As You Desire: Our Obsession with BREASTS…

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Bare breasts freak Americans out! Yet like McD’s we seem to want them super sized and we sneak peeks every chance we get! If a woman’s top falls open do you turn away?

We are quite obsessed with boobies here. In 2010, in the USA, there were 296,203 Breast Augmentations performed. Up 39 percent from 2000. The statistic that really got to me was 8,525 of those were done on women 13-19 years old! What is going on here? Why are women risking their lives to increase the size of their mammary glands? We don’t see as many getting testicle lifts or penile enlargements…. yet.

Our obsession with various parts of the human body is not new; but it has changed. In the 1600s it was fashionable to wear dresses that left woman’s breasts bare.  The style is called ‘extreme décolleté’. Bare breasts were thought to show a display of the woman’s youth, her classical beauty, and her virtue. However, it would have been considered obscene for a woman to expose her shoulders or her legs!

Many of us believe (I’m including myself) that by hiding the female breast we are actually making them more sexual not less. Anything hidden from view becomes more sought after to see. When we censor the breasts it makes them seem inappropriate, something to be ashamed of or embarrassed by. By censoring the view of breasts it means that women don’t get to see the real breasts of other women, only their own and the air brushed or enhanced versions in the forbidden magazines or online nudism and porn sites. This limited knowledge leads young women to imagine their breasts are inadequate or abnormal – hence the increasingly popular high school grad gift for young women: breast augmentation.

In the world of naturism the naked human body is not considered a sexual object. It is perceived that young boys and girls develop a greater comfort with their own body with a much lower incidence of body dysmorhpia as well as teen sex They see and accept the vast differences in human forms and don’t develop a twisted perspective of what is supposed to be beautiful. I’ll write more about nudism at a later date.

Breasts make us crazy! In 2004 we about lost it when Janet Jackson exposed an adorned nipple for a half a second on national television… it was in the headlines for a week! And talk about backward laws, we are so fearful of breasts in this country that many states still have laws ready to prosecute a woman for exposing her breast in public – even if she is feeding her baby!

I am surprised that here we are nearing 2012 and there is still a shame that new mothers are made to feel when they attempt to breastfeed their infant in public. What are we so bothered by? How did a breast become such an object of desire and disdain at the same time? So my question is, why do we hide our breasts? Or do we? When I look around at how women and young girls dress, magazines and TV, it seems to me we are much more about dressing them up (sexualizing them) more than we are about trying to hide them. Victoria’s Secret makes millions selling bras that create an illusion of larger, perkier breasts and cleavage. Sadly, men misinterpret heaving breasts as a sign that a woman is more sexually available.

Did you know that by law in the state of California it is not illegal to expose the female or male breasts; they are not considered genitals. When you read the California law about indecent exposure, it states that it is not illegal to expose the breast unless doing so for sexual reasons. So a woman sunbathing naked on a secluded beach (or man for that matter) is not breaking the law in California. Nor is a woman wearing pasties covering the just the areola and nipple, twirling them about to elicit a sexual response, however she would be if her nipples we showing. So it’s the nipple we are concerned with? Seriously? A law that makes revealing two quarter size circles of the human body a CRIME? I am shaking my head. When we really stop and think about this, does it not seem beyond ridiculous that a breast can create such a stir when they are just body parts most all human beings possess? For another side of the breast story See the woman behind the breast.

Yes breasts are one of the erotic delights in life; I won’t argue that, and so is the nape of your neck and the small of your back, and for many your toes. If we made all the places that feel good to be touched illegal to expose we would be a lot like… hummm, let me think, is there a country that hides the entire female body under a blanket? We need to get over our fear of the human body – we all have one. They are all relatively similar, yet the architectural differences can be quite fascinating. Most of us are uncomfortably curious (see my column on Pornography & Erotica), and I wonder if we would be as squeamish and sneaky if exposed breasts were more common place?

We have come a long way though… it was illegal to expose the belly button on TV until Cher broke the ice and showed off hers in the ’70s. Part by part we are unwrapping our precious human suits- look for my upcoming column on Nudism around the world.

Intimately Yours,

Nancy Sutton Pierce RN, Health Educator is the Founding director of Nancy Sutton’s House of Yoga and Radio Talk Show Host on The Conscious Living Show LIVE every Saturday 11a-12noon on KCNR 1460am You can reach Nancy at with your comment or questions.

As You Desire is proudly sponsored by Body Logic MD; helping both men and women restore their libido and vitality through hormone therapy, fitness and nutrition counseling.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of

Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce
Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce’s eclectic background places her expertise in a league of its own. The compilation of her career as an RN, health educator, intimacy author, radio talk show host, and yoga therapist all fuel her passion as an International speaker and clinical sexologist. Earning her Doctorate degree in human sexuality has broadened her reach around the globe teaching Conscious Living Sexuality™. When not traveling the globe inspiring others, Dr. Nancy enjoys her home life with the love of her life for more than 30 years. They’ve raised three children and now bask in what she refers to as “the dessert of parenting” -- being grandparents. Website. Contact Dr. Nancy
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17 Responses

  1. Amusing typos aside (breasts being supper sized!), this is a fine attitude and article. (Our website has been devoted to this topic for 14 years: It covers mostly American situations.)

  2. The media displays ONLY young (mostly artificially-enhanced) breasts. Real breasts, in the real world, on real women, surrender to gravity – they sag, they flop, they do not remain "perky." You'd never know that by looking at media images; you have to trust me on this one 😉

    • Hi Erin,

      I know!! It's no wonder so many women think they need to get surgery to be "NORMAL"! I wish the media would get real… but if we keep hiding breasts (natural ones) from view what are our young women and men to think is normal?

      Thank you for reading and writing in Erin. I really appreciate the feedback and comments everyone makes here.

      Stay SEXY…


  3. so you're saying, even in a downturned economy, people can still afford breast surgery?! Lucky them!

  4. Avatar gamerjohn says:

    A good topic for another day is how the cosmetic surgery costs are kept competitive since they aren't paid by insurance, encouraging price comparisions.

    Anyway, I love the subject of this article. I love the feel of a real breast in my hand. I loved the changes in my wife's as she had our kids and nursed them. I love that they are a bit droopy now compared to those perky twin towers of 30 years ago.

    Having my sexual identity shaped by Hugh Hefner means that I prefer not to act as a free lance OB-GYN, but I remain frozen by the swaying of a nice set of ta tas.

    I have no experience in plastic milk jugs as I call the silicon bags forceably inserted in the owner's breasts. The nipples are frozen and there is no nature motion. I hear of the hardening and feel sorry for the owner.

    Finally, they are part of the overall picture with nice legs, smile, eyes. I wish that woemn felt better about themselves and not in competition with younger fake models.

  5. You could fix the following too. (I like it, though, just like the other one.) "When we sensor the breasts"

    Don't worry, someone else wrote recently about having sex "ducktaped to the wall." (I won't go into my editing history. It's more embarrassing than . . . )

    Would be fine to hear from you, Nancy, although topfree isssues amd nudism are only slightly related, with significant differences, in our view . . . still, a great article you have there.

    Meanwhile, California isn't the legal paradise it may seem, because it gives counties and cities the right to oppress women, which some gladly do. Then there's the requirement to register as a sex offender for what may be harmless acts. Then there's the Dept. of Parks and Rec, which has a devious and bullying attitude towards naturists . . .

    • Avatar gamerjohn says:

      Doc, loosen up a bit. This is a friendly web site. I try to correct my mistakes before posting, but getting the words down is most important.

    • Thank you for your insights great vision! I pour out my ideas yet need other's to make sure I'm not offending the english language.

      Yes just because there is a law does not mean others see it the same way. Sadly the cost of defending yourself against the closeminded is high.

      Maybe one day we will see the rediculousness of our fear of the human form and move on to things of greater importance… like feeding the hungry, healing the sick, & cleaning up our planet. Naked sunbathers or breast feeding mother's just don't seem like such a big deal to me!

      But that's me.


  6. Hello, Nancy. As a bivocationally ordained evangelical minister who routinely teaches breastfeeding to moms I help deliver (other job is L&D RN), I applaud your article enthusiastically. I have written my own essay about breasts to Christian leaders, on my website, which you might like to check out ( – from the homepage, click on Michelangelo box and check the links). I was forced to do research into "the phenomenon of human nakedness" by the awesome material found on (007BREAST, the most breast-friendly, breastfeeding-friendly site on the web, in my opinion). I also have a breastfeeding section in "My L&D Tips" page linked to from my homepage. This is almost seven years of intense research talking, and I say we live in an of extreme culture of porno-prudery that needs the healing therapy of "body acceptance"!

    • WOW… I love what you are doing! And I love that term "Porno-prudery"… May I borrow that?

      The more we hide the more perversions are uncovered. I keep coming back to the natural act of sex, desire and nakedness. We are born that way… we die that way. Yet many are unnerved by it.

      Healing happens when we talk, talk, talk about it out in the open until it feels common place and easy. I'm game and it sounds like you are too!

      I'm going to read your stuff…. thank you for reading mine and more so for sharing with us.

      With great respect,


  7. Avatar Felicity J says:

    Love this article. It's the first time I ever heard of "extreme décolleté" – how interesting! I didn't find much in one Google search, but I plan to research this a little bit.

    In any case, besides that total turnaround of what parts are acceptable to expose (from covering legs/shoulders while showing breasts, to just the opposite), I think we are generally evolving to form less prude-ish attitudes towards exposing the human body. At least I hope so. Especially for the sake of mothers who would like to peacefully breastfeed in public.

  8. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Superb article Nancy. How can a body part cause so much confusion? It does in me. My female students show up to school with pushed-up cleavage showing and I can only think about how cheap this makes them look and distracting it must be for other students. This is the way you dress when you're a cocktail waitress maybe. On the other hand, I made a decent living as a model for art classes at area colleges where I earned my first degree. And I loved my life drawing classes. And on the other hand, I've never put a drawing or painting of a nude human in any show I've participated in since I can to Redding. And I don't believe I've ever seen a nude drawing or painting in a gallery since I came to Redding.

    • Hi Joanne,

      Odd isn't it that we are born nude, we die nude, and yet we have all this external influence trying to convince us to hide our nudeness all the years between. What are we so ashamed of? Didn't God create these bodies?

      The reality is the human body is magnificent in its design and appearance and has been appreciated in the BIG Art world since the beginning of time. The people of Redding will catch up… soon I hope, and you will be able to display your beautiful art with pride and dignity… and not have to concern yourself about what others will think.

      Speaking of that…. A great book I just heard about… "What you think of me is none of my business". I love that!

      Thank you for reading… and supporting this journey.


  9. Avatar ose says:

    Hello Nancy, I am very very glad that you have brought this issue at this point in time. I too for a time i was afraid in the open to see even a hint of a woman's breast, yet sometimes in secret when i used to believe that seeing a woman naked in any form was a temptation, i secretly indulged in sexual sins in my heart. It was a struggle for me for a long time (I am a Christian), until just over a year ago, through some websites including the one Pastor David Hatton mentioned about Breasts, I came to realize about the fallacy of the so-called man made rules that are simply not true at all!!! As a man, i now greatly admire how a woman was designed by God and as an artist I drew live models (something i never thought in my life i will ever do), I began to truly appreciate just how awesome our human anatomy is. I do not believe that God will create something so real and wholesome to now be a source of temptation or a stumbling block for another, it is our selfish, self centered, evil and false perception of the human body that has caused so much problems and this problem is only all the more enhanced by the power of the media!!!! Everyday i am learning and i am grateful to God for what He did for me, i never in my life would have questioned these false beliefs that we hold so strongly about the breast of a woman. Please we need to speak and speak about this so that people will know that there is absolutely nothing evil about the human anatomy. God bless you.