Earth to lactivists: breasts ARE sexual!

 

The Mother-Whore dichotomy ought to be dead.

It was proposed by Sigmund Freud to explain a tendency for men to characterize women as either asexual, nurturing and worthy of respect or sexually attractive. Unfortunately, the Mother-Whore dichotomy is alive and well and being aggressively promoted by the lactivism community.

If you spend any time reading lactivist books, blogs and webpages, you will be struck by the fact that the issue that appears to generate the most angst is public breastfeeding.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”#999999″ class=”” size=””]The woman who views her breasts as primarily for feeding is a Mother, and a woman who views them as a source of sexual pleasure is a Whore.[/pullquote]

The latest example is the confrontation between actress Alyssa Milano (Mother) and talk show host Wendy Williams (Whore).

This characterization of the face-off appears to be represent the lactivist view:

Alyssa Milano shut down Wendy Williams on the subject of breastfeeding when she appeared on her talk show. Alyssa has been advocate of nursing babies since she began posting photos of herself on Instagram breastfeeding her 1-year-old daughter, Elizabella.

Williams told Milano that breasts are meant to feed babies for a certain amount of time, but other times they’re considered a sexual part of the body. Alyssa Milano shut down Wendy Williams by saying it’s society’s fault for creating that stigma.

Williams called breasts “fun bags” and that she did breastfeed, but did it for a very short amount of time and in private. The talk show host told Milano that she doesn’t want to see breastfeeding in public. 43-year-old Alyssa insisted that it’s that type of attitude that makes this such a hot button issue.

As quoted by People.com, Milano uttered these immortal “Mother” words:

Biologically they’re not made for sexual things, that’s what we’ve done to them.

And Williams responded with what lactivists imply are “Whore” words:

Breastfeeding is only a particular amount of time. The rest of your life, your breasts are sexual things.

The truth, as most people will recognize, is that Milano’s claim is absurd and that Williams is far more accurate in acknowledging that breasts ARE sexual, have always been sexual and will continue to be sexual.

Milano not only knows this, but as this photo from the Starpulse piece makes clear, she wields it to her own advantage:

image

So why did Milano make such a ridiculous statement? I would argue that it reflects that natural parenting desire to neuter women, to see them as either mothers or whores and to flat out refuse to acknowledge that women who are mothers still have sexual needs.

Women who request C-sections to preserve vaginal integrity and reduce the chances of incontinence are derided as giving into pressure to protect a male sexual pleasure. Women who find breastfeeding uncomfortable because they consider their breasts to be exclusively sexual are derided as brain washed. Women who don’t want to share the marital bed with infants as well as husbands/partners are derided as bad mothers obsessed with sexuality.

Apparently the woman who welcomes a vaginal tear is a Mother, and a woman who wants to avoid the tear, the stitches, the pain, the potential loss of sexual pleasure is a Whore.

The woman who views her breasts as primarily for feeding is a Mother, and a woman who views them as a source of sexual pleasure is a Whore.

The woman who kicks her husband/partner out of the marital bed to promote “bonding” is a Mother, and a woman who values sexual intimacy with her partner is a Whore.

The Mother-Whore dichotomy itself is deeply sexist and reflects lactivist discomfort with female sexuality. Mothers must be sexually neutered or else they are whores.

But that’s not the only ugly stereotype at play in this confrontation. Casting Milano, the white woman, as the Mother and Williams, the black woman, as the Whore is a grotesque racist trope. Eugenicists have long portrayed black (“primitive”) women as hypersexual and white women as civilized and demure. Lactivists consciously or unconsciously reinforce those stereotypes in publicizing the confrontation.

Why are natural parenting advocates in general and lactivists in particular so discomfited by and so dismissive of the sexuality of mothers?

I’m afraid it reflects deeply entrenched sexism, rather ironic for a movement that claims to be about what is best for women.

  • Bort

    I’m normally very much on board with Dr Amy but not with this one. While the Madonna/whore dichotomy is alive and kicking and very detrimental to women, placing it into this situation completely misses the point. Milano was arguing that women shouldn’t have to breastfeed in private. That her body is her own and that a breast that is feeding a baby isn’t a sexual thing which it isn’t. At other times it’s sexual, and she may have gotten carried away with her rhetoric, but she was arguing that women do not need to be sexual all the time.

