Why all the fuss about breasts? Authors have the answer

October 12, 2012

Why all the fuss about breasts? Authors have the answer
Why all the fuss about breasts? Authors have the answer

The fascination with busts goes way back in history, and a recent article on the Huffington Post may help explain why. Authors Dr. Larry Young and Brian Alexander pondered the question while discussing their upcoming book, The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex and the Science of Attraction.

The pair points out that the obsession with breasts is a uniquely human trait. Human males (and some females) are the sole mammals that look at breasts in a sexual way, and human females are the only mammals whose chests enlarge during puberty, even if they're not pregnant. Humans are also the only mammals that caress, fondle and otherwise stimulate breasts during sexual foreplay.

Men's obsession with busts isn't a learned trait, the authors say, but instead something that is biologically ingrained. And many women report enjoyment and arousal from the attention their breasts get. So what is it about breasts that gets everyone so hot and bothered?

There are currently two schools of thought on the matter, both of which the authors believe are false. The first is that breasts, which are comprised of stored fat, indicate that a woman is in good health, and thus a worthy mate. Another suggests that breasts remind men of women's behinds, which are also known to sexually stimulate males.

Young and Alexander claim the love of breasts probably has more to do with nursing, and a chemical known as oxytocin. When a newborn breastfeeds, it stimulates the release of this chemical, which not only prompts the mother's muscles to release the milk, but also to focus her attention entirely on her child. Along with dopamine, oxytocin fosters a bond between mom and infant.

When a man stimulates a woman's breasts during foreplay or sex, it creates the same series of chemical releases as nursing, they say. Women focus on their partner, his face, smell and voice, associating breast stimulation with pleasurable feelings toward their lover, the authors write.

Perhaps this theory explains why some women choose to undergo breast augmentations or breast lifts. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, in 2011, 316,948 breast augmentation procedures were performed.

However, women who decide to go under the knife to enhance the appearance of their bust should be sure that they are doing so for themselves, rather than to make others happy. They should also discuss their expectations with a board-certified plastic surgeon, and ask to see before and after photos to get a better grasp on what kind of results are possible.


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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