Breasts are NOT sex organs - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 46 Old 05-13-2004, 10:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Let's discuss what breasts are and what they are not. The only function of breasts and reason for having breasts is to nourish babies and small children.

I read on another thread a few weeks ago that certain tribes in Africa think we ("we" is whoever this applies to) are perverted for having turned a source of food and comfort for small children into a sexual plaything (or whatever term you choose) for grown adults.

We have become confused about the purpose and the functions of the breast. I feel that if society,as a whole, can be enlightened on the misconceptions they have about breasts, then society can be enlightened on the misconceptions they have about breastfeeding.

I have heard moms feel worried because breastfeeding is feeling sexual to them. I don't think they need to worry though. We brought breasts into adult sexual relations. So, what does nipple stimulation do? It releases nursing hormones that (from the studies I've read etc.) cause feelings of relaxation, feelings of love and affection and cause you to be more physically affectionate (breastfeeding moms caress their babies more than ff moms because of this). So these normal breastfeeding sensations have become associated with adult sexual relations and sensations. So when you're nursing and you experience them you may feel they are adult sexual feelings. Does that make sense? Breasts are breasts and they're for breastfeeding and that produces breastfeeding sensations. Also, of course it's supposed to feel good. Mother nature wants you to want to nurse that baby (for the sake of their survival), KWIM?

Anyway, these are my ramblings, please add yours
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#2 of 46 Old 05-13-2004, 11:21 PM
 
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My breast dont feel sexual while I am bf'ing, they are at that time just for the baby.

But when I am not breastfeeding my breast are very sexual. I very much like them being involved in my time with dh.

Gosh I hope that wasnt TMI
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#3 of 46 Old 05-13-2004, 11:42 PM
 
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Well, ANY part of the body can be used during sexual play, but I think the point is that just because a body part is used during sexual play, doesn't mean that that body part is inherently a sex organ.

The problem is that many people think that breasts should be classified in the same category with the genitals, and therefore subject to the same taboos. I'm convinced this is the reason there is so much resistance to breastfeeding.

When a breast is used in sex play, it is just like when you use an ear or a toe in sexual play. None of these organs is inherently a sex organ. The ear's actual purpose is to hear, the toe's actual purpose is to help you walk, and the breast's actual purpose is to make milk.

I keep encountering people comparing the female breast to the male penis, as if they are analogous. They are not analogous AT ALL! The male equivalent of the female nipple is the MALE NIPPLE! If men are allowed to go topless, why shouldn't women be?

Since the breast is NOT a sex organ, any more than a toe or an ear, then the taboo against women going topless is just as ridiculous as the earlier taboo: when women weren't allowed to show their legs.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#4 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 12:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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SBF to your entire post.

I've heard that in Europe breasts are not taboo like they are in America. Supposedly if there is a shampoo commercial they will simply show the woman naked in the shower shampooing her hair and no one is upset by the bare breasts. I can't verify it because I haven't seen it but this is what I've heard and I wish it were like that here.
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Yes, and wasn't there a breastfeeding book published, and the cover had a picture of a breast on it, but when they published the American version it had to have a different cover, and the author was upset about it? I can't remember the details.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#6 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 12:13 AM
 
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As you know from the thread that started this thread, I am passionate about this misconception.

It is so hard to get people to see what is so obvious!! I used to have a photo (7 years ago) of a woman in the middle east, covered from head to toe in full garb (she appeared Muslim) EXCEPT for her EYES and a full breast. It is not uncommonin place where woman cannot show legs, hair, etc. to bare a breast! The legs and hair are seen as much more "sexual" there!!!! As I have said: Many people see toes as sexy, shall I not wear flip flops as not to offend someone-is this now sexual harrasment?

