more appealing than breasts.
    One study done on Argentinian males found that it was about 60-40 in favour of buttocks to

    Historically, in many European societies between the Renaissance and the late 19th century,
    exposed breasts were acceptable while many of a woman’s other parts including bared legs, ankles or shoulders were considered risqué.
    During later part of this period women would often wear a bustle to conceal their big butt as it
    was thought to be improper to flaunt in public.

    I will not even call it strictly religious. While Abrahamic religions(Judaism, Christianity and Islam) do ban breast exposure, but they also ban exposure of most of the female body in general.
    While in hindu-buddhist societies like the Indian subcontinent and south-east Asian countries
    (like Thailand and Indonesia) women have gone topless for millennia, but covered their middle parts, before the Abrahamic influence kicked in.
    And it’s similar for most of the tribal socities in Africa, America and Australia. Most of them did not cover breasts until external influence. But many of them did cover their bottoms. And there is no tribe which covers only their breasts, but not the bottoms.

    However, the English language media has enormous influence on the world, and slowly this breast obsession may be spreading to the rest of the world.
    Countries like USA have a tremendous influence all over the entire world.
    Most of the popular social media websites are USA based and American/British media also has tremendous reach all over the world.

    Even in English language, if one looks at movies and shoots from those earlier times, actresses and models were almost always more comfortable being topless than bottomless.
    There were much more actresses and models with only topless scenes than only butt scenes.
    However, I see a recent trend in English language movies and videos where some of the
    actresses/models are showing her buttocks, but not her full breasts.This was never the case until recently.

    And you know what I think is the #1 cause for this phenomenon? It’s the instagram and facebook culture – especially instagram, since it is solely about sharing images.
    These popular social media websites(owned by Zuckerberg) allows buttocks as long as it’s not close-ups, but bans all female nipples as long as it is not breast-feeding.
    May be teen-agers on instagram from all over the world are starting to believe that nipples must be more taboo than buttocks.
    But the truth is that for most of the world, for most of human history, any form of bottomlessness has been more prohibited than breast exposure.

  7. There are plenty of tribal societies that do celebrate buttocks. I know this.

    Several tribes in the south pacific (Jacque Fresco talked about them) , as well as some of the tribals in Indonesia and Andaman islands do celebrate buttocks.
    I don’t research this topic, so there may be more(like in Africa).

    I don’t know about breasts, but I will be very surpeised if at least some degree of intrinsic attraction to buttocks is not present biologically.

    • I want to add here though that although I believe that there is a natural component of attraction to buttocks and genitalia, I do agree with the basic premise that fetishes in general have strong environmental influence.

      In general, what is hidden and the forbidden becomes highly desirable.
      Conversely, in a nudist community even the sight of genitals becomes unarousing after a while because nothing is hidden.

      • Yep. Although whenever you find cultural differences you know that social constructions are involved. And you don’t find breast fetishes or butt fetish everywhere. Humans are much less instinctual than other animals. We do have a sex drive but what is considered sexy varies from place to place.

    • Whenever you find cultural differences you know that social construction is involved.

  8. I definitely agree that men are not hardwired to be aroused by women’s breast. If anything is hardwired in, it’s the magnetic pull to the life-giving sustenance of mamas milk. Women’s breasts are more than just a part of the body, they feed the child. Those who had children during the whole baby boomer era were fed propaganda by formula companies and their doctors that formula was much more nutritious than breast milk. This was also going on in third world countries and still is. So, there are generations of humans who never had breast milk. Of course, a beautiful bond and connection still forms with bottle feeding, and there are other situations why a mother doesn’ breastfeed, such as adoption or the mother’s breast milk dried up or simply by choice, but my point is that I believe the issue is primal. Deprive something, keep it covered up, or even label it as wrong or sinful, and the result will often end up in gluttony or unhealthy habits.

    • I’ve heard this very about dealer of breast milk but it’s a very I don’t agree with. First, if that were the case men and women everywhere would experience the breast fetish and they don’t. And mashed peas might start looking pretty sexy too.

      We create cultural fetishes through selectively hiding and revealing, saying that something must be hidden because it’s so sexy (breasts, butt, ankles, hair, eyes…) And then telling people not to look. It all creates great tension– Sexual tension. And then culturally obsess over it.

      I suspect the breast fetish arose when women started wearing clothing on top and then men started wondering what was underneath. Because you don’t find this fetish in places where women don’t wear tops.

  9. This is very interesting and makes a lot of sense regarding breasts. I do have a few questions though, what about sexual attraction towards butts? Are they also fetishized or is the attraction towards it natural? Being that humans are primates and knowing that the buttocks is an area of sexual attraction in all other primate species, it would seem that the butt would be an area of intrinsic sexual attraction.

    • Well what would the butt look like? Some cultures prefer skinny, some prefer “thick“, some prefer obese. And in some cultures both women’s and men’s butts are more Sexualized than in others. Culture plays a huge role in what is considered attractive.

      • So if butts are also culturally fetishized, then outside of cultural influences and sexual fetishes what body parts would we be intrinsically attracted to if any? Since reading this post I’ve looked around online a bit and found other sources claiming the same thing in that sexual attraction is largely culturally dictated. I also read your post regarding fetishes being natural unless one is desensitized towards the body part. I’m just wondering with the buttocks being the primary erogenous zone in all primates would how could we not fetishize it or be intrinsically attracted to it? Are there any tribal cultures which do not fetishize butts? Could you please link me to books or other resources so that I could learn more on the subject of being desensitized to fetishized body parts?

      • I doubt that butts or breasts are fetishized in any tribal society where people go around wearing the equivalent of a G-string, or people would be turned on all the time. But I also don’t know how many societies are like that (though I have seen quite a few pictures of that sort of thing). And tribal societies constitute the large bulk of the human experience — more than 90%.

        Humans are different from nonhumans in that for us most of our experiences symbolic rather than innate, Which gives us greater freedom. We are not stuck to instinct for the most part.

        The desire for sex does seem to be instinctual in humans but it’s not necessary to have a visual fetish in order to want sex. No part of the male body is fetishized in our culture and yet women want sex with men unless they have been repressed or otherwise damaged. Also true of blind people. People have sex in the dark all the time. Also true of people whose partners may not have bodies that fit sexualized ideals.

        Just the idea of having sex is erotic. Orgasm is its own reward.

  10. healthobcessedman

    Also a lot of the breast attraction is caused by testosterone. I was castrated at 28 in 2015 and lost 97-100% attraction to female breasts. For proof I have a YouTube video called proof of eunuch. I will unlock it for a few weeks if my comment is approved but I need to study for a test.
    With T I really liked breasts but now it is typically an object.
    I don’t tell many about testosterone because they’ll want offenders castrated and they’ll get a fracture since most men aren’t health experts.

  11. FHill_Spr'17JR

    It is interesting how we tend to leave out the tribal and indigenous people when making these statements that men are hardwired to find breast arousing. I think this stems from the problem when we look through things through an ethnocentric lens. An ethnocentric lens would mean that you view other cultures from your own culture and background. That is something that you can not do because people operate differently in different cultures. Such as the way that they perceive breast in their culture. That is why when making definitive statements about men or women is difficult because all cultures are different. People won’t understand these differences if they continue to look through an ethnocentric lens. This will lead to less assumptions and accusations of people’s characteristics and stereotypes associated with their gender.

  12. Its almost weird reading something like this, as a girl who grew up always hearing that breasts were such a sexual thing. Now knowing that they in fact are sexualized as a fetish, and not a natural attraction, opens my eyes to how and why they have gained that reputation. In our society it has never been an okay thing to expose a women’s breasts in public. We were taught to always cover up, making them so desirable to see. I remember in middle school when dress codes prevented girls from showing excessive amounts of skin. It now makes sense as to why boys were claimed to get “distracted” by certain parts of a girls body. This still doesn’t make that acceptable, but it seems to be partly because they were forced to never show those parts! Making boys go crazy when they actually got a view of it.

    • It’s ironic that women are told to cover up because their bodies are so distracting, and yet “Covering up because you are so distracting” is exactly what causes the distraction.

  13. This post got me immediately thinking of the many changes that my school and many schools have gone through regarding the dress code. When I was in middle school I remember there being a few rules such as no spaghetti straps or shirts and skirts could not be above your fingertips when your arms were at your side. Now, when I pick up my children from school I immediately notice that the rules we had no longer apply, more and more girls are showing their stomachs, halter tops, short shorts and more. There has been so much controversy, stating that the dress code was so that boy wouldn’t get distracted at school and it made me so mad. As a society we make our young kids things that we need to hide certain parts of our body because it’s ‘too distracting’ or we over-sexualize certain parts of our bodies and adolescents cannot control themselves around others. We cover things up and we begin to think that certain parts aren’t meant to be seen, and like you mentioned people go crazy over a little exposure to a shoulder or seeing a girls lower back. What people find as sexual or arousing depends on our culture, and its different even between those within the same culture. If we went around topless like those in tribes or like our ancestors, arousal would be desensitized and men (and women) I think would have less of an urge to act upon their own needs and desires.

  14. I think sometimes the more something was forbidden, the more excited or “turned on” people can get, and people usually defined it like “tasting forbidden fruit”. Actually, I have read magazine said that men were visual animals, and so does women; however, this post provides a quite interesting new ideas about this, if we all get used to it we won’t think it’s a big deal, just as tribal people does. However, the culture for many countries wouldn’t allow this to happen only for some certain occasion, such as doing sunbath on beach, which probably only happen in western countries never religious regions, like it mentioned in Iran, even the hair cleavage is avoided to happen. Overall, I think another key component is that men and women are both should realize that women are not sexual objects, but independent individuals that live in the society, and not for serving anyone’s pleasure.

  15. Seven years old and still a great article – still relevant, still fresh.
    Past is prologue; post it again.

  16. You said the fetish is learned as far as men finding boobs arousing as in just from seeing a woman naked. But breasts are a body part among others that are sexually attractive. So even in cultures where women are topless more commonly, breasts may not be fetishsized, therefore causing men to not lose their minds around topless women or be aroused. But I believe these men would still find boobs sexually attractive and sexy, to go along with women’s butts and legs. But my question is do you think part of this is because women’s boobs are inherently sexier to men than men’s chests to women? Are boobs sexier than men’s chests? They just more sexually attractive and appealing?

    • I don’t think that women’s breasts are inherently sexier than a man’s chest. I do think they are inherently sexier than body organs like a vagina or penis. I could be wrong.

  17. You have a point. I’ll think…

  18. Tell me that a mans manhood size doesn’t matter to you.

    • The so-called preference for a big penis is also a social construction.

      For instance, women in many African societies prefer small to medium. Men in the United States care more about a big penis than women do. They’re much more likely to Google “penis” (or associated names) — something women rarely do. The male obsession with size is due to a social construction that associates penis size with manhood. Plus, the socially constructed idea porn creates that women actually care. I personally couldn’t care less about size. Most women don’t orgasm via intercourse — they’re much more likely to orgasm via “outercourse.”

      All of these judgments on breast size and penis size come from a domination culture that ranks people and insists that some are better than others. Which leaves most people feeling bad about themselves. Partnership cultures don’t rank and order. Instead, they appreciate variety in life.

      I still don’t understand why it’s important to you to think that the breast fetish natural. The belief that it is and that it’s important to be a certain size and shape causes all sorts of problems for women’s self-esteem. More importantly for men, it hurts sexuality for both women and men in the bedroom, for reasons I’ve already stated. And it’s all completely unnecessary because the breast fetish is a social construction. You don’t find it everywhere. And there’s clearly no evolutionary purpose for women learning it in places where it is fetishized.

      So I don’t get it? Why is it important to you to believe that it is natural?

  19. “But since your wife has breasts that sound like they fit the cultural ideal, you two don’t have to worry about that. But most of the rest of us do.”

    It’s like the thing “does size matter”. Anyone will tell you that it does, but its not the only thing that matters and it doesn’t matter “that much”. Where breast size lacks, it may be compensated for other curves in the body. Everyone likes different things. But for every person there is a threshold that makes him say… no that’s too small, no matter all other qualities. But For everyone that threshold is different depending on your taste, what’s available around you and how “good” your own assets are in your own eyes (and in the other’s eyes).
    Making generalizations and rationalizations like this is a waste.
    By looking at your avatar, you are a sweet woman. Cant see your breasts but looking at your face and the rest of your body I know they are at least… mmm 🙂
    Anything bigger than a lean male breast on you is beautiful.

    • Why thank you. But when we make a body part so important — fetishizing it and making it seem essential to sexual pleasure — and then constantly talk about how they need to be a certain size and shape in our culture — it creates all of the problems I was talking about. Sure, there are men who like different sizes, but women are never really sure. And given what the culture constantly says, women often don’t believe that men are satisfied even when they are. And only about half of men say they are satisfied with their partners breasts, which is better than the two-thirds of women who feel like their breasts are inadequate. I surveyed my female students and about two-thirds of them say that worrying about how they look in bed can be a big distraction. Meanwhile, nearly half of women experience sexual dysfunction (lack of interest in sex, painful sex, difficulty with orgasm) and these sorts of distractions surely play a role. Worry is not an erotic experience. If we didn’t make such a big deal about breasts, they wouldn’t be such a distraction. In cultures that don’t have the fetish and the body comparisons (and that don’t shame women for their sexuality) women highly enjoy sexuality, and there is virtually no dysfunction.

      By the way, if it’s important to you to believe that it is natural I’m wondering why? I don’t get it.

      • So, it is irony that the same woman that is show that is common so for male’s perspective and female perspective to become opposite so they are opposite to each other so it becomes two and not blend as one. For male that is big breast is better and for woman to desire big breast but can’t have and at same time to assume men that will view them as disinterest because of non-big breast, even female know that male is more visual-exciting than woman, but it is temporary as you get used to it so visual-exciting is reduces, but other problem what doesn’t get reduce is social impact.

        So, if there is alot of woman and man showing as common so the problem will be bigger that man will view woman to disinterest in them because of social impact that men in advertise is better.

      • Ok. I’m having a little difficulty understanding this as English isn’t your primary language. But size preference varies by culture.

        And I think women are thought to be less visual BECAUSE we eroticize the male body less. Women can learn to find the female body more erotic than the male, so they must be visual. You probably remember this: Women Learn the Breast Fetish, Too

  20. Hello, sorry to chime in so late on this one (your article was recently used as a source for a video).

    I do agree with the idea that either men should cover up, or women should be allowed to go topless.
    And I agree that being exposed to naked breasts on a daily basis would calm most men down about seeing them (definitely not all, though. I watched lots of porn when I was younger, I am married to a large chested woman, and I have never become tired of – or desensitized to – the sight of breasts).

    But, the fact that regular exposure to something can make it less enticing, does not mean that men are not hard wired to be turned on by/attracted to breasts.

    There have been articles that explain the chemical/biological reactions, that occur in the brain and body of a man when he touches a breast, as well as the release of oxytocin in the average (not all) woman, when her breast is caressed or suckled, which can lead her to become more aroused and enhance her enjoyment the overall sexual experience.

    I can cite sources if you want, but out of respect, I will wait until asked, I know some bloggers don’t like links in their comments.

    There are even theories (not sure if they have been proven, or not), about men’s attraction to breasts being installed (for lack of a better term) by evolution. Essentially giving men an instinct that tells us “if she consents to sexual contact, and you touch this part of her body, she will be happier, more aroused, more excited”. And that instinct has been thought to be part of the reason that we are drawn to/excited by breasts.

    They also talk about how, even in the societies you reference in your article, men often fondle breasts during intercourse.

    Essentially, all I’m saying is that if we saw breasts every day, most men would be less excited/less likely to stare. But they would still be attracted to/turned on by breasts.

    It’s like how straight men love the way a woman’s face looks. He is attracted to her face. Wants to touch and kiss her face (especially during intercourse). It’s exactly the same with the breasts.

    Lastly, I’m not trying to be rude or argumentative, and I hope it doesn’t come off that way. I’m just joining the conversation. I like to exchange ideas and keep it civil. I hope that’s accepted here 🙂

    • Sorry to get back to late. I’ve been out of town and am catching up (I prioritize comments on new posts). I actually appreciate comments like these so that I can address them.

      Did you read this? The Breast Fetish Is Natural? Afraid Not.

      I think most of your points are brought up in here but you did have a couple of nuances. So I’ll add this:

      I don’t mean to say that watching porn is going to desensitize all men. I would say that the amount of porn needed to desensitize varies from guy to guy (and what one guy considers a lot isn’t what another guy will consider a lot). We are all a mix of: culture (and most of the world fetishizes breasts) + personal experience + biology. So each of us responds to the world a little bit differently. But most men who have written to me on this topic have said that the fetish goes away with their long term partners. Although they can still find other women’s breasts arousing because they haven’t seen them yet. Each women’s breasts are different and when they are all usually covered up they hold a mystery.

      Of course these men can still appreciate their partner’s breasts, Just like they can appreciate their partner’s faces. But neither breast nor face are fetishized.

      Regarding the articles explaining the chemical and biological reactions, were these studies done only with men who live in societies where breasts are fetishized? Or do they include men from tribal societies too?

      Women fondle/rub men’s chests too. And their backs.

      Men’s breast fetish can’t possibly be evolutionary because you don’t find it everywhere. Most importantly, you don’t find it in those societies which are most like those that constituted 90% of the human experience. And why would women so often develop a breast fetish too?
      Women Learn the Breast Fetish, Too
      Sexual Fluidity, Images & Biology

      Otherwise, I’ll repeat a couple points that I make in the first link I recommended to you:

      Your comment: “when a woman’s breast is caressed or suckled, it can lead her to become more aroused and enhance her enjoyment the overall sexual experience.”

      The vagina and clitoris are even more responsive than breasts, yet they aren’t fetishized. And they only attract about 2% of Internet searches.

      The vagina and clitoris also aren’t fetishized. Cultural fetishes are created in this way:

      • Selectively hide and reveal — creating sexual tension
      • Declare the body part sexy, and then say, “Don’t look at it!” — creating sexual tension
      • Obsess over the body part: The camera zeros in on it. People talk about it incessantly… Because it is declared soooo sexy.

      I’m also wondering why you care about whether or not the fetishes natural. What difference does it make to you?

      Here’s why I care: our cultural obsession leaves the majority of women feeling like their breasts aren’t good enough. That lowers their self-esteem and — in bed — leaves them obsessing over how they look and distracted from sex. That’s not so great for men, either, because most men want their partners to be enjoying sex instead of distracted in bed. Or, some women get breast augmentation because they worry that they don’t look good enough. About one third of the time those surgeries cut sensitivity to the breast, leaving women unable to become aroused by the breast stimulation. And those surgeries need to be with redone every 10 years. Unnecessary surgeries are risky too. Additionally, men can also feel disappointed when their partners’ breasts don’t fit the cultural ideal, which can leave them enjoying sex less, too.

      In societies that lack this fetish neither men nor women are so particular about them, so breast size and shape don’t become an issue that harms self-esteem, or sex.

      But since your wife has breasts that sound like they fit the cultural ideal, you two don’t have to worry about that. But most of the rest of us do.

      • Hello.
        Nothing to apologize for, one day is a pretty quick response time.
        Furthermore, I sincerely appreciate that you kept your response civil and information based (I really can’t stand when I attempt a conversation with a person who has differing ideas, and they resort to anger and insults).

        I agree on the porn point. What level is “a lot”, and how it affects them will vary from person to person.

        I don’t necessarily see being extremely attracted to certain parts of a person, as a fetish. It’s not like I find a nice pair of breasts (and what makes a “nice pair” is purely subjective) any more or less exciting than a pretty smile.

        But, I am more turned on when my wife takes off her bra, because I see her face almost every minute of every day. I have her picture as the background on my phone and my work computer, and I never stop being happy to see it. 🙂 (Oh, and neither of us fit the cultural ideal, we are both overweight……working on it though….it’s rough)

        So (as I stated in my original post), I do agree with the notion that either men should not be allowed to go shirtless, or women should be. And, I agree that (after a few months, or maybe years), people will get used to it, and find breasts no more or less exciting than faces.

        I think it’s really the title that throws me off. Know what I mean? Hetero (and BI) men are hard wired to find women attractive, breasts are part of most women. I’m not trying to argue that we are wired to like breasts more than faces.

        I was (perhaps incorrectly) under the impression that you were trying to argue that men would not find breasts attractive at all, if it were not for societal influence. Which I do not agree with.

        As far as the reason why there aren’t as many searches for the vagina as there are for breasts on porn sites, I believe there are two reasons.
        1.The suckling of the breast releases oxytocin and dopamine in the woman’s brain. Where as cunnilingus does not appear to have that same effect until orgasm is reached. Breast related foreplay, can (in many cases) make cunnilingus (and all subsequent sexual contact) more enjoyable for her.
        2.Most porn contains vaginas, not all porn contains naked breasts. There are many porn vids where the woman is wearing lingerie, or a shirt, or a bra, through the entire scene. But you always get to see the vagina.

        As far as (I start too many sentences that way, sorry) the sources for those biological/chemical brain reactions, I’d need to go back to these articles and check their sources. And I honestly think I should do that, anyway, before(/if I’m going to) responding to your point about tribal societies and evolution based desires.
        It’s a lot of reading that I don’t have time for today, but I will get back to you after I do so, if you would like 🙂

        I can also provide links (just because you have, doesn’t mean I will assume that I can). Just let me know.

        I cared enough about this topic because (and I realize that in your other blog you refute this, but) when you “call people out” for what they find attractive/arousing/exciting, it does feel like shaming. Even if it was not your intention.

        It’s not like it’s a massive deal. More an interesting topic that I felt was worthy of a discussion.

        I understand your concern for women’s self-esteem. But, I believe it may be misplaced.

        There are men (and lesbians) who dig women of all shapes and sizes. Some people like big breasts, some like small, some like heavy, some like perky, some don’t care. No matter what a woman’s body size/shape, there is someone out there who will find her attractive. The same cannot be said for men. I am extremely lucky to have found such an amazing human to spend my life with. Most overweight men get turned down left and right, even by overweight women of a relatively comparable level of (what would conventionally be considered) attractiveness/desirability.

        Anyway, thanks for the friendly exchange of information.

      • You’re welcome.

        I originally used the word “Attractive” in the title and then changed it to “arousing” because people seem to get confused. I just mean that breasts are only arousing in cultures where they are fetishized. But of course most body parts can be attractive: a shoulder, the nape of the neck, calves, a face, a beautiful haircut — but none of those things are arousing in our culture.

        And what I mean by fetish is that a person gets sexually aroused by it. But it’s not natural, Not something you find everywhere.

        When people write in to tell me that they are certain this fetish is natural I ask why it’s important to them to believe that because I really would like to know. I don’t get it.

        Anyway, thanks for your response.

    • George it is quite obvious you are trying to make excuses to justify your thinking that big breasts are superior to smaller ones.

      Yes there are some men who like bigger breasts, and the fact that they like bigger breasts when smaller ones are just as beautiful means those men are greedy. The human female body does not need giant breasts 24/7, which is why after pregnancy the majority of women’s breasts get smaller. Giant breasts are unnecessary, they hamper movement and they cause back pain, and the fact that a man would turn down a woman just because she doesn’t have oversized tits is in fact very shallow and highly materialistic.

      And yes there are some women who date fat men. I am 23 and my man is much older (60 years old) and he is slightly overweight with a pot belly and I love him to pieces. I’ve been with him since I was 19. So dont group all women together into a box by saying they would not date ugly or fat men, as that makes you sound like an extremist towards women.

  21. What can men do to keep women from being distracted in bed? What can men do or say that will help? Societal change doesn’t happen overnight. The breast fetish is slowly fading but it will be around for a while. What can men do at the individual level to help? If I’m having sex with her for the first time, is there anything I should be doing or saying that will help keep her from being distracted?

    • I appreciate your question. Hope you don’t mind if I quote you sometime.

      You’re right, societal change is a slow process, and so on that level we can educate and encourage people to appreciate that variety is the spice of life.

      On an individual level? I would say that there are two steps. Some men have already mastered the first one. Step 1: men can learn to appreciate a variety of body types, seeing what is beautiful in each woman. Step 2: see what is beautiful in your lover, and let her know how lovely… beautiful… hot (whatever best describes your feeling) she is!

  22. handsomerandyblackladdiebrad

    Every boy-DEFINITELY INCLUDING YOURS TRULY!!!!!-I know can’t resist a buxom babe!!!!
    I’d say we lads are CLOSE TO HARD-WIRED TO LOVE BUSTY LASSES!!!!!

    • I know that you don’t like racism. Racism and makes people feel bad about themselves. And you would like people to stop behaving in that hurtful way. And I agree.

      But you don’t seem to have much empathy, yourself. You say many things that promote sexism and that makes most women feel bad about their bodies, besides.

      We set up false hierarchies that leave most people feeling bad about themselves because most people aren’t at the top. And worshiping large breasts leaves most women feeling bad about themselves because without obesity and implants the average breast size is a B cup or an A cup, depending on the culture. Here’s what are young woman wrote on my blog today:

      Growing up, it was clear how the bigger Breasts you had the more you were liked and highly admired. I always had small Breasts and back then, some kids would always say how I’m so “flat chested”. All women should love their bodies but it’s so hard when society praises nice Breasts.

      Meanwhile, the breast fetish is a social construction. You don’t find it in every culture. And the big breast fetish is overlaid on top of that. Both are widespread right now, but haven’t always been — either here or in other cultures.

      The fixation often harms both men and women. Not only does it frequently hurt women’s self-esteem, but the majority of women get distracted when they are in bed, worrying about whether they look attractive enough. That’s no fun for the guy either, who would rather have his partner enjoying sex, instead of being distracted by worries over how her breasts look.

      But I am curious as to what difference it makes to you. Why is it important to you to believe that it is biologically-based?

  23. The concept of breasts not originally being in the sexual spotlight isn’t a new subject for me. However it never occurred to me that the sexualization of breasts could be considered a fetish. Reading your article, it seemed obvious that it would be considered a fetish. That is what a fetish is, the extreme sexualization of something typically-nonsexual. The fact that I didn’t even think to slap a label like fetish on it is most likely due to my own internalized feelings about it. I can preach about freeing the nipple and all that, but I obviously have internalized feelings in which I view breast in the sexual manner our society perceives them in.

  24. “Men aren’t hard-wired to find breasts arousing?
    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.”
    Moreover, we have shifted into a new fetish: big “butts/behinds.” It is phenomenal how we go through stages of these fetishes. Not so long ago it were breasts (and still is,) but now society — through the media — glamorizes big “butts/behinds.” Obviously, every individual has different likings, but more often they derive from society’s objectification of women’s bodies. Today, more voluptuous bodies are accepted and wanted, and so many women have started obsessing with going to the gym and doing squats. Being healthy is, of course, beneficial, but ever since the media has started glamorizing big “butts/behinds,” more women are eager to manifest these glamorized images. Men are definitely not hard wired to find breasts, “butts/behinds” arousing, but they are hard-wired to confine to whatever society labels as sexy.

  25. You know what I always found so stupid and weird and it’s not because of perverse reasons, but a pragmatic ‘what’s the point” perspective. Like if I want to see nipples I can see it on porn or whatever like most men. But I find it weird how this culture, like the “cutoff” to now being to sexual and is “porn” territory is once the nipples are shown. Like it’s one thing for a skimpy bikini wear a lot of the breasts are shown, but still some coverage. Or some pasties are big and cover a big part of the breasts. But you’ll see some pasty “dots” where the pasty is so close to the nipples that the edge seems to be right on the areola line and it’s like you are seeing the women topless.

    I’ve seen it in a sports form, like a ladies lounge thing and it was pretty sexual to me, but it was funny, because they couldn’t show the “nipples”, because then it would be R rated territory and should some underage kids look at it. I mean it’s not sexual at all lol, yep. I mean when it’s that close, it really feels like you are seeing a woman topless, but technicality it’s not. It’s so arbitrary and stupid how the nipples are the end all be all to being taboo and too arousing. I’m starting to wonder when breasts weren;t arousing and sexual? I’m pretty sure women’s nipples are arousing because of them sitting on top of those breasts which are some reason, can basically show all of it and are actually what men don’t have. Men have nipples, not breasts or breasts like women. Yet the body part we do share is what is porn territory and not breasts? It’s so convoluted. And it’s not because I want to see them, because it’s not a big deal, my perspective when I come across such images, or videos and thinking of, I don’t know, a 15 year old boy seeing it is. What’s the point of covering the nipples when you have basically a string covering them? There’s always a purpose to things and not just simply because something is shown. It’s relevant to what supposed thing will cause or do. So that tiny little material is stopping lil johnny from being highly aroused? I bet 100 dollars he’s well aroused already and, sure the nipples will add a shock value, but if are gauge is about arousal, he’s most likely already had it before that and probably like he’s already seeing her topless.

    • that tiny little material is stopping lil johnny from being highly aroused?

      Actually, that tiny little material is exactly what crazy arousal. It’s what creates the tease, the sexual tension.

      That’s why guys in tribal societies don’t get aroused — there’s no material, tiny or otherwise, selectively hiding under revealing and creating tension.

      • Lil johnny was already aroused when it’s like he’s basically seeing a topless woman. That’s my point. What’s the point of this? If it was so boys aren’t flustered or aroused, they wouldn’t being clothing to that extreme measure where the pasty is literally the size of her nipple. Like I said with bare ass shown, which is as sexually attractive and arousing as bare breasts, but that fine on some ads or tv. Sex scenes as long as no nipples shown. You see how this doesn’t make sense? It’s one thing if we’re talking about cleavage or bikinis, where’s it;s skimpy but still some coverage. What I’m talking about isn’t coverage and can cause shock value and like you’re seeing nudidy because it’s so much boob and so close.

        When to that extent, it’s pointless and so stupid and arbitrary. If the media was worried about arousal and sexual and obscenity, they wouldn’t go to such extent of exposure. They might as well show the nipples, because lil johnny already to to the point of high arousal by then. Not preventing anything. So worried about lil johnny getting a lil more aroused, when he already got there to a great extent already? That’s as logical as seeing someone driving past speed limit, say 10 past which most pull you over for. But that being fine, but pulling you over just because you’re going 5mph. You’re still going past the speed limit, why should it matter if going a little fast when the point is you’re already past it? What’s the point of being a little more aroused being a problem? When that boy is already aroused? Which supposedly this not showing nipple thing is supposed to prevent, but apparently hasn’t.

      • I guess it’s not thought out. Socialized/what the media “Powers that be” have learned from the culture, Whether it makes sense or not.

      • I guess it’s not thought out. Socialized/what the media “Powers that be” have learned from the culture, Whether it makes sense or not.

  26. I find it so interesting the controversy regarding breasts nowadays. What’s ironic is that women’s breasts aren’t all that different to men. In fact, I have seen men out there with larger and more voluptuous breasts than some women I know. Why is it okay for them to walk shirtless, but the women can’t? There is a video clip of Miley Cyrus on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and she is wearing pasties. Kimmel is so uncomfortable and gets so flustered over them. This is a grown man who is in show business, where there is a ton of weird things that happen, and he cannot handle seeing pastie-covered boobs. I also find it so odd that women are shamed for publicly breast-feeding. You see all these social experiments and videos online of women who are shamed by both men and women for breast-feeding in public. What is so wrong about that? Breast-feeding is a normal part of life. Infants need to eat, and they do it often. How is it fair that we ask women to constantly excuse themselves to find a private area to feed their child? These women are doing what their bodies are biologically created to do. Why should they be shamed for it? We, as society, have hyper-sexualized breasts and feel uncomfortable when we see them exposed in public. This is our fault. We should not project this onto mothers who are doing what is completely natural. Our obsession with breasts is what’s unnatural.

  27. jessica alvarado

    Interesting read. I personally think men are naturally turned on by breasts and booty. I think either one, if not both is their fetish. I also think this could be true due to different trends such as twerking (booty dance), porn, and other things surfacing social media, television, etc. Being that were in 2016 now, the phrase “sex sells”, in my opinion, is only getting more and more popular. Both men and women are drawn into breasts.

    Unlike other’s on this comment list, I partially agree with the article, however it is true that people want what they cant have (can’t physically see) just as much as what is explicitly shown on t.v. and social media which is (ass and boobs).

    • Actually, not everyone who commented disagrees with the post — but people who disagree are more likely to make an effort to comment in order to sway thoughts or make a point they think I haven’t heard yet. The rest tend to share the post — and this one has been shared over 19,000 times.

      But if the breast fetish is natural, why don’t you find it in many societies? And in particular, in the types of societies that constitute 95% of the human experience — tribal cultures.

      Why do you find it only in societies that do three things:

      1. hide — or selectively hide and reveal, Creating tension
      2. hide the body part because it is “So sexy” — and then say “don’t look” — creating tension
      3. culturally obsess over the body part

      That doesn’t mean that the breast fetish doesn’t feel natural to men (or to women who may also learn it). Social constructions often feel natural.

      With some things you can only tell that they are social constructions by doing cross-cultural research. If you don’t find it everywhere, and if it comes and goes with social circumstances, it can’t be biological.

  28. Hi can you link me to any books and readings for this? Thanks

  29. one thing in particular that shocks me about this subject is the common, if not overwhelming majority of men and women who would find this discovery as just that—a discovery, news in 2016. It’s unsettling that such fundamental, “common knowledge” and unquestioned “normal” aspects of our society are still having the rug pulled from underneath of them. While it may not be necessarily wrong for men to be attracted to breasts because of infantile breastfeeding and our media’s over-sexualization of them, it makes me really open up my eyes and question what other societal norms we operate with on daily basis that have no clue about the true nature of, that we allow to drive our behavior, beliefs, construction of reality etc.. under the false impression that they ingrained and biological.

  30. Thank you for your exhaustive response. Most men are so insecure I think many of them feel that they have no sexual power and women have all of it. So they find it hard to believe in womens’ insecurities.

    I think all kinds of body shaming and sexuality shaming are appalling. Keep doing what you do!

  31. Hi,

    Thank you for still responding to replies so long after the original article.

    I think if you want to know why men care about the socialised/biological aspect of attraction to breasts, you need to look no further than Kate’s post above. She basically says that men are attracted to breasts because

    a/ they are immature, indeed infantile

    b/ they are perverts.

    Since this viewpoint still seems to be extant it is not surprising that men get defensive if someone suggests their attraction to breasts is socialised. If we can say ‘it is hardwired’ we can immediately dismiss Kate’s views and classify ourselves neither as perverts or as overgrown babies. .

    Incidentally, as a man I can say it certainly feels completely and utterly hardwired. My body started reacting to the sight of naked breasts before my brain did. I’ll have to take your word for it that it is hard to tell the difference – but (with the greatest possible respect and admiration for your work) you have never been a man and experienced it for yourself. You rown attraction to breasts may have been strong but I doubt it was as all powerful and all-encompassing as it was for most men of a similar age.

    Thanks again, fascinating stuff..

    • Thanks for answering a question that I frequently find myself asking.

      Others have mentioned that they think I’m trying to shame them with this article, Which is why I wrote:

      “Am I trying to shame men? Some guys think I bring this up to shame them. I’m not. I don’t care if they find breasts arousing… But I do care when our cultural obsession leaves the majority of women feeling like their breasts aren’t good enough. (Which leaves them obsessing over how they look and distracted from sex — which is not so great for men, either.)”

      We live in a society that fetishizes breasts, which (in turn) makes them seem very important, leaving women worrying about whether they look attractive enough (which distracts them in bed so that they have a hard time enjoying sex — it’s surely part of the reason why nearly half of women experience sexual dysfunction — because it’s impossible to enjoy sex if you are distracted with worry.

      Meanwhile, evolutionary psychology says that the reason why men are visually cued in is so that men can detect the healthiest women. And yet they also say that women aren’t visual in the same way — so why isn’t it equally important for women to find the healthiest men? There is a double standard: men can judge women, but women can’t judge men. And when around 80% of women have poor body image, science proclaiming their bodies “not good enough” makes things that much worse.

      If women can understand that this is a social construction, they won’t have to feel so bad about themselves. And it seems to be important info for women, given the number of shares this post has received. And the fact that it is pretty much always in my top 10 most viewed posts even after all these years.

      Also, social constructions often feel biological. Like this one. Which is why I wrote this in the original post:

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

      Oftentimes, the only way you can tell that something is a social construction is by doing cross-cultural research.

      But the fact that it is a social construction doesn’t mean that one can simply control it. Which is why I made the point that I’m not trying to shame men.

      The best outcome I can imagine for men in terms of “getting this” is that they might be less judgmental if women don’t have breasts that fit the cultural ideal. (And as it turns out, men are actually less judgmental than women — usually. Something like two-thirds of women think that their own breasts aren’t good enough, but about two thirds of men think that their partner’s breasts are just fine.) But there are situations where men feel ashamed that their partners don’t have bodies that fit the ideal, and many of these men shame their partners, or pressure them to do sexual things to make up for it. And whether or not the women give in to the pressure, the couple cannot be happy for long. I’m hoping that as a culture we can learn to appreciate a wider variety of body types (I’ve written on issues other than the breast fetish), and see what is attractive in one another beyond this fetish.

  32. plenty of science to contradict this article. The book, a billion wicked thoughts has plenty of info on why straight men and gay men are both attracted to the same body parts on their potential mates. chest, butts, feet etc. They developed a theory called a body map. This is hardware existing in the brain at birth. it would make sense that the greatest and most important drive in the human body would be controlled genetically and not through the whims of fashion and culture.

    • I’m always curious about people who get all worked up, insisting that what I say here is wrong. What difference does it make to you whether or not it’s biological?

      And how do you explain that you don’t find the fetish in every culture?

      I’ve read Ogas’ book. It’s actually contradictory:

      Men are naturally that way. But you don’t find it everywhere, so it is cultural. The authors’ basic theory is that men have the capacity to be imprinted on, but the imprint will vary from culture to culture.

      Which means that even they admit the fetish is a cultural construction.

      Evolutionary psychology — the theory the book uses to explain the Internet data that is analyzed — is contradictory too. Evolutionary psychology has two schools that contradict each other.* And one of those schools contradicts itself. See this:

      Evolutionary Psych’s Double Standard

      *This part comes from a competing school of evolutionary psychology: “As it turns out, humans began living mostly monogamously soon after they started living in large groups. With more support and resources, children grew bigger brains and were more likely to survive.”

      But like I said, I’m always curious about why people get all worked up, insisting that what I say here is wrong.

      What difference does it make to you whether or not it’s biological?


    Breast is result of sexual selection, you don’t see breast like humans on any other mammals.

  34. So, I’m interested in follow-up posts. How do I ensure that I see those posts?

  35. Citation, please. At the moment this is conjecture. It could be that the tribal societies who remain uncovered are desexualizing breasts by exposing kids to them from childhood. Cum hoc ergo propter hoc, a fallacy of causation a correlation.

  36. This is completely irrelevant. It’s the same comparison as a society that enforces pre-arranged marriages, marriages and sex with minors to a culture that considers these things immoral. Just because one culture doesn’t consider the breast an object of sexual desire doesn’t mean the next society that does is wrong. It means one culture is more knowledgeable than another. These cultures also do other extreme and taboo things with sexual organs. Most men have there penis try and peddle this nonsense simply means you lack understanding… It’s ok, flaunt your breasts and attempt to revert society to such ridiculous ideals… I’ve known many women who take a great deal of pleasure from the foreplay of the breast. So… Because you don’t find them to be aroused during intercourse they shouldn’t be viewed as a flattering mark of beauty to a woman but merely as an extremity such as the arm? Aye, but then your argument will flow to some women becoming aroused from other body parts as well… This is true… But the breast has scientifically been proven to have an abundance of nerve endings to suggest an area of arousal… They are indeed designed to attract the male species. It is our nature to reproduce and just as a male peacock uses vibrant colors and displays to attract a female so does the breast attract a male… One of many tools a woman can use to pick her perfect mate.

  37. The only part that is really itching my mind about this is that it strikes me as possibly being a causal oversimplification. The problem I have with the declaration that its absolutely psychological and absolutely not biological is that sexual arousal itself can’t even be defined in such clear, black and white terms. Human psychology, sociology, human behavior, and even, to a certain extent, biology are rarely ever that clear cut, so I’m automatically skeptical of any claim that is so clearly absolute. Social context matters. When I’m told that tribal men are not aroused by breasts, does that mean within a normal social context or under ALL social contexts, because those are two different things. As an example, I spent a number of years as an EMT. Well, as they say in my field, a naked patient is a happy patient, so in the back of my truck, their clothes get cut off (obviously only when the circumstances make it appropriate… I mean, trying to cut the shirt off a conscious patient with an ankle injury would make for a very short career). I have never once been aroused by seeing the breasts of a patient that I’m working on. On the other hand, if I’m undressing someone in an intimate setting, then that context changes things. People have different responses to different contexts, and being the social animals that we are, I’m not sure that I can entirely characterize those differences into clean little boxes like “only biology” or “only social learning”. So, if given normal every day interactions, a tribal man isn’t aroused at all but a westerner is, I can totally buy into the difference between them coming down to social learning, but that’s it. To say that it disproves a biological component to being aroused by breasts is a little beyond what the evidence actually shows, and, on the contrary, if I instead altered the study to only look at tribal men in intimate situations with their sexual partners where sexual activity was actually anticipated and, hypothetically speaking, found that the female breasts in that specific context were arousing or enhanced arousal, then those findings would be problematic to the idea that its only a socially constructed fetish because under the theory that you’re presenting, they shouldn’t have an effect on male arousal at all. Like I said, I don’t know if that specific situation has been looked at or not, but that was the first thought that came to my mind.

    • See what I wrote to the last guy — and what I will probably write you some more guys who wrote in.

      There is a difference between a fetish and natural attraction. This fetish is a social construction that is not found in every culture. It’s created in this way:

      • Selectively hide and reveal — creating sexual tension
      • Declare a body part sexy, and then say, “Don’t look at it!” — creating sexual tension
      • Obsesses over the body part: The camera zeros in on it. People talk about it incessantly… Because it is declared soooo sexy.

      But I can’t tell you when you cross the line between the 2.

      If you want to know why I care about this issue, take a look at the end of this post:

  38. What a ridiculously one-sided blog. Men aren’t sexualized? Yeah, I’ll remember that the next time I see tens of thousands of women e-drooling over a picture of a cowboy, fireman, etc with his shirt off. Yes, some human beings are visual just like some human beings – apparently you – are not visual. This is science based, not anecdotal and certainly not dependent on gender. What you’re presenting is a bias of perspective. “Well, it doesn’t work for me so it can’t work for anyone else, either.”

    The question you need to ask yourself is this, if it’s inappropriate for a man to show skin in a given situation why are you entitled to it just because you have breasts? I hope you all bookmark or otherwise save this blog to reread when you’re a 40+ year old spinster.

  39. I take the argument to be akin to this: “Fruit is a craving for many people. But, for people who eat fruit too much, they go for sweeter things like cake, and fruit doesn’t do much for them. Therefore, we are not hard-wired to like fruit.” The fallacy is neglecting the plausible point that we are hard-wired to crave those things further along the spectrum than what is normal.

    • The metaphor doesn’t fit what I’m talking about.

      While it’s true that humans have a strong urge to both eat food and to reproduce, and while cultures shape how we do each of those things, you only find fetishes when it comes to sex (unless fruit is used as a sex fetish, perhaps).

  40. This entire argument fascinates me, not the least because if the thesis of this post is accurate, than I am afflicted and in need of considerable therapeutic intervention. It is a difficult, constant, and I think biologically unnatural, for many–if not all–men to monitor and check our sexual drive, yet it is necessary. Is it Freudian to believe that the core of most of what we do is determined by the impulse to procreate? That’s my guy, but difficulty notwithstanding, we’re not in Kansas any more, and the price of existing within the comforts of community necessitates awareness and suppression of certain aspects–things like urinating on our territory, killing our rivals for a few extra rutabagas, and jumping up and down shouting “boobies!” every time a woman in a nice sweater enters a room.

    An aside: In that regard, maturity was a sweet relief–those years when the male body pretty much operates on the same principle as a compass, albeit driven by a different type of magnetism, but still pointing reliably north, are exhausting.

    I have to admit, I’m not buying in here, just feeling the degree to which I respond to women. I notice breasts everywhere, and still employ the lessons of blazing adolescence to minimize the obviousness of that reaction, for the simple reason that I’ve been happily monogamous for more than two decades. I simply can’t believe I’ve been so unwillingly socially programmed, not if I hope to maintain my own dignity. No matter how shapely a woman’s breasts may look, those breasts aren’t for me. I’m not going to be aroused. Appreciative, sure, that’s possible, but not aroused. It is no different with a woman breastfeeding, or, for example, skinny dipping. You see a breast, you notice a breast, and if you’re not some sort of asshat you look away. Because it is polite, and expected.

    Ultimately, breasts are sexy in direct proportion to the sexiness of the person to whom they are attached, divided by the expected degree of access one can expect–at least that’s how it seems to me.

    • Social constructions pretty much always feel biological. The only way you can tell they aren’t is by doing cross-cultural research and learning that people in different cultures see and experience things differently.

  41. I agree. If people went naked or nearly naked, no one would care anymore. We might get cold though…

  42. “Culturally, we don’t sexualize the male body.” Speak for yourself. Since puberty, I found a specific body type of some males to be hugely erotic to me. I definitely find males half-nude, or nude, to be a turn-on

    • Well, culture and myself, or yourself, are all different things. Each of us is a mix of three things: biology + culture + individual experiences/interactions.

      Those three things mix in unique ways in each of us.

      And so you get cultural patterns and individual variations.

      The culture does not sexualize men’s bodies. At least not very much or very often. As a result, magazines of naked men have never sold well among women. But different women have different mixes of the three things I noted above, so you do enjoy images of naked men. But culturally speaking, images of naked men your experience is less common.

  43. This makes no sense. Breasts are a part of female bodies, which straight men find attractive.

    What is the basis for saying tribal men don’t find breaststroke attractive? Some cultures don’t cover them, so men won’t always think they’re in a secular situation every time they see breaststroke. But that’s not the same as not finding them attractive.

    • I didn’t put too many things in this post, but if you go to the post on “think breasts are arousing? Afraid not” you will see a link to a source that answers your question.

  44. Here I have read some pretty conflicting research.

    Others argue that breasts does effect gynophillic people a lot, and not strangely because it is a sighn of maturity and thus a sign of fertility.
    But at the same time because of the sexual mystique that they have in the west that heightens it. Just like a curvy body gets more mystique in cultures were it is shamed to see curves and women dress to avoid showing them.

    Big but, big hipps, small waist, also shows signs of fertility and low average androgen exposure. All sexual characteristics primary and secondary exist because of primarly sexual selection and to a lesser extent natural selection.

    Anyway interesting article.

  45. “I mentioned in the post that in tribal societies men are sexually attracted to women, despite not experiencing a breast fetish.

    And women are sexually attracted to men even though no part of the male body is fetishized.”

    But wouldn’t this be because as far as I can tell almost all cultures still hide their “main” genitalia? So there is still excitement and mystery around those parts. We generally see African tribe women having their vagina covered and men have their penises covered.

    I mean if there were a culture that just stayed completely 100% nude forever then I would imagine us men wouldn’t sexualize vaginas either. So then the question becomes would it only mean touch or vocal would cause arousal vs visual? Then to take that farther what if we touched each other all the time and talked dirty to each other all the time, then arousal would be very difficult. What I think this all really means is that these things are still biological, but they can be desensitized. That doesn’t mean it’s not still biological.

    • I actually believe that sexual attraction is partly visual for both women and men. I’m just saying that fetishes are socially constructed.

      Everyone has a sexual orientation leaving them attracted to women or men, and the trigger is largely visual. Yet women are attracted to men despite the fact that we haven’t fetishized any part of the male body. And some cultures don’t fetishize any part of the female body. And yet heterosexual men still want to have sex with women in their communities.

      A fetish is something that you don’t find everywhere, in every culture. It can heighten the sexual experience. Or completely dull it if it is missing or “wrong.”

      See this:
      Why Aren’t Men Objectified?

      Here’s how a fetish can dull the sexual experience if it is “inadequate”:

      Does Sexual Objectification Lead to Bad Sex?
      Lose Virginity, Lose Self-Esteem?

      None of the things I talk about in these last 2 posts are necessary or healthy. All humans are capable of having healthy, enjoyable sex, if they don’t start worrying about whether they or their partner is built exactly right — to the fetish’s exacting standards.

  46. I think you have it backwards. You seem to suggest that sexual attraction originates in culture, which is impossible because culture would not exist without biology coming first.

    I believe sexual attraction originates in biology, as a motivation for sexual reproduction. But certain cultures have been able to desensitize their people to it. Unfortunately, this requires being exposed to the stimulus constantly, which is not convenient in cold climates where people must wear clothing and cover themselves to keep warm.

    • The breast fetish is different from “sexual attraction.”

      I mentioned in the post that in tribal societies men are sexually attracted to women, despite not experiencing a breast fetish.

      And women are sexually attracted to men even though no part of the male body is fetishized.

      And women can even learn the breast fetish, and yet have no desire to have sex with a woman.

      Sexual attraction is biological. The breast fetish is a social construction.

      Humans have some biological needs — sex and food for instance. But how those appetites are fashioned varies from culture to culture.

      In some cultures men have become desensitized — but you have to learn the fetish first in order to later become desensitized.

      In other cultures it is never learned in the first place, so the lack of interest doesn’t come out of desensitization. And those are the cultures that are the oldest. The female breast is not fetishized in tribal cultures, and yet men have still been sexually interested since prehistoric times. Or else none of us would be here.

      • I found this article very interesting as before I read it I thought that the attraction to breast to be biological. I figured the attraction was due to them being female genitals and for biological reasons(reproduction) men would be attracted to them. I thought maybe it also had to do with them being a source of food for us as we were young, however it has only to do with what your society has deemed a private part. It makes sense after I read the article, after all breast have nothing to do with the act of making a baby.The only reason I find a breast sexy is because I have been forbidden from seeing them anytime I look at a women. This then goes on to say that thing like hair and even a glimpse of skin can be deemed sexy just by covering it up. I think it says a lot about humans, but what those words actually are i don’t know. Is it because as a human I want to feel risky or taboo? it is more about the act of exposing something that should be covered up than the actual body part. I wonder if the phycology behind it can be taken further and explain humans thirst for knowledge? Is the reason human know so much about physics explained by this? It is kind of the same thing. We can see physics working by throwing an apple in the air just like we know women have breast because we can see lumps under their shirts. However we want to know more! we want to be able to calculate what that apple is doing and predict what is going to happen to it just like we long to see a breast without a cover. I dont know maybe it is more about the act of someone exposing themself to you. Maybe it is because you feel special they decided to show you. Showing someone your “private parts” can be very belittling and shameful. It makes the act of exposing yourself something intimate, and can take a great deal of trust. Perhaps it is has another reason all together.

      • Forbidden fruit has always been really attractive.

        And yet genitals don’t get nearly as much attention as breasts do, even though they are more directly sexual. Three things create a fetish:

        1. selectively hide and reveal– creating sexual tension
        2. tell people that the reason it is covered up is because it is so sexy — BUT DON’T LOOK — creating sexual tension
        3. culturally obsess over it

        We do all three of these with breasts, and we don’t do any of them with genitals — at least not to any degree. And so breasts are fetishized and genitals are not, even though genitals are more directly sexual than breasts are.

  47. I think people are mistaking culture with habits here. Just because there are cultures that are more acclimated to the sight of female breasts, doesn’t mean they didn’t find them arousing.

    Just about every polytheistic tribal culture you can reference, cultures where women commonly walked/walk about topless, their people regarded and worshiped a mother goddess, typically with highly-accentuated idealized breasts, typically regarded as the sex goddess whose arousing power is responsible for fertility, sustenance, and sexual desire.

    In some tribal cultures, such as the Zulu, women were traditionally topless, but the breasts were still regarded as sexual features. The Zulu practiced the Virgin Reed Dance festival (Umhlanga), where virgin females of sexually-developed age dance topless for their chief, originally as a way for the king to choose a wife (or wives). Today, nowadays, it remains as a means of cultural preservation and heritage display–but still with this cultural duality.

    Similarly, blossomed females of fertility age in Papua New Guinea were topless, but often decorated their breasts in an inviting, accentuated nature, and traditionally were a very sexual people (even controversially, to the point where even young children openly mimicked sexual intercourse, much to social approval, before the days of Christian missionaries).

    You can find examples like these in many pre-Westernized/pre-Christian cultures worldwide. The Aztec, Polynesians, the ancient Greeks, and ancient Egyptians all saw such duality between social acclimation of open breasts and high sexual regard towards the female breasts. So, just because one might be used to the sight of female breasts, it doesn’t mean that culture didn’t regard breasts as sexual features–quite a many, in fact, did.

    Anyways, people here are also disregarding the bigger picture: For MOST of human culture across most of history, the female human breasts were recognized as sexual features. And you look at us biologically, compared to other primates, it’s obvious why.

    Women are biologically-designed to protrude in places that best grab men’s attention. Call it an evolutionary feature. Basically, human female breasts are proportionally larger than they need to be to serve the purpose of breastfeeding (similar to how the human male penis is proportionally much larger).

    The female human’s breasts are bigger and fuller than other primates’ breasts, serve as a biological sign of fertility, are commonly an erogenous zone, and play a more prominent role in human sexuality. It’s been shown that arousal of the breasts for women triggers a similar response in the brain as genitalia arousal, meaning that the female breasts are truly (biologically, neurologically, evolutionarily) a sexual characteristic, and not just one of social construct.

    Women were developed with prominent breasts in such a way that catches the male’s attention. That is, a natural objectification. A natural form of sexual objectification without social connotations or cultural regard in itself. Not that women are exclusive to such natural objectification, or men are helpless to such objectifying, but part of being a woman is to be naturally accentuated by nature for men to notice. Even humans aren’t exempt from sexual selection.

    Clearly, some societies choose to embrace this about women, while others don’t regard it as much, but that doesn’t mean that breast sexuality isn’t biological–it just simply means that we humans are capable of determining culture away from biological inclination. Just as we have people who are sexually-capable but prefer asexuality, or how we socially confine ourselves to marriage, even though most other primates are polygamous creatures.

    One could say breast sexuality is squarely social/cultural, but we’ve got more than enough evidence to show that we humans have more than enough room to be hard-wired for breast sexuality and yet confined by social constructs contributing to cultures both with and without breast sexuality. Though, most human cultures dwelt somewhere in between.

    • You haven’t said anything here that is evidence against my thesis.

      There is no evidence that the men you describe are aroused by seeing breasts. Do you really think that men who are constantly surrounded by topless women have a hard on all day long? Everyday? And I have had conversations with men from Europe (those European cultures in which toplessness is more common), And some European men have written on my blog (there are a lot of comments on this post, but take a look at them if you like), saying that, indeed, they no longer find breasts arousing — get a hard on just from seeing the sight of them. Though they may find them beautiful.

      Pamela Paul interviewed men on their pornography use and wrote a book about it (Pornified). The men often said that when they first saw a topless women they got all aroused. But after they had seen thousands of breasts they didn’t care anymore. They needed something more hard-core to get aroused, visually.

      Breasts are not a natural objectification (in fact, you don’t seem to know what objectification is. See this post:

      The fact that a woman decorates something doesn’t mean that it is arousing. Women decorate their hair, their arms, their feet, their face… Most men don’t find these body parts arousing.

      Women’s breasts likely protrude because it’s easier to feed babies. They aren’t like animals that are on all fours or lying down to breastfeed. (Actually, some animals do have large breasts to help breast-feeding, like cows and goats — they’re just called something different like “udder”.) If a woman gets aroused by breast-feeding, She is more likely to breast feed and nurse her baby.

      And the images of women’s bodies in Paleolithic and Neolithic art is not meant to sexually arouse men. Women — and the goddess — are seen as the creators of life, and celebrated as such: this is a celebration of the ability to have life come from your body and to nourish it.


      1) I had already covered some of this in a post that I ask people to read before responding to this one.

      2) See my comment policy. I generally don’t approve comments that are super-long because if I did I would spend all day approving comments, and not get anything else done. Sometimes I make exceptions if the comment is from a new person. But if I’ve gotten a lot of long comments on the same blog post, I’ll put off reading them. So I think it’s been about a month since you wrote this. If you would like me to approve comments more rapidly, make them shorter.

      • I’m a Scandinavian man. I remember running into topless women on beaches as a kid, and there was a nude beach right next to my student dorm. I have seen this argument before; that men from certain European countries supposedly find breasts less arousing, less interesting, or something to that effect. This is not entirely true. Honestly, I think Maverick gets it right. Of course, absence makes the heart grow fonder as they say, so if you’re a man and you practically never see breasts, then you are probably going to have a stronger reaction to them. Same is true for genitals, but nobody is claiming that genitals aren’t sexual. I have also read about other cultures that are supposedly not so interested in breasts, and they tend to vary from breasts bring seen as an important (but not shocking) sign of feminine fertility, beauty, and attractiveness (e.g. the Hadza) to being so taboo that it would be shocking to show some cleavage (traditional Korea). Despite the cultural differences, the bottom line is still that men in general, everywhere, are remarkably interested in them. This is indeed one major hypothesis for the reason that they are nearly always present in women and girls who have been through puberty. They’re a sexual signal. In most other mammals, they are basically absent when there is no milk production (chimpanzees, who walk on all four limbs, swell around the genitals instead). The second best hypothesis is that they serve as a fat storage, but that extra fat could just as easily (and more conveniently) have been stored around the stomach, as in men.

        So, thanks for the interesting article, but sorry, I don’t buy it.

      • Hi there Trond. You sound a lot like Maverick — who sounded a lot like the guy who wrote in just before him. And you are the first Scandinavian to tell me that he experiences the breast fetish. It’s possible that you are who you say you are, but it’s easy to disguise yourself on a blog so who knows? When I keep getting similar arguments from different sounding names I assume it’s the same person, and take my time between responses, because otherwise this would take all my time.

        I’ve already given my response to your thoughts in another post if you haven’t read it.

        So I don’t buy your argument.

        But I’m wondering what difference it makes to you. Why do you care whether it is biological or not?

  48. I think one of the most interesting things is how breasts are both idolized and scrutinized. How they are seen as both beautiful and shameful in western culture. I would argue that it goes back to the point that this post made – breasts are so taboo that they have become highly fetishized and stigmatized. If a women dresses provocatively and shows her cleavage, then she is called “whore” or may be seen as “easy”, even though men are taught from birth to be aroused and excited by breasts. This sends a very confusing message to women and sets an impossibly unattainable standard. We are constantly teetering between being too conservative and “prude” like, or too sexually open and “slutty”. In that regard, I think that women are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. Women can hardly even breast-feed in public without someone giving a dirty look and being judgmental. Breasts are so ridiculously fetishized that when they are performing their biological function and not serving to arouse men, people get offended. I think that these ideas are so embedded into society at this point, that it will be nearly impossible to unlearn.

  49. This article enlightens me because for a long time I believed it was a fact that men were hardwired into finding breasts arousing because of breast-feeding as an infant. I suppose I made the connection because of the fact that they are exposed to breast very early on. I’m glad I read this article because it teaches that breasts are sexualized or aroused because we choose to portray them that way. Based on the discussion in class, there are many tribes where women’s’ breasts are not an arousal because they see it as a normal body party, that’s why they “walk around with only a G-string”. This article also reveals that the reason why women are also aroused by pictures of nude women is because young girls are exposed to sexualizing women at a very young age and so on as they grow older.

  50. Also can you explain the term biologically visual ? Because it seems like there is a misunderstanding here. Since you are saying that instinctive physical cues indicate that a person is reproductively fit thus being attractive for that person doesn’t that mean that the person (man or woman) is visual to determine that cue?

    • Okay, I got a whole bunch of comments from you and since they all said the same thing I deleted them.

      Apparently you were upset that I deleted your comment when I didn’t actually delete it. See my comment policy. I have a life and I have things to do other than respond to comments. If it’s the weekend, if I’m on vacation, or if I’m just really busy, I may not get around to responding to a comment for over a day, or even a few days.

      Also, I don’t require people to read everything I write and I don’t require myself to read every comment I receive. I don’t have time to read every single one of the posts you sent, so you should do some sort of a summary and include a link if you think that the link contradicts something that I said. But if you post too many comments at once I won’t answer them. Again, see my policy on commenters who take an inordinate amount of time. so if you want me to respond, put some time in between the different comments.

      And since you are so insistent that I answer all of your questions I wonder why you don’t answer this question that I have for you:

      What difference does it make to you whether the breast fetish is biological or a social construction?

      As to the question you pose here, you misunderstand me. What you say doesn’t reflect what I said. I will simply repeat myself here:

      On evolutionary psychology’s insistence that men are visual, consider that plenty of men in the Western world find anorexic Victoria’s Secret Angels highly attractive — based on TV ratings. And men in West Africa find obesity attractive — even though neither anorexia nor obesity are healthy.

      Charles Darwin, himself, questioned the notion that sexual selection adequately explained human behavior. People are guided by much more than instinctive cues toward reproductive fitness. Men and women, alike, are attracted to people who are smart, charming, emotionally intelligent, fun, warmhearted, high status and who share our interests, he said.

      • So Charles Darwin thinks that physical cues play a role toward choosing a partner but a big role is also being played by the personality of a partner.
        And you don’t share Evolutionary Psychology’s Theory nor Charles Darwin’s theory and believe that only the personality of a partner is the reason you are attracted to him/her.

      • Visual can play a role but visual is socially constructed.

        In some cultures men prefer women who are obese. That is a visual cue, but it is not grounded in anything evolutionary.

        In some cultures–like ours –many men are drawn to anorexic Victoria’s Secret Angels. That is a visual cue, but it is not grounded in anything evolutionary.

        In some cultures– Like ours –many women learn the breast fetish. That is a visual cue, but it is not grounded in anything evolutionary.

        Those visual cues are all learned.

        In some cultures — like tribal societies — heterosexual men are interested in having sex with women, but don’t find their breasts visually arousing.

        You wrote another superlong comment. I don’t require anyone to read my blog, And I don’t require myself to read superlong comments, or numerous comments that take all day. If you can be more concise I will respond.

      • Visual can’t be only socially constructed.
        You said in one of your comments while replying to someone that you had a few dates in your life. If visual would be socially constructed then that date wouldn’t have been possible because looking at your profile picture you don’t really fit in the attractive list that was “socially constructed” so those men wouldn’t even have considered dating you because society says that your physique isn’t considered attractive.

      • Based on what what you think a social construction is, or what most people think an evolutionary instinct is, I would never get a date.

        There is a socially constructed ideal, along with plenty of variation in actual experience. Because not everyone conforms to the social ideal. (If it were an evolutionary instinct we would HAVE TO conform to it.) Our current socially constructed ideal for women comes in two forms 1) skinny with big boobs or 2) big boobs and big butt plus skinny waist, and no cellulite.

        Pretty much neither of those are found in nature.

        But they do create certain social patterns with many people in our culture tending to think that the cultural ideal is somehow better. Luckily, cultural ideals do not control us.

        The good thing about social constructions is that they can change (and they do!). They’re not written in stone. People don’t have to feel like they are somehow physically inferior due to a social construction. Things are very different when it comes to evolutionary instincts. If our current ideal reflected evolutionary instincts then most people — most women in particular since we emphasize visual cues re women — couldn’t help but feel inferior. The fact that it’s a social construction allows people to reconsider the ideal and be more open to change. Like appreciating variety as the spice of life.

      • Have you ever thought why Pharaohs , Greeks and all other old civilizations have always depicted slimmer women with healthy looking features on their walls / statues / pictures etc? Was it just because? Was there no reason behind it? Why didn’t they put obese women on their monuments? Consider that this was all before the idea of creating attraction in certain features through marketing / media that we have in the modern era.
        Think very carefully about this.

        You are so biased to the ideology about social construction with no strong basis that can prove what you are saying is correct. From an evolutionary standpoint it makes zero sense that any species would choose a less healthy looking partner ( overweight etc. ) over a healthy looking partner.

      • You need to think carefully enough to notice that I just gave you evidence that shoots down your argument, before you even made your argument. You said:

        “Pharaohs , Greeks and all other old civilizations have always depicted slimmer women with healthy looking features”

        As if that proves that men are naturally drawn to a particular look.

        But I had just given you examples where the opposite was the case. In some cultures men prefer obesity, like West Africa or plump, like 1890s Europe. If you look at old Paleolithic or Neolithic Cave paintings you’ll see a mix of slim and heavy women. There are cultures where men care about breasts and cultures were they don’t. Cultures where they prefer larger or smaller breasts.

        You are the one who is biased, my friend. I give you fact-based information and you respond based on your biases, with no fact-based information at all. Evolutionary psychology also ignores a ton of evidence — a fact that even Charles Darwin pointed out, once the theory got into lesser minds than his. I gave you a lot of evidence that debunks evolutionary psychology and you haven’t been able to refute any of my points.

        I’m not especially motivated to answer your questions because they come across as troll-like (see my comment policy

        I won’t approve any more comments that repeat things we have already discussed and that even fail to notice evidence I just provided. It’s a waste of my time.

        I’ll answer this, but you are going to need to write something that doesn’t come across as just trying to make women feel bad about themselves and be argumentative. You need to say something that’s 1) new and 2) sensible.

  51. After reading all your comments I have come to the conclusion that you are saying that men are not biologically visual, meaning that everything we see as attractive is socially constructed. How does that make sense? That even contradicts Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and sexual selection.

    • You read me correctly then.

      First, what difference does it make to you whether men are naturally visual versus social construction?

      And why wouldn’t women be just as visual as men? It’s not important for women to be able to identify those with the best genes?

      Otherwise, while evolutionary biology some valuable points, evolutionary psychology rests on a shakier foundation.

      Speaking of contradicting (your word), evolutionary psychology has different schools of thought which contradict each other. And one school contradicts itself: Women are monogamous because children need fathers to stick around and provide resources. But men are promiscuous because they don’t need to stick around and provide resources.

      The math doesn’t work either. It’s impossible for men to be promiscuous if women monogamous.

      Evolutionary psychologists are prisoners of their culture. And the theory is inherently conservative, Upholding the status quo of the culture it came out of.

      UC Davis anthropology professor, Sarah Hrdy, says that sociobiologists only came to their “women are less sex-driven and more monogamous” theory because the field arose inside a Victorian atmosphere. Had this school arisen a few hundred years earlier, when women were thought more lustful than men, the theory would look far different.

      Even Charles Darwin critiqued the theory once it fell to lesser minds, Pointing out — and you don’t need to be a genius like Darwin to notice this — that the theory says men care about looks and women care about resources. BUT — as Darwin notes, that only works with the middle-class of the time the theory came out. Among the upper classes men cared more about resources than looks — as any Jane Austen reader knows.

      On evolutionary psychology’s insistence that men are visual, consider that plenty of men in the Western world find anorexic Victoria’s Secret Angels highly attractive — based on TV ratings. And men in West Africa find obesity attractive — even though obesity is unhealthy.

      Charles Darwin, himself, questioned the notion that sexual selection adequately explained human behavior. People are guided by much more than instinctive cues toward reproductive fitness. Men and women, alike, are attracted to people who are smart, charming, emotionally intelligent, fun, warmhearted, high status and who share our interests, he said.

      Finally, there are plenty of critiques of evolutionary psychology. You can find some on my blog. But a couple of well-known recent books that question the theory include “Sex at Dawn” and “What do women want?”

      And check out this article from Psychology Today:
      Enough with Evolutionary Biology!

      • First of all, thanks for the quick reply. It is good to see that you are still active on this article.
        Now, the difference for the natural visualization compared to the social construction is a big one. Because, there must be an influence which is biologically “inside” a man that makes him prefer one women over the other one. Yes, the cultural/social influences do affect what he finds attractive, but there must be a set of preferences built in him that make him find that specific woman more attractive. A little later you said: “Charles Darwin, himself, questioned the notion that sexual selection adequately explained human behavior. People are guided by much more than instinctive cues toward reproductive fitness. Men and women, alike, are attracted to people who are smart, charming, emotionally intelligent, fun, warmhearted, high status and who share our interests”. Yes I also support that view because emotional attraction plays a very important role in selecting a partner too, but does this mean that you agree with the fact that there are physical instinctive cues that make one person choose the other? Also a couple of comments above mine when replying to Owen you said” Our sexuality is a mix of culture, social interaction, and biology. You see the culture in the fact that In some cultures no men find breasts arousing. But in a culture like ours, that does, a lot of men will but not all men, because of their experiences or biology.” If you are saying that then why don’t you change the name of the article to ” Some men aren’t hard wired to find breasts attractive” ? Because if you are saying that in a culture like ours where a lot of men but not all men are aroused by breasts is based on experiences or biology you are saying that in some men the arousal to breasts is hardwired in them.

      • Our sexuality is a mix of culture, social interaction and biology. But no male humans are born with their brain hardwired to find breasts attractive — other than to suck on for nourishment (same as girl babies). For babies the breast is about as erotic as mashed peas. For grown-up tribal men and women the breast is also about as erotic as mashed peas.

        Keep in mind that cultural constructions feel biological. The only way you know they aren’t it is by doing cross cultural research.

        Still wondering why you care. What difference does it make whether it’s biological or a social construction?

  52. I titled the post the way I did because a lot of people don’t know what the word fetish means. But that’s really what I’m talking about within the post. I don’t doubt that breasts can be found attractive even when the fetish isn’t in play. Plenty of things can be found attractive without a fetish — most things, in fact.”

    I know many things are attractive, but some things are just more appealing, interesting and attractive than others. That’s why I wrote as much, to try to clarify how my view wasn’t from a fetishsized mindset, when seeing and thinking about toplessness. I gave the non sexual context or less sexualized context of the topless parade thingy. And used that as an example which further brought up my mind and further acknowledge something ever more so than I already probalby felt. True, perhaps it might be a lot of bias from a straight male point of view. But I think breasts or many boobs are beautiful and sexy regardless of if they are fetishsized or not. I do believe I’d still find boobs still quite attractive and sexually attractive even if normalized. I mean an attractive body part is still nice looking, though I wouldn’t be crazed about them like I and most american and similar countries are. That’s why I brought that up, because you or others could say “well you find boobs so attractive, because they are sexualized and this culture, etc” True, but like I said, I still had a strong appreciation even in a non fetish view, hell even art work that’s not sexual, I’d still see the beauty.

    And then it just reminds me like seeing those dudes and thinking, yeah women’s chests are just so much better looking. Nipples too. And even for guys who are fit, and pecs or whatever, still working out is needed and not born with that, whereas, women are born with breasts right? Interesting women are self conscious and don’t realize how nice their breasts are and it could be worse, they could be dudes ha.

    • I don’t know that women’s chests are actually all that great-looking if you take them out of a world that sexualizes them. I mean they certainly aren’t unattractive.

      And there are certain things that don’t seem like they could ever be all that attractive, like sex organs. But who knows, maybe they could seem super attractive in some cultures if they put some effort into it.

  53. It’s a weird phenomenon in the fact that I usually feel fine and pretty proud of how I look, but like most people everyone has their down moments. But it’s weird its most likely to creep up if busy with working and havent dated anyone in a while so what happens being an introvert is not always approaching a pretty girl at a bar and sometimes being down. And once being down, weird stuff like that creeps up. But the weird thing like I said, probalby cuz I’m in good shape, that if I think of something it’s usually something goofy and not because a better looking more fit made me feel bad. But my recognition of my male body and ironically how a pretty women or such body actually can cause it. Like bring up the realization or though sometimes of a generalized though of mine and men’s bodies in general, while being attractive, being more “limited” and not as I don’t know great as women’s bodies so we’re like a downgrade visually for women, whereas, women have more interest features to them. It’s weird because it’s not something that would cause me or a man to think about lookiing unattractive naked with a girl like how girls fear that. Like I don’t care, and like I like being aman and the male body, so it sounds like a contradiction. It’s more like the aknowlegement of while even attractive, it’s not to the pedigree as women’s and how certain features such as the chest, well women beat men out there. sucks for straight women ha. Unfortunatley men don’t have built in muscles.

    • Well you can blame patriarchy. for a very long time our sexual imagery focused on women because it came from a hetero male perspective, and men had more power over things like media, advertising, art and literature. But also because of women sexual for a very long time our sexual imagery focused on women because it came from a hetero male perspective, and men have more power over things like media, advertising, art and literature. But also because of women sexual repression, which also comes courtesy patriarchy (not men, patriarchy).

      • Sorry for the long post. I’ll cut to it and say what my point of the post is. It’s not so much that women’s bodies are sexualized that I’m getting at and men’s aren’t. But like I’m saying even though you say its because women’s breasts are sexualized or taboo that they are fetishsized and create that arousal and obsession which I agree to an extent. My thoughts came from a perpspective of that, even though breasts are sexualized because of how they are hidden and flaunted, I mean they are still attractive body parts. So I think men in europe and beachs still find or found boobs sexually attractive, but they could see them and not get unhinged at the mere sight or be aroused and it’s not a big deal. I brought up not just seeing them all the time does that, but also certain context, like a non sexual context which is kind of rare in america, but can happen or if used to seeing toplessness, to where it’s not shocking anymore. For example, male doctors aren’t aroused seeing their patients naked breasts at a doctors office, or well you hope not. But most likely not, because it’s a non sexual, medical context and situation.

        I was saying about the youtube clip how I wasn’t turned on seeing the topless women in the parade, because boobs aren’t shocking to me and the context was simply women waling and talking topless, no seduction or posing or something to create a sexual context to their naked breasts. But still having said that, I still couldn’t help but to admire and still see how attractive and sexually attractive their breasts and nipples were, even for heavier women, and a little bit older women. and that just goes to shower women who are insecure about their breasts that they shouldn’t be, because men like women’s boobs, small, big, medium, etc. And that’s where this came across my mind and where I felt kind of bad. Well I kind of already knew, but made me realize again I guess, how women’s bodies are just better than guy’s bodies. I made me think of that, because in the clip the dudes were shirtless too and they were everyday dudes,

        But these everyday women, even these regualrd women, their breasts still looked good and were shaped well and shows how women think wrong about their breasts not looking good or shaped bad, etc. when most often many women’s boobs are pretty attractive regardless. It’s weird that I compared as a straight man, but it made me realize how interest and attractive a woman’s torse can be who is average whereas the dudes who were average, they were hairy, had guts, kind of droppy chests, hair chest, no pecs. Pretty much a regualr older man’s torso and chest is pretty plain and boring and just inferior to women’s. Sure there are guys with pecs, I work out and have muscle, but it’s something a man usually has to be gifted with for an athletic body or hits the gym pretty well. Whereas, women are born with curves and interesting features right? I feel bad for women or straight women that they don’t have nearly as interesting or attractive chest to look at and touch sexually compared to straight men who get to touch and see women’s beautiful breasts and nipples and the variety and shapes of women’s nipples, Not trying to sound like a perv, just stating a man’s observation. Man nipples are pretty boring, and similar, and hairy ha. I know that sounded gay for me to bring up man nipples, but seriously, women’s chests are so much nicer, fetishzied or not. I still would feel that way even if they weren’t sexualized, because I’d still found women’s bodies sexually atractive..

      • I titled the post the way I did because a lot of people don’t know what the word fetish means. But that’s really what I’m talking about within the post. I don’t doubt that breasts can be found attractive even when the fetish isn’t in play. Plenty of things can be found attractive without a fetish — most things, in fact.

  54. But anyway what I’m getting that, is while I wasn’t turned on from the non sexual content, that didn’t stop me from seeing and noticing how attractive, sexy their breasts are and evern how objectivelly attractive boobs can be in a general sense. Sure some would argue well, you’d be grossed out seeing old granny boobs and what not,. Well probably wou;dn’t want to see that, but a lot of it is because how people aren’t used to therefore don’t accept that, because men are shown freely so men’s chests don’t get the share or seen as a big deal even if he has an old man droopy chest too. It’s like how you have old guys with huge hairy beer guys, it’s a very unattractive site, but that doesn’t stop them from showing their guts ha, and as a result, people allow and shrug that unpleasant site. So excluding this and that, I feel that even if I grew up in Europe at topless beaches and where it was more normal and less taboo. I wouldn’t be obssessed or have a fetishsized arousal or lust to them, but I still think even with that, I’d still find breasts quite attractive, they just wouldn’t be outright arousing simply from seeing them naked in a non sexual context. I’m sure tribal men or atleast people in nudist colonies and men still find the women’s breasts quite attractive even if the nakedness of them by themselves ina non sexual context doesn’t turn them on.

    So with that all said, I couldn’t help thinking how beautiful and attractive boobs are, and this in from a non aroused state of mind but more of a matter of fact mind. It sounds funny that I would even observe the women and men, but it just further reminded me how more attractive women are. Seriously the shape and sizes, not to mention nipples, size and variety, just very attractive. Women don’t have to work out to have nice chests. Women are insecure of their bodies, but that extra fat that they hate going to their legs and butt and breasts many times is still quite sexually appealing and attractive to men. But what I was getting at, is that while these were every day women, so were the men. It sound weird that I ever compare and observe, because most guys just look at the womens chest and could careless, but me being anyltical of myself and men, well it just further made me wonder why and kind of feel bad that women are straight though I’m glad they are. Like I said if a man doesn’t hit the gym and is like these every day guys like in the clip, their chests are hairy, maybe fattish, flat and to would seem “boring” in comparison to women’s chests. I can’t believe I’m saying this because it sounds gay, because seriously I already said how pretty and unique women’s nipples are, seriously dude nipples are pretty much the same and don’t forget the hairiness that can be there.

    It’s a weird thing, I’m probalby the only guy to even think such stuff, though there was an article that I posted before of how maxim pictures of women actually had a surprsing effect of causing men to feel worse about their body. It’s a weird phenomon. It’s not well built men or it can be, but magazine of hot women is more likely to make a man feel bad about his looks and body than one of a man, because men not thinking they are attractive enough for such women or bodies inadquate to women or something. It’s weird,, becaude hot women make women feel bad about themselves, and well not simply hot women, but just a man thinking of his due to women’s can cause a feeling of inadaquacy. Yes men can have pecs and what not, but that’s not “built in”. A man has to either be born atheltic or lift weights and to work out pretty hard to develop such muscles. Even with that said, I still think women were made with nice body parts, especially when it comes to the chest area. Yeah I know I might be blinded by my heterosexual view, but I can’t help thinking that even when trying to think from an artistic, aesthetic, visual point of view Good thing women don’t care that much for that part of men or good that women are less visual or such to care. Because if they are or were, I feel bad that they are kind of getting “ripped” off. Straight men like me, seem to get the better deal with seeing and touching a more attractive, interesting chest. The female body is like a “wonderland” like John mayer once sang and like men get that, the curves and beauty and just many more features, while women get our not as much in return it seems. : (

  55. Something came to my mind, recently, pardon me, I analyze and introspect things sometimes. Well as a man I’ve always know and found breasts highly attractive obviously, so while this seems like a “duh” since I’m a straight man in western culture where boobs are sexualized. I’m coming from a different perspective, as I can see naked breasts and not just get all horny and turned on like many american men can due to the fetishsization. It depends on the context and woman. Anyway, I don’t know what is is, maybe because I saw something on tv or news about the european beaches that allowed topless women. This isn’t new, news, but it made me think of that and small topless parade that much show up at a big city in America or whatever.

    Well I looked on youtube, and surpisingly there was some clips that were actually uncensored. But this motivation was a perving motivation as I would or could watch porn if I wanted that, but curiosity, about what goes on and the women involved, etc It’s interesting what the difference context makes though. And how even if I don’t find a woman sexually attractive how my attitude changed and could see the beauty of breasts from older women, not old like 70 or anything like that. But able to see the beauty in different women. In the youtube clips there were younger women, some heavier, some maybe 40s ish, black, asian, white, etc. Men were there too and were shirtless or had bikinis or pasty things to show humor and mock the nipple censorship in america. But these women were just everyday women just like the men there. Sure some pretty or prettier than others, but these weren;t like swim suit models or celebrities or anything like that there.

    I don;t want this one post to be too long, so gonna break it up and post the rest in the next post. So to be continued…..

    • I understand the context. At least it makes a difference to me. When I was younger I did experience the breast fetish but I rarely do anymore. About the only time I have was when I was in the south of France where they had public beaches. And I think it was the huge breaking of a taboo. Women are walking around half naked in public! And I suspect up when I was younger and for saw a playboy he was also the Breaking of the taboo, which is connected to the sexualization of women’s breasts.

      Btw, The problem with long post isn’t that you need to break it into smaller ones is that you need to be more concise. I don’t have the time to read a lot of long posts.

  56. “it’s very common for women to spend all their time worrying about whether they look attractive enough for the guy. Which can make it really difficult for women to enjoy sex. Which helps to explain the high rate of sexual dysfunction among women. Nearly half admit that they aren’t even interested in having sex at all. ”

    Don’t women or even you. Don’t you realize men notice and can tell your body is attractive and tell even with clothes on that your body is sexually attractive to him? Women wear such form fitting clothes and tight clothes that, men can have an idea as far as the body so if he likes you and dates you and in a relationship with you even before having sex. Well, the fact is that he finds your body quite sexy, so this surprise you think he’s going to have when seeing you naked isn’t there, it’s imaginary. He won’t notice or care about whatever flaws you think or women think they have when naked and he will just enjoy and be turned on by seeing your body in it’s naked glory. I find this interesting how women keep ignoring this and just pay attention to unrealistic women’s bodies and then think and worry they aren;t attractive enough when the proof is in the pudding that their bodies are sexy to men for the very fact most men want the lights on or some light, so they can see their ladies naked body because its sexy, attractive and a turn on. So women stress about being attractive enough for their man, yet they ignore the fact of him wanting to see her naked? Is that not proof that not only is she attractive but definitely more than attractive enough to him. Women need to stop competing with other women.

    It’s like a men who is successful, has a good job, but he’s stressed out that despite his good job, that he’s not “Mark Cuban”, Warren Buffet, etc and things he’s unworthy now, because he’s set his esteem and worth on 1 percenters and a very rare success and nobdy or very few have such wealth. The women are not only aribrushed, but they are models and just a rare specimen as far as looks and body. It’s like me being bent out of shape because I don’t have movie star looks, or am not lebron james, most men aren;t and would love that, but there’s a time to stick to reality and not stress out because of unrealistic expectations and find your worth and realize that you look good and very few look like that and it’s nothing to feel bad about. It’s life. Plus there’s much more than body and looks. What doee it mean if you have a body and look like a supermodel, but dumb as rocks? I’d prefer to be intelligent and average looking, than drop dead gorgeous, but stupid.

  57. I agree with the subject. The more one hides something, the more people want to uncover it. In case of Women, objectification comes into picture, which also arouses men.

  58. There are quite a few guys posting in the comments here trying to justify their immature fetish of women’s breasts. The fact is that women have breasts to feed their babies, that’s all their for, and I’ve always found it disturbing that men are sexually attracted to body parts on a woman that are specifically there for the purpose of caring for children. I think most males with a breast fetish are from the Western countries that, for some reason, are still very immature when it comes to human bodies, especially women’s bodies. I’ve also heard of European men finding Western men very immature, and really, they’re right. Too many Western men fail to grow up, and that’s likely one reason for the hypersexualization of breasts. Way too many perverts in our so called First World countries, and really, women should stop putting up with it. Men who treat women like they’re nothing but a pair of boobs and a vagina are absolutely disgusting, and sadly, there’s way too many of these kinds of men. The media has a lot to do with how heterosexual young males are turning out, filled with objectfying and degrading images of women. The only real solution to the problem is for women and gay men to become the majority in control of all media outlets, catering more to the interests of their own groups instead of defaulting to the heterosexual male. Unfortunately it’s probably not going to happen anytime soon. So sick and tired of this crappy patriarchal world.

  59. So you’re imlying that males have learned to be attracted to females?

    • You completely misread what I said.

      I said that tribal men are attracted to women even though they don’t experience a breast fetish.

      And straight women are attracted to men, even though many straight women experience the breast fetish.

      And I didn’t mention this, I don’t think, but women are attracted to men even though nothing about the male body creates a fetish reaction. There is no part of the male body that a woman looks at and gets aroused over (Or very few women do) despite what porn portrays. With women who are actresses, after all.

      Plenty of people have no problem having sex in the dark without any visual cues.

      Sexuality is a mix of biology, social interaction and culture.

      There is plenty of evidence that our basic sexual orientation is biologically-based.

      But culture has effects on what we think is attractive. In some cultures men think obesity is attractive – not in ours. In some cultures men think skinny is attractive. Or skinny with big boobs is attractive. Or skinny isn’t attractive – big butts and big boobs are. Or a pear shape is attractive.

      In some cultures ankles are considered somewhat arousing. Or hair is considered arousing. Those are cultural constructions. Men in western cultures today don’t experience those things. (Another point you overlooked in your comment.)

      In our culture blonde hair is considered especially attractive. It doesn’t have to be seen that way. And if you are looking for a sign of health, what is healthy depends on where you live. If you Live around the equator, then dark coloring is most healthy. And blond hair is rarely found on anyone, naturally, after puberty. The attraction to blonde is a cultural construction.

      And then individual experiences can affect which cultural cues we latch onto.

      • Culture’s don’t always effect what we find attractive though, preferring breasts than ass could just be a preference. Perhaps breasts don’t stimulate some men, but theres attraction to the female’s body neverless. But overall a womans appearance stimulates a mans brain which enables him to have a quick glance. No matter how much a man denies it he does it. It can be equivalent to when you touch something and it stimulates the senses on your fingertips or when you kiss someone and it can send shivers down your spine. It’s the bodies responses to stimulation. the body naturally reacts to the stimulation so it’s hardwired. (Generally speaking of attraction) Remember a man and womans brain is wired differently, our responses will not be similar. And why did you delete my previous comment?

      • I deleted your previous comment because it was repetitive and somewhat rude. See my comments policy.

        As I said, our sexuality is a mix of culture, social interaction, and biology. You see the culture in the fact that In some cultures no men find breasts arousing. But in a culture like ours, that does, a lot of men will but not all men, because of their experiences or biology. Like some guys are asexual and that has to do with either biology or experience. Men who have been over exposed to pornography don’t tend to find breast arousing anymore. Or maybe you find breast arousing but you have seen your partners so much that, while they still may seem beautiful, they aren’t arousing like they were the first time you saw them. That’s another experience thing. And then some guys get more aroused by breasts and others get more aroused by butts. the cultural thing is often affecting that.

      • But overall attraction isn’t just based on physical aspects. I don’t have to look at a woman to be attracted to her. Social interaction does indeed contribute to attraction, that’s a fact. How you get on with a person can take it to another level I do not overlook that can be the energy she radiates

      • Okay but regarding being asexual, That isn’t biogical. A man or womans brain or/and body functions must be fucked up. Humans are hardwired to be sexual and attracted to the opposite sex. It’s been designed that way for reproduction. Our bodies produces these urges. You look like you have a good body yourself. Sound interesting to. Were getting on to, perhaps it’s a sign for the both of us huh But overall I agree and disagree.

      • You can debate whether it’s f-‘d up or not, but sometimes biology gets f-‘d up.

      • Just one question have you spoke to these men in these cultures? Haha

      • Surprisingly, I have. Both on my blog and in person. These are men from W. Europe who can’t figure out why American guys are so obsessed with nudity.

      • Hmmmm k and that’s ovious, homosexuality for example.

      • Plenty of people have no problem having sex in the dark without any visual cues.”

        TRue people can enjoy sex in the dark without visual cues, as the tactile enjoyment and sounds, etc. But I have to think people are simply not visual if they are fine having sex with the dark on and not to prefer with the lights on or atleast a dim light or tv muted and the glow from that to see each other’s bodies. I know that even if in a long term relationship and the shock value and fetish gone with seeing my girlfriends naked body. I’d still want to see her body naked during sex and would not want sex in the dark.

        Women’s bodies are sexy, so even if not fetishsized, it’s just better to visually enjoy looking at their body during sex. Yes you can enjoy sex in the dark, but I don’t know how people are fine or prefer it to seeing each other’s body. Seeing each other’s bodies is not necessary but it sure is the icing and frosting on the cake. I can enjoy and like cake without frosting, but cake sure is better and a bonus when it has icing on it. Visual sex is like icing on the cake, not necessary, but sure adds to the enjoyment. To be fine and not prefer it, makes me wonder if people are just not that visual to go that way.

      • Women’s bodies are both more sexualized and fetishized in our society. So a woman having sex with the man is going to have a very different experience. Or, a man in a tribal society is going to have a very different experience from a man here.

        On the downside, what you describe can make the experience worse for women. Women are aware of what you are talking about and since about 80% of young women have poor body image (And that is young women who probably have the so-called “best bodies” according to cultural ideals) it’s very common for women to spend all their time worrying about whether they look attractive enough for the guy. Which can make it really difficult for women to enjoy sex. Which helps to explain the high rate of sexual dysfunction among women. Nearly half admit that they aren’t even interested in having sex at all. And then you have issues with pain or difficulty climaxing. What you are describing has had a huge negative impact on my own sexual interest and enjoyment.

        Even for women who think they’re hot. They spend so much time thinking about how hot they are for the guy that they’re not enjoying how they feel. You ask them if they enjoyed sex and they will say something like, “It was great, I thought I looked hot.” They don’t notice how they feel.

  60. Ok so first sorry about spelling and anything else you may find wrong with my spelling. Haters seem to go after spelling. Ok women you need to understand a little breast to men is a great thing at least to me and 50 million more men some men don’t care but oh well. We love tits and ass. If you keep doing what your doing we men won’t want you any more. So get over women’s lib. Men still pay the dinner check movies and bills and so on.

    • I am grateful that sexist men aren’t interested in women.

      I’m sure you will be surprised to learn that my feminist friends have absolutely no problem attracting men.

      Otherwise, as I wrote another post — and I will be writing more on this topic:

      Some guys think I bring this up to shame them. I’m not. I don’t care if they find breasts arousing.

      But I do care when our cultural obsession leaves the majority of women feeling like their breasts aren’t good enough. (Which leaves them obsessing over how they look and distracted from sex — which is not so great for men, either.)

      For more on that, see this:
      Does Sexual Objectification Lead to Bad Sex?

      And you will notice that I edited your post — it was repetitive. And believe it or not, people are much more likely to read a short comment that a longer one.

  61. Looks like women’s breasts are sex organs after all as science has proven.

    It does make sense though. Why else would our breasts develop during pregnancy if not to attract a man? Just because some tribes don’t find them as sexual proves nothing.

    Even cave men were obsessed with breasts.

    Interesting read but science trumps all in this case.

  62. I think it is important we acknowledge how much of our practices are socially constructed. Many aspects of our lives are not necessarily natural or biological. They may feel natural, but cross-cultural studies suggest that they are deeply ingrained and learned. I think this is a very important concept to understand because too often behaviors get attributed to pure biology. People claim that men are aggressive because they have more testosterone. People also claim that women become irrational during parts of changes in their hormones during parts of their menstrual cycle. This articles addresses the myth that men’s obsession with breasts are natural and “hard wired” in their brains. These ideas are particularly dangerous because they allow us to normalize behavior as biological and therefore absolute. In essence, we come to view these behaviors as unavoidable. We should instead be willing to try to understand why these behaviors developed and if they are part of a larger system of oppression. I think we will find that in many cases the latter is true. Behavior attributed to biology is often used as a way to avoid changing oppressive behavior.

