Science of Love, Sex, and Babies

Why are Men Mad About Mammaries?

Posted in news, psychology, science, sex by jenapincott on April 3, 2011

Why do men love breasts?

Let me count the theories:

1. Freudian (breasts remind men of their moms and the nurturing of childhood)
2. Evolutionary (breasts resemble buttocks, and prehuman ancestors always mounted from behind)
3. Reproductive (breasts are an indicator of age, and big breasts in particular are a marker of high estrogen levels, associated with fertility).

Do these reasons sufficiently explain why breasts are beloved — even in cultures that don’t eroticize them any more than the face?

If not, here’s another:

Breasts facilitate “pair-bonding” between couples. Men evolved to love breasts because women are likelier to have sex with — and/or become attached to — lovers who handle their breasts.

This idea came up in New York Times journalist John Tierney’s interview with Larry Young, a neuroscientist famous for his research on monogamy. According to Young, “[M]ore 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.

When women’s breasts are suckled, as they are during breastfeeding, the hormone oxytocin is released. Oxytocin makes the mother feel good and helps her bond with her baby. She feels loving and attached. The same reaction might happen if a man sucks and caresses a woman’s breasts during foreplay. In our ancestral past, the most titillated men may have been the ones to attract and retain mates and pass on their genes.

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, there are many ladies out there for whom a lover’s suckling does nothing — and there are many breast-ogling boobs who know nothing of foreplay.

9 Responses

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  1. Gradbeno dovoljenje said, on April 3, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Good article:) Nice job!

  2. mrG said, on April 3, 2011 at 11:37 am

    well, speaking as a male psychologist, I’d have to say (1) my mom’s breasts just don’t do it for me really, I mean, she sure was a looker in her day (and I remember those days) but there’s other things at work here, and maybe I’m alone in this, but having watched my kids suckle, I’d have to report that the techniques are not at all compatible, and in fact, horsing around emulating the ‘expert’ suckler’s technique is a good way to gross both of you out.

    So scratch ol’ Freud, he can go back to his marketing day job. On (2) I’d have to say that any buttocks shaped like best-shaped breasts would be just icky, the geometry is so completely off, and on (3) I think there’s the hourglass-figure ratio also mirroring hormone balance and reproductiveness and I must confess the effect of that geometric balance act although, quite frankly, species propagation is not really in mind at the time, and for many real good lookers (my mom in her day included) it’s not even in the consideration set, its more like a template match, like when antibodies recognize a virus or taste buds recognize umami or when smell receptors hit a resonance in an electron quantum; same goes for that particular posture of the lady sitting upright with the back arched and shoulders back (very often seen in men’s magazines) there is a geometric correspondence going on there, a visual pattern match like a T-junction or bands on a grey-gradient, it’s not a drive to do it — women should relax when their men get wandering eyes, providing it is only the eyes that wander, because it just means he’s still alive, girls.

    So I’m going to side with this new take, from a participant point of view. This explains to me why the exactness of that geometric-sensor fit from the ‘ideal’ breast to those of your actual partner isn’t really all that important to most guys, really girls, it’s not relevant; their eyes may wander when the circuit is harmonically titillated by the abstract truth, but that resonance exercise only enables them to see the real-world examples better, like how learning all the shades and subtleties of ‘blue’ begins in childhood by seeing the primary colour, and learning from there what is what.

    What’s more, I’d suggest a new experiment, a careful examination of the ‘harmornal’ constituents of the sweat on both partners and any possibility that there may be communications going across at the skin-against-skin level; in my long (and distinguished) career as an adult male of the species, it is my observation that the female of the species has certain, well, pardon the expression, lay lines, in the same sense as the meridian lines that some mystics say are true of the earth, only these lines intensify in that electric sweetness (poetically speaking) as one gets, shall we say, more intimate.

    Which is to say, as one gets closer into the real binding bonding interactions. In this way the particular-instance of the abstract geometry trigger of the hourglass form is a first-level signal – anecdotally I’d say one of the first things about girls that we as young maturing boys notice is their ‘harmonious’ shape, second is probably an undefinable but captivating ‘smell’ that you have to be close enough to notice, and then, once you get closer still, you notice there’s a gradient to those lines that just kind of spirals in until next thing you know, you’re a grandfather.

    So I’m with Larry: it’s a bonding thing, a reward for the pairing and a punishment of withdrawl for the separation, only I’d look for there being musical neuro-happenings on both sides.

    • jenapincott said, on April 3, 2011 at 7:59 pm

      Great response; thank you for the insights from a participant’s perspective!

  3. Titfortat said, on April 3, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    The bigger the titter, the tighter the sweater all the better for us. You must, you must, you must increase your bust.

    Sorry, I couldnt resist.

  4. […] Zbog čega muškarci vole ženske grudi? […]

  5. BILL said, on May 2, 2011 at 10:24 am

    As infants we are all predisposed to suckle a
    Mother’s Breast for Comfort and nutritionThe two needs are instantaneously “fulfilled Perhaps, in our “suckling experience the warmth and sofrtness are met ergo “BIGGER IS BETTER BIG BREAST GIVES MORE MILK( falsehood) My Mother had larger than average Breasts but her milk was too thin for a growing newborn My desire for Her Breast was not returned….My affection and want for Large Breasts as been a lifetime of seeking out LARGE LARGER AND LARGEST BREASTS IF THE GIRL I WAS SEEING HAD SMALL BREASTS… I WAS AND ARE SO BREAST DRIVEN IF I SAW A LARGER “RACK OF BREASTS I WOULD FOLLOW MY LUST FOR BREASTS!

  6. Elizabeth R. said, on May 6, 2011 at 12:32 am


    Breast size doesn’t impact nursing, whether small or large. (Although, different breasts like a woman with an inverted/flat nipple or tubular breasts may have more difficulty breast feeding. But, size is not the issue.)

    It sounds like you’ve been reading a lot of Freud…

  7. David aka Mr. Manpower said, on September 5, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Very interesting information… breasts are great…. always been a titty man…

    foreplay is great in general… I write a blog on sex…

    pass by and check it out

    “Even if She BEGS for It, WAIT a While Before You Put the D**k In Her”

  8. Razkrito said, on September 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Jups nice;)

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