Unfortunately, with the breast being seen asa sexual organ only, it makes breastfeeding seem perverse...does Nestle own Playboy? Hustler?
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#7 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 12:14 AM
 
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uhhh ok, sorry to freak anyone out here who may be unfamiliar with anatomy / physiology, but technically, breasts *are* sex organs. why do you think that nipple stimulation helps along labor? or can produce more powerful orgasms?

they're not considered sexual just because they've been so overly-sexualized in our culture; they are part of the reproductive system, and are, therefore, sex organs.

yes, they are there to feed our young; but they also are linked with reproduction and yes, sex and sexual feelings.

and think... we're not exactly the first culture in the world to invent nipple piercing...

also...

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I've heard that in Europe breasts are not taboo like they are in America. Supposedly if there is a shampoo commercial they will simply show the woman naked in the shower shampooing her hair and no one is upset by the bare breasts.
just because something isn't *taboo* in another culture doesn't make it asexual. would you consider anything taboo in our culture sexual? because, i can think of at least a dozen things that are considered taboo here that certainly aren't sexual...
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#8 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 12:22 AM
 
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The local LLL person here in my town told a story of how somewhere in Africa the women who are breastfeeding wear their breasts out in the open and everyone knows that breasts of a breastfeeding mama are not to be seen as sexual. The other women who aren't feeding, cover themselves up and they are to be viewed as sexual. I've never been to Africa so I don't know but I thought it was interesting.
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#9 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 12:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by klothos
uhhh ok, sorry to freak anyone out here who may be unfamiliar with anatomy / physiology, but technically, breasts *are* sex organs. why do you think that nipple stimulation helps along labor?
Well I'm a massage therapist and a doula and I'm pretty familiar with anatomy. Nipple stimulation brings on more labor because it releases a hormone that causes uterine contractions. This is a good thing because when the baby nurses after birth it also helps contract the uterus back to it's original size. I also know of pressure points on the feet, ankles and legs that help stimulate labor and bring on more contractions but I don't consider the feet ankles and legs to be sex organs either. Also "smooching" is very sexual and many midwives believe it helps labor along as well. So, while the lips and mouth can be involved in sex I don't see them as a sex organ either.
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#10 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 12:38 AM
 
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I don't know what biology class you took, but the breast is not a member of the reproductive system. It has nothing to do with reproduction. No reproductive function. Its only function is the production of milk for consumption of offspring AFTER you have reproduced.

I have more powerful orgasms when my dp sucks on my ear lobe. Does that mean my ear is a sex organ? A member of the reproductive system?

Don't really know what nipple piercing has to do with anything...

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#11 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 12:39 AM
 
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No they are not sex organs. They do not produce either part of what makes a new being, nor do they contain or deliver said parts.

If breasts are sex organs just because their stimulation affects other parts of our bodies to do certain effects--like those orgasms, then so are ears. Shall earmuffs now become mandatory?

If breasts are sex organs just because....., then so are necks, lips, tongues, wrists, thighs,.......If that's the working definition of "sex organ", it's going to take a burqa to cover all the sex organs at this point!:LOL

"What will you do once you know?"
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#12 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 12:43 AM
 
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Nipple stimulation brings on more labor because it releases a hormone that causes uterine contractions.
and the hormone is released because the stimulation is to a part of the reproductive system.

there's a difference between pressure points and sex organs.

from Gray's Anatomy ~

The mammæ secrete the milk, and are accessory glands of the generative system.
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#13 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 12:43 AM
 
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Cross-posted with you, Mama.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#14 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 10:57 AM
 
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Honey my whole body is a sex organ! But not all the time. Just as the penis is multiple use (peeing, making babies, having fun), so can other body parts be multifunctional as well
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#15 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 11:42 AM
 
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I think that breasts are sexual and that is ok. I agree that they have many uses as well.

Stephanie married to Jerry  partners.gif  mama to  modifiedartist.gif (10) and superhero.gif(7) and 3rdtri.gif
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#16 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 01:23 PM
 
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Loving this discussion. Breasts can be used during sex (and for that I am thankful-- it feels good) and also to feed babies, just like a penis can be used during sex, and is also used to urinate. It has a sexual purpose, and a nonsexual purpose. Do men get squicked out in the bathroom because they have to bare their penis to use a urinal? (Well, I bet some do, but most don't.) (Note that I am not making a comparison, but drawing an analogy.) Lots of our organs have a dual purpose. Though I am inclined to think that breasts are inherently nonsexual, because their primary purpose is to feed babies, and secondary purpose is for sex.

Also, like someone above said, nipple stimulation releases hormones that inspire feelings of relaxation, love and affection. Which is GREAT when you're breastfeeding-- and GREAT when you're having sex! It makes a family! Not just physically, but emotionally. Actually, conception, birth, and breastfeeding are ALL sexual to me, because they all include the same hormones. And everyone knows sex is great to get labor started. (Another good reason to have a private homebirth!) Orgasm also releases those same hormones. AND causes the uterus to contract, just like in labor and nursing! They're ALL sexual! Sex is for reproducing, and all of those are aspects of reproduction. Now, there is sex for fun, not for reproductive purposes, I acknowledge that, but the main point of sex is to reproduce. So I see sex-> pregnancy->labor-> birth->nursing as part of one big cycle. They all involve the same hormones. And saying that breasts are sexual doesn’t diminish their intended purpose. It’s when breasts are seen as nothing BUT sex objects that they become cheapened, and THAT is what upsets me.
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#17 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 01:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiwiZ
Honey my whole body is a sex organ!
Mine too!!
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#18 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 01:52 PM
 
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This is a topic I feel stongly about too! THere is a great part about those good feelings in the book Mother Nature
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The baby sucking on the reciveing end of this let-down reflex brings with it pleasurable sensations, bordering on and blending into the erotic. Wheater or not the earth moves, these are powerfully conditioning sensations. To classify maternal sensations as "sexual", and therefore condem them in puritanical minds, is to privilegde sexuality in a very nonpuritanical way, implying that sexual sensations are more important then equally powerful sesations that reward women for caring for babies. We might just as logically describe the various orgasmic contractionsduring lovemaking as "maternal". These responses to a lactating mother mammal to her baby's sucking long antedated sexual resposiveness to breast stimulation in sexual contacts....erotic stimulation is correlated with incresed milk ejection...Materinity isinextricably intertwined with sexual sensations, and it is an infant's business, through grunts and coos, touches and smells, to make the most of Mother Nature's reward system, which conditons a women to make this infant top priority. Evoultary logic is firmly on the side of mothers who enjow the sensual side of mothering for its own sake.
I also like this thread from last Maynursing my two year old is like being on a date with a 16 year old
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#19 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 02:01 PM
 
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The baby sucking on the reciveing end of this let-down reflex brings with it pleasurable sensations, bordering on and blending into the erotic....

I must say I never enjoyed a baby sucking on me, the sensation just wasnt a good one. I bf my oldest for 23 months and my youngest chose to nurse for 19 months.

But the strange thing is when my children are weaned and dh sucks on them it is very enjoyable and I love the sentation.

So for me, my breasts are sexual.
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#20 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 05:02 PM
 
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The Female Reproductive System

You'll notice, the breasts are not mentioned.


Breasts actually belong to the Exocrine System, along with tear ducts, salivary glands, and sweat glands.


Ooh! I just found a great article!
http://www.007b.com/nipple_stimulation_sexual.php

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#21 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 05:12 PM
 
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The penis IS a sex organ, a genital. It is also for urination, so it is multi-functional.

The breast is no more sexual than any other part of the body. It does not have a secondary purpose. It is not multi-functional.

Using a breast in sex play is no different from using a foot or a neck. If you want to say that your whole body is "sexual," that's fine, but that doesn't mean the human body is composed entirely of genitalia.




ETA: This whole site is great: http://www.007b.com/

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#22 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 07:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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SBF, thanks for the awesome links!
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#23 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 08:34 PM
 
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hmm... I follow what each of you so far have said, seems like we have various interpretaions of why the breast exists & how we use it - which is alright.

When I was being sexually abused, the man definitely used my breasts for his sexual pleasure. But then there are people who will for sure say to me "maybe he did, but rape/abuse is only about power, not sex" Let me just say that it sure as heck felt like he was getting off in a sexual manner & using my body for HIS sexual aggressions, not just a power trip.

Seems like a topic to agree to disagree on? Maybe in Africa (someone pointed out Africa specifically) breasts are not sexual, but the society in which I live, breasts are definitely sexual. I'd be arresetd if I bare my breasts even though I'd love nothing more then to see them as non-sexual, beautiful food-makers. Sad but true!
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#24 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 11:10 PM
 
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Breasts can definitely be used in a sexual way. My only point has been that *any* body part can be used in a sexual way. If a man pinned a woman down and sucked on her neck, that would also be sexual abuse.

My intent has definitely not been to minimize or trivialize what victims of sexual abuse have been through, even when the only part of the body fondled was the breasts.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#25 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 11:16 PM
 
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Mallory: That quote said it so much better than I ever could.

As for reproductive system, I think if you're looking at it from a holistic point of view, then you have to consider the effects of sex and reproduction on a woman's entire body. Hormones are a HUGE player in that, and one really effective way of triggering hormones is nipple stimulation. Are breasts directly involved in reproduction? No. That's why they aren't found in most textbooks (and most textbooks aren't holistic minded either). But you can't deny that breasts play a huge role in the reproductive cycle. And to me, that makes them sexual.
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#26 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 11:23 PM
 
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If by "a huge role in the reproductive cycle" you mean that we use them to feed the babies that we produce, I would not call that sexual. If you mean things like nipple stimulation to release hormones to initiate or enhance labor, I wouldn't call that a "huge" role -- after all, you could reproduce even if you didn't have breasts.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#27 of 46 Old 05-14-2004, 11:43 PM
 
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Breasts are used in sex play (the typical "sexual" use), breasts are used to start/help labor along (by nipple stimulation), breasts are used to nurse and nourish babies, and breasts are used to stimulate the hormones that play a large role in bonding. I'd consider that a pretty large role. I consider ANY part of that cycle to be sexual. If you don't consider birth/nursing sexual, then no, I wouldn't see breasts as sexual. But I do see birth and nursing as sexual. NOT in a perverted way, but in the way that is described in the quote Mallory posted a page ago. I think what we need to do is define "sexual". What I'm talking about when I say "sexual", is, " of or pertaining to the cycle of reproduction."
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#28 of 46 Old 05-15-2004, 12:18 AM
 
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I consider ANY part of that cycle to be sexual. If you don't consider birth/nursing sexual, then no, I wouldn't see breasts as sexual. But I do see birth and nursing as sexual. NOT in a perverted way, but in the way that is described in the quote Mallory posted a page ago. I think what we need to do is define "sexual". What I'm talking about when I say "sexual", is, " of or pertaining to the cycle of reproduction."
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#29 of 46 Old 05-15-2004, 12:53 AM
 
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Well, I think when this thread began, we were referring to "sexual" as "pertaining to the act of sexual intercourse," and we were defining "sex organ" as "genital."

In that sense, the only example you gave that would apply is that breasts are used in sex play. And I would respond that ALL body parts can be and are used in sex play.

Therefore, the breast is no more "sexual" ("pertaining to the act of having sex") than the ear.

-Alice, SAHM to dd (2001) and ds (2004) each of whom was a homebirth.jpg, who each self-weaned at 4.5 years bfolderchild.gif, who both fambedsingle2.gif'd, who were bothcd.gif, and both: novaxnocirc.gif.   Also, gd.gif, and goorganic.jpg!

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#30 of 46 Old 05-15-2004, 01:25 AM
 
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I took the OP as saying that it's silly for someone to have sexual hangups when it comes to BF - b'c they are not one in the same.

Just my original thought. Funny how MANY different perspective one single post/question can hold, eh? I personally like that we have various views on such a universal issue.
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