Relationships

An Ode to Breasts

An Ode to Breasts

For our breast series, we’ve talked about lopsided breasts and nourishing an adopted child. But what about simply celebrating them? We spoke to five people — two women and three men — who love breasts and the women who have them. Here are their sweet, funny and surprising thoughts…

On the logistics of boobs

Taking a bra off is impossible. They’re not intuitive. Women are using to unlatching bracelets and necklaces, but men are not used to anything like that. It’s too much, especially under duress. I’m better than I used to be, but it’s still a frightening two seconds. — Doug

One thing that’s really awkward at first when you both have boobs is if you’re trying to make out standing up and your boobs are hitting each other’s. We basically had to move this one out of the way to make space for that one. — Lola

On the magic of boobs

I have never really been a “boob man.” But when my wife had our first kid and I saw breastfeeding up close, I really fell in love with boobs. How could you not? They are beautiful, they MAKE FOOD for a human and deliver it to them. Those are amazing devices, total overachievers. Sometimes I think men don’t even deserve to have nipples because we’re not even playing in the same ballpark. — Oscar

Women are so soft. I could tell that even just kissing a woman for the first time. I thought, ‘Whoa, this is a game changer.’ Even when you’re just laying your head on a woman’s chest, it’s amazing. Oh my gosh. Women’s chests were built to be the most comforting place for a human ever. My wonderful partner now is a man. When I’m lying on his bony, hairy ribcage I’m like, “Ooooh, you’re so sweet…” But it’s not the same. — Allison

On experiencing a woman’s boobs for the first time

The first time, I was a sophomore in high school. The whole thing was such a mess. It’s like an infant with a new toy; they don’t know how it works or if they’re supposed to move it around or use both hands or what. You dream about that moment for so long, you’re so amazed and psyched to just have them in front of you. And then at hour later, you look back and think, Oh, my God, that was so sloppy. — Doug

The first night I was ever with a woman, my big focus was making sure I didn’t embarrass myself. She had been pursuing me for a couple months, and I didn’t want to disappoint her. So, I went to the kitchen and got an ice cube, and I outlined her body with the ice in my mouth. I was like, “Let’s do this!” I was surprised by how much I liked touching someone else’s boobs. They were so perfect and perky, and from two minutes into it, I was focused on the boobs, like, “Let’s examine these things.” — Lola

It was the halo of new crush and everything was so interesting about her. I was terrified that first time because her body was so familiar yet so unfamiliar. I remember marveling at everything. She wasn’t wearing an underwire bra and that was crazy and mindblowing to me. I was like, Oh, my God. You know when you like someone and you think everything they do is amazing? I was like, No underwire, yes! That is so cool. — Allison

On keeping it cool

Jerry Seinfeld says, “Looking at cleavage is like looking at the sun. You don’t stare at it, it’s too risky.” When a woman is wearing a top with a lot of cleavage, it’s impossible not to glance down. It’s like if you were walking around the city and there were talking animals, like a talking zebra on the street, and you weren’t supposed to look at it. Of course you’d have to look at it. Throughout the day, you have these visions you’re drawn to, but it’s this push/pull because you need to be respectful and professional and keep it cool. — Doug

On which kind of boobs you’re attracted to

The most exciting thing when you look at a beautiful woman is what you can’t see. For me that has always been the boobs, never more sexy than covered up under a sweater. — Oscar

I have the biggest, most pendulous boobs on the planet. (Whenever Sarah Silverman talks about her “heavy, Jewish boobs” I’m like, She’s talking about my boobs!) So, I think boobs that don’t look like mine are the hottest: small, perky, cute ones that don’t need a bra. In relationships, I’ve thought about how if I had the boobs the women I’m dating has, I’d wear tube tops and strapless dresses. They could do it in a heartbeat! Ironically, though, my small-boobed girlfriends always wore plaid button-downs and rock-and-roll T-shirts. — Allison

My big realization over the years is that I like all breasts. I don’t discriminate. I like big, pillowy breasts, I like small ballerina boobs, I like all shapes. Whatever breasts will have me, I’m happy to be there. — Steve

P.S. Breastfeeding in public, and did you have sex on your wedding night?

(Photo of Lydia Kirwood by Ali Mitton.)

  1. amy pierson says...

    great post, jo! i really appreciate that you included same-sex relationships. you and your team consistently feature people of different ethnicities/races and sexual orientations, without making it seem like a big deal or making THAT the focus of the story, which is one (of many!!) reasons i have been a loyal reader for years.

  2. Lenneke says...

    I love this series and I love your blog! What i would love to see in this series is a post about breastcancer. It affects SO mant of us, at every age (I am 38). And there is alot of stuggle great and small. Like trying to find a stylish swimsuit after a mastectomy! Would love it if you could do a post on that!

  3. Jen says...

    I love this series it’s amusing lol I have large boobs like i have to buy online in England or other sites because stores seem not to have heard of the cup size. Most people don’t like their boobs. I love mine so much. Yes I see now that they are rather large but hey it’s all about loving you and I mean I have no problems with them. No my back doesn’t hurt and I go to yoga I run around I dance I wear cute things. Yes at times I have to alter looks based on cleavage but I’m blessed and I’m happy. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I even have names for them lol

  4. Nina says...

    So interesting to read the article and the comments. I have had large breasts since puberty and find nothing nice about them. Even having been able to breastfeed my son I was happy about but I wasn’t like YAY breasts. I don’t enjoy them being stared at nor are they an erogenous zone for me. And when men stare lasciviously at me and say “I’m a breast man” and seem to think I should be flattered, I just want to roll my eyes. I did NOTHING to cause these to be the way they are. Just genetics. My full blooded sister is 6 inches taller than me and can get by with just wearing a tank top her breasts are such a nice size, imo. But I appreciate others appreciating others.

  5. Robbie Puckett says...

    Meh

  6. Jane says...

    I actually snorted st Steve’s last line. So funny.

  7. Julia says...

    I had 34B. They grew to C when I was Prego. And then to D when I was breastfeeding. And then, they failed me, shriveling to saggy 36A. When I stopped breastfeeding, my husband kept saying they’ll come back. Ha ha… A year or so later, he succumbed to the reality… Of course he’s always said he loves them anyway, and on some level I believe him. Truth be told – I’d do it again – my son is my whole life, but I miss my perfectly average boobs!
    This made me think – how many men would pick their partner’s boobs from a line-up??

  8. ‘Whatever breasts will have me, I’m happy to be there.’ — Steve

    Oh, Steve. I like your attitude.

  9. Lynn says...

    I had a mastectomy in January with immediate reconstruction and a reduction on the other side. I had large boobs and never really liked them, clothes never seemed to look right so I wasn’t too sad to see them change. I’m just getting to know my new boobs. I now only have one nipple and the wounds have taken a long time to heal so it is an ongoing process of discovery but it is a new life.

  10. Lindsay says...

    I absolutely loved this post and have enjoyed the entire series so far. And kudos to your team for being inclusive and allowing beautiful, diverse people to voice their stories.

  11. Carmen says...

    This is such a timely article for me, as I am newly pregnant and one of the first major changes has been my boobs. I’ve always has mid-sized, light breasts, but I swear they are getting bigger and heavier by the day. It is actually alarming. While I knew this would happen, I didn’t think it would be so early! Needless to say, my husband is thrilled.

  12. Amy says...

    Until 2 years ago, I never really thought about my breasts. They’re small, they don’t get in the way, they don’t necessarily require a bra even, but I’ve never had any complaints about them. My husband insists he loves them as they are. However, since having my first mammogram in 2014 and discovering that my little boobs contain abnormal cells, well, I often feel angry at them. I’ve spent two years undergoing mammograms and MRIs, stereotactic biopsies and surgical biopsies. I’m under the care of an oncologist even though I don’t have cancer! I kind of regard them as misbehaving children – I know I have to show them love to keep them happy and healthy, but I honestly feel like screaming my head off at them!

    • amy says...

      P.s. I’m sorry that this isn’t a celebratory comment!

    • I am with you! My I want to love and celebrate my boobs…but they hurt all of the time. My boobs produce painful fibro-adnomias. And I am usually just mad at my boobs too!

  13. Doing a happy dance about this post including queer women. Thank you as always for representing us!

    • Tamara says...

      Agreed!!!

  14. I adore my breasts. I’m a very plus-sized woman with very not-plus-sized boobs. I’ve always been confused about why I was ample in every single other part of my body but my boobs remained so small. I love that they’re just a handful, though. My husband glories in them! I love that my favorite part of my body is his, too. :)

  15. Janet says...

    I feel like there’s enough objectification of women’s breasts as it is without having to add in this post – not everyone is happy with their body, and many women here have probably gone through life-changing circumstances with their breasts, so these posts aren’t exactly words of encouragement to everyone. Just wanted to drive awareness of this – good on you if you are happy with your breasts and take pleasure in showing them off, but please just be aware that not all women are lucky enough to do so.