    • Yes, because most of our experience as humans is symbolic — for the most part our world is a social construct — we are freed to behave in ways we choose. I don’t think it’s necessarily bad that men have learned to find breasts erotic. I think the problem comes when it gets obsessive, When it leads men to treat women like sex objects, when men and women start to feel like Women must look a particular, narrow way or they aren’t attractive, and when men feel like they have no control over themselves so that it’s alright to treat people in disrespectful ways.

  63. That people become desensitized to seeing body areas that are not kept covered doesn’t mean that we don’t appreciate the sight of a well-formed physique.
    Faces are exposed most of the time in most societies. Don’t people show interest in good-looking faces?
    In beach and resort areas most people go about almost naked much of the time. Is anyone offended? If they are, they don’t waste their time and effort objecting.
    We cover ourselves primarily for protection from the sun and from cold, and from insects. People who go into environments that present danger from scratches, cuts, abrasions and burns wear more and heavier clothing. Even in societies where people go almost naked, men wear genital coverings because human penises don’t consistently retract, therefore are vulnerable to injury.
    From clothing for protection, people add clothing to display status, wealth, participation in groups, activities. It all begins with protection from the environment, not any inherent sense of shame or embarrassment.

    • I used the word “Attractive” in the title because I wasn’t sure if people understood the word fetish. But what I am really talking about in the article is the fetishization of breasts.

      That said, about two thirds of women feel that their breast are not adequate (Even though most men are happy with their partners breasts) and so the fetishization — and the obsession that surrounds it can end up hurting women sexuality because in bed there often so distracted, Wondering if their bodies are “Good enough.”

      See these:

      Lose Virginity, Lose Self-Esteem?

      Does Sexual Objectification Lead to Bad Sex?

      So I can understand that people can appreciate a well formed physique, but at the same time it leads women to not enjoy sex all that much. Because they are constantly worried that they don’t have one. Men don’t have to worry so much and so they don’t get so distracted during sex. And to the extent that they do worry about their penis size they should know that that’s just porn call it’s not something that most women really care about. In fact, in one study in Africa researchers found that the bigger a man’s penis the more likely a woman was to have had an affair because it was more likely to hurt, And they wanted to be able to have sex without it hurting. So maybe you can relate to the problem from the male point of view.

  64. i do not think men are hardwired to find breasts attractive. Take for example, indigenous tribes. They have women walking around topless all the time. They do not find it awkward at all. I also think the more, someone covers up a certain area of the body, the more excited we will be to see it. The only reason people are so attracted to breasts here in the U.s is because, women cover it up all of the time. If women were to walk around topless all the time( being a normal thing) , people would be less attracted to it . To give an example; mens chests. Men walk around without a shirt on all the time, and women seem to be fine with it, because they see it all the time and it is not an abnormal thing to do. I believe he more you see something, the less hardwired you will be towards that thing. (i.e. indigenous cultures in which people roam around naked ). That is why i think men aren’t hard wired to find breasts attractive biologically.

  65. I personally think even men from primitive tribes like the Himba or the Hamar actually like the breasts of their women. It’s not because the females expose their breasts (and cover their genitalia), that it means breasts are considered unattractive to the males. It’s not that simple. Are they also subject to the guilt complex about their sexuality as taught by Abrahamic religion? That’s a more interesting question.
    And not feeling guilty about sex still doesn’t mean people have orgies around with one another. This makes me think about how in Edo Japan and before they used to have mixed-gender public bathhouses. It was only under the influence of Christianity and the European opinion Japanese were ‘barbaric’ which resulted in a prohibition on mixed bathing in the late 19th century. Those bathhouses were considered ideal places to meet a mate and even make consensual love without any sign of guilt. Guilt is the key word, it’s a concept not every culture knows to our extent.

    By the way, some people are able to experience other body parts as erogenic like feet, armpits and whatnot. Some women even are able to reach orgasm by breast simulation only (about 1% though but the majority does like to have them fondled). Sexuality is so much more than woman lies on her back, spreads her legs and man penetrates you know? I know I’m using an hyperbole.

    • Well you can think what you like. But the fact is that men in tribal societies don’t get aroused by seeing naked breast and butts the way they do in places where breasts and butts are covered up.

      I don’t understand what the guilt complex has to do with it, Other than that taboos often make things much more exciting. So if you feel guilty about looking at breasts there’s a good possibility that they will seem way more exciting to you.

      On your last Point, You must not have read the follow up I did. I refer to it at the bottom of this post.

      • Well, just seeing naked breasts isn’t enough to become horny. I would even argue seeing genitalia isn’t enough if the setting isn’t erotic. That doesn’t mean that whenever people make love they don’t make breasts play a role in love play. Sexuality is so complex.
        I think the conclusion you make that ‘breasts aren’t attractive’ to be a harsh statement, and I rest my case that it’s probably a flawed on to most men (including those where showing breasts is commonplace in day-to-day life).

        Your reasoning very much sounds like coming from the Western perspective which shames sexuality. Yes, we have that mentality (America has it far more than us continental Europeans, but it’s also present here; we don’t censor breasts here and when I was a child in the ’90 they even showed genitalia at plain midday in a non-sexual context at a kids programme).

      • I know that in Western Europe in the late 70s to mid 80s that there was not only topless beaches but a lot of toplessness in everyday life–advertising on billboards, television and magazines, Not to mention TV and movies. Maybe that makes a difference. I’ve been to France periodically from 1997 through 2009 and haven’t seen the widespread exposure of breasts that was more common in the 1980s. Didn’t see any in billboards or the magazines I looked at. And at the beach around Nice it seemed like there was only about one topless woman for every 100 or 200 people on the beach. And a higher percentage of topless women over age 70.

        On the other hand, what you say in this second comment is actually right in line with what I was saying in the post. I used the term attractive but I really meant fetish — I wasn’t sure if people knew what the word fetish meant, To use it in the title. But what I was talking about was that breasts make people horny. And they do in the US. And I would also argue that seen genitalia isn’t necessarily enough to get someone horny. In the US, men are much more likely to Google breasts then vagina. And penises don’t seem to get women aroused at all. Or very very few, anyway.

        That’s because the world is more important in terms of being symbolic. For humans, Most of our reality is symbolic, Rather than holding in a meaning. What I am talking about is the social construction of reality — in this case the social construction of sexuality. And how you construct sexuality varies from culture to culture. So seeing breasts makes men horny in some cultures, But not in others. And it’s more erotic in the US than genitalia, Even though if you look at the inherent meaning of the two, It should be the reverse.

        Hopefully by now you’ve looked at the other post and realized that I don’t disagree with you that breasts can play an important role in sexuality. That’s completely different from their being fetishized.

        And your reasoning is much more a western perspective — you are assuming that the way western people see the world is the way everyone does. I’m saying the opposite. Not everyone sees the world the way Westerners do. For example, tribal societies.

        And saying that the breast fetish is a social construction has nothing to do with shaming sexuality. It’s simply a fact.

        I’m more concerned that the breast fetish shames women’s sexuality. When you fetishize something and obsess over it, you start to exaggerate it: make breasts much larger than is natural in depictions. And then girls and young women begin to think that their breasts are inadequate. Around two thirds of young US women think that their natural breasts are inadequate. That hurts both her self-esteem and their sexuality. When they’re in bed they often have a hard time focusing on sexuality because they are too distracted worrying that they don’t look good. Or if they think they do look hot, they are so focused on how hot they look that they can’t focus on how they feel. They experienced themselves as objects for someone else’s pleasure, All too often, instead of feeling pleasure, themselves. And that isn’t really good for men, either, Because most men would rather be with a woman who is enjoying herself.

        Europe has much less of a fetishized perspective on breasts, And women are much less likely to get implants there. In California, where I live, Women are more inclined to get a C or D implant. In Europe they’re much less likely to get implants, and when they do they are more likely to get a B. (And when women get implants they often lose sensation in her breasts, cutting their sexual pleasure.)

  66. First off I want to say, I am man, hear me roar.
    Jokes aside, I personally protest the sexualization of breasts. I am not attracted to breasts sexually. (with that said, I am attracted to various art forms, including human body shapes in a none sexual way)
    It annoys me to no end to be with friends, and when they are watching a woman go by, or watching a movie with exposed breasts, they go crazy…or when holding conversation that leads to breasts. Many friends have deemed me either gay or pedophile because of my lack of excitement towards breasts, of which I am neither. (not for any other reason mind you, I have never said anything about children, that’s all on them, (also to the gay community please do not be offended that I am strait, that’s quite offensive and annoying…)) Now that’s not to say I am immune to sexuality, I mean I get silly too when I see a womans pants drop haha. I do wonder if maybe even that would change if I visited nudist beaches often? lol.

    • I know a lot of European guys who come from cultures where women expose their breasts a lot and they don’t get the breast fetish either. Thanks for sharing your experience. Hope you don’t mind if I quote you want to blog post some time.

      • “I am more an ass man myself”. That’s a quote you hear often, but they’re mostly hypocritical liars when they say ‘I don’t like female breasts’. You just took that for granted. In my country it is legal for women to tan topless at a mixed beach and it used to be really popular to the extend almost 50% of all the women did (as women often encourage each other by example).

        But trust me, most men like what they see there. Of course it’s considered indecent to stare incessantly (but the reflex to ogle is present of course, with or without sunglasses). It’s not really likely to get desensitised from them. As a child most were already used to seeing female breasts, still didn’t affect the perception of most that they’re an attractive part of the female body.

      • Depends on how it’s done. If you grow up going to the beach and your mom and sisters are topless, and women on billboards are topless, And you are just surrounded by it, after while it’s no big deal. What country are you from? I’ve heard plenty of Europeans who come from places where the society is the way I describe who can’t understand why Americans think that nudity is such a big deal. Particularly people who grew up there in the 70s.

        I’ve also noticed that people tend to think that everyone is the way they are. Someone expresses something differently from how you see things, You assume they must be lying.

      • I’m from Belgium and right before I was born bathing topless become legal. From an age as young as 4 am I used to seeing naked females breasts. Every summer I often saw them either at the beach or at the backyard at home or with friends, even more so when we went to Southern Europe (where it’s even more popular to go topless). What people say is different from what they think.

        People are rather able to contain themselves when they see female nudity, but that doesn’t mean breasts mean nothing to them.

    • I don’t know about “most men”, I think its silly to say things like that, because its hard to talk for countless people you just don’t know. I know me, I know what I am comfortable with, and what excites me in what ways. I know when I see a pair of breasts, I don’t get excited in a sexual way. I just see breasts and that’s it.

      “It’s not really likely to get desensitised from them”
      that is actually not true, plenty of studies say otherwise.

      “People are rather able to contain themselves when they see female nudity, but that doesn’t mean breasts mean nothing to them.”
      sure, but nudity and breasts are two different things 😀

    • Looks like good news for most women, And something I have heard before.

      I’m just not sure about the School of evolutionary psychology he sites — all men are naturally polygamous but women aren’t. There is some controversy about that which I plan to write about in the next little while.

  67. Love this post. I’m breastfeeding my daughter still, and I totally agree. It would be so much easier if boobs weren’t sexualized. If everyone was just used to seeing them out. Ha

  68. It is interesting that different cultures have different values of regarding being nudity. Some countries were more conservative and some countries were more open-minded. I think the reasons of some countries were more open-mined and careless of being nudity was related to the limitation of the resources that they have. Men were topless and women being naked, they get used to of seeing each other being unclothed, therefore it seems normal and not surprising to them at all. Maybe for other countries people to see that happening; it would be attractive at first, but if they see the exposures quite often that become normal in their daily life.

    • What you say makes sense except that it works in the opposite order. The first humans lived in warm climates and didn’t wear much clothing, and butts and breasts were not fetishized. And then they moved north and started to cover up. The parts that were covered then took on an aura of mystery and sexualization. And the more you find tension with the covering, The more sexualized it becomes: as when selectively hiding and revealing. Now add cultural obsession and stir.

    • Good point and I think true.

      Moreover, I think a region’s level of religiosity has a lot to do with it. It seems that, at least in the three largest religions, the more fundamental we are, the more we tend to control and cover the women. It was men who wrote the ancient religious laws and since they were very insecure about the natural lure they (and especially other men) felt for the female body, they realized that the fear of a god’s punishment was an excellent tool to keep women under control, in the kitchen, and to keep roving eyes of other men off their women.

      The men of fundamentalist Islam, I think, are by far the most insecure, and while it was men who wrote their scriptures partly to subjugate the women, apparently it enslaved them as well.

      Growing cultural diversity, and especially the onset of the Enlightenment, opened the minds of many, realizing that they did not have to live by ancient prescription and, later, realized that women actually had brains as well as breasts. They realized, too, that it was noble to restrain one’s libido even as women wore less clothing, displaying the natural beauty of their form (yes a subjective view, but still a natural one). I do love modernity.

  69. Simple: 1) Indescribable beauty; 2) Mystery of the female body; 3) Tenderness, respect, and permission to see; and 3) intense beyond measure.

  70. Great post! I couldn’t agree more.

    First, to get this out of the way, I’ve never been aroused at seeing a man’s naked body, but VERY early on in life I was very aroused just to see a woman’s dress rise as she dances and twirls. That went by the way somewhere in my late teens, but then the arousal was women in a very slim bikinis–breasts became my biggest turn on. Absurdly large breasts were never a turn on.

    Oddly enough (or maybe not), a woman completely naked was not nearly as arousing for me as the aforementioned bikini. The scene in Eyes Wide Shut, for example, caused some very minor stimulation, but short of arousal–just call it pleasingly interesting–probably because the women were all shaved–I’ve never been stimulated seeing a naked woman with pubic hair.

    I still love the period movies of the 19th century when women wore those tight, very low dresses that made their breasts bulge to such a splendid cleavage that one should expect them to squirt out like a wet watermelon seed or pop out like a Jack in the box. 😀

    Porn used to turn me on big time. At first it was seeing any explicit heterosexual copulation (though never forced–always consensual). I tired of that and moved to lesbian sex, then to lesbian seduction. I was never aroused by mouth to genital scenes. Women kissing passionately was far more exciting.

    More erotic (and I still think so) is the written word. A well written and tasteful erotic story is now my favorite–but it MUST be well written and original.

    I’ve found, too, that writing such a story (or scene in a story) is a huge turn on, as any fiction writer will tell you, because, if the author develops their personalities well, he lives the lives of the characters. Even the brief simierotic scene in my own novel was a turn on for me, just as the sad scenes brought tears to my eyes.

    Thank you, BroadBlogs. I always love such subjects discussed openly and viewed through the eyes of reason.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience with this sort of thing. There is something about the tension that is created by selectively hiding and revealing that seems to create fetishes.

      • Here I hope you don’t mind if I stick in a relevant excerpt of interest. Satan is on the witness stand in an ethereal trial of Yahweh. Yahweh is seated beside him (it’s a double witness stand). Satan’s attention is drawn from the prosecutor (Jeff) by the thoughts of a woman in the gallery:


        With a slight turn of his head toward Yahweh, but without taking his eyes off the woman, Lucifer said at last, “Credit where credit is due. The orgasm was your very best idea.”

        He returned his attention to Jeff. “And, of course, you know women are quite capable of sexual self-motivation,” he said, as though he’d read Jeff’s thoughts. “Men are always motivated. More often than not, and barring the presence of a woman, they’d have sex with a tree if it would lift its hind leg.”

        More chuckles rippled through the gallery. He obviously had them charmed, but then, that was his forte, and he’d had eons to hone the talent to a fine edge.

        Lucifer refocused his attention on the woman as though speaking directly to her. “I haven’t enjoyed really great sex since the Salem days. Those puritan women were so ready. Like wildcats they were. No mere human could ever completely satisfy them.”

        He licked his lips, and then looked back at Jeff. His eyes twinkled. “God—if I may use the term—but those women were downright feral. Repressed libidos will do that, you know. I prefer repressed women. Repressed men can get a bit too violent, or tend to nefarious deviations. Mind you, I’m certainly not opposed to violence or nefarious deviations. Never boring, you know, and often it’s preferable and far more satisfying, but not always.”

        That was a fun chapter. Hope you liked the excerpt. As you say, the more things are hidden the more interest they arouse.

      • Funny! Sounds like a fun chapter. But if the women were truly repressed (as I’m sure they were during Puritan times) they actually would lose sexual desire (Hate to put a damper on all this, But here’s a link: Repression: Not What You Think It Is

  71. What an amazing article! I love the concept of culture forming our opinions.

  72. “Cover” leads to attraction and stimulation. “Exposure” leads to ejaculation. Over exposure stretched over a longer and longer period, kills both attraction and stimulation.

    Pornographic films, if watched say for two years, tend to make the man impotent and the woman frigid /cold.

    By the way body odor also attracts the similar matching sexual partners. That is why the Creator has provided it for.

    Suppressing body odor is right from a ‘social- hygiene’ point of view but sex is a private thing and that is the way the Creator has designed it. Body odor has a very important purpose to perform in love-making. The Creator is definitely not a fool. He knows better and more than us.

  73. I personally am very fond of breasts, and women. I more prefer people ware clothes, so as to retain a certain mystery. I don’t think many people are handsome, or beautiful. Most to me are plain. I know I scare with my looks, and exposing myself wouldn’t make me more appealing.

  74. Reblogged this on A Holistic Journey and commented:
    Calling All Men! I’m going to keep the comment board open on my end, as I would really appreciate hearing honestly from the men. You might run by my dialogue with the BroadBlogger under her post before dropping your feedback here, as she’s already explained her position in depth. Thanks in advance for the interesting conversation. HW

  75. I’d just like to say I found your post fascinating and agree 100% with your article. As an avid reader of European history & having studied the subject in great depth including the customs and fashions of the time, it struck me that large breasts were not seen as particularly desirable nor in any way synonymous with feminine beauty; small breasts were seen as the ideal and this trend is mirrorred in nude paintings of women up to the eighteenth century, where they can be seen as relatively large in body but with small breasts. Previous to the arrival of trendy French fashions being introduced to the English court for instance, women’s bodies but for their faces and sometimes necks, were entirely covered within elitist circles. The ensuing “uncovering” of hairlines & cleavages caused a scandal at the time and this is consistent with the theory that when a body part is suddenly uncovered, it can be seen as naughty or sexy. It particularly struck me that if large breasts in particular were not viewed as particularly desirable in Western culture as recently as 300 – 500 years ago, how can this preference be hardwired into male DNA? I think history as much as contemporary culture may be attributable to the eroticism of the female body. During the middle ages, certain misogynistic societal elements coupled with a very patriarchal culture conditioned society to view females as sinful and in need of being controlled and covered up. That control and covering up may have made them seem all the more “naughty” or “erotic” as society gradually became more liberal and were able to access pornography of the female body, so I think that the mentality of women’s bodies being seen as “tempting” or “naughty” is perhaps still with us to a lesser degree, unlike the more egalitarian societies which may just view the female as just another body performing human functions.

