Breast fetishism (also known as: mastofact, or breast partialism)[1] is a type of sexual preference. The term is used to describe the reliance on breasts as a stimulus for sexual arousal.[2][3]

The phrase breast fetishism is also used within ethnographic and feminist contexts to describe a society which displays an irrational devotion to breasts.[4][5]

History[edit | edit source]

American author Elizabeth Gould Davis in The First Sex (published 1971) attempts to reveal this fetish through a history dating back to the neolithic era and the goddess shrines of Catal Huyuk (in modern Turkey). Archaeological excavations of the town c.1960 revealed that the walls of the shrine(s) were adorned with disembodied pairs of "mam-maries" that appeared to have "an existence of their own". The breasts (along with phalluses) were revered by the women of Catal Huyuk as instruments of motherhood, but it was after what Davis describes as a patriarchal revolution – when men had appropriated both phallus worship and "the breast fetish" for themselves – that these organs "acquired the erotic significance with which they are now endowed".[6]

The reverence and theorising shown to breasts also appears in the science of modern society, as claimed in a proposal that "breast fetishism" is an example of a contagious thought (or meme) spreading throughout society,[7] or the British zoologist and ethologist Desmond Morris, who in the 1960s proposed in The Naked Ape that the evolution and design of breasts is primarily for influencing human sexuality through signalling (see Biosemiotics), rather than serving an exclusive maternal function.

American culture[edit | edit source]

Some authors from the USA say that the female breast is the American fetish-object of choice,[8] and that breast fetishism is predominantly found in the USA.[9][10][11] The critic Molly Haskell, a feminist from the USA, goes as far as to say that: "The mammary fixation is the most infantile, and the most American, of the sex fetishes".[12]Template:Verify source

Nacirema[edit | edit source]

In 1957, the American Anthropological Association published a parody essay Body Ritual among the Nacirema by the anthropologist Horace Miner which satirized - by alluding to "the magical beliefs and practices" of the Nacirema tribe - the attitudes to the human body within American culture. The Nacirema society is described as practising rites of increasing or decreasing breast size in comic opposition to natural circumstances; a process which is motivated by a dissatisfaction with the idealized form of breast(s) existing virtually outside human variation. Miner goes on to describe the fetishistic situation with which the few women with "hypermammary development" find themselves; "...(they) are so idolized that they make a handsome living by simply going from village to village and permitting the natives to stare at them for a fee".[13]

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Hickey, 2003.
  2. Bass, 2000. (p.163).
  3. McConaghy, 1993. (p.319).
  4. Evans, 1989. (p. 34).
  5. Glazier, & Flowerday, 2003. (p. 58).
  6. Davis, 1971. (p. 105).
  7. Marsden, 1999.
  8. Slade, 2000. (p. 402).
  9. Miller, 2006. (p. 74).
  10. Latteier, 1998.
  11. Morrison, & Holden, 1971.
  12. Molly Haskell, see source.
  13. Miner, 1956.

References[edit | edit source]

  • Bass, Alan. (2000). Difference and Disavowal: The Trauma of Eros, The Part Object. Stanford University Press. ISBN 0804738289.
  • Davis, Elizabeth Gould. (1971). The First Sex: The Breast Fetish. Penguin Books.
  • Evans, Phil. (1989). Motivation and Emotion. Routledge. ISBN 0415014751.
  • Glazier, Stephen D. & Flowerday, Charles A. (2003). Selected Readings in the Anthropology of Religion: Theoretical and Methodological Essays. Praeger/Greenwood (Pub.) ISBN 0313300909.
  • Hickey, Eric W. (2003). Encyclopaedia of Murder and Violent Crime. Sage Publications Inc. ISBN 076192437X.
  • Latteier, Carolyn. (1998). Breasts: A Woman's Perspective on an American Obsession. Haworth Press. ISBN 0789004224.
  • McConaghy, Nathaniel. (1993). Sexual Behavior: Problems and Management. Springer (Publisher). ISBN 0306441772.

  • Marsden, Paul. (1999). Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation. Review of "Thought Contagion: How Belief Spreads through Society".. Retrieved 2007-10-05.
  • Miller, Laura. (2006). Beauty Up: Exploring Contemporary Japanese Body Aesthetics. University of California Press. ISBN 0520245091.
  • Miner, Horace Mitchell. (June 1956). wikisource:Body Ritual among the Nacirema, from American Anthropologist, vol 58.
  • Morris, Desmond. (1967). The Naked Ape. Jonathan Cape.
  • Morrison, D. E., and C. P. Holden. (1971). The Burning Bra: The American Breast Fetish and Women's Liberation. In Deviance and Change, ed. P.K. Manning. Englewood Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice Hall.
  • Slade, Joseph W. (2000). Pornography and Sexual Representation: A Reference Guide. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0313315205

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Moreck, Curt. (1965). Breast fetishism. International Press of Sexology. ASIN B0007HAEES
  • Serpents in the Garden: Liaisons with Culture and Sex. 2004. (ed. Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair). Dr. Susan Block "Covering Justice: Ashcroft's Breast Fetish".
  • Tovar, Virgie. 2007. Destination DD: Adventures of a Breast Fetishist with 40DDs. Sexy Advisors Press. ISBN 0978869946.
  • Yalom, Marilyn. 1997. A History of the Breast. pub. Knopf. ISBN 0679434593.

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Human sexual behavior > Paraphilias > Sexual fetishism
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