Sexualpedia Part 3: Why Do I Like Large Breasts?
Sexualpedia is an open-ended series of articles that will explain the source of many common erotic interests using neuroscience, biology, and online behavioral data.
We will kick off our Men’s Sexualpedia with the Mother of All Male Sexual Interests: busty porn. Large breasts are the fourth most popular sexual interest in searches on Dogpile, after youth, gay, and MILFs. In our list of the 42,337 most popular adult sites in the world (in 2010), 1,672 were devoted to breasts (about 4%)—more than any other erotic interest other than “youth,” “amateurs,” and “gay.” “Busty” was the second most common descriptive word in heterosexual adult sites (only teen was more common), appearing in sites like Busty Island, Busty Nurses, Busty Schoolgirls, Busty Elders, Busty and Dusty. Breasts are among the top 10 sexual searches in every country we looked at, including cultures as diverse as Russia, India, Japan, Italy, and Nigeria.
Here is one boob-lover’s abbreviated search history from AOL:
User #: 5841450
super huge boobs
So why are breasts so universally popular? There may be two biological reasons. The anatomy that men find attractive—breasts, hips, butts, feet, as well as feminine facial features—are all influenced by the same molecule: estrogen. Estrogen is sensitive to a woman’s energy and health. Unhealthy and underfed women produce less estrogen and therefore may not be able to bear children, or may bear unhealthy children. A woman’s estrogen level indicates if she is getting enough to eat, if she’s infested with parasites, how much stress she’s experiencing. The same way that our taste for sweetness guides us to sugar, which in turn provides us with energy, male visual cues guide men to estrogen, which in turn provides men with improved chances of healthy offspring.
The first is a specific kind of female-only fat called gynoid fat. Gynoid fat support the energy demands of pregnancy and lactation. Gynoid fat is only used during childbearing, whereas android fat—possessed by both men and women—is used for everyday energy needs. Android fat accumulates in the trunk, abdomen, and internally. Gynoid fat is stored in the hips, butt, thighs—and breasts.
Levels of gynoid fat in breasts positively predict all aspects of female lifetime reproductive capacity, including conception probability, probability of successful pregnancy, and offspring quality. Breast size is not correlated with milk production, though gynoid fat is correlated with lactation quality.
Another relevant biological concept is asymmetrical fitness. Though evolutionary theory predicts that the average trait in a population (such as breast size preference) should evolve towards the value that maximizes fitness (in this case, a breast preference that provides a man with an eye for the most promising sexual partners), sometimes there is a more of a fitness dropoff on one side of the average than the other. Before modern health and nutrition, a woman with slightly larger than average breasts was more likely to be healthy and fertile than a woman with slightly smaller than average breasts. Thus, men may have inherited an asymmetric preference for larger-than-average over smaller-than-average. In addition–and perhaps most potently, from a biological perspective–full and firm breasts are associated with youth, the single most powerful innate sexual cue for men.
Even in cultures with women whose average breast size are smaller than the world average—such as China and Japan—men actively seek out pornography featuring women with large breasts. It’s worth mentioning that in preliterate aboriginal cultures, such as the Amazonian Yanomamo, men do not commonly fetishize breasts; however, in these cultures a twenty-two-year-old’s breasts often resembles a Western forty-year-old woman’s breasts. In modern societies, dramatically improved nutrition, health, and fitness mean that women can maintain firm, youthful breasts well into adulthood. It’s also worth considering that among gay men, men’s chests are very popular and often fetishized.
Though large breasts are more popular than small breasts, many men are erotic aficionados of small breasts. The Web sites Flat Chested Coeds, Sexy Small Boobs, and I Love Small Tits all celebrated less endowed women. In Japan, a woman with small breasts is called “Delicious Flat Chest” or DFC, and there are many popular animated DFC characters, such as Sailor MoonLina Inverse, Konata from Lucky Star, and JajanakaNagi from Kannagi: Crazy Shrine Maidens. A-list and A-cup movie stars Keira Knightley and Kate Hudson also have devoted male followings.
In our sexual search data, there are dozens of synonyms for “large” breasts—busty, big, gigantic, monster, huge, massive, ginormous—while there are only three common synonyms for small breasts—small, tiny, petite. There are also a relatively small number of men who are aroused by the site of extremely large breasts, with adult sites devoted to GG or HH cups.
Though there seems to be a cross-cultural preference for larger breasts, the preferred size of a woman’s areola seems to be highly variable. One cross-cultural study found that men inPapua New Guinea preferred large areolae, Samoan men preferred slightly smaller areolae, and New Zealand men preferred medium-sized areolae. Overall, men seem to place much greater emphasis on the size of nipples and areolas (the bigger the better, generally), rather than their color, as can be seen in this list of the most frequent “nipple” adjectives in our sexual search data:
If you find yourself compulsive searching for busty ladies, most likely you inherited a human male biological predisposition that made you pay attention to breasts sometime before age 12 and 22, a predisposition based upon the childbearing-health-indicating gynoid fat of women’s breasts. Asymmetric fitness made you more likely to pay attention to larger than average breasts, and if this curiosity during your formative years was reinforced by a strong visual—or tactile—experience, then it was more likely to stick. On the other hand, if you had a formative sexual experience with small breasts, that could very likely have tilted your preference in the opposite direction.
One thing is fairly certain: if you’re under 25 and obsessed with large breasts, you’ll probably still find them beguiling when you’re 50.
Dr. Ogi Ogas received his PhD in computational neuroscience from Boston University and was a Department of Homeland Security Fellow. His writing has been published in the Boston Globe, Wall Street Journal, Glamour, Wired, Baltimore Magazine, and Seed. He used his knowledge of cognition to reach the million dollar question on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and battle Ken Jennings in the finals of Grand Slam.