  76. And yes most gender differences are artificially socially and culturally created.

    • Yes. Sex is biological and gender is socially constructed: what society makes out of the sex difference.

      On your other point, I’m talking about the socially constructed fetish: The need so many men think they have for the visual stimulus of breasts to be aroused. They don’t. Not all men experience it at all, like men in tribal societies. And others only experience it at the beginning of a relationship or sexual encounter. After repeated exposure to the visual stimulus (The fetish) they stop being aroused by it — with that particular woman anyway. Yet they sustain a sexual interest in the woman. (And as I said, with too much exposure to the stimulus some men lose interest completely.)

  77. Sorry but the breasts *are* *sexual* by nature for most women and men.They give many women sexual pleasure and sexual arousal as well as men being sexually attracted and turned on my them.You can’t breast feed a baby that doesn’t exist,and the breasts are all a big part of getting both sexes sexually aroused to have the sex to make the babies just like the genitals do this too.

    Actually the breasts are a known source of sexual pleasure and arousal for most women just to more degrees for different women.

  78. “We always hear that men are visual. This isn’t based in biology. Men learn to become visual”

    I don’t believe that their appetite asking for more – like the man who needed more “extreme stuff” to be aroused – means they are not visual. This man’s increased capacity is a whole post unto itself. I do believe in the power, beauty, and the draw of mystery.

    “one of my grandmothers is pulling her skirt up above her ankle to look scandalously sexy”


    • Thanks for the blog post idea. Looks like I may need to write something more to clarify.

      Both men and women are visual — and aren’t visual. Depends on what you mean by visual.

      On the one hand, both are visual.

      Women and men both enjoy and are moved by a vista of Yosemite or Yellowstone.

      And both women and men can enjoy a pretty face or a pretty body. In fact, a study of students at a college orientation dance found that looks were the most important determinant of whether both women and men wanted to date someone.

      On the other hand, there is “visual” the way I meant it in the post. Do women and men get sexually aroused by something visual.

      Then you have to consider culture versus biology.

      Biologically speaking, contrary to popular opinion (“Men get aroused by looking, Women get aroused by hearing”) men aren’t biologically visual. Although they can learn to be.

      Examples of men not being, Or needing to be, visually aroused:

      . In tribal societies men are not aroused visually by things that men get very visually aroused by here, like breasts for example.
      . Men who have been in a long term relationship with a woman stop getting sexually aroused by her breasts. And yet they can get sexually aroused by her
      . Men can get sexually aroused with a woman in a dark room, without seeing her

      To the extent that men are visual it’s based on symbols– What something means. So man can learn to become aroused by things that are hidden, or a selectively hidden and revealed — because they are labeled sexual in our culture. That may include breasts, ankles, or the hair on the woman’s head, for instance.

      In fact, if something is sexualized and obsessed over enough, even heterosexual women can learn to be visually aroused by something associated with women, like breasts (although it seems to work differently, since women can’t get distracted by comparing themselves with other women or they can repress, and of course, the breasts are attached to a person whom the woman is not naturally attracted to).

      And it’s a good thing that men are not naturally visual because the belief that men are leaves a lot of women feeling insecure and unattractive.

      . Nearly 80% of young women have poor body image
      . A lot of women who have good body image and up enjoying how they look instead of how they feel sexually — taking away from the sexual experience
      . Long term relationships would suffer as men found it difficult to become aroused by their mates because the breast fetish goes away after while.

      Meanwhile, most men want their partners to be enjoying sex instead of being distracted by how they look.

      And some men do have a difficult time finding their partners arousing when they internalize pornified notions about what women are supposed to look like. Again, that’s not good for men or women. Even the hot women will start to lose their sexy shape overtime.

      Here’s something from a male perspective on the problem that learning to be too visual can create for men — this guy is talking about how porn can create erectile dysfunction when a guy is with real women:

      “When you were watching porn, it was all about what you saw on screen and what your hand did in your lap. With a live partner, you may – or may not – keep your eyes open and you’re certainly going to be touched. By closing your eyes and imagining sex, and especially by touching various parts of your body, you can help retrain your body to feel aroused by your sense of touch instead of your sense of sight.”

      See more at:

      • I’m not convinced but don’t have the time to dig my heels in. Very busy on my blog. I’m inclined toward the comments here that highlight how breasts and nakedness are a part of tribal culture in a way they are not in the developed world, and to compare the worlds is like holding up fruits to veg (my paraphrase). There is also sexual abuse in nudist colonists. The point about muscle memory in the article you reference makes sense. I’m bookmarking this post in case I come back to it in the next month or two bc I’m interested in the topic. Thanks. =)


      • Thanks for your interest in the post.

        Actually, apples and oranges would be comparing humans and chimpanzees, or some other nonhuman species. (And that is a fallacious comparison that evolutionary psychologists can be prone to).

        But if something is biologically human, you would have to find it in every culture. So it is very much apples to apples to compare modern humans and tribal humans.

        In fact, the method used by sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists (when evolutionary psychologists aren’t stupidly looking at a nonhuman species) to determine what is biological and what is a cultural construction, is precisely the comparison of different cultures, such as tribal and modern. It’s one of the few ways that you can see what is biologically human and what is not.

        It’s common for people to fall into the fundamental attribution error. We tend to think that traits we see are biologically-based rather than affected by circumstances that are harder to see. Men behave a particular way in our culture and we just assume it’s biologically-based, Rather than a product of society.

        Also, rape is a crime of violence, not desire. It’s true that sexual desire is a part of what motivates the sadistic type of rapist, but only because they have a hard time getting aroused without violence. It’s not that the woman is so attractive that the guy can’t resist. And most often rape is used as a tool to feel powerful. The man feels powerful and superior when he can take over a woman’s body. That’s why it is often something fraternity boys feel pressured into doing (the gang rape of a drunk girl) as a right of passage into manhood, defined as powerful, nonemotional, and superior to females (the woman being raped represents all women). Or, the Yosemite rapist, Cary Stayner, said that he raped and murdered some women because for once he could feel a little bit of power. In another case a young man whose last name is Burpee (I don’t feel like looking up the article right now) had just been fired from his job and then gotten into a fight with his girlfriend. He told police that he could have raped anyone, it could have been a guy. It just happened to be a girl. He felt powerless and he wanted to get his power back.

        Rape is correlated with patriarchy. In cultures of equality, where women may walk around topless — as with the ancient Cherokee — there was virtually no rape.

        You even see the correlation in mythologies. Early societies tended to be egalitarian before agriculture (some exceptions which I won’t go into right now but will be posting on so that I can just send links). As agriculture and patriarchy rear their heads rape emerges more and more in the people’s mythologies. For instance, in early mythology Persephone chooses to go down into Hades to cheer up the dead. But as the Indo-European societies become more patriarchal the myth changes so that Hades kidnaps and rapes Persephone and forces for down into Hades. (Hades being both of God and a place.)

      • I don’t need convincing that rape is more an attempt to satisfy the felt need for power than a response to arousal. Much of human behavior is really just a symptom of something deeper, not the thing itself. Anger, e.g.., an expression of helplessness, fear, or shame at root. Actually, I wanted to hear from more men on this particular question – even if the data I can collect is only or mostly from those in the Western world. I love to learn and I find this question very interesting. More later, if/when I have time. Diana

      • I just brought up the motivation of rapists because you seemed to suggest that sexual assault in nudist colonies suggested that the men were raping because they were so aroused by the women’s breasts. When rape is actually tied to the perpetrator feeling powerless, and trying to create a sense of power by overpowering someone in taking over their body. (There are a lot more effective ways to become more empowered!)

        If you want to hear more from men on the issue take a look at the comments. Plenty of men have chimed in. And they take one of three perspectives:

        1) what I say makes sense to them
        2) what I say doesn’t make sense to them
        3) after discussing the issue further with the second group, the post often makes sense to them — which is the most common thing that happens in actual discussions with men on the topic

        Social constructions feel biological, natural and normal. That’s true of all social constructions, and it’s the reason that you must look to diverse societies to see what is biological and what is not.

      • I believe I’d spoken of sexual abuse, not rape, in the colonists – though I’m not opening up the full thread to see. I did browse the comments, as I’d mentioned.

        Take care.

      • The motivation is the same for both sexual abuse and rape. Hope you found the comments helpful.

  79. As a hetero woman, I find other women’s breast to be sexually arousing. This may be influenced by my ‘need’ to always cover up my skin, especially my breast. My mother is very conservative in what she wears and has never worn clothing that would reveal her breast. Thus she raised me and my sister’s to be conservative in the way we dress. Despite my mother’s conservativeness, as children she would walk around the house on a daily basis topless. I’ve never asked her way but sometimes, I wonder if this made me less reactive to see other women’s breast in public. Now as an adult, that I no longer see that on a daily basis. Sometimes, I do wonder if those men who at the slightest sight of breast have a stare attack and not blink until the woman’s breast are out of sight were ever exposed to such a thing. As the blog mentions, I believe that my fetish is socially constructed because of the need to keep my breast hidden. If I lived in society where women walked around topless or nude, I don’t think I would be as aroused by it because there isn’t anything that needs to be hidden. In America, we’ve become obsessed with breast and the need to make them bigger because it makes it more noticeable for others to see and it is what society has defined as having the perfect body.

    • Since men and women in tribal societies don’t find them erotic, it seems it must be learned. Especially since it doesn’t make any sense for hetero Women to find them erotic, And yet it’s extremely common.

  80. I am a woman who finds breast stimulation sexually arousing. This may damn me to the sisterhood, but I don’t care. Men know that if they stimulate their woman’s breasts they will come across as a better lover. The rest of this pyschobabel can go squat. A man will find that sexually arousing as well….so cover or not….a good lover will do what it takes to make his woman experience pleasure. And as I recall it’s about respect, and I must be really weird but I’ve never been offended by a man finding me sexually interesting.

    • Well, most women find breast simulation sexually arousing. I have no idea why that would damn you to the sisterhood.

      But one of the problems is that the huge focus on the fetish, along with a culture that only sees certain types of breasts as attractive, leaves many women undergoing surgery, which leaves a huge percentage of them unable to feel sexual arousal any more.

      Or, they may not undergo surgery but feel like their breasts are somehow inadequate — nearly 80% of young women have poor body image. And so when they are in bed they are, unfortunately, likely to be distracted by how they look — worried about it — instead of enjoying how they feel sexually. Or, if they think they look really hot, they’re likely to be thinking about how hot they look instead of enjoying how they feel sexually. Either way, it’s not real good for sex.

      I’m also not aware of many — if any — women who don’t like to be found sexually interesting or attractive. Yet you say it like you’re unusual. I don’t think you are.

  81. Well objectification and body image are another issue entirely but I agree with what you say there. (As a side note, the vast majority of men prefer curvier women and not anorexic Victoria’s Secret Models. Honestly, women that underweight should be disallowed because of the obvious damage it causes to women of all ages.)

    Anyways, I wasn’t talking about objectification. Men being attracted to women’s breasts is natural and not objectification. Women did not develop breasts for no reason. Sexual selection explains this very well. Men preferred women with breasts, women with breasts had more offspring, and so on. Breasts are costly though and so there was a limit to how big they could get before being more of a disadvantage. It should come as no surprise at all that men say average boobs are the most beautiful.

    As the article I linked to explains, even cave men were interested in breasts. We know this from the many pictures they painted depicting women with breasts and this is found in multiple “tribal” societies all around the world. We have literally 10,000 years of drawings to support men’s obsession with breasts.

    However, I get the feeling you still won’t agree so I’ll ask this: In your opinion, why did women develop enlarged breasts if not to attract mates?

    • A lot of people don’t know what the word fetish means, So I used the term “Attractive” In the title. But if you read the post you should get that I’m talking about an eroticized fetish.

      That fetish is the social construction.

      And gynoid fat may make women attractive but 1) as I said the article is describing a fetish/ eroticized objectification. It’s similar to the waist-hip ratio. Yes, a certain ratio appears more attractive. But it is not fetishized.

      Also, Women start to get the idea that they aren’t attractive unless they have DD, which isn’t true. Unless the culture brainwashes men into thinking it is. They just need to have the gynoid fat somewhere — butt, legs… And how it is distributed varies from woman to woman. But it’s rare for women not to have adequate gynoid fat for reproduction. So pretty much any shape is adequate to do the job. Unless obese or starving.

      And what’s average? In the US before breast implants or obesity average was a B cup. In Japan it was an A cup.

      These sorts of arguments that men like this or that particular size of cup, or waist size, etc. just leads to a lot of insecurity and difficulty enjoying sex for women — and men — because men enjoy sex more when women do. Plus, all the other points I mentioned before.

      As for cavemen, the paintings highlight things associated with reproduction: breasts and genitals — and were depicted to help with fertility. But they were not fetishized — seen as erotic. And those pictures are actually old women with exaggerated breasts and genitals — if you look at the fat distribution it’s more android fat around the belly and chest and the butt has flattened out — that’s what happens as women age. So these images are fertility/Magic of birth + wisdom of old age of women.

      • Hmmm, ok so we’re talking about slightly different things here. No big deal. I didn’t realize your aim was more toward cup size and fetish.

        As for the cave paintings, how do we know they aren’t erotic? Many drawings were of women with thin waists and large breasts and again these were from all over the world.

        I’ll answer your other question this evening when I have more time. It’s more complicated.

      • What we know is that tribal men don’t get aroused by breasts and that these images were often older women. So why would the images be erotic? The cave paintings, and general symbol use revolved around things that would keep them alive: fertility of humans, animals and plants, the hunt, making sure the sun came back after solstice (e.g., Stonehenge), for instance.

  82. Actually, men developed an interest in breasts because of sexual selection. There are many articles that illustrate this point nicely. Women with breasts are giving off a signal that they are of age to mate.

    Just because there are a few tribal societies where women go topless doesn’t mean men don’t like or notice their boobs.

    I think the better question is why are some so offended that men like breasts?

    • The article doesn’t come from a place of offense.

      It comes from a place of understanding the social construction of reality.

      That said, here’s where problems arise from when you objectify women’s bodies:

      Does Sexual Objectification Lead to Bad Sex?

      In sum: Women learn that they are supposed to look a certain way, and hardly any women feel like they do. Nearly 80% of young women have poor body image. So you go to have sex and here’s what happens:

      1) about 80% of young women are distracted from how they feel during sex because they’re too worried about how they look
      2) the 20% who think they look hot are often distracted by thinking about how hot they look, And not thinking about how they feel
      3) a lot of men (though they seem to suffer from this problem less than women do) can feel like they were gyped by not having a really hot body in bed with them, or overlook women who don’t have “The right kind” of breasts.
      4) some men are so focused on how turned on they are by a woman’s breasts that they can’t really connect with her — which is a problem for most women, Because most women prefer connected sexuality. (I didn’t write about that in this article but I should rewrite the piece and add the point.)

      It leads to all sorts of sexual problems and dysfunction and harms connection.

      But if you have an idea in your head it can be hard to see contradictory data.

      For instance, almost all of our human past consisted of tribal societies in which women’s breasts aren’t considered erotic. So the fetish cannot be caused by natural selection. It’s caused by culture.

      What’s important is gynoid fat, which can be contained primarily in the thighs, hips, butt, and breasts. So for instance, in Japan before breast implants the most common size of breast was an A cup. So a man from that tribal society would notice a certain fat distribution: gynoid fat in the form of slightly enlarged breasts, and then more filled out thighs, hips, and butt. But pretty slim, overall. And the fat distribution would create a certain hip-waist ratio — which is the most common cue for attractiveness worldwide. But that ratio is not fetishized.

      And even then, the symbolic world becomes more important than other cues. In some parts of west Africa obesity is considered attractive, even though it’s not healthy. To look like a Victoria Secret Angel, a woman has to be anorexic. The Angels get that figure by eating nothing but kale for months. It’s not healthy. And yet the fashion show gets huge ratings, So someone finds them attractive.

      But when you hold one school of thought — evolutionary psychology (which has a contradictory school on the other side) — it can be hard to see and interpret new data. But evolutionary psychology comes from people who see humans as primarily biological and not as primarily symbolic users. So there is a biological bias.

      Here are some critiques of evolutionary psychology — the particular school you refer to, anyway:

      Are Women Naturally Monogamous?
      Are Men Really More Polygamous?
      Guys Just Wanna Have Relationships?
      Women Want Casual Sex? Yes and No
      Women Want Emotionally Connected Sex. Why?
      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?
      Black Isn’t Beautiful Claims Evolutionary Psychologist

      And here’s something from the competing school of evolutionary psychology:
      Women Want Betas

  83. Please answer this question. What is the in principle difference between the idea that men’s attraction to breasts is learned and not innate, and the idea that homosexuality is learned and not innate?

    • There are cross-cultural differences when it comes to the breast fetish, but not when it comes to homosexuality.

      Homosexuality is about 5% regardless of culture.

      Some might point to ancient Greece as an exception — a time when male homosexuality was admired — but we don’t have good data on actual behavior and preferences. So for instance, Plato conformed with the ideal on some level, yet was uninterested in expressing homosexuality, which is where the term “Platonic love” comes from — Love that isn’t sexually expressed (in his case for men). You find something similar with a small number of feminists who are heterosexual but “lesbian-identified.” For political reasons they identify as lesbian, But they have no interest in actually expressing it sexually. And so they identify themselves as lesbian even though they don’t behave in lesbian ways.

      On the other hand, it could be that many women are bisexual but haven’t felt free to express it until more recently, as lesbianism has become cool. So we are seeing an increase in women expressing lesbian behavior, but many may have simply stopped repressing that side of themselves. Others may not be bisexual, but try it out because they’re learning that lesbianism is sexy. A number of them try it once, really aren’t into it, and give it up.

      • “Homosexuality is about 5% regardless of culture.”

        Source please.

        Also, are we comparing apples to apples here? After all, your blog article set the standard as, I quote “And the breast fetish does not exist in them all.”

        Or in other words, apparently if we don’t find breast fetish in all tribal societies (i.e. one less than “all” apparently is decisive), then we apparently can conclude that breast attraction is learned.

        So by that standard, if we find one tribal society where nobody will fess up to being homosexual, then apparently we decide it is learned.

        What’s the bet there isn’t only one, but actually a ton of tribal societies where nobody would fess up to be being homosexual?

      • Source? The textbooks I use in my classes all hover around 5%. The book,”A billion wicked thoughts” gives the same number, just to cite something you might have heard of. And here’s a source that’s online:

        “Fess up” has nothing to do with it. It’s obvious that men in tribal societies don’t get aroused by breasts. If they did, their little loin clothes would betray them.

        But it’s also common knowledge. (And why would they want to say it wasn’t so, anyway?)

        Just wondering what difference it makes to you, whether it’s biological or learned?

      • “Just wondering what difference it makes to you, whether it’s biological or learned?”

        If anything is socially learned, then the media could use this knowledge and exploit people by showing over and over again whatever they wish and influence people’s opinions and behaviors.
        So I say it’s a big difference if something is biological or learned.

      • I can think of reasons why it matters, too. But I’m always curious about why the guys who write to me, insisting that the breast fetish is natural, care so much.

        Since who we are is mix of biology, culture and individual interactions, and since no one person can control culture, it could be very hard to do the type of social engineering you’re worried about. An awful lot of people would have to collude together to make it happen.

    • @Alexandra
      You are part right.
      For a natural born heterosexual it would be difficult to socially learn to be homosexual, since that person will still be natural attracted to the opposite sex. Even if that person socially learns to be attracted to the same sex, how could that person learn to NOT be attracted to the opposite sex?
      If you had asked about bisexuality instead of homosexuality, your question would be more valid.
      So there are some people who are naturally born bisexual and there are many people who socially learn to be bisexual

      • Well, there’s no evidence that anyone learns to be bisexual, just as straight people can’t learn to be gay and gay people can’t learn to be straight. It makes more sense that a repressed bisexuality is allowed to be loosed. Don’t forget that some straight women try it — because it’s made out to be sexy — but don’t like it.

      • I have read that brain has plasticity. That the brain can be “mold” and change its wirings.
        So it could be that some persons were indeed heterosexual but later on “changed” their brains’ wirings to bisexuality or even homosexuality.
        Others persons brain could be less plastic and not easily change.

      • The brain is plastic. There is a nature-nurture dance in which social experience affects the structure of the brain.

        We are all a mix of culture + social experiences + physical environment + personality.

        How this mixes with any particular person obviously varies. So it could be that a baby would grow up to be heterosexual so long as certain culture + social experiences + physical environment don’t play out in certain ways. If they do play out, they might grow up to be gay or lesbian. If they don’t, they won’t. Now that they are grown-up their biology is however it is: gay, straight, lesbian, bi. But once you get there you can’t just choose to have a different orientation from what you have.

      • She said she choose to be gay. If I am not mistaking she is straight again now.

      • “Choice” is how she understands it, or understood it. And I personally don’t care whether people choose a sexual orientation or whether it’s biologically-based. I thought her point of view was worth airing because I don’t think it should matter.

        Since someone who is bisexual can be attracted to both sexes, and she has been, they have a choice to orient their sexual desire toward a man or a woman. So both of these things can be true: Bisexuality is biologically-based, lending opportunity for choice.

        Maybe she doesn’t understand herself as bisexual because she is either attracted to a woman or to a man, but not attracted to men and women, as a matter of course. So it could be a matter of semantics. I would call that bisexual. She would not

        Other people clearly don’t have a choice. Like women who see sexy lesbianism and try themselves and don’t like it. Or guilt ridden Christian men who try and try to change their sexuality but can’t. Because of the difficulty they have, it seems some people are naturally more flexible than others — whether you call it bisexuality or “Choice.”

      • As a sociologist, what’s your opinion about the numbers of school girls and college girls that experiment with and date each other and acting as bisexuals.
        Is it really that popular nowdays for girls to date girls, or is it an exaggeration by the media. Sure it happens, but the media makes it seems like it’s the majority of girls doing that and it’s the norm.
        I have heard that in some places it’s unusual whereas in other places it’s very common, which could point out that is socially conditioned.
        Anyway, I don’t live in the US, so I don’t know if it’s that common in schools and colleges as they make it seems to be. Of course bisexuality for guys it’s a big no-no.

      • It’s not very common. But it’s no surprise that the news talks about it so much. It brings a lot of views.

      • “In Brazil more men then women identify as bisexual. Part of it is cultural.
        In 2009, in a survey conducted by University of São Paulo in 10 capitals of Brazil, of the men 7.8% were gay and 2.6% were bisexual, for a total of 10.4%, and of the women 4.9% were lesbian and 1.4% were bisexual, for a total of 6.3%.”

        So the whole notion that women’s sexuality is naturally more fluid than men’s could be flawed. Perhaps women’s sexuality is more fluid but it seems to be socially conditioned.
        In Brazil twice as many men as women identify as bisexual. Isn’t that odd?

      • Wouldn’t surprise me at all if culture were having a big effect, perhaps related to people being in touch with their natural sexuality, or forming it in some way. The ins and outs are complex since society and biology interact, eventually creating a sexuality that cannot be changed no matter how hard someone tries. Thanks for sharing.

    • re this comment:
      “Since who we are is mix of biology, culture and individual interactions, and since no one person can control culture, it could be very hard to do the type of social engineering you’re worried about. An awful lot of people would have to collude together to make it happen”

      The media won’t try to have as target all people and they won’t have to. All they want and need is the majority of people.
      Whether or not the breast is biological or learned makes a lot of difference on how our society has conditioned to see women.

      Most of the people has already been conditioned to see women as sex objects.
      So that proves that this type of social engineering do have results and that’s why the media are using it more and more.
      It’s very rare now days to see a video clip without half naked women.

      • When it comes to the breast fetish, the socialization has been quite overwhelming. But there are limits to what any particular group of people could decide to do, generally speaking.

  84. “But there is nothing in our culture that represses heterosexuality, in particular”

    Women’s heterosexuality is repressed in a way.
    The media objectify the female body and ignores the male body. So heterosexual women learn the breast fetish and see women as sexier than men.
    Heterosexual women don’t get to “eye candy” men, so in a way they can’t express their heterosexuality by ogling attractive male bodies.
    So that means that a lesbian woman who could be possibly be natural bisexual, she never learns to admire and lust the male body because the male body is ignored, so she never realizes that she had the potential to be bisexual and attracted to men but she is easily attracted to women because the female body is portrayed everywhere in the media.

    Besides if a heterosexual woman express her heterosexuality by ogling men or by approaching men or by hooking up with many men, she will be “slut-shamed”.
    So many women learn to repress their heterosexuality and pretend to be asexual

    • Sure, women’s sexuality is repressed as you describe. But heterosexuality, in particular, isn’t. Women are supposed to be heterosexual, But not sexual (Before marriage). They are supposed to be attracted to guys, But not have sex with them.

      • Isn’t that contradicting?

      • No. They are different issues. One is monogamy. The other is sexual orientation.

      • I was reading “Why We Love” by Helen Fisher. She wrote that the “sexual attraction” and the “romantic attraction” are located in different parts of the brain.
        That could explain why most heterosexual women are / or learned to be attracted to women but they still prefer to be romantically involved with men. And these women still identify as heterosexual because sexually attraction and romantically attraction are two separate things, and they base their heterosexuality on the dating preference for men that they have.

  85. This isn’t true, though. Science has shown that human females developed breasts as a secondary sexual characteristic when humans started walking upright. Female nipple stimulation lights up the same area of the brain as clitoral and vaginal stimulation. Female breasts in other mammals aren’t permanently enlarged, only enlarge with pregnancy. There’s absolutely no reason for breasts to enlarge – at the exact time in a woman’s life when she becomes fertile – than sexual signaling. As many women with large breasts will tell you, it’s actually a burden.

    It’s pretty clear in biology that human breasts are a secondary sexual characteristic that signals a woman is of age to reproduce. Your reasoning, that in cultures where breasts are not covered, men don’t make a big deal out of it, works for anything. I don’t find vulvas to be sexually stimulating every time I see one, in fact I rarely do. But the fact that I’m numbed to the sight of them doesn’t mean that they aren’t sexual.

    Ironic, given that in your last column about female breasts, you claimed to know men’s sexuality better than all men alive, and most scientists and doctors…

    • 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.

  86. 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.

  87. 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.

    • 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.

        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.

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

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

    • 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.

  90. 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.

  91. 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.

  92. 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

  93. 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.

  94. 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.

  95. 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.

  96. 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.

    • 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.

  97. 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.

  98. 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.

  99. WordsFallFromMyEyes

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

  100. 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.

  101. 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.

    • 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?
      Guys Just Wanna Have Relationships?
      Women Want Casual Sex? Yes and No
      Why We Lie About Sex Partner #’s

      Racism: Genetic or Learned?
      Black Isn’t 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.

  102. 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.

  103. 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.

  104. This blogger draws a different conclusion on Chivers’ research

    and this page at the paragraph “Predictions” indicates that it’s more psychological

  105. “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.

  106. 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.

  107. 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?

      Are Men Really More Polygamous?

      Guys Just Wanna Have Relationships?
Women Want Casual Sex? Yes and No
Women Want Emotionally Connected Sex. Why?

      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?

      Black Isn’t Beautiful Claims Evolutionary Psychologist

  108. 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.

  109. 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.

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

  111. 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.

  112. 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.

  113. 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?

  114. 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!

  115. 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?”

  116. 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.

  117. 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

  118. 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

  119. 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.

  120. 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.

  121. 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.

  122. 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.

  123. 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?

      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.

    • Actually, many gay guys say that they do like breasts.
      Even if they didn’t, much research shows that women are more fluid sexually than men are, when it comes to sexual orientation.

      As for the permanence of breasts, I have read theories that the fact that women have permanent breasts comes from the evolution of something called “concealed ovulation,” something that is also exclusive to our species.

      As for penises, it would be kinda dumb for females to become instantly horny at the sight of a penis. We have to know some info about the owner of the penis before we rush off to have sex with him & let him (potentially) impregnate us. & That doesn’t necessarily mean that the man has to be a good caretaker; it could just be about whether he’s good in bed or not. I think this is why women tend to be more aroused by video pornography than image pornography… Women make up 1/4 of PornHub viewers (up to 35% of viewers in some areas of the world) (look up “PornHub What Women Want”), but women don’t tend to become horny by still images of men, unless they’re images from men they’re in sexual relationships with; which is why Playgirl went out of business. I think this is because you can’t figure out, merely by looking at an image of someone, whether they’d be good in bed or not. Whereas men orgasm the majority of the time they have sex, we women don’t, so we need something more than just an image…we’d rather see the actual action, and make sure that the sex is good sex, which can be seen best through video.

      • There’s still a lot of debate about how many women watch porn. Not to mention why they watch it. Some guys use their moms credit card, For instance, which makes it seem that more women are watching porn than actually do. And a number of my students have said that they watch porn to figure out what guys want. That’s an entirely different reason from why practically any guy watches it. Even when women watch porn they don’t necessarily feel aroused in their minds even if blood rushes to the vagina. Which is why Women could watch bonobos or people having sex and blood would rushed to the vagina, And yet they wouldn’t have any sense of feeling especially aroused. And so their surveys were more likely to registered what they were supposed to like, Rather than put their vaginas were suggesting. So there is the theory that what rushes to the vagina, Creating lubrication at the sight of any sexual stimulus(Like an erect penis) as a means of protecting vagina. So the vagina is protected but women often don’t feel any sense of heightened sexual interest.

        Plus, our culture does a lot to eroticize the female body. But in other cultures they don’t do anything to eroticize it. In those cultures men don’t get aroused just by looking at a woman’s body. And in our culture we don’t do anything to eroticize the male body, And so women don’t get aroused by looking at it. No surprise.

      • Also, another note, about how your students said that they watch porn to see what guys like: as someone who has taken Women and Gender Studies and Sociology classes, I can tell you that even if some of your female students watch porn for sexual pleasure, many of them probably wouldnt tell you that, cause it’d be kinda awkward talking to your teacher/professor/classmates about your masturbatory habits, lol

      • Doesn’t matter. The fact remains that a lot of the reasons that my women students watch porn is to figure out what guys like.

        Also, I don’t have the time to get through really long comments like another one you left, So if you write something more concise I’ll Post and respond.

  124. 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
    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.

  125. 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.

  126. 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.

  127. 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

      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

      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.

  128. 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?

      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?

  129. 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.

  130. 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:

      • 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:
        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

        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 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
        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: 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?
        Gays Find Strippers Sexy; Women Don’t?

        Magic Mike Turns Tables on Objectification, Desire

        Man as Object: Reversing the Gaze
        Women Gazing At Men

        Men, Women React to Male/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: 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.

      • 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.

  131. 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?

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

  133. 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.

  134. 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.

  135. 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.

  136. 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.

  137. 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?

      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! …


        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.

  138. 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.


      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?

      • 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.”

  139. 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.

  140. 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?

      • 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.

  141. 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?

  142. 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.

    • Thanks for your comments. I appreciate getting a male perspective on both boobs and breastfeeding.

    • I can totally agree with this idea of the “forbidden” aspect. Growing up watching late night TV with my dad here and there I’d run into “___ gone wild” movie ads and each commercial basically had the same thing, women lifting their shirts up with an edited star over the women’s nipples, and when I would see this and imagine that whatever was in the middle of the breast was something to be glorified and amazing to see. When I did see breasts for the first time I was honestly disappointed and came to the conclusion it was idolized for no apparent reason.

  143. Women should worship their bodies!

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

  145. 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!!!)

  146. 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

  147. 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….

  148. 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.

  149. 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.

    • Gender roles are natural. You see gender roles in the animal kingdom all the time, and humans are just another animal. Don’t believe the garbage your PC college prof, teaches you in the bullshit class known as Gender Studies.

      • Usually I just “spam” discourteous comments. But for some reason I feel like asking why do you care. What difference does it make to you whether gender roles are natural or not?

        And we know that they are not natural because they vary from culture to culture — in some places women are the basket weavers or cooks and in some place men are, for instance.

        The higher up the evolutionary ladder you go, the less an animal — or a person — is run by instinct. For instance, neither elephants nor primates know how to mother unless they have learned it from their society. Humans have very few instincts, Which gives them great freedom.

        But again, what difference does it make to you? Why do you care?

  150. 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.

  151. 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.

  152. 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…..

      • Now that’s a BS generalization if I ever saw one. One of the hardest things I ever break myself of was the strong inclination to gawk at breastfeeding mothers is public–not because it is sexy, but because it is awesome, one of the core facets of our animal lives, and beautiful–mother and child, succor and sustenance–wow, right? But I always forced myself to look away, because it seems perverted and lecherous, and a violation of privacy. I got it. Years later, when I had my own children, I would marvel to see them nurtured by my wife. To say that jealousy is part of that equation is demeaning. To say that men can’t draw the distinction between what is and what is not a sexualized situation is insulting. And to use the word “hate” in this argument is juvenile. Context is everything.

    • Female breast does not have a sole purpose any more than the penis or vagina have sole purposes! They both have multiple purposes, among which are nursing, waste elimination, and procreation or reproduction!

      Also, to the original blogger, yes, it is hardwired because men are primarily visual and women are primarily audial.

      • I’m not sure why it is important to you to believe this, despite all of the evidence against it.

        I’m sure that it feels biological. Social constructions often do.

        But it can be helpful for women and men, like to understand that it’s not biologically-based.

        As I just wrote to someone else: the breast fetish is a social construction. You don’t find it in every culture. And the big breast fetish is overlaid on top of that. Both are widespread right now, but haven’t always been — either here or in other cultures.

        The fixation often harms both men and women. Not only does it frequently hurt women’s self-esteem, but the majority of women get distracted when they are in bed, worrying about whether they look attractive enough. That’s no fun for the guy either, who would rather have his partner enjoying sex, instead of being distracted by worries over how her body looks.

        But I am curious as to what difference it makes to you. Why is it important to you to believe that it is biologically-based?

  153. 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

  154. 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.

      • There are some inacuracy regarding this, because many tribel men are infact attracted to breasts also. In a program i saw where they talked to men about woman and to woman about men in different cultures.

        In some of the african tribes (where woman did not cover their breasts) several men said that they wanted their woman to have long breasts (probably mening big and very saggy) and in fact several woman tied or weighted down their breasts to make them longer.

        They might not be aroused by looking at them, but they seemd to be interested, perhaps in the same way some men loves long leggs.

      • Well, you just got finished saying that you don’t find it in every culture, So it can’t be hardwired. You would have to find it in every culture if it were.

        But a couple more things:

        1) a better word to use in the title would be “Fetish” rather than attractive, but I wasn’t sure that everyone knew what that word meant. In the text I’m talking about a fetish, Not mere attractiveness. A fetish causes sexual arousal. There are plenty of things that both women and men are judged for — and found attractive or not — which are not fetishized. For instance, Western women tend to prefer men who are tall and who have hair — to find both of those things attractive. But they aren’t sexually aroused just because a tall guy walks in the room, Or if a man with a full head of hair walks into the room. In our culture men prefer slim women, But a man probably won’t get aroused just because a slim woman walks into a room. Men find a beautiful Head of hair attractive. But he probably won’t get sexually aroused. Unless he lived someplace like Iran before satellite or Internet. In the early 80s Iranian women had to wear scarves that completely covered their heads. I think I mentioned one of my Iranian students in the post who, from time to time, would pull back her veil to let a little hair show. And the men would go nuts. She might as well have unbuttoned her blouse. Since women’s hair was always covered because it was thought to be so sexual, revealing the hair could create sexual stimulation. Clearly a social construction, considering that that is a very rare reaction. Body parts tend to become fetishized when they are covered because they are defined as sexual, or when they are selectively hidden and revealed — a different type of covering.

        2) In many tribal societies the preference is for small breasts BECAUSE they don’t get long and tubular (as often happens in cultures with no support for breasts built into clothing). What’s considered attractive when it comes to breasts varies a lot from culture to culture.

      • @Andrew G. Alt:

        No offense, mate. But according to your post, you’re a highly uneducated person who arrogantly believes 1st world society/culture can explain everything without error. Hint: No really, it’s nothing close to a desensitization matter. Tribal societies aren’t Capitalist addicts like we are. They tend to remember what is truly natural, the function of certain things without disruptive biasrs from faulty religion and materialistic/Capitalist cultures.

      • Final word, don’t be an ignorant and arrogant prick, Andrew Alt. It is bad form.

  155. 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?

  156. 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.

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