    • Ah, Janet, your comment made me sad – I find these words inspiring because these women and men love breasts so much. I’m definitely not someone who shows off their breasts, and for many years I was very unhappy with my body. But I’ve come to a stage now where I really do love my breasts, because I realised I only get one life, and one body. Why would I spend that one chance hating myself or wishing (fruitlessly) that I was in a different skin? What a waste that would be.

      I have so much love and sympathy for women who don’t love their bodies – many of my closest friends don’t. But I don’t think censoring this kind of conversation is helpful in countering those issues. Loving breasts isn’t something to be ashamed of or to hide, and the more we talk about and normalise body love in all its forms, the more we help each other to celebrate our own magnificence.

    • Sam says...

      I feel you, Janet. It’s very hard for me to believe someone say they like small boobs when I can pretty much say that I hate mine. They’re so small and not like round and perky, more like oddly shaped small boobs. So the answers to the last question did nothing for me, I just don’t buy it. Also, I never understand why would anyone say they would love to have small boobs so they don’t need to wear a bra. Small boobs need bras, too, or we’ll look flat chested and it’s just not attractive unless you’re a very thin person. I wear extreme push ups all the time so I look more balanced, cause with a regular 32A, my pear shaped body just doesn’t look good. I’d like to see a breast post about someone who got a boob job. I know I’ll be getting mine at some point.

    • Becky says...

      Re: Sam “It’s very hard for me to believe someone say they like small boobs when I can pretty much say that I hate mine.”

      I totally agree. No matter what people say, if you’ve spent your whole life having society shove down your throat that the bigger the boobs the more attractive, it’s nigh on impossible to believe that anyone finds small boobs attractive. It is just so ingrained now, almost taken for granted. Even one of the commenters on this post talks about about her breasts growing larger in pregnancy and her husband “needless to say” being thrilled. No anger at that commenter; I’m sure it wasn’t meant with any malice or even thought through, but that’s my point.

    • Christine says...

      Janet, agreed. I’m naturally a woman without boobs. Post-puberty I still only had tiny nipples on a bony chest. I’ve had them surgically fixed, and finally feel womanly. Posts like these reinforce my decision, while simuntaneously making me feel sad about what I had to do to feel like an acceptable woman in this society.

    • Lisa says...

      To Sam and Becky about ” It’s very hard for me to believe someone say they like small boobs when I can pretty much say that I hate mine.” I feel this way when someone says they like plus size women, or when they think my fat belly or wobbly thighs are sexy. Society did not only tell you that bigger breasts are more beautiful, they also told us plus sized girls that we had to hate out bodies and no one will love us unless we get skinny. Being a chubby kid that all of a sudden starts growing hips and boobs while directly or indirectly being told to loose weight will make you question your future boyfriends sanity when he says he thinks you are the hottest thing. I have seriously though “Is he lying or does he have some weird fetish?” when a man told me that I was hot. At the time I was a size 44 (US size 14-ish) and with my 170cm (5’7-ish) that isnt HUGE.. But my brain thought so as thats what I have been told all my life. And when it comes to boobs? They are big and I have always dreamt of tiny ones. No bra?! Heaven. Perky boobs? Not even when I was 17. They grew droopy straight away.

    • Laura H says...

      Lisa, this is exactly what I thought. Society never holds fat women up as beautiful and it took me years of having to retrain and reframe my thinking to see my body as beautiful and worthy of love. I think it’s the same with any feature that society tells us isn’t attractive. We really do get brainwashed with constant messages about what is beautiful and what isn’t (many of them we take in subconsciously, but even being aware that we’re being manipulated doesn’t guarantee we aren’t being harmed.)

      One thing that really helps retrain your eye is to look at a LOT of pictures of women with small boobs or a big belly or whatever else you don’t think can possibly be attractive. Repeated exposure normalizes a wide variety of body shapes and I guarantee—because I now feel this way about women of all shapes & sizes—that your thinking will start to shift. If you can’t love yourself, a good place to start is by loving others like you.

    • Lisa says...

      Sorry one more thing. I dont know if this will help anyone, but if it does then great. I am a big boobed woman, and have had several discussions with men about boobs over the years. NO MAN, has ever, said that he doesnt like small boobs. I can understand if a man wouldn’t say it to a woman with a flat chest, but I have been lying there next to them with boobs so big they are trying to suffocate me while lying on my back, and they have all said the same thing – “Its boobs. I dont care how big or small they are as long as I get to play with them”. I honestly think this “big/small is better” bullshit is mostly in OUR head, not the mens.

  16. Katie F. says...

    Love this. Yes on all. Do more posts on boobs and bodies, of all kinds. Please. Thanks!

  17. “whatever boobs will have me” priceless!

  18. Alice Quin says...

    Love this. Everything about it……funny sweet quotes and the gay/bi women!

  19. Jay says...

    A great piece. And I think I fell in love with Doug!

  20. I laughed so hard at some of the comments from the men. This was such a fun, sweet post! Love the different perspectives.

  21. Kirsten Springer says...

    I somehow always end up pulling these breast articles in the middle of my classes, when anyone behind me in the lecture hall must be wondering what the heck I am reading. But I loved this post… I am constantly battling with my perception of my small breasts- trying to appreciate them on my small frame, and then not feeling feminine due to my lack of curves. But this post made me remember my little cherries are just as good as the big old watermelons. As always, thanks Jo for the post :)

  22. Thank you for including us queer women in this post! Love it!

  23. Sil says...

    Sometimes I regret not being a lesbian or a heterosexual man because I will never know what it feels like to touch a boob.

  24. CF says...

    Love this empowering series and love that you included the voices of females in same sex relationships! Great perspectives.

    • agreed! loved this cute post.

  25. Hysterical comments from the guys. Steve’s final “Whatever breasts will have me, I’m happy to be there” was perfect.

  26. Dominique says...

    I feel like there are so many things to say in response to this. First off, I’m reading on a pumping break at work and Oscar’s quote about how amazing breasts are in that they make and deliver food made me smile. I also loved Allison’s comment about loving cute perky boobs. Before I had kids, I had much smaller boobs and I didn’t realize how the majority of my shirts were dependent on being a small breasted woman. My boobs didn’t go back to their original size after I finished breastfeeding the first one and it makes me sad all the great clothes that I can no longer wear.

  27. Haylie says...

    Well, wasn’t that delightful. – Small boobs, still proud

  28. Caroline C says...

    Just purchased a pair of boob pillows from gravel and gold for my new apartment! I love that they show all kinds of shapes and sizes. And at first glance, it looks like more of an abstract pattern. Hoping my grandmother doesn’t notice! 😁
    http://gravelandgold.com/products/the-boobs-pillowcase

  29. Jasmine says...

    Allison’s ‘weird, pendulous boobs’ resonate with me too. One of the greatest experiences of my life was when, in the process of preparing for a breast reduction, I got to look through a book of before and after photos. And I saw this amazing compilation of SO MANY women (well, their torsos) who looked just like me. Chubby bellies and large, pendulous breasts. Not weird, totally normal, just not media-worthy.

  30. Kelsey says...

    So amazing! Thank you so much for including the same sex couples. Gorgeous, funny piece!

  31. Audrey says...

    So glad to hear from both women and men who love boobs. Awesome post!

  32. Jeanne says...

    Thank you for this post. It was fun to hear from a male’s perspective but as a heterosexual woman, I will never experience a woman’s body as lesbian or bisexual female might. Reading their perspectives was enlightening and really gave me pause for thought. I loved that.

    • CF says...

      totally agree!

    • Briana says...

      I feel the same way! It was fascinating to read the female perspective. So happy you thought to include women!

    • Nina says...

      Yes, I agree. One of the less appealing things to me is how soft women are…that is just not attractive sexually to me at all. but its wonderful for all of us, that we are all attracted to differences. And its lovely to just have it part of the presentation of real life so nonchalantly.

  33. Laura H says...

    I LOVE that you featured women who have been in same-sex relationships for this series! You’ve been such a great ally to the LGBT community. This is one of the few hugely popular blogs on the internet written by a straight woman that I feel is really trying to include diverse voices. Thank you, it really does mean a lot!

    • Totally agree with this comment.
      xo

    • CF says...

      yes! right on.

    • Kim says...

      Yes! Two thumbs up…or two boobs up?

    • Jules says...

      You’re spot on. Big gay love to the Cup of Jo team :-)

  34. Kait says...

    I am 37 and just had a double mastectomy. It would be wonderful to hear from a woman who is undergoing reconstruction or who has chosen not to do reconstruction at all.

    • I would love to hear about this perspective as well.

    • Sara says...

      I had a bilateral mastectomy 5+ years ago at 35, with reconstruction. I’m now pregnant with my first baby and feeling sad that I won’t be able to breastfeed! But hey, my boobs tried to kill me!

  35. Emilie says...

    “small ballerina boobs” haha I love that title. As the owner of a pair myself, I wished them bigger for so many years. Now I am learning to appreciate them; perky, easy to run, and I can wear (almost) anything. Though I am not sure I will ever completely stop lamenting the fact that I will never have cleavage.

    • This comment could have been written by me (well, except for the running part)! I used to wish that mine were bigger and kept hoping that they would grow. Now, at 30, I pretty much know that aside from pregnancy (if it happens, and who knows how they’ll be even then), I will just be a small chested woman for life, and I’m really okay with that. I even resist the impulse to buy major pushup bras because the cleavage never looks natural on me. It’s all wrong. I’m just a small boobs and long legs lady. Not too shabby.
      It helps that my husband does adore them, both the small boobs and the long legs.

  36. Doug’s “under duress” comment is hysterical. If it’s only 2 seconds, I’d say he’s doing great.

    I’m excited for more of this series! Keep it going pretty pretty please :)

  37. annie says...

    this was fun and funny! more like this please!

  38. Elisabeth says...

    I lived in Morocco for three years and loved going to the hammam. Aside from the general amazing-ness of a full-body scrub/massage that leaves you cleaner than you’ve ever been in your life, it was great to be in a place where the female body was accepted and (almost) nakedness felt comfortable. I found myself wishing we had something similar in the U.S., especially since I think that the process of acquiring boobs (hello middle school) and then having them change (hello pregnancy and breast feeding) can leave you feeling ambivalent or weird. Seeing such a tremendous diversity of boob size and shape (and nipple size and shape, for that matter) made me feel a lot more “normal” about my pair.

    • Celeste says...

      Yes! Same with nude beaches. The first time I went to Europe and saw the variety, I was like, “Damn! All boobs are awesome when you finally look at them instead of just talk about them.”

      Like, who decided areolas had to be the size of a quarter or smaller? Had that person ever seen more than one pair of boobs?

    • Jessica says...

      just came back from a naturist hot springs. it was so lovely to see all kinds of body shapes and sizes. including boobs! every pair looked lovely. :)

  39. ciara says...

    It would also be great to hear from women who have sadly had to have their breasts removed due to cancer, or for some other reason and how their relationship with their breasts have changed!

  40. Sarah says...

    Im grateful for a husband that LOVES my breasts. I used to have the perfect breasts (perky, full , solid D-cup) but now, after breastfeeding two children they have turned quite National Geographic-y. My husband still gives them all the attention. Anything from staring at them when we’re at dinner to fully enjoying them during sex. He makes me feel so confident and loved even through the changes made to my body after having kids.

    • alida says...

      This was so lovely to read xo

  41. Love everything about this! All boobs are perfect.

  42. I loved the other two essays in this series but this one didn’t quite work for me & left me feeling a bit uncomfortable. Maybe because there wasn’t much said by the women attached to the breasts they were appreciating? Maybe a bit too generally objectifying and not enough self-appreciation? I look forward to the next one in the series though.

    • Lea says...

      I thought the exact same thing. I would far prefer the “self-appreciation” perspective over the objectifying angle.
      I have a relatively big chest (DD’s until after having kids, now I’m down to D’s) so I usually ended up dating guys that were super into breasts and it made me feel terrible. While I was flattered, I ultimately just ended up feeling objectified. Now I’m married to a guy that while he loves my body, isn’t really that into breasts at all. And while that’s one of the things I love about him I have realized it’s weirdly hard not to have that validation. It is a positive change though, because I would rather have my self esteem attached to my own feelings about my body than being oogled and constantly groped by someone else.

  43. Katharine says...

    Oh man I love this! Just what I needed to cheer up on this morning of sad news. bOObs!!!

  44. Sarah says...

    As an owner of a pair that has done great service, I love this post!

  45. Auste says...

    The breast series is quickly becoming my favorite thing on the Internet:)