Yet amid obsessing over what they’re dying to see and touch, they know very little about br**sts as women themselves perceive them. So to find the truth, some female s*x experts were consulted and more than 700 women wee surveyed.
Women Don’t Think Men Are Total Pigs About This: Three-quarters of the women asked think men’s fascination with br**sts is harmless. Seventy percent assume most guys are b00b men. “I love it when men look at my br**sts,” says Rachel, 23. “It makes me feel powerful, and there’s something carnal about it.” Of course, this is neither a ticket to leer nor an invitation to make crass comments, even in jest. “There’s really no excuse for not being courteous or maintaining eye contact with women,” says Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., a s*xual-health researcher at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute and the Men’s Health s*x Professor. So mind your manners, revel in br**sts privately, respect them publicly, and revere the women who bring them into your life. For what would life be without them?
Many Women Love Their br**sts More than You Do: Most of the women surveyed consider their br**sts to be key parts of their s*xual identity, as opposed to fashion accessories or mere body parts. Sixty-two percent think it’s more exciting to pull off their tops than their bottoms, and 78 percent prefer the woman-on-top position because it shows off their br**sts better during s*x. “A woman should be proud of her br**sts,” says Vicky, 23. “They’re miracles of evolution, as versatile as a Swiss Army knife: baby feeder, pleasure enhancer, compliment grabber.” They often use them to their advantage, too—87 percent of women we surveyed think women who make an effort to show off their br**sts receive preferential treatment.
Women Can Be Deeply Conflicted About Their br**sts: As women grow up, emotions related to their br**sts may set in. “I happen to love my br**sts now—but growing up, it wasn’t always like that,” says Levkoff. The fact that br**sts are ever-changing only complicates matters. The average woman changes cup sizes six times during her adult life. Monthly cycles, birth-control pills, weight changes, pregnancy, and breastfeeding all alter the size, shape, and feel of br**sts. “The sexiest thing a woman can wear is her self-confidence,” says Elisabeth Squires, the author of b**bs: A Guide to Your Girls. “If she’s the least bit insecure, then work to help her feel good about her body.” All you need, she says, is genuine enthusiasm, which probably won’t be a problem.
In Bed, You Know Nothing About Them: Men tend to have two “touching” defaults, says Herbenick. “They tend to either touch her the way they enjoy being touched (which usually means firmer or rougher), or the way a previous partner liked it.” In either case, she may not like it that way at all. “Every woman will feel differently about her br**sts,” Levkoff says. Here’s how to deal: Every time a woman takes off her bra in your presence, wipe away all memory of previous br**sts. This works even if she is your partner of many years. Start over by pretending you’ve never seen them before. “You learn and relearn how someone moans, sighs, and squeals when you touch them,” Herbenick says. “You will never have to slip into an old routine.”
Br**sts Can Intensify a Couple’s Emotional Bond: “br**sts aren’t just about s*x,” says Levkoff, “and when you recognize that, we are very appreciative.” Learn to desexualize moments of great intimacy. For example, while you’re sitting on the couch watching TV with her, the simple act of laying with your head on her chest can give a woman powerful maternal feelings toward you (in a good way), says Levkoff. Another tip: If a woman complains about her br**sts being sore, offer to massage them, says Squires. Again, in a nonsexual way, if you can, that is. “chest massage can feel incredible, and it’s not something we can ask for at the spa,” she says.