    My breasts aren’t sexual when I feed my kid, my vagina is not sexual when I am going to the loo and I am not sexual when I’m reading a book and stuffing my face with cheese fries. People who want to shut women away want us to ONLY be sexual. If we’re going to do something to destroy that, we better hide it, nobody wants to see that sh*t! I hate lactivism for trying to remove women’s bodily autonomy to suit an ideology but so does telling women to shut their boobs away because they’re sexual.

  • sdsures

    Which came first – the chicken or the egg?

    • Dagfinn Klausen

      The vaccine..

      • sdsures

        LOL

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    Intolerance!

    • CSN0116

      I’d like to consider myself a rather open-minded person. I do not get upset by people who do not agree with me; I actually enjoy a good, educated debate. People who put down my ideologies do not raise my blood pressure or keep me up at night. I am married to someone with radically different political views than myself, and my children attend a religious-based school for a religion which we do not practice, yet I appreciate the positive attributes regardless. I’m cool with it. I can think outside the box and truly appreciate things for which I will never identify.

      All that being said…

      I cannot for a second understand how a feminist, or a liberal, or a progressive, or a woman who even slightly respects other women can be both pro-woman AND lactivist. How can there be the co-existence of ANY rhetoric regarding how a woman ought to use her breasts and female autonomy and respect?

      I need someone this explain it to me…

  • Marie Gregg

    Women are smarter than this. Breasts are both sexual and functional, just like vaginas (and I do realize there are cultural perspectives at play). Feeding a baby isn’t sexy, but a low-cut shirt or a lacy bra is..Why is this even an argument?

  • Sara Barnson

    I enjoy your science, Dr. Tuteur, and it’s refreshing to see a new angle on issues. However, I really struggle to respect anyone who lashes out so vemently against opinions which differ from their own. Most of your posts are filled with vitrol and rhetoric rather than reasonable rebuttals and defenses. The people you rage against see a legitimate problem – they cannot breastfeed modestly in public even with a cover without being ridiculed and told they are disgusting. Their reaction is perhaps overblown and irrational, but understandable. they are reacting against exactly what you abhor: other people telling them what they can and cannot do with their bodies. Yes, you can say tu quoque at the activism when individuals step out of line and force their ideals on others. Yes, it is a problem when women are shamed for making equally good alternative choices. This is why we need good science and someone to trumpet it. However, your blog has descended from being reasonable but enraged to name-calling and opinionated rhetoric. Opinionated rhetoric does little to change minds or make the world a better place. If I were to land on your site for the first time today as a new mother seeking guidance in this maze, I would leave without a second thought.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Thank you for your concern.

    • CSN0116

      The people here support public breastfeeding, Sara. To my knowledge, Dr.T supports public breastfeeding.

      What is vemently?

      Who are these covered women who get called disgusting? Where are they? I know over 100 women who have breast fed in public, many of them uncovered. Not one has been called disgusting. I have seen several hundreds of women breastfeed in public. I have never seen one of them called disgusting. I do not live in some progressive urban center, either.

      I think that sometimes a random, stupid thing happens or is said to a nursing mom. I fully believe these episodes are RARE and FAR from the norm, unlike the lactivists claim them to be. But thanks to the Internet, coupled with martyrdom and Attention Whore Syndrome, it becomes this giant virtual nurse-in shit storm.

      Where can hate be found? Ha. Just read the linked articles and quotes taken from various parts of Lactivist Land and posted to this blog for discussion.

    • LibrarianSarah

      Can you not try to silence other women’s opinions with this “keep sweet” nonsense. It’s funny that in order for a man to be chastised for their “vitriol and rhetoric” (since when was rhetoric a bad thing) he would have to call all Mexican’s racists but a woman just has too point out that yes breasts are sexual without putting in a “I really don’t mean to offend anyone really” first.

      Women shouldn’t be allowed to have strong opinions and speak those opinions plainly. This idea that women always have to be “nice” to be listened too has been keeping us back for thousands of years and it’s time to put an end to it.

    • Who?

      You must really struggle with Alyssa Milano’s position if you ‘…struggle to respect anyone who lashes out so vemently (sic) against opinions which differ from their own.’

      • sdsures

        Including Sara’s own opinions.

    • Sue

      Sara – this article isn;t just about “lashing out” – it presents a rational discourse about the mother-whore dichotomy, and how it plays out in current society.

      Certainly the style reflects Dr Tuteur’s typical style in her blog, which is one that attracts many people here. This is an intelligent discourse. It analyses the language used in mass media, which adds to the creation of dysfunctional attitudes.

      If you don’t see the relevance, that;s fine, but it’s hardly just “opinionated rhetoric”. And even if it were, what;s wrong with that? This is a private person’s blog site, not an information site for an institution or academic body.

      If I were to land here for the first time today, I would think that the article and comments represent much more intelligent discussion than is generally found on blogs about childbirth and breastfeeding, and I’d likely stick around. As I have.

    • fiftyfifty1

      You call this “rage”? Well bless your heart. I think we need to get you some more time on the Emotions Recognition practice chart.

    • moto_librarian

      I vividly remember landing on this blog as a new mother desperately in need of guidance. Imagine how refreshing it was to see a doctor who actually gave a shit about my mental health and generally well-being, someone who told me that it was okay to take care of myself and my baby, that I wasn’t some failure because I found natural childbirth to be the biggest con job ever and was unable to breastfeed my son. Maybe you wouldn’t have liked Dr. Amy’s tone, but it was a godsend for me. When people are telling you that formula is poison, we need someone who will eviscerate their lies and tell it like it is. If you don’t like her tone, just leave.

  • guest

    Breasts are particularly sexual for me – it’s not even about men’s pleasure (though they obviously derive pleasure from breasts), but my own. And I am a pretty modest dresser by my own choice, but it really burns me when women try to say breasts aren’t sexual because they’re denying my experience. It’s the same thing when people react with vehement disgust to the fact that some women experience sexual stimulation from breastfeeding. It’s awkward, let me tell you, and I understand having difficulty reconciling that especially if you haven’t experienced. But is wasn’t perverted and I’m not a child molester because my body responds strongly to nipple stimulation. Breasts are both sexual and nutritionally. They are perhaps unique that way (I can’t think of anything else that serves that particular dual function!).

    • Rina

      The mouth!

  • Anna

    Thanks for this article Dr Tuteur.I am lucky enough to live in France where the Madonna-Whore dichotomy is mostly a thing from the past,but more and more breastfeeding moms around here are now being sanctimonous .As a mother of three boys who were all bottlefed,I have been told several times that I hadn t tried hard enough to breastfeed and I felt juged many times for not co-sleeping.
    I do consider my breasts sexual and think that any reason that a woman gives not to breastfeed is a good reason and not an excuse.
    Great article.

  • Gene
  • Glia

    The Mother-Whore dichotomy itself is deeply sexist and reflects lactivist discomfort with female sexuality. Mothers must be sexually neutered or else they are whores.

    Nailed. It. This kind of intolerance for nuance is the bane of my existence. In a sense, the lactivists are committing the same error as many of the people they are arguing against: the assumption that if something has a sexual function, all of its functions are then sexual. Arguing that breasts are not sexual is always going to be a failing strategy because people have, you know…experiences. It is pretty hard to convince a person that things they have experienced personally are not real. Its far more reasonable to argue that the sometimes-sexual nature of breasts doesn’t entitle the onlooker to impose a sexual narrative onto an individual mother’s breast in the context of her feeding her baby, because she has a right to determine its use herself. But I guess that is an argument based on the right of women to autonomy, sexual and otherwise, and “you have to because…um…Nature, yeah that’s it” is more compelling to some.

  • CSN0116

    Oh, shit. I’m a monogamous Whore and didn’t even know it!

    • sdsures

      It’s a great thing to be, isn’t it?

      So, everybody who chooses to FF or needs to FF is a Whore?

