Does boob size matter? Here’s the truth behind small vs. large breasts and their role in sexual attraction
No man is above respectfully admiring a beautiful pair of breasts. But just how much does size play into what makes a handful of tatas stunning?
Despite the common assumption that all men are particular about breast size, preferences often vary, regardless of which body part they’re ogling (with consent). And these preferences may be culturally determined or strongly influenced by mass media. Whatever the case, the question remains: does breast size matter? Perhaps—but not in the way you think.
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Do men prefer bigger breasts?
Many older psychological studies from the 1960s have listed breast size as a contributing measure of female attractiveness. In a 1968 survey by Jerry Wiggins, most men rated large breasts more attractive than small ones, but considered average-size breasts the most enticing.
Following the study a few decades later, a 2013 paper by Viren Swami and Martin Tovee found that most of its participants preferred average-sized breasts. In addition, the paper concluded that men who preferred larger breasts had significant tendencies towards “benevolent sexism.”
The truth behind breast beauty
We’ve established that most men prefer average-sized breasts—but what’s all the fuss about? Multiple studies have demonstrated an evolutionary foundation for male desire. Preferences vary according to dozens of factors, including marital status, culture, and, of course, the media.
The 90s music scene was dominated primarily by songs like Busted’s Year 3000, which sang praises for not only large-breasted but “triple-breasted” women. In addition, the early 2000s produced dozens of busty sex symbols, including Anna Nicole Smith and Pamela Anderson, along with franchises like the American Pie, which, let’s face it, wasn’t exactly plot-driven.
According to 25-year-old researcher Abril, his previous preference for larger breasts was largely influenced by the media. He shares: “I wasn't always indifferent about breast size in my partners. I used to prefer larger breasts. I think it's because of how large breasts were often played out to be more desirable in the media I consume and how flat-chested women were often the butt of jokes (i.e. the trope where a flat-chested character becomes jealous of their well-endowed friend).”
By comparison, 33-year-old entertainer Doug believes that preferences can be borne of a natural predisposition. “Ever since I was old enough to feel sexual attraction, I have been attracted to nubile, small-breasted women… I remember growing up with sex symbols like Lucy Lawless and Pamela Anderson, so it wasn't the media. They didn't do much for me,” he reveals.
So, how do women feel about their breasts?
Unfortunately, women continue to be at the beck and call of unrealistic beauty standards, societal pressures, and cringe-worthy, bastardized versions of American Pie. Thus, female self-esteem is often largely influenced by breast size.
A Huffington Post study iterated that physical appearance is often directly correlated with self-confidence. Another study found that 70.7% of women were dissatisfied with their breast size, thinking they were too small, too large, or too uneven.
26-year-old social media manager Diana grew up wildly insecure about her A-cups. “No one in my batch had A-cups. I never wanted to go bra shopping with my friends,” she recalls. “Whenever I did, all I bought were push-up bras.” Interestingly, it wasn’t necessarily reassurance from a partner that helped Diana overcome her small-breast-related grievances. “What really helped was no longer needing a bra. My physician said I didn’t need one, which wasn’t the nicest to hear at first. But I’ve saved thousands of pesos a year and feel more at home in what I wear. The best part is that people notice that kind of newfound confidence!”
On the other end of the spectrum is 28-year-old writer Isabel, who has had her fair share of breast problems. As a double-D cup, Isabel says her biggest issue isn’t perception, but—you guessed it—back pain. “The instinct to [have to] carry your boobs up the stairs is even more real than back pain,” she reveals.
That said, Isabel believes every well-endowed woman’s worst enemy is clothing. “It’s like we can’t dress as liberally as women with smaller breasts because we’re too slutty. Too big. Too much of anything.” Isabel has been experimenting with styles outside of her comfort zone—a big leg up in her journey toward a healthier self-image.
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With that in mind, men and women have the right to preference. Some like them big. Others like them small. You might prefer them perky, round or pear-shaped. The point is that preferences should never enable degradation.
The good news is that appearance no longer dictates attraction as much as it used to. When asked what traits he found more appealing than breast size, Doug responded, “Almost everything. Of course, personality is important, but from a purely physical perspective, a pretty face is my biggest turn-on.”
Abril, who considers himself lucky to have handled all kinds of breasts, no longer has a preference. He can even personally debunk a few breast-related myths. For instance, “You absolutely cannot mash breasts, of any size, [as] you see in porn. Squeezing them like an angry gorilla is not enjoyable. I guess it depends on the person; some enjoy a bit more pressure than others, but you can't just go in and crush them like you're trying to pop a water balloon.”
Still, unsolicited comments about one’s physical appearance can do a lot to the psyche, which isn’t always a positive thing. Women often see themselves as bodies first and people second, with instances of self-objectification becoming more common in modern relationships.
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The bottom line
Breasts aside, how do we begin to remedy such insecurities in women? The solution is relatively simple: compliment others, and look beyond the physical. While a single compliment may seem insignificant, it can go a long way in helping someone feel less concerned with their appearance.
People should never take for granted how valued their partners feel in a relationship. For whatever reasons you find yourself attracted to your partner, never be generous in reminding them. Confident and healthy partnerships have more positive outcomes—better communication, fewer insecurities and more enjoyable sex.
Words Zoë Isabela Alcazaren
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver