Chus Martinez On Breast Fetishism


Breast fetishism (also known as mastofact, breast partialism, or mazophilia) is a paraphilia (atypically highly focused sexual interest) in female breasts. The phrase “breast fetishism” has also been used to refer to cultural attention to female breasts and the sexuality they represent. There is a widespread interest in women’s breasts, and especially their size. For example, film directors such as Russ Meyer made films that focused on the female lead’s breast size. Lorna (1964) was the first of his films where the main female actress was cast on the basis of her breast size. Author and director William Rotsler said of this movie, “with Lorna, Meyer established the formula that made him rich and famous, the formula of people filmed at top hate, top lust, top heavy.”


Whether the modern widespread attraction to breasts among heterosexual males constitutes a sexual fetish is a moot point. In 19th century clinical literature, an obsession with breasts was considered a form of paraphillia, but today such interests are generally considered normal. The increase in so-called breast fetishism is sometimes attributed to contemporary use of tight clothing and the display of cleavage. The phrase is also used within ethnographic and feminist contexts to describe a society with a culture devoted to breasts, usually as sexual objects.


It has been hypothesised that sexual attraction towards breasts is the result of their function as a secondary sex characteristic. British zoologist and ethologist Desmond Morris claims that cleavage is a sexual signal that imitates the image of the cleft between the buttocks, which according to Morris in his book The Naked Ape is unique to humans, other primates as a rule having much flatter buttocks.


Evolutionary psychologists believe that humans’ permanently enlarged breasts, in contrast to other primates’ breasts, which only enlarge during ovulation, allow females to solicit male attention and investment even when they are not really fertile.


In certain academic studies of modern civilisation, breast fetishism is seen as an example of a contagious thought (or meme) spreading throughout society, and breasts are treated as features that have evolved to influence human sexuality rather than serve an exclusive maternal function.


In feminist discourse it has been claimed that examples of breast fetishism can be found going back to the neolithic era, most importantly in the form of the goddess shrines of Catal Huyuk (in modern Turkey). The archaeological excavations of the town in c. 1960 revealed that the walls of the shrine(s) were adorned with disembodied pairs of breasts. Elizabeth Gould Davis argues that the breasts (along with phalluses) were revered by the women of Catal Huyuk as instruments of motherhood, but it was after what she 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.


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