  • Amazed

    OT: Caroline Lovell’s mother has started a Facebook page about the need of homebirth reforms. Good on her but poor woman. Such a senseless loss! Just to think, she told them, she TOLD them she was dying but dumbass midwives had more important things to do than check her. Perhaps they were arranging for their own bathtub to celebrate this beautiful homebirth in?

    Those…

  • Brooke
    • YesYesNoNo

      HUH?

    • CSN0116

      Brooke, honey, you have a very simple mind. You want to be Big and Bad, but you’re not really capable of high-level critical thinking, which is what’s going on in Dr. T’s post. I’ve been on this blog for a short time, and I do not know these commenters, but they are clearly very highly educated. And if post-secondary education did not influence them, then they are extremely well-read and self-taught. They are intelligent, Brooke.

      Let me break it down for you,

      “Casting Milano, the white woman, as the Mother and Williams, the black woman, as the Whore is a grotesque racist trope. Eugenicists have long portrayed black (“primitive”) women as hypersexual and white women as civilized and demure.”

      “Eugenicists” considered white people, and their behaviors and traits, to be more desirable than the traits of others, particularly blacks. The Milano (hero) versus Williams (villain) epic battle we have going on here reinforces that antiquated notion.

      Stay with me…

      Why your one photo of a single, black woman hosting a virtual nurse-in does nothing to negate Dr. T’s statement is because Williams was put on display on national television. Then she was blasted on the national and international level, with wide-reaching audiences electronically stoning her.

      Your lone martyr has a mere three comments below her post (from the link you provided). Nobody knows her name. She is not reaching the masses.

      Furthermore, her single stunt cannot – in any way shape or form – undue the deeply-rooted, historical social stigma that continues to surround black women and their sexuality.

      But alas,

      The black woman nursing her child does *not* appear to be a racist, though I don’t know her. But your question never made sense in the first place.

      Dr. T was referring to the publicists, the producers, the network, and the editors as the racist actors in this case. You know, the people controlling mass media who are capable of influencing the masses.

    • Who?

      I would never click on a link of yours Brooke. If you want to continue your stellar work in promoting Dr T’s site, could you outline whatever position it is the protagonist(s) in the link are proposing?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      “What’s wanted?” asked one old giant in a low, grumbling voice.

      “We are strangers, and we wish to enter the city,” replied the Wizard.

      “Do you come in war or peace?” asked another.

      “In peace, of course,” retorted the Wizard, and he added impatiently,
      “Do we look like an army of conquest?”

    • DelphiniumFalcon

      Allow me to illustrate since you seem to have issues grasping written concepts.

  • Suzi Screendoor

    I wonder where the women who orgasm during birth fit into the mother-whore dichotomy?

    • Roadstergal

      I’m sure they consider that a pure, unwhoreish orgasm because it was not accomplished while sexually satisfying a man. Similar to Ina-Mae-induced laborgasms.

      Ugh.

  • LibrarianSarah

    Hmm as an infertile, asexual woman I always thought boobs are for making your shirts fit better.

    …What? I never said they were good at their job!

    • Roadstergal

      Mine are fired.

    • BeatriceC

      Yeah, they don’t do a very good job when you’re over a size C or so. Mine are G cups and I can’t wear fitted shirts without awkward gaps/pulling, depending on if they are button down or not.

      • Daleth

        Get your shirts from Bravissimo! You will never have that problem again.

      • LeighW

        Double-sided tape is a lifesaver

      • I gave up on fitted shirts. But then again, I can.

  • Carolina

    Can we reject the virgin-whore dichotomy but still agree that there’s zilch wrong with public breastfeeding (assuming the mother wants to nurse in public)? I find lactivists tiring, but I find Wendy’s statement that she doesn’t want to see public breastfeeding tiring too. My boobs are sexual for me and my husband and they are also how my infant get nutrition/comfort. I’ll give my baby the nutrition/comfort whenever and wherever he wants it. Why is that still hard for people?

    • Charybdis

      There is nothing wrong with public breastfeeding. It is the folks who wish to make it into performance art and/or a major PUBLIC STATEMENT about how women should use their breasts and how their babies should use those same breasts are where the issue lies.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        And there is the problem of criticizing those who DON’T want to public breastfeed.

