Breast fetishism

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Breast fetishism (also known as mastofact, breast partialism, or mazophilia)[1] is a paraphilic (highly atypical) sexual interest focused on female breasts (see partialism).[2] The term breast fetishism is also used to refer to cultural attention to female breasts and the sexuality they represent, with debate continuing as to whether the modern widespread fascination with breasts among heterosexual males in western societies is a sexual fetish.[3]

Scientific explanation for non-paraphilic attraction[edit]

Some scientists have hypothesized that sexual attraction to breasts is the result of their function as a secondary sex characteristic. For instance, British zoologist and ethologist Desmond Morris theorizes that cleavage is a sexual signal that imitates the image of the cleft between the buttocks,[4] which according to Morris in The Naked Ape is also unique to humans, other primates as a rule having much flatter buttocks.

Evolutionary psychologists theorize that humans' permanently enlarged breasts, in contrast to other primates' breasts, which only enlarge during ovulation, allows females to "solicit male attention and investment even when they are not really fertile".[5]

The reverence and theorizing shown to breasts also appears in the science of modern civilization. Breast fetishism is claimed to be an example of a contagious thought (or meme) spreading throughout society,[6] and that breasts are features that have evolved to influence human sexuality rather than serve an exclusive maternal function.

Alternative opinions[edit]

Some feminists have argued that incidences of breast fetishism have been found going back to the neolithic era, with the goddess shrines of Catal Huyuk (in modern Turkey). The archaeological excavations of the town in c. 1960 revealed the walls of the shrine(s) adorned with disembodied pairs of breasts that appeared to have "an existence of their own". Elizabeth Gould Davis argues that breasts (along with phalluses) were revered by the women of Catal Huyuk as instruments of motherhood, but it was after what she describes as a patriarchal revolution – when men had appropriated both phallus worship and "the breast fetish" for themselves – that these organs "acquired the erotic significance with which they are now endowed".[7]

Some authors from the United States have made the statement that attraction to the female breast is a sexual fetish, that it is the American fetish-object of choice,[8] and that breast fetishism is predominantly found in the United States.[9][10][11]

Cultural and historical background[edit]

There is a widespread fascination with women's breasts, and especially their size. For example, film producers such as Russ Meyer produced films which featured actresses with large breasts. Lorna (1964) was the first of his films where the main female part was selected on the basis of breast size. Other large breasted actresses used by Meyer include Kitten Natividad, Erica Gavin, Lorna Maitland, Tura Satana, and Uschi Digard among many others. The majority of them were naturally large breasted and he occasionally cast women in their first trimesters of pregnancy as it enhanced their breast size even further.[12] Author and director William Rotsler said: "with Lorna Meyer established the formula that made him rich and famous, the formula of people filmed at top hate, top lust, top heavy."[13]

In clinical literature of the 19th century, the focus on breasts was considered a form of paraphillia, but in modern times this interest is considered normal. Some have attributed the use of tight clothing and the display of cleavage to the increase in so-called breast fetishism.[14] The phrase is also used within ethnographic and feminist contexts to describe a society with a culture devoted to breasts, usually as sexual objects.[14][15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hickey, Eric W. (2003). Encyclopaedia of Murder and Violent Crime. Sage Publications Inc. ISBN 0-7619-2437-X
  2. ^ Association, American Psychiatric (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders American Psychiatric Association - 5th edition. (5th ed. ed.). Arlington: AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC PUBLISHING. ISBN 978-0890425558. 
  3. ^ Latteier 1998, p. 117
  4. ^ Desmond Morris. Manwatching. A Field Guide to Human Behavior.. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1977. ISBN 0-8109-1310-0.
  5. ^ Crawford, Charles; Krebs, Dennis (1998), "How Mate Choice Shaped Human Nature", Handbook of evolutionary psychology : ideas, issues, and applications, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, ISBN 9780805816662 
  6. ^ Marsden, Paul. (1999). Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation. Review of Thought Contagion: How Belief Spreads through Society. Retrieved 2007-10-05.
  7. ^ The First Sex: The Breast Fetish (1971) by Davis, Elizabeth Gould. Penguin Books, p. 105.
  8. ^ Pornography and Sexual Representation: A Reference Guide (2000) by Slade, Joseph W. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-313-31520-6, p. 402.
  9. ^ Miller, Laura. (2006). Beauty Up: Exploring Contemporary Japanese Body Aesthetics. p. 74. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24509-9
  10. ^ Latteier 1998
  11. ^ Morrison, D. E., & Holden, C. P. (1971). "The Burning Bra: The American Breast Fetish and Women's Liberation". In Deviance and Change, Manning, P.K. ed., Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hall.
  12. ^ Meyer, Russ (2000). A Clean Breast: The Life and Loves of Russ Meyer (3 volume set). (Under the pseudonym "Adolph Albion Schwartz"). El Rio, TX: Hauck Pub Co. ISBN 0-9621797-2-8. 
  13. ^ McDonough, Jimmy (2005). Big bosoms and square jaws : the biography of Russ Meyer, king of the sex film. London: Jonathan Cape. ISBN 0-224-07250-1. , p.138
  14. ^ a b Glazier & Flowerday 2003, p. 58
  15. ^ Evans, Phil. (1989). Motivation and Emotion. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-01475-1, p. 34.

Further reading[edit]