Why Are We So Obsessed with Boobs?

First off, let’s just admit that we quickly fall under the spell of a woman’s breasts.  But why?  Certainly many of us who grew up in the “burn the bra” era got quite a healthy dose of free-range mammary glands so you might think that we should have gotten a little jaded to them over the years.  However, that is certainly not the case (at least with me!).  Well, there is new thinking on the mysterious hold that boobs have on us – and it has nothing to do with evolution.

The old thinking was that men were conditioned over millions of years to be attracted to women with full breasts because they stored more fat in their bosom, which made them better able to support offspring and improve survival.

Well, according to Larry Young and Brian Alexander, authors of the new book The Chemistry Between Us: Love, Sex, and the Science of Attraction, the reason why we guys are so fixated on a woman’s breasts is rooted in molecular biology.  Writing in The Huffington Post, they explain:

“When a woman gives birth, her newborn will engage in some pretty elaborate manipulations of its mother’s breasts. This stimulation sends signals along nerves and into the brain. There, the signals trigger the release of a neurochemical called oxytocin from the brain’s hypothalamus. This oxytocin release eventually stimulates smooth muscles in a woman’s breasts to eject milk, making it available to her nursing baby.

But oxytocin release has other effects, too. When released at the baby’s instigation, the attention of the mother focuses on her baby. The infant becomes the most important thing in the world. Oxytocin, acting in concert with dopamine, also helps imprint the newborn’s face, smell and sounds in the mother’s reward circuitry, making nursing and nurturing a feel-good experience, motivating her to keep doing it and forging the mother-infant bond. This bond is not only the most beautiful of all social bonds, it can also be the most enduring, lasting a lifetime.

Another human oddity is that we’re among the very rare animals that have sex face-to-face, looking into each other’s eyes. We believe this quirk of human sexuality has evolved to exploit the ancient mother-infant bonding brain circuitry as a way to help form bonds between lovers.

When a partner touches, massages or nibbles a woman’s breasts, it sparks the same series of brain events as nursing. Oxytocin focuses the brain’s attention to the partner’s face, smell, and voice. The combination of oxytocin release from breast stimulation and the surge of dopamine from the excitement of foreplay and face-to-face sex help create an association of the lover’s face and eyes with the pleasurable feelings, building a bond in the woman’s brain.”

Well, there you have it.  Oxytocin is the wonderful culprit.  So the next time a shapely woman chastises you with the old chestnut, “My eyes are up here,” you can just blame your wandering gaze on that darn biochemistry!



  1. Keith

    That’s assuming that ALL of us were breast fed. Why should someone who nursed to Similac have the same attraction as a breast feeder?

  2. admin

    Good question. Perhaps the nipple on the bottle is an oxytocin trigger? The authors of the study should research this. Any volunteer subjects out there???

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