Breasts! Men notice, admire, imagine and long for them. Sometimes women reveal very little, and they muse on what they can’t see.
Yet amid obsessing over what they’re dying to see and touch, they know very little about breasts as women themselves perceive them. So to find the truth, some female sex experts were consulted and more than 700 women wee surveyed.
Everything you need to know is here, and it’s stamped official because it comes from breast owners.
Women Don’t Think Men Are Total Pigs About This: Three-quarters of the women asked think men’s fascination with breasts is harmless. Seventy percent assume most guys are boob men. “I love it when men look at my breasts,” says Rachel, 23. “It makes me feel powerful, and there’s something carnal about it.” Of course, this is neither a ticket to leer nor an invitation to make crass comments, even in jest. “There’s really no excuse for not being courteous or maintaining eye contact with women,” says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., a sexual-health researcher at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute and the Men’s Health Sex Professor. So mind your manners, revel in breasts privately, respect them publicly, and revere the women who bring them into your life. For what would life be without them?
Many Women Love Their Breasts More than You Do: Most of the women surveyed consider their breasts to be key parts of their sexual identity, as opposed to fashion accessories or mere body parts. Sixty-two percent think it’s more exciting to pull off their tops than their bottoms, and 78 percent prefer the woman-on-top position because it shows off their breasts better during sex. “A woman should be proud of her breasts,” says Vicky, 23. “They’re miracles of evolution, as versatile as a Swiss Army knife: baby feeder, pleasure enhancer, compliment grabber.” They often use them to their advantage, too—87 percent of women we surveyed think women who make an effort to show off their breasts receive preferential treatment.
Women Can Be Deeply Conflicted About Their Breasts: As women grow up, emotions related to their breasts may set in. “I happen to love my breasts now—but growing up, it wasn’t always like that,” says Levkoff. The fact that breasts are ever-changing only complicates matters. The average woman changes cup sizes six times during her adult life. Monthly cycles, birth-control pills, weight changes, pregnancy, and breastfeeding all alter the size, shape, and feel of breasts. “The sexiest thing a woman can wear is her self-confidence,” says Elisabeth Squires, the author of Boobs: A Guide to Your Girls. “If she’s the least bit insecure, then work to help her feel good about her body.” All you need, she says, is genuine enthusiasm, which probably won’t be a problem.
In Bed, You Know Nothing About Them: Men tend to have two “touching” defaults, says Herbenick. “They tend to either touch her the way they enjoy being touched (which usually means firmer or rougher), or the way a previous partner liked it.” In either case, she may not like it that way at all. “Every woman will feel differently about her breasts,” Levkoff says. Here's how to deal: Every time a woman takes off her bra in your presence, wipe away all memory of previous breasts. This works even if she is your partner of many years. Start over by pretending you’ve never seen them before. “You learn and relearn how someone moans, sighs, and squeals when you touch them,” Herbenick says. “You will never have to slip into an old routine.”
Breasts Can Intensify a Couple’s Emotional Bond: “Breasts aren’t just about sex,” says Levkoff, “and when you recognize that, we are very appreciative.” Learn to desexualize moments of great intimacy. For example, while you’re sitting on the couch watching TV with her, the simple act of laying with your head on her chest can give a woman powerful maternal feelings toward you (in a good way), says Levkoff. Another tip: If a woman complains about her breasts being sore, offer to massage them, says Squires. Again, in a nonsexual way, if you can, that is. “Breast massage can feel incredible, and it’s not something we can ask for at the spa,” she says.