        • Charybdis

          There is that too. Like there is something wrong with you if you don’t feel totally at ease whipping out a boob in the middle of the mall or in church or anywhere else, really.

          • nomofear

            Yes, and regardless of your baby’s feelings on things. I don’t personally feel comfortable out in plain view, but this second baby of mine has strict, conservative opinions, apparently. She will only nurse at home, in her room, with the door closed. We’re there now and the cat just meowed outside the door, which interrupted her for a good minute and a half. Occasionally she’ll take a boob in the very backseat of the van, but the conditions have to be just right. If there’s anything new and different to look at, or noises to hear, forget it.

      • Carolina

        But Wendy’s statement wasn’t about performance art or pushing people. She flat out said she didn’t want to see it. Meh. Maybe it’s my part of the country, but I’ve never seen anyone engaging in “stunt” breastfeeding. Of course, I’ve never heard of anyone I know experiencing any static for breastfeeding either. No one really seems to care for the most part.

        • Busbus

          I breast-fed in public, and I think it’s important to make sure women can breast-feed everywhere when they need to. However, I still think that people are entitled to their own feelings and opinions on the subject. Wendy said she doesn’t want to see it; she didn’t say that she was going to go up to a breast-feeding woman and harass her. Those are two very different things. Personally, I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible because I don’t like making other people feel uncomfortable. I wasn’t always successful, though—it can be really hard to keep everything under wraps.

          Really, I think the main thing is just not being a dick about it. If you don’t like to see a woman breast-feeding, just look away. If you are breast-feeding, keep in mind that not everyone is as comfortable with the subject as you probably are by now. That’s all. The end.

          • Charybdis

            Yes, exactly. There are plenty of things that I don’t agree with/don’t like to see, but that is just my personal opinion. I’m not a fan of breastfeeding in public, never have been, but I’m not going to try an stop anyone from doing so. I don’t really agree with the folks that have major face tattoos or are tattooed enough to rival a Yakuza member and the exotic facial piercings and the folks that have stretched their earlobes so that a semi truck can drive through the hole are odd. I mean, why do any of that to yourself? But, I keep my opinions to myself in, public and would never think about going up to someone in any or all of the aforementioned states and berating them about their bodily choices. I don’t have to approve, but I certainly don’t need to broadcast my disapproval of their choices. It is their life and I can simply look away.
            When did the world become so demanding that everybody must approve of everything everybody else does and if someone has a differing opinion, then they are being oppressed?

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      I don’t know if my experience was some sort of weird anomaly or what, but…I breast fed for 2 years including in public and only had one mumbled hostile comment about it. Maybe because I lived in NYC at the time and whatever it is you’re doing, New Yorkers have seen weirder? Was I simply too oblivious to notice that I was being shunned?

      • Bugsy

        I’m in the same boat, Computer. #1 was born in Florida, and #2 was born here in British Columbia. I’ve breastfed in a handful of states and provinces, and to boot in a variety of really awkward locations – think a Christmas lights hayride, the Lion King musical and a rush-hour commuter train leaving New York City – and have yet to receive a negative comment. I have no doubt that they do exist, but from my personal experience I don’t think it’s as prevalent as lactivists would like us to believe.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          As I’ve pointed out before, the problem with negative comments is that they are notable when the happen, and not when they don’t. So if 99 people don’t bother and 1 does, what do you notice? The one who does. Despite the fact that 99% of the people didn’t have a problem with it.

          So what fraction of the population actually has a problem with breastfeeding in public? I don’t know, and of course, you always want it to be as minimal as possible, but statistics tell you it doesn’t need to be large to be notable. I mean, it could be 1 in 1000 overall (with pockets of concentration here and there) as far as we know.

          • Rina

            I only once got told to stop “doing that” (breastfeeding, albeit of the discreet variety where you couldn’t even see my breasts unless you lifted my top). It was by two policemen while I was (outside) on the grounds of Windsor Castle in England. Imagine if the Queen had seen it!!!

          • Squillo

            Funny, because if the most recent biography is accurate, the Queen breastfed her children, at least in part.

    • Squillo

      Agree. If it’s a place that’s appropriate for infants, bf should be fine. The corollary is, if I wouldn’t stand in the middle of the room-path-street eating my own lunch “to make a statement,” I shouldn’t bf my baby that way.

  • pandapanda

    Then why does my husband giving physical attention to my breasts turn me on, if they are not sexual organs? Sorry, my fun bags (I love that term!) are sexual and I enjoy them being used as such.

    And I guess I am a Whore because I both chose a C-Section because I am a very small woman and did not want to tear down there and/or possibly have pelvic floor issues however “minor” they might be, and formula because I wanted my body back for when we might have 10 minutes of energy for a quickie and not to drench my husband when he decided to play with my fun bags. I quite enjoy sex, and I refuse to let people shame me into feeling guilty about it.

    • YesYesNoNo

      🙂

    • DelphiniumFalcon

      More people on this board need to play video games. Mass Effect specifically.

      Overheard after a guy tells a female squadmate she can’t come on their guy’s night out. Because she’s a woman.

      Mel: I’m a woman? Holy crap, I’m a woman! Where did these tits come from?
      Marine: Mel, listen…
      Mel: Were they cloaked? Are they infiltrator tits? Could there be more of them hiding?
      Marine: Nobody is denying that you’re a great soldier.
      Mel: What is this, my damn eulogy? Shut up and buy me a drink!
      Marine: The guys came here to, you know, be guys. And they don’t think they can do that with you here.
      Mel: Why not? Wait, are you guys gonna get bare-assed? Do you need me to get bare-assed?
      Marine: What? No! God, no.

      Mel: Wait, is this cause you all secretly want to nail me? Well, secretly except for Richards. He wrote poetry.
      Marine: No, nobody wants to… poetry?
      Mel: Well, it didn’t rhyme, but I think it was a prose poem. Or else he was hammered and messed up his punctuation.
      Marine: No, listen, it’s not like that…
      Mel: So am I one of the guys or not?
      Marine: Mel, you are totally one of the guys.
      Mel: So buy me a damn drink, dumbass. And let’s find some dancers. Perky ones.
      Marine: All right, deal. And later on, we’re gonna kick Richards’ ass.
      Mel: Damn, I love shore leave.

      ————-

      And when one of your alien squadmates meets her “father” for the first time. Liara is your squadmate and is part of a monogendered species that can mate with any species because it’s actually a highly modified form of parthenogenesis and connect mentally with their partner to randomize one set of genes. It’s basically a long explanation for Space Lesbians. Or Space Pansexuals? I don’t know. They look like well endowed women.

      Aethyta: It was pretty clear she (Liara’s mother) was leaving. Can’t be the wise counselor when you’re married.
      Liara: Why not?
      Aethyta: Sex appeal. Most species only pay attention if they want to have sex with you. So you have to be available, mysterious…
      Liara: What? That’s not true! Shepard listens to me!
      Aethyta: And how many times have you popped his thermal clip?
      Liara: Do you have to make it sound so… tawdry?
      Aethyta: If it’s all civilized, you’re not doing it right.

      We should also make a list of all the boob words we know. Puns included.

      • AirPlant

        FemShep is the one true shep.

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          Amen!

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        We should also make a list of all the boob words we know. Puns included.

        From Steve Martin

        And I believe it’s derogatory to refer to a woman’s breasts as “boobs”, “jugs”, “winnebagos” or “golden bozos”.. and that you should only refer to them as “hooters”.

      • BeatriceC

        “We should also make a list of all the boob words we know. Puns included.”

        Some time ago some people I know were teaching a sex and sexuality class through their church. The very first assignment they gave was for the kids to write down all of the nicknames/pet names/slang terms for genitalia. When the list was compiled it was over 5 pages long. I imagine the list of terms for breasts might be almost as long.

        • Charybdis

          Ooh! I wanna play! I’ve got the following:
          boobs, boobies, jugs, titties, breasticles, hooties, ta-tas, man-bait, and chi-chis.

          • DelphiniumFalcon

            I offer my favorite visual pun:

          • MLE

            That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen

          • Roadstergal

            Guys are always staring at boobies.

        • LaMont

          Omg this is reminding me of a great running joke I had with a few nerd-friends: “Shakespeare comedies, where half the words mean penis. The other half mean vagina.”

        • sdsures

          We had a sex toy party once at university. I was the only one who could get the clue right in the crossword puzzle for “Grafenberg Spot”. I just blurted it out after seeing how many letters there were.

          The other girls in the dorm stared at me like I was about to explode.

          • demodocus

            damn. I had a quiet academic career…

          • sdsures

            Oh, so did I. I was dragged to the party.

          • sdsures

            LOL

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Then why does my husband giving physical attention to my breasts turn me on, if they are not sexual organs?

      Sometimes, with my wife, the well-timed boob action is what puts her over the top for an orgasm.

      Actually, it has been moreso that way since the kids were born and after she finished breastfeeding. Before kids, not as much.

      • BeatriceC

        Funny how breast sensitivity changes. Mine went numb after nursing my babies. It bothered me so much I actually pierced my nipples in an effort to add sensation, as I missed that part of play time. It worked. Well, it worked until I was attempting to take a shower while on pain meds, slipped and ripped one of them out. Thankfully the meds that caused the lack of stability also killed the pain, so I didn’t really feel it. Ever since then that one nipple has been painfully sensitive. MrC knows he can only play with the other one.

        • The Computer Ate My Nym

          My sympathies. Ouch!

        • Kerlyssa

          oh dear god no. no. noooooooo

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            What’s the old joke?

            What’s the 2nd most stupid thing you’ve ever done: gotten a nipple pierced
            What’s the stupidest thing you’ve done? Piercing the second one

        • sdsures

          Owwww!

      • nomofear

        Same here. I did not like boob play pre-breastfeeding. After, bring it on.

      • pandapanda

        Since I didn’t breastfeed, and my boobs never engorged (had planned not to breastfeed and I guess the boobs listened, or the fun bags are faulty) I wouldn’t know if there was a difference.

    • After all, how do people think the kids get here? Storks?

  • monojo

    BRAVA!!! 100% spot on.

  • Sarah
  • AirPlant

    This is incredibly shallow, but I can’t be the only one who thinks that Alyssa Milano’s boob selfies are consistently smug looking. I can’t figure out if that is just her face, or my aversion to closed lip smiles, but all I can see when I look at her is “SmugSmugBetterMotherThanYouSmug”. Meg Nagle has the same thing going on and it just makes my skin crawl. I don’t even care about the boob in the photo, just try for a facial expression that doesn’t make me want to punch you.

    • YesYesNoNo

      I agree

  • yentavegan

    What a manufactured non-existent controversy! Wendy Williams is a talk show host. She is not a go to resource for anything maternal. Alyssa Milano is a middle aged white wealthy mother. They are both exploiting this kerfuffle to advance their careers.

    • Kamill

      Italians aren’t white. They’re Middle Eastern.

  • meglo91

    I agree and disagree with things both women said. I agree with Williams that breasts are sexual, as they so clearly are. But I agree with Milano that women should be able to breastfeed in public without getting any flack for it. They shouldn’t have to breastfeed in private or hide or anything. As a society we should accept that breasts are dual-function body parts and should allow mothers — and other women — to make their own decisions as to whether they want to expose their breasts, whether for breastfeeding or for any other reason.

    • monojo

      I agree: Wendy Williams has the right to think of her breasts as fun bags and Alyssa Milano has the right to think of her breasts as feeding tubes, but neither has the right to tell anyone else how they should think of or what they should do with their own breasts.

      I do think that Alyssa takes it into giant eyeroll territory when she says that society can somehow dictate our erogenous zones.

    • Carolina

      Exactly. They are both moronic here.

    • sdsures

      Men also have breasts – just with less fatty tissue and much smaller mammary glands. Men have been known to lactate.

  • Bugsy

    Bravo, bravo.

  • Gatita

    But that’s not the only ugly stereotype at play in this confrontation. Casting Milano, the white woman, as the Mother and Williams, the black woman, as the Whore is a grotesque racist trope. Eugenicists have long portrayed black (“primitive”) women as hypersexual and white women as civilized and demure. Lactivists consciously or unconsciously reinforce those stereotypes in publicizing the confrontation.

    Thanks for calling out this bullshit.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Wait a minute. Alyssa Milano claims that breasts aren’t sexual? She apparently hasn’t been watching her own movies.

    OK, Embrace of the Vampire was her first nude scene, so she can claim that the movie does not reflect her personal views. However, I read that after that, she insisted on a nudity clause in her contract and controls all her nude scenes. Given that, how can she explain Poison Ivy 2? Again, involvement of the breasts in a sex scene.

    For pete’s sake, Alyssa Milano is the queen of celebrity nude pictures, and it’s all about showing off her boobs. She is completely exploiting the sexual nature of them.

    • Roadstergal

      Hey, I don’t know about you, but I watched Poison Ivy 2 just for feeding tips.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Watching Poison Ivy 2 is not something I would even joke about doing.

        • Roadstergal

          Given the title, I had naively assumed it would be a goofy Batman-villain-spinoff, a la Catwoman…

    • YesYesNoNo

      I may be mistaken, but I believe Milano had gotten implants at some point in her life?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        That’s what it says on the internet

        • YesYesNoNo

          I haven’t looked it up, I remember hearing about it during mid 90’s. I will ask my brother in law; he has a collection of her topless photos from when her breasts were “sexual.” He met her a few years back, she’s got a clothing line, said she was a BIG B!TCH.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            And then she had to work with Shannon Doherty in Charmed.

    • pandapanda

      She’s like all those Sanctimommies who do a 180 once having a baby. Normal women who pregnancy apparently turns them crazy. I know several women who were perfectly normal until they got pregnant and turned into crusaders against anything “unnatural.”

  • Madtowngirl

    Thanks for this. It has always bothered me when the very same people who dressed to flaunt their breasts to attract sexual partners scream about how breasts aren’t sexual. I also saw a video clip of the Milano-Williams exchange, and I really didn’t think Williams said anything all that inflammatory.

    Can’t breasts be both for feeding infants and sexual pleasure? The vagina is a source of sexual pleasure. It’s also a place where waste is expelled from the body, and a place that babies enter the world. Some people find the buttocks sexy, but it certainly has non-sexual function. If you want to get into squick territory, there are people who like to “breastfeed” (not children) for sexual pleasure.

  • AirPlant

    What I honestly have trouble with is the juxtaposition of it being OK to breastfeed practically topless but a bit of cleavage makes you an irredeemable ho. If breasts are not sexual what is the problem with them being seen in public sans baby?

    • Zornorph

      Janet Jackson should have said she was getting ready to breastfeed at the end of that notorious halftime show.

      • AirPlant

        She heard a crying baby and instinct took over.

      • Madtowngirl

        This comment made my day.

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        Please accept this award.

      • Sue

        yessss!

  • namaste863

    “Biologically they’re not made for sexual things, that’s what we’ve done to them.”

    Actually, I agree with this, to an extent. There are cultures out there, certain African cultures for example, where breasts are not part of the body to be covered. Now, here’s my question; Why is breasts as “Sexual things” a problem? If women derive sexual pleasure from breasts, good for them! Enjoy!

    • demodocus

      Just because something’s in view all the time doesn’t mean it doesn’t have sexual overtones. That’s why very conservative women cover their hair.

      • namaste863

        True enough. And if it has sexual overtones, great, have fun!

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          “Vegetables can be very sensuous, don’t you think?”
          https://youtu.be/p9ZjOCSLYlc

          • namaste863

            *Strokes chin* veeeeeeehhhhry eeeenteereshtink! *puffs cigar*

    • guest

      Okay, but you know the neck is an erogenous zone as well, at least for some people. I mean, hickeys happen for a reason. But afaik, there is no culture that considers bare necks whorish.

      • attitude devant

        Actually, there is. The nape of the neck is very sexualized in traditional Japanese culture. Geishas wear their kimono low on the neck for that reason and there is a patch of skin there kept bare of makeup to accentuate it. Go figure.

        Also, I think it’s part of the point of the hijab in Arab culture. Pretty much anything can be eroticized. That’s part of the fun of being human. But I’m a Whore; what do I know?

      • Gatita

        Then why do abayas and niqābