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May 12, 2003
Breasts Are Great: One Man's Evolving Perspective
Note: The following was written in submission for a book on the collected perspectives on breastfeeding. It was simply too interesting a subject to not include in this forum, however off-target the audience may be. After all, who doesn't want to read about boobs? Enjoy!
I probably don't have to explain to any male the allure of the breast. Whether it's an ancient rooting reflex that drives our desire, the sampling of fruits that remain hidden while at large in our society, or just two warm, erect, pink focal points for our lustful eyes and wandering hands, men will always gravitate towards breasts.
If someone had told me four years ago how my thoughts and feelings about breasts would change from then to what they are now, I likely would not have believed them. Four years ago I was dating a beautiful young woman that I loved, and her breasts were an integral part of foreplay for both of us. Today those same breasts, now belonging to my wife and mother of our nursing 2-year-old daughter, are different creatures altogether. While I appreciate them in both new and old ways, they may never return to the breasts they used to be.
When my daughter was born, my wife's breasts became our single most important resource. We had decided well before our daughter's birth that "we" would breastfeed our baby. Breastfeeding would not only provide the best nutrition and immunity for our newborn, but would eliminate the need for bottle preparation, help my wife shed her pregnancy pounds, and would be pretty much free as compared to costly formula mixes. As we quickly found out, breasts also make great soothers.
I won't repeat here the benefits of breastfeeding, as I'll simply be duplicating the efforts of many websites such as www.breastfeed.com, www.breastfeeding.com, or www.lalecheleague.org. Suffice to say we did our homework and know how beneficial it is to our daughter. We are all fortunate in that my wife has been committed enough to breastfeeding that she's stuck it out through painful engorgement, mastitis (a milk duct infection), blocked milk ducts and sinuses, teething and biting, tugging, all-night nursing, and of course the comments that one can get nursing a toddler. While many breastfeeding advocates assure that breastfeeding does not have to exclude the father, I find the problem to be on the other foot: I don't feel excluded, I feel that my wife is sometimes burdened. Our daughter is no dummy, and knows exactly who's lactating in our household and who isn't. Sometimes only mommy will do, even when mommy just needs an hour to herself and daddy is right there.
Two years into being parents, our daughter continues to breastfeed with our blessings. There have been issues of course, mainly dealing with the frequency and duration of night feedings and my wife's inability to sleep through the aggressive and downright acrobatic nature of our daughter's feeding, but generally it has remained a happy mother-daughter-breast relationship.
Sadly, there has been one casualty from this otherwise beneficial relationship - my perspective of and interaction with my wife's breasts. What used to be tantalizingly forbidden fruit are now routinely exposed at home many times a day. With our daughter being a rather demanding switch hitter when it comes to nursing at times - nursing on one breast, then the other, and back and forth - my wife will at times simply give in, tuck her shirt in her armpits and sit there with both breasts fully accessible to our daughter, sitting on her lap. Let me tell you, there's nothing sexy about your wife eating dinner with her shirt tucked in her armpits, breasts dangling while she tries to reach for another bite of food over your daughter who is busily and aggressively nursing away.
Instead of trying to dance around the issue and only imply what I really mean, I'll just come right out and say it: my wife's breasts are no longer an integral part of our sex life. Yes, at times I still get the pleasure of caressing her breasts or playing with her nipples, but it is all too obvious that the pleasure is only mine. There are no contented smiles with each caress, no breathy sighs when I kiss her nipples - nothing. I hate to say it, but she simply puts up with my seemingly hardwired breast fixation.
I will admit that this bothers me on a small level, and fear that this is the way it shall be from now on. Hopefully this too shall pass, and down the road foreplay will involve nipples again. Until the last of our children wean themselves from her breasts, however, I will have to adapt, and woo her instead with something other than a light touch.
Would I wish breastfeeding away to have sensually receptive breasts back? Never. I've seen what breastfeeding can do for a child in my daughter, and would highly recommend it to any parents-to-be, or even parents planning (or simply expecting) another. Whatever you do, don't let this one man's perspective scare any man away from letting their wife breastfeed. By no means will my situation happen with you and your partner - this is my story, and every couple is different.
Breasts are good. Breastfeeding is good. In the end, I know that my daughter needs my wife's breasts much more than I do right now, which is fine my me. I know they'll still be around when she no longer needs them, and I'll be there to keep them company again.
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