"Breastfeeding is sexual" - but isn't it? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
Old 11-05-2009, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
GoBecGo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,405
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hi,

I'm posting this as a general chat because i really don't want to offend or hurt anyone's feelings, i am just wondering how other people see this issue.

To me breastfeeding is sexual in the following senses:

It involves the breasts which are secondary sexual organs (serving a sexual purpose as in a sex-specific task in the reproductive cycle of the species).

It involves sex hormones (i.e. hormones which feature in all the psychosexual responses like oxytocin).

It involves a bonding experience between the nurser and nursling similar to that between partners during sex (because of those hormones).

Now, it goes without saying (hopefully) that i don't think breastfeeding is the same as/comparable to sexual intercourse, or to do with sex between adults. Nor do i think breastfeeding a child can be abusive in the sexual sense. I think breastfeeding is sexual AND that is how it's meant to be.

I think i find it difficult when someone says "breastfeeding is not sexual" because to me in the biological sense and the emotional sense breastfeeding IS sexual. And i know a fair few people who object to breastfeeding or think it should only be done for 6 weeks or 3 months or 12 months or whatever their "line" is because they recognise it's sexual, and are alarmed by that and some of those people have said to me they find the argument from those who support BFing that "breastfeeding isn't sexual" to be empty and those people making it to be suspicious people (one compared it to a creepy neighbourhood guy sitting your kid on his lap again and again and insisting "it's not sexual" - yuk, but i have to speak with te people around me).

I wonder if it's simply that one man's "sexual" is another man's "sensual" or "loving" or if it's not...? My temptation when people say it's sexual in horrified tones is to tell them to grow up and examine what is actually WRONG with that.

For some background - i was sexually abused as a child and obviously my experience of that allows me my own perspective on how "abusive" breastfeeding is/can be. Also i'm a bit autistic so i tend to miss emotional cues sometimes. I really REALLY don't want to upset anyone.

I guess my stance is breastfeeding IS sexual and there is NOTHING wrong with that. Am i a crazy loon? Or am i making some sense?
GoBecGo is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 11-05-2009, 03:01 PM
 
LianneM's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Melbourne, FL
Posts: 3,191
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I guess it depends on what the word "sexual" means to you, then.

I think the argument about a creepy neighbor sitting in your lap is completely irrelevant. HE would make it a sexual act by having sexual feelings about it. My kids are just eating and snuggling with their mama - that is a not a sexual act.

The hormones and sensations affect different women differently. I can only speak for myself - I've never, ever had any kind of sexual feeling about nursing my kids. I've never had an issue with intimacy with my husband, either, but I know some women do have conflicting feelings about their partner touching their breasts when they have a nursing child.

To me, it's ALL about the context. Feeding my children is not sexual to me. Others may feel differently, and that is ok.

WAHMama to Allen (2-10-05) and Alexa (6-27-08)
LianneM is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
GoBecGo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,405
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by LianneM View Post

I think the argument about a creepy neighbor sitting in your lap is completely irrelevant. HE would make it a sexual act by having sexual feelings about it. My kids are just eating and snuggling with their mama - that is a not a sexual act.
I totally agree - i think her point was that sitting on someone's lap when you're a little kid isn't a sexual act either, but that the creepy guy's denial made it seem icky - like when you KNOW someone is creepy and they maintain what they're doing is not it's worse. Please remember that this comment came from a person who is VERY unfamiliar with BFing and frightened by the idea of abuse in the abstract hyped-by-the-media way. She has never BFed and as far as i know doesnt intent to, hough she doesn't have kids yet.

I definitely agree that it depends what "sexual" means. For me a sexual vibe is a loving open one, with physical intimacy in there, and warmth and caring. I think perhaps my experience of abuse makes the physicality of the sexual act between adults starkly seperate from a "sexual" feeling because i have had a lot of that and it was "abusive" "violent" "controlling" but never sexual in the sense i gave above. For me without the vibe the act isn't sexual it is violent or at least malign. Equally the vibe can be there (as with BFing) without it having anything at all to do with intercourse. Clear as mud aren't i!?
GoBecGo is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 03:29 PM
 
paxye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Quebec, Canada
Posts: 2,836
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't think it is sexual.

Oxytocin is not just a sex hormone. It has very specific functions that are not related to sex but feelings. Though it can and does occurs during sex, it is the hormone primarily responsible for love, bonding, trust etc.... It also is of course responsible for letdown and maternal behaviours, and uterine contractions in and after labour.

Breasts are not secondary sexual organs, though I agree that our society has made them such, it is not like this everywhere. For example, In many places in Africa, breast are not sexual at all... but thighs are a different story.

Bonding is a result of the hormone ocytocin. Oxytocin is stimlulated by certain actions like sex but is also created other ways...

Yes, breastfeeding, sex, labour etc are all intertwined because of the same types of hormones. But that would make them all Oxyticin related and not "Sex" related.

 
~paxye~
Mama to Xavier (July 02) , Colin (Sept 04), Khéna(Nov 06) & Wilhelmina (Jan 10)
paxye is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 03:32 PM
 
Ironica's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 5,441
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In the Victorian era, exposing one's ankles was risque.

In many (most?) parts of the world, no one thinks anything of a topless woman.

Breasts are "sexual" in the sense that they're physical differentiations correlated to the 46th chromosome. Going bald or having an adam's apple is also "sexual."

The pleasurable feelings women (and men, for that matter) get from nipple stimulation are comparable to sensations one can get from being nibbled on the neck or ear. The way my husband reacts when I scratch his scalp tells me it is at LEAST as stimulating as nipples are for me.

So, while you can make a scientific argument that breastfeeding is "sexual," there is nothing save our cultural information about the role of breasts that actually make it specifically about *sex*. The notion that "breastfeeding is sexual" is part and parcel of the cultural biases we have against it.
Ironica is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
GoBecGo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,405
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks, paxye, that' interesting. I get what you mean about oxytocin not only being a sex hormone. I guess "reproductive" fits better? FWIW i think conception, birth, and nursing are ALL equally sexual, "sex" doesn't seem very bonded to the physical sexual acts between adults to me for some reason... Maybe i think primarily sex is a feeling and not a physical act?
GoBecGo is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 03:36 PM
 
Marylizah's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 1,853
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My gut reaction is "Eww, so NOT sexual!". I'm one of those women who can't stand having her breasts touched by her partner while nursing a child. It's just a totally different sensation and it icks me out tremendously.

I think I don't see it as sexual because it relates to such a primary need babies have-- food. Comfort, too, but food first. Food isn't sexual to me either.

I dunno, I see the gray area. It's just not gray at all in my personal experience.
Marylizah is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
GoBecGo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,405
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironica View Post
The notion that "breastfeeding is sexual" is part and parcel of the cultural biases we have against it.
But that's what i mean - i DO think it's sexual, but i am certainly NOT against it. I have a Sheila Kitzinger book called Breastfeeding Your Baby which has a whole section on how BFing can give some women some sexual (as in more familiar in the context of adult exual congress) feelings and how that's nothing to worry about and normal and related to the action of oxytocin. I also know (only online though) a woman who stopped breastfeeding because she thought the random feelings of arousal which came unbidden when she was feeding her son meant she was a paedophile and a horrible person.
GoBecGo is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 03:44 PM
 
lurable's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Halifax, NS
Posts: 732
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have a friend who was 'weirded out' by how much she enjoyed nursing as well. She found it helpful to remember that if it didn't feel good we probably wouldn't keep doing it. It's our bodies way of ensuring our babies get fed. So while it doesn't really fit my own personal definition of sexual it certainly does feel good- for very good reasons!

Laura WAHM to Mar 03/01/05 and Evie 05/14/08, partner to Craig
lurable is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 03:47 PM
 
Ruthla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 43,652
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
We are sexual beings. My daughters have very high levels of sexual hormones floating around in them right now- one quick glance at their chests will verify that! In terms of scientific definitions, yes, breastfeeding is sexual because it involves a secondary sex characteristic and it is generally proof that the woman doing the lactation has had sex.

Yes, breasts are secondary sex characteristics, but so is body hair. It's not really "sexual" to display hairy legs or armpits or for a man to display his hairy chest or facial hair. By this definition, any time a post-pubescent man speaks it's a sexual act, since his voice changed in puberty.

The term "sexual" has certain connotations in society, that leads beyond its technical, scientific definition. When you say something is "sexual", it implies a certain level of sexual arousal or sexual intimacy- the kind of thing most people want to keep behind closed doors, and others will perceive as voyeuristic.

The goal is to normalize breastfeeding, to make people 100% comfortable whenever they see a baby or small child drinking milk from his or her mother. To try and reclaim the word "sexual" would be a huge undertaking, and it would take energy away from the true goal of normalizing breastfeeding. We're better off moving away from that word, and emphasizing the nurturing characteristics instead.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
Ruthla is online now  
Old 11-05-2009, 03:50 PM
 
Peacemamalove's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Essex Junction,Vermont
Posts: 3,721
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by LianneM View Post
I think the argument about a creepy neighbor sitting in your lap is completely irrelevant. HE would make it a sexual act by having sexual feelings about it. My kids are just eating and snuggling with their mama - that is a not a sexual act.

I agree! I guess it is all depends on how you feel.

namaste.gif Practicing medicine Mama to four beautiful children 
Peacemamalove is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
GoBecGo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,405
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
The goal is to normalize breastfeeding, to make people 100% comfortable whenever they see a baby or small child drinking milk from his or her mother. To try and reclaim the word "sexual" would be a huge undertaking, and it would take energy away from the true goal of normalizing breastfeeding. We're better off moving away from that word, and emphasizing the nurturing characteristics instead.
Thank you so much Ruthla! THat makes so so much sense to me! And your "reclaiming sexual" bit made me laugh, i am constantly accused of being overly purist and biting off more than i can chew, it really fits with me that i would go for THAT rathar than simply trying to normalize breastfeeding in a more general-population-friendly way!
GoBecGo is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 04:01 PM
 
Tizzy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Ontario
Posts: 2,059
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't see it as "sexual" but rather "intimate".

DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!

Tizzy is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 04:08 PM
 
~Boudicca~'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New England
Posts: 3,557
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by LianneM View Post
I guess it depends on what the word "sexual" means to you, then.

I think the argument about a creepy neighbor sitting in your lap is completely irrelevant. HE would make it a sexual act by having sexual feelings about it. My kids are just eating and snuggling with their mama - that is a not a sexual act.

The hormones and sensations affect different women differently. I can only speak for myself - I've never, ever had any kind of sexual feeling about nursing my kids. I've never had an issue with intimacy with my husband, either, but I know some women do have conflicting feelings about their partner touching their breasts when they have a nursing child.

To me, it's ALL about the context. Feeding my children is not sexual to me. Others may feel differently, and that is ok.
~Boudicca~ is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 04:23 PM
 
lovebug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: back in the GREAT state of Minnesota! oh how i have missed you!
Posts: 4,556
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
:

Your life doesnât change by the man whos elected. If your loved by someone you can't be rejected... decide what to be and go be it! If your a caged bird brake in and demand that somebody free it.
lovebug is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 04:32 PM
 
phatchristy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Controlled chaos...
Posts: 9,037
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxye View Post
I don't think it is sexual.

Oxytocin is not just a sex hormone. It has very specific functions that are not related to sex but feelings. Though it can and does occurs during sex, it is the hormone primarily responsible for love, bonding, trust etc.... It also is of course responsible for letdown and maternal behaviours, and uterine contractions in and after labour.

Breasts are not secondary sexual organs, though I agree that our society has made them such, it is not like this everywhere. For example, In many places in Africa, breast are not sexual at all... but thighs are a different story.

Bonding is a result of the hormone ocytocin. Oxytocin is stimlulated by certain actions like sex but is also created other ways...

Yes, breastfeeding, sex, labour etc are all intertwined because of the same types of hormones. But that would make them all Oxyticin related and not "Sex" related.
ITA, she is absolutely correct. The 'breastfeeding as sexual idea' unfortunately is the warped influence of this culture. In other cultures even breasts are not seen as "sexual" the way that they are here.

Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

phatchristy is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 04:34 PM
 
Storm Bride's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 25,597
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
The goal is to normalize breastfeeding, to make people 100% comfortable whenever they see a baby or small child drinking milk from his or her mother. To try and reclaim the word "sexual" would be a huge undertaking, and it would take energy away from the true goal of normalizing breastfeeding. We're better off moving away from that word, and emphasizing the nurturing characteristics instead.
This is pretty much what I've been thinking, but you managed to verbalize it much better than I would have. I totally agree.

Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) ribboncesarean.gif, Emma (5/03) ribboncesarean.gif, Evan (7/05) ribboncesarean.gif, & Jenna (6/09) ribboncesarean.gif
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

Storm Bride is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 04:41 PM
 
thixle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,945
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBecGo View Post
I definitely agree that it depends what "sexual" means. For me a sexual vibe is a loving open one, with physical intimacy in there, and warmth and caring. I think perhaps my experience of abuse makes the physicality of the sexual act between adults starkly seperate from a "sexual" feeling because i have had a lot of that and it was "abusive" "violent" "controlling" but never sexual in the sense i gave above. For me without the vibe the act isn't sexual it is violent or at least malign. Equally the vibe can be there (as with BFing) without it having anything at all to do with intercourse. Clear as mud aren't i!?
I only read this far...
I think you are describing the word "sensual" as in loving, warm, caring, nurturing, releasing hormones, etc...

Our culture has amped the sexual popularity of breasts way out of proportion- I don't think breasts are inherently sexual in every use. Er, just look at your hands,

K, off to finish the thread!

---feeling like an emu on acid---
thixle is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 04:46 PM
 
Thalia the Muse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,771
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I found it completely unerotic, myself. Unless "sexual" covers the entire spectrum of affection and pleasant physical contact (and I would not define it that way), breastfeeding does not seem sexual to me at all. In fact, it kind of desexualized my breasts for me for a few years -- I didn't want them touched or stimulated by my husband, because those sensations, when I was lactating, were a big sexual turn-off! My breasts reacted like baby-feeding apparatus instead of frisky fun apparatus (and I was really relieved when, after weaning, I got the frisky response back).

However, if you did experience it that way -- if if fell on that spectrum for you -- I don't think there's anything wrong with it.
Thalia the Muse is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 05:46 PM
 
Smokering's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 8,313
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Oxytocin is also released upon eating chocolate - which for most people, despite what Moritz ads attempt to portray, isn't a sexual act.

I'd agree that in one sense, breasts are superficially sexual in that breastfeediing is part and parcel of the reproductive, continung-the-species package. If the word was used in that sense I'd have no problem with it, though it seems too obvious and banal to point out. Usually though, the word is used for nefarious purposes. When it's co-opted to mean "dirty", "dirty-thoughts-producing", "bodily function that must not be shown in public" and so on, it is simply wrong. And that's the context in which lactivists insist breastfeeding is not sexual. I'm pretty sure everyone knows that only females tend to lactate.

Put it this way: people don't use the word "sexual" in a neutral, clinical sense 99% of the time. Male pattern baldness is related to testosterone; but if your balding husband couldn't walk around town without a dozen people pointing out "That's sexual, you know!", you'd start to wonder what was up. And it'd only be a matter of time before someone suggested he cover up with a hat.

If decomposition persists please see your necromancer.

Smokering is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 05:55 PM
 
MaryJaneLouise's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Toddler Heater Blanket
Posts: 3,188
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In that regards, giving birth is sexual too. Which 99% of the general US population will see as hard, painful work.

Twin boys 04/2005 : Support breastfeeding rights at FirstRight.Org : warrior
Face the rear for MORE than a year! Toddlers' necks are safest in a rear facing carseat
MaryJaneLouise is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 06:06 PM
 
North_Of_60's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Beautiful British Columbia
Posts: 7,108
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxye View Post
I don't think it is sexual.

Oxytocin is not just a sex hormone. It has very specific functions that are not related to sex but feelings. Though it can and does occurs during sex, it is the hormone primarily responsible for love, bonding, trust etc.... It also is of course responsible for letdown and maternal behaviours, and uterine contractions in and after labour.
And I think oxytocin is nature's way of making unpleasant things pleasant to help ensure that the human race continues. Without that release of hormones telling our brains that sex is satisfying, would we do it? And further more, without the release of hormones after birth and while breastfeeding telling our brains that it's enjoyable, relaxing, and a way to bond (or any of the other emotions due to oxytocin), would we do that too?

I don't think it's a sex hormone so much as it's a euphoric hormone, and I think people conflate breastfeeding with being sexual because of that feeling of euphoria. Anything that feels good or makes us happy that is related to sex automatically becomes taboo.

I guess I kind of relate to the OP in that I question what is wrong with breastfeeding being related to sex, even though I don't think it's sexual. If that makes any sense?

Hormones are amazing and are responsible for so much within our body systems that it seems silly to label anything even remotely related to an orgasm as "sexual".

Frankenstein never scared me. Marsupials do. Because they're FAST.
North_Of_60 is offline  
Old 11-05-2009, 06:15 PM
 
Mountaingirl79's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Asheville NC
Posts: 1,226
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, that's an interesting question...I am not breastfeeding anymore but when I did I felt it to be a sensual and nurturing experience. It felt reallllllllly good to nurse, and sometimes I would find myself nursing with a small satisfied smile on my face.
That said, I also found birth to be an almost orgasmic experience...after I birthed my son and his placenta, I looked up and announced " That felt REALLY good!" But none of that equals sexual to me. It is just a good feeling.

Mom to three boys 7/7/00 fencing.gif 11/20/02 and 10/29/2011 luxlove.gif

 

Writing at: http://paisleymama.blogspot.com/ and other places! 

 

 
 
 

Mountaingirl79 is offline  
Old 11-08-2009, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
GoBecGo's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,405
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks to everyone who contributed. I read a really interesting book this weekend, called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night. Some of you may know it, it's about a boy with Aspergers syndrome and is written from his POV. It was a real eye-opener for me because i now realise many of the things that go on in my head are pretty autistic (i knew i had traits but these were things i didn't necessarily associate with that up until now).

Anyway, i realised (and Ruthla really hit it on the head for me) that it is the many zillions of meanings and overtones of the word "sexual" which are causing my problem here. I guess i think of sexual in the biological sense. In fact if lots of people said my husband's baldness was "sexual" i wouldn't think a thing of it, because to me that is a perfectly scientific and correct use of the word. I wouldn't question it for a second. Likewise i really feel "sexual" is completely correct in the contexts of both birth and copulation and lactation.

I guess the crux of this is that i have a meaning of "sexual" in my head which is fairly fixed and i find it really hard when other people use a different word (like sensual - sensual is the experience through or affection of the senses - watching a murder is sensual, hearing a scream, being slapped, but then that is not what normal people mean at all when they say sensual, it's just what i would understand that word to primarily mean) or use the word sexual with a different meaning (penetrative, dirty, fun, orgasmic).

Anyway, thanks again to everyone who joined in, i gained some real insights
GoBecGo is offline  
Old 11-08-2009, 07:53 PM
 
mamazee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: US midwest
Posts: 7,246
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I'm another one who doesn't see it as at all sexual. It's physical, but not everything physical is sexual.
mamazee is offline  
Old 11-08-2009, 07:58 PM
 
lifeguard's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Coyote Rock Farm
Posts: 6,541
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tizzy View Post
I don't see it as "sexual" but rather "intimate".
This is how I see it. I think we have a hard time with intimacy outside of a sexual relationship in our culture.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

lifeguard is offline  
Old 11-08-2009, 08:43 PM
 
HappyFox05's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Junction City, KS
Posts: 1,216
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post
This is how I see it. I think we have a hard time with intimacy outside of a sexual relationship in our culture.

Me, my Sweetie , DD 1 (Dec 07),  and DD 2 (Dec 09). Co-sleeping, delayed-vaxing, quia Lutherans!
HappyFox05 is offline  
Old 11-08-2009, 09:44 PM
 
Squrrl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Central Maryland
Posts: 313
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think how you feel about this may have a lot to do with how your body is wired. To me, for example, I have very sensitive nipples. Before pregnancy, I never wanted my nipples to be touched or played with unless I was already mentally aroused, and that was actually a concern to me regarding breastfeeding. Well, unfortunately, it turned out to be a valid concern, and I have never enjoyed breastfeeding, because the whole time my body is fighting the arousal sensations that it isn't in the mood to experience. It is exactly the same sensation that comes from my husband's touching them. Actually, I'm not at all clear on how it could be otherwise, though clearly most of you experience it so. And to be absolutely clear, the way I'm built, I'm MILES away from being able to agree that nipple stimulation is basically the same as, say, being nibbled on the neck, as a PP suggested.

I'm reminded of one of the stranger stories in Spiritual Midwifery, in which a baby fails to thrive until the midwives get together to talk to the mother about accepting the feelings she experiences when nursing and not fighting them. Or, in the words of the Farm's leading visionary, Stephen, "Look, Mildred, a little incest is cool up to about age twelve. Somebody's got to give him some." After which the mother had a good laugh, and the baby began to finally put on some weight. Who knows. Just made me think of it.

Mind, none of this by any stretch represents a coherent answer to the OP's question. Just some thoughts that sprang to mind as I was reading.
Squrrl is offline  
Old 11-08-2009, 11:18 PM
Banned
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: On a pilgrimage to Canterbury
Posts: 2,567
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Squrrl View Post
I think how you feel about this may have a lot to do with how your body is wired. To me, for example, I have very sensitive nipples. Before pregnancy, I never wanted my nipples to be touched or played with unless I was already mentally aroused, and that was actually a concern to me regarding breastfeeding. Well, unfortunately, it turned out to be a valid concern, and I have never enjoyed breastfeeding, because the whole time my body is fighting the arousal sensations that it isn't in the mood to experience. It is exactly the same sensation that comes from my husband's touching them. Actually, I'm not at all clear on how it could be otherwise, though clearly most of you experience it so. And to be absolutely clear, the way I'm built, I'm MILES away from being able to agree that nipple stimulation is basically the same as, say, being nibbled on the neck, as a PP suggested.
You're not alone. I was horrified by my sudden (and urgent) feelings of arousal when I bfed my son. Lying in the dark in bed for 45 min nursing him was really, really hard for me.

After so much thinking about this, I realized that I just have very sensitive breasts, but that it should feel good, and that I clearly didn't have sexual feelings for my son. It doesn't make me incestuous, it just makes me a sexually complicated person. For me, intimate, sexual, sensual, whatever...there is a whole lot of overlap and nothing can fit all into one category. Maybe most people don't have this experience, but coming to terms with it was the best way for me to feel good about my breastfeeding experience.

Now, do I think that bfing is INNATELY sexual, no. I don't see the breast as sex objects, or the act of bfing as a sexual act. But please don't discount the fact that for some people, even non-sexual things can make them aroused.
InMediasRes is offline  
Old 11-08-2009, 11:27 PM
 
StoriesInTheSoil's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 1,456
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
The goal is to normalize breastfeeding, to make people 100% comfortable whenever they see a baby or small child drinking milk from his or her mother. To try and reclaim the word "sexual" would be a huge undertaking, and it would take energy away from the true goal of normalizing breastfeeding. We're better off moving away from that word, and emphasizing the nurturing characteristics instead.
ITA, Ruthla!
StoriesInTheSoil is offline  
 
User Tag List

Thread Tools


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off