Science of Love, Sex, and Babies

A new theory on why men love breasts?

Posted in news by jenapincott on January 19, 2009

31269245hc0Why do men love breasts? In BLONDES I describe the most interesting and promising theories — from the Freudian (breasts remind men of Mom) to the evolutionary (breasts resemble buttocks and prehuman ancestors mounted from behind), and the reproductive (breasts are an indicator of age and big breasts are a marker of high estrogen levels). These are some of the most likely reasons why breasts are beloved even in cultures that don’t eroticize them any more than the face.

A new spin on the male fascination with breasts came up this week in John Tierney’s interview with neuroscientist Larry Young on love blockers. According to Young, “more frequent sex and more attention to breasts could help build long-term bonds through a ‘cocktail of ancient neuropeptides,’ like the oxytocin released during foreplay or orgasm.” The same oxytocin circuit, he notes, is activated when a woman nurses her infant.

The article doesn’t connect all the dots, but the suggestion is as follows: The hormone oxytocin is released when breastfeeding, making the mother feel good and helping her bond with baby. Sucking and caressing a woman’s breasts during foreplay may also trigger oxytocin release. When oxytocin hits the brain, women become more trusting and attached. Men evolved to pay attention to breasts as a means of attracting and retaining lovers.

The “boobs help bonding” theory may not be the strongest explanation of why men love breasts, but it’s worth introducing to the debate. That said, I strongly suspect that there are many women out there for whom a lover’s suckling does nothing — and there are many breast-ogling guys who know nothing of foreplay.


21 Responses

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  1. Michael said, on January 20, 2009 at 1:06 am

    It’s a shape thing. Men like nice, taut, rounded body curves, not just in the breasts, but in the buttocks and even the arms, legs, and head. Not just round–but also taut. Stuff you can feel when you rub up against it or press on it. Soft, but there, and as such, arousing.

    There is also the mysterious taboo thing: that a part of the body that is always covered up goes deeper into the essence of the person, and so looking at, touching, smelling, tasting this rarefied part of the female body is arousing. Its scent and warmth is guarded in a way that most other parts of the body are not.

    Finally, the pleasure thing: that the breasts are a center of pleasure for many women yields a rather logical association in the minds of men between breasts and pleasure.

    • jenapincott said, on January 20, 2009 at 1:08 am

      Thanks, Michael…beautifully described.

  2. […] F. sabía bien lo que decía, pues todos tenemos claro que el seno no tendría porqué ejercer atracción física más que una rodilla o un hombro; simplemente es una protuberancia más del organismo. Sin embargo, la ciencia siempre ha reconocido el hecho de que los senos son un verdadero misterio, y han emergido unas cuantas explicaciones al respecto. […]

  3. kennedy121 said, on January 20, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    I’ve heard this theory before and it seems Oxytocins are the chemicals that are involved in the mental actions relating to pleasant memories, so the whole bonding idea would make sense.
    As a heterosexual male, I am attracted to breasts, but it must be remembered that very large breasts are a turn off to a lot of guys (including myself). This could flag up a flaw in Young’s thesis, if the sight/thought of breasts of any shape or size should kick off these chemical processes relating to events in our infancy.

  4. mica said, on January 20, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    Luv reading your blog, but your picture choices are starting to traumatize me.

  5. rosetta.stoned said, on March 5, 2009 at 10:26 am

    My boyfriend is one of the huge-breast lovers. We’re talking ridiculously huge here. However, I am a ‘mere’ C-cup, to my delight and his disappointment! I often wonder where his obsession comes from…I’ve yet to determine if it’s just a hard-wired trait of his, the effect of too much/not enough breast feeding, or simply WAY too much indulgence in porn. Thanks for this, sheds some light on the debate but unfortunately I’m still in the dark. 😦

    Oh and btw, when you said “and there are many breast-ogling guys who know nothing of foreplay” you couldn’t be more right. What is the deal with that?? Are they scared of the bonding powers of oxytocin? Hmmmm….

    • LrsDude said, on October 22, 2009 at 4:08 am

      Perhaps someone should do a study on why some men are bad at foreplay. I have a feeling that it could be related to a dearth of social awareness and intelligence, which would therefore give an evolutionary advantage to women who do not settle in the bedroom.

  6. Respect said, on December 5, 2009 at 7:23 am

    I came across this blog the other day. A few facts about men, mating, and related items if I may:

    1) Men are attracted to larger breasts because it signifies that our young will have ample nutrition from which to draw from if we mate with the woman in question.

    2) Men are attracted to a certain hip to waist ratio, I believe 0.7 is the target, because that tells our brain which stimulates our loins that her uterus would be a good place to grow a baby.

    3) Much of attraction, which many female magazines do not tell you, is rooted deep in evolution and the wild. For example, many women don’t even know this, but lipstick highlights the lips, which reminds us of the vagina. Numerous studies have been done which show that women dress more provocative around ovulation time. This is not just by chance. It’s Mother Nature and her immovable force.

    • of course said, on January 1, 2010 at 4:57 pm

      1) Doctors know that big breasts not only cause pain and discomfort, but also mean lower chance for ability to nurture.

      2) I think for many men it doesn’t matter, if the women have wider hips (in our age, women with bigger hips are mocked, logic?) or other things, if she want sex.
      3) Female magazines tell women how men are better than them (even though in nice wrapping) and how to attracted them.

      Maybe you don’t know, (many men don’t even know this), but vagina doesn’t look like lipstick highlights the lips. It has another name. And what about false eyelashes, pubic hair? another Freud.
      provocative-it’s strange word, because it is used many time when people talking about rape. You know, OTHER STUDIES say about something completey different. Scientists don’t study male butts, but they say that women sway their hips less around ovulation time. Scientists say it’s because they want to avoid violation.

    • fghfghfhfhfghfgh said, on January 5, 2010 at 12:52 am

      and male magazines don’t tell you that men look at breasts like they look at penis and they want them to be like it.

    • Elizabeth Baker said, on May 16, 2010 at 5:35 pm

      In response to the first assumption, breast size has absolutely no effect on the ability to breast feed. While I’m not an expert yet, I am nurse and in the process of becoming certified as a lactation consultant. The only major exception would be breasts with defects or tubular breasts. Tubular breasts being extremely small tube shaped breasts.

      Actually men may be drawn to women who have a healthy about of body fat (I do not mean overweight or obese.) The athletic ideal of today is not within the percentage of body fat ideal for supporting pregnancy.

  7. of course said, on January 1, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    Freudian- it means only male babies were breastfeeding. Men want to hard sqweeze breasts of their partner, because they remember how they barely touch breasts of their mother. And women are turn on by men with gynecomastia.
    evolutionary- when our prehuman ancestors have to, according you, mount from behind, why men have to see this second buttocks during sex? Doesn’t it means that vagina has to be in that place when heart is now? Breasts resemble buttocks only when woman has tight dress.
    reproductive- breasts in nature mean that female is pregnant or nurturing, so male would waste his sperms, if female still wanted sex. It also means men want to have sex with menstruating women because menstruation is “an indicator of age and a marker of high estrogen levels”.
    “breasts are beloved even in cultures that don’t eroticize them” can you give some examples?

    “Men evolved to pay attention to breasts as a means of attracting and retaining lovers.” That’s why many women don’t like it, feel humiliated, and mocked. In one nice article How to touch female breasts, author says: Don’t do it, if it’s hurting the woman (and she doesn’t like it). and Don’t suck a nipple, like you want to drink from it.
    I think it’s more about taking the woman than have good relationship with her. Female orgasm is ,in American culture, about a girl is giving herself rather than she likes lovemaking with that boy.

    One important question: Why men like their own nipples to be sucked?
    Why flat chested women have to covered their chest?

    Sex is usually about power. When you take power over breasts, you take power over whole body. Like pars pro toto. That’s why women don’t like when men are looking at their breasts and men are aroused. Male nipples are sometime more sensitive than female nipples, but women have to be covered. Women in former colonies have to wear shirts not because of aboriginal men, but because of European men.

  8. gift said, on January 26, 2010 at 6:53 am

    so what is the solution of this problem

  9. Laurelle Austin said, on April 26, 2010 at 9:08 am

    It’s a fact that men go do-lally over boobs. On one of the few occasions I had my cleavage out in public, men were ogling me everywhere. My face got quite jealous.

  10. lool said, on April 26, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    To answer the question, I think that big breasts signify a healthy, good sexually developed woman, better able to nurse a healthy child than a modestly-sized boobs woman, so this enhances the reproductive success of a man who mates with this big-boobed woman, so men are hardwired to be attracted to big non-sagging boobs, and they don’t need to know that to be attracted !!!! They are just attracted and they can’t help. No need even to continue the whole story and to say that stronger attraction makes for better sex, better bonding, better love and significantly more relationship satisfaction. So hard luck small boobies

  11. mrG said, on April 28, 2010 at 12:23 am

    the great thing about a topic like this is that everyone can have a valid opinion 🙂

    here’s mine: whereas it is obvious to women when their man is aroused, men have only one semi-reliable indicator, nipple firmness, as the same sort of instant-feedback that foreplay is at least possible. That’s one. Also what is said about oxytocin makes sense for the same reason, men are wanting the woman to enjoy this so they too will stay around (and maybe get naked) and that’s good news for Biology. So there’s the geometry thing that, like the waist ratio, draws them in, the feedback loops start into happening, everyone is happy. Sex is, after all, a shared pursuit.

    as for foreplay comments above, I’m going to throw that right back at the original commenter. it is my observation that women are reticent to explaining just what it is that they DO consider good foreplay, not to specifically say it and spell it out, but by leading the dance. There seems (to this man) to be a certain habit of leaving the man to figure it out on his own; maybe that’s one reason it is mostly males who buy intricate puzzle boxes 😉

    One clue that women do exhibit somewhat openly, esp when they are playing at pretending to be alluring, is to stroke their breasts in certain ways, exotic dancers do this a lot, and I hope they aren’t just parroting what they think men would do and are instead imparting useful information because I’ll tell you girls, men are watching every move that stripper makes and studiously filing it all away under the category of “Maybe THAT will work!”

    “Sometimes,” she says, “All it takes is one word.”
    “And what word might that be?”
    “I don’t know. It changes”

    it’s a great way to get guys to brush up on their vocabulary. In multiple languages.

  12. dave said, on May 5, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    i thought i would give my input here.

    first of all there is a whole lot of generlisation going on here, trying to say all men love breasts etc, nothing is ever so black and white. i as a male, like breasts but not huge ones, and its purely for looks, i like a nice curvy car, doesn’t mean i want to mate with it.

    about the foreplay thing, its very simple to answer that one. its to do with how men and women get turned on and what effect that has on them. women tend to get turned on more by contact, men get turned on more by visual things (because we are taught not to touch i think) so men are aroused even before it gets to foreplay. for men (don’t know what its like for women) being aroused can actually be unplesent, its uncomfortable and distracting and even can be painful with blood pressure in senesitive areas going up. but the way to fix it and get back to normal is to have relief. but foreplay is like a tease, men just want to get their fix so they can feel normal again, but they have to wait for it, which is stressful. sometimes the fix for me and my girl friend is that she sorts me out first, then i am calm and relaxed and i am happy to spend hours making her feel good and by the time she is ready i am as well.

    but to the big breast thing, it could be a ratio thing, circles within circles are attractive, the more in the centre the nipple the more attractive, nipples that sag to the bottom are not so attractive, and the diameter of the nipple to the size of the breast makes a difference i think, it needs to be balanced. i know many girls who like breasts as well and find them attractive, so i think its a shared thing. the female form is an attractive thing, many artists both men and women have had obsessions with it.

  13. jamaican male said, on July 20, 2010 at 1:42 am

    My opinion?
    ts a ratio

    We are naturally attracted to symmetrical curves. It has nothing to do with reproduction.
    Why that curvy futuristic car looks nicer than that old 55 buik?

    also, the golden ratio could have something to do with it. (fibonacci 1.618)

    I dont think it has anything to do with us men as babies…because baby girls suck breast too, and i guess thats what makes them lesbians attracted to each other? maybe.

    We as men know what to look for. We know that women grow breasts. We know there must be a certain balance and ratio with the ass, breasts, waist, hip, legs, hands,
    We dont want them looking like ours. It’s 12:42 am and i probably typed garbabe…but thats my opinion and i love it

  14. Gloria said, on January 21, 2011 at 6:06 am

    I am squeezing hard at my massive big huge boobs

  15. Guest said, on June 15, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I think it’s different for different people, i really don’t like when people try to make a fits all sizes for human behavior, people are too complex and different.

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