The Breast Fetish Distracts From Sex 

The breast fetish makes sex super-hot, right?

Maybe not.

It can actually hurt both men’s and women’s sexual experience.

Sounds counterintuitive. But consider this:

Seventy percent of women think their breasts aren’t good enough: Too small, too droopy, too lopsided, not the “right shape”…

In bed with their lovers, do you think these women are uninhibitedly relishing the erotic experience?

Or are they distracted with worry that they might not look good enough?

The numbers:

I surveyed my women students and 94% of them got distracted in bed, at least part of the time, by thinking about how they look. Two-thirds said it could be a big distraction.

That includes 10% who think they look good, but who are working hard to make sure they look good for their men. Like this young woman:

It’s stressful because you’re consumed by your appearance instead of your enjoyment. Trying to be perfect is very distracting.

The biggest aphrodisiac for women is thinking her partner finds her irresistible — and that’s often not happening. Instead, women can spend a lot of time being distracted by worry.

Surely this is part of the reason why nearly half of women experience sexual dysfunction. It’s simply not possible to enjoy sex when that’s going on.

You can tell women to stop worrying, but that’s hard to do when men are always talking about how visual they are… what sort of breasts they prefer… And when women hear body judgments on TV, in movies, in evolutionary psychology, and in everyday conversation.

Some get breast surgery (which is risky) and lose sensation in their nipples — making sex less enjoyable.

Not so good for men, either

Most men would rather be with women who are enjoying themselves than with women who are distracted.

Yet it’s all unnecessary. You don’t find the fetish in every culture, particularly in tribal societies, which constituted the great bulk of the human experience. And preferences also vary from society to society and from man to man.

Even men who prefer certain types of bodies are perfectly capable of falling in love and having sex with women with other sorts of bodies.

Do I want men to stop experiencing the fetish?

No. I just want everyone to enjoy sex more.

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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 August 21, 2017, in body image, sex and sexuality and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. I would think this is more of a problem with loveless sex — that two people who are secure in their mutual love, and trust that each loves the other for what he or she is, don’t get all bent out of shape over this. Or am I giving the latter couple credit for more maturity than one finds in the real world?

    • Yes, the distraction is more of a problem in relationships that are not loving. At the same time women are most turned on by thinking that her guy is turned on. And if she thinks she doesn’t have the “right” body (and most women don’t) she will lose a level of eroticim. If we either saw all bodies as sexy as the !Kung seem to, or focused on loving/bonding/merging in a way that made body unimportant, the problem could be dealt with.

  2. I’m thinking about a book I read called Nisa. It’s about a woman from the African tribe !Kung. There was no one standard idea about what a woman’s body should be like Plus no particular fetish. All of the women thought that they were beautiful. And all of the men thought that all of the women were beautiful.”

    If these women got a taste of being able to have men fall to their feet and seduction an sex power. They may be happy they don’t have to deal with the problems that can come with being sexualized, but their bodies being natural and not sexual or that realization now, could put a damper. It’s not bad because they don’t know different, because their bodies have never been sexualized because everything is so primitive and very basic, close community, survival relate in tribal culture. For example, I’ve lived a good number of years before the internet and things were perfectly fine and I had a pretty nice childhood.

    I was content like many people. If you told me then I was missing something as in the internet, I would look at you strange and think this is how things are. I wouldn’t have any other reference to go by or not need one. The internet comes then high speed internet, and now I’m thinking how I can;t imagine life without the internet. Even if it’ not better, once you get a taste of something, you may miss it once it’s taken back away. Whereas, if you never have something, you don’t know any better. Maybe your situation is better already, but human nature seems to like different an better, new things even if their situation was previously fine or good.

    • Well, their bodies are sexual. There’s nothing wrong with that. (I know, it’s confusing) but sexual in a natural way, not a fake way. And not a fake way within the confines of a narrow notion of what’s attractive.

      “once you get a taste of something, you may miss it once it’s taken back away.”

      I was just reading some research on this. Most people won’t take a bet that gives them an 85% chance of doubling their life savings and a 15% chance of losing them, for instance. I know I wouldn’t.

  3. There is another way in which breast fetishism can distract one from sex. If a man is obsessed with breasts, the breasts can become ends in themselves; penetration is no longer a goal. The goal is, instead, to stroke and ejaculate upon the breasts. Has anyone experienced this?

    • Good question.

      Another thing I didn’t mention: Some men are disappointed that their partners don’t have “perfect” breasts and that also becomes a distraction for the guy.

  4. Most men enjoy seeing most boobs. It’s weird women don’t know that or think there’s are not a turn on. If she gets out of her head and just sees her mans reaction seeing her naked breasts, she would realize he dioesn’t see the flaws she does.

    In the end guys are happy seeing boobs and they are a turn on. It’s weird a girl or your students would not be sure if their breasts are attractive when it seems almost every girl has had a guy appreciatingly glance at her boobs or cleavage. If they weren’t attractive that wouldn’t happen, if they weren’t a turn on from a guy to an individual girl, he wouldn’t be interested or excited see said girl naked or her breasts.

    • The survey on breasts was a large national sample done by UCLA. My sample (do you get distracted in bed by thinking about how you look) was answered by my women students — about 150 of them. When we have a fetish it makes it seem extremely important. And most women don’t feel good about their breasts. So do the math. I don’t care about individual preferences so much. I do care about the cultural conversation.

      I’ll have to say that I have been collecting some body image horror stories on things that women’s partners have said to them. But there’s also the outside conversation. Even if your partner says oh you’re beautiful she still wonders, and that’s a distraction. More later.

      • But women’s bodies would probably still be shown a lot still even without the fetish. It wouldn’t be taboo anymore and casually shown, but since men are still very sexually attracted to women’s bodies and it’s biologically hardwired. I still believe women’s beauty would be shown a lot and in this culture that’s all about ranking things. Women’s breasts could still be compared, but not covered up as much, not taboo and more natural, non sexual context.

        So you could have women intimate with their boyfriends and in undress and naked breasts and feel distracted and wonder how there’s look to their boyfriend compared to other women AND their breasts not turning on their boyfriend because there breasts became desexualized so now at the paltry level of a man’s body or chest. So it could be two fold there and I don’t know how women would handle after being used to be the sexy sex, the seductress, the one’that can give a look, a dance, etc and get their man’s engine revving an not have that sex appeal anymore if their bodies became desexualized. I guess that would feel how it is to be like a guy. Not saying being a sex object is good, I just don’t know how there’ an answer where it doesn’t hurt. It seems like it can not be fun either way for women. Sure tribal women are fine, but you don’t miss what you don’t know.

      • I’m thinking about a book I read called Nisa. It’s about a woman from the African tribe !Kung. There was no one standard idea about what a woman’s body should be like Plus no particular fetish. All of the women thought that they were beautiful. And all of the men thought that all of the women were beautiful.

  5. Your numbers indicate a lot of women not enjoying themselves when they should be. Apart from the awkwardness that happens in the initial stages of a sexual relationship, assuring your partner of her desirability comes as standard.

    Even beautiful women like to be assured of their attractiveness. No matter how good a woman looks, there is usually something about her physical appearance that she does not like.

    I am assuming the majority of the partners of the women you surveyed are young men. It helps a young man a lot if a woman explains what she wants and needs and also shares her anxieties. Well, a man of any age really, communication works wonders.

    • Communication certainly helps. But if she’s not feeling good about her body that is still in the background as she wonders “Does he find me attractive… Do I look good enough?” And it’s more of a cultural thing than an individual thing. The fetish makes her think that it’s extremely important that she look right. And the cultural conversation too often ensures that she won’t think she does no matter what her partner says.

  6. Now a twist that women have never thought about.
    Women from young age get told how beautiful they are. They constantly get compliments by men and women. Everyday. On the Internet their photos get thumbs-up up and hundreds of comments and compliments. All that builds up self esteem and creates sense of self worth from young age.

    Now imagine if someone doesn’t get any positive comments at all. Never got any compliments. Noone mentioned about their beautiful eyes or hair. Never developed a sense of self worth.
    That’s how it is for men.
    For some reason nobody cares about men. So even if women don’t feel that they breasts are good enough, at least they have breasts. Women will always get approached by men. But what about men? What do men have that it will give them some attention from women?

    • I wonder if a lot women do those Internet things to lift their self-esteem. Because from what I’ve heard most women don’t actually want to get together with men. They seem to be seeking something else. But if you have to go to the Internet to lift your self-esteem seems that something is wrong.

      Whether or not they have breasts 70 don’t feel good about them and 80 percent of women have poor body image. So women’s experience actually isn’t much different from yours except that you are ignored and women are made to feel bad about themselves.

      • You said:
        I wonder if a lot women do those Internet things to lift their self-esteem. Because from what I’ve heard most women don’t actually want to get together with men.

        And that proves that women aren’t so much interested in casual sex with men. Women don’t have the same sex drive as men have.
        As you said “most women don’t actually want together with men” however most men constantly think how to get together with women.

      • I agree that on the whole (with exceptions) women don’t have the same sex drive as men. But the question is why? Nature or nurture?

        Objectifying women so that they are distracted and worried about how they look takes away from sexual enjoyment, leaving them to typically find the sexual situation less enjoyable.

        Women’s sexuality is also much more punished. all of my students have witnessed slut-shaming and at least one of them was on suicide watch for several months after having been attacked herself.

        I have been negatively affected by both of these things so I really get it.

    • Jean Cluade, that is exactly what I think. I often see women on the internet complaining that they git hit on too often and get too much attention from men. And then most women have poor body image? How come, I can’t wrap my head around it. It is easy to feel unattractive if the opposite sex ingore you. But if people around find one sexy and explicitly say that, how can they feel unattractive? I don’t understand.

      • I don’t know for sure what the answer is. It’s an interesting question that I can only guess at.

        I do know that many more men go on the Internet to pick up on women then vice versa, So the women do get deluged. But these guys don’t know what they look like without their clothes either.

        One study of college students found that women’s body image improved steadily in college — until they lost her virginity. Being naked and feeling like their bodies were being judged cause their self-esteem to plummet. The man self-esteem pretty much always rose after losing virginity.

  7. how does one know what body type they prefer when they’ve never experienced anything remotely to do with relationships and intimacy going to talk about body types here for a second and sorry if any offence is taken here but inwardly I’ve often thought I prefer a woman who is of slender build and reasonably tall not meaning extremely skinny but medium build and here’s my question. is calling somebody chubby offensive or body shaming or does that depend on how it’s said? and often times women cover up their breasts with a brah and it’s talked about that it’s offensive for a woman to go out without a brah but my question is this how is it offensive to go out without a brah when a woman is wearing clothes that often conceal the breasts? I was having this very conversation with an ex neighbour once and he said that since women started wearing brahs there’s been an increase in breast cancer due to the chemicals in the brah due to the ingredients used to make them I know this has nothing to do with the post at large but it does have a bit to do with the subject of breasts in general.

    • I don’t know how you develop preferences if you’ve never seen anything. Other than that you hear people talk about things a lot and what you say your preference is does reflect a cultural preference.

      I think women mostly wear bras because it’s simply expected. And some people say that being able to see the outline of nipples through the clothing is a turn on. I don’t know anything about breast cancer and bras. The breast cancer rate seems to be going down as women stop using hormone replacement therapy when they hit menopause.

  8. it seems unreasonable coz nobody is perfect at all ;so if women feels kinda inferior and care abt what man’ll think . They should also know that their partener too might be perfect in all his attributes and even if he is , he should be supportive and sympathetic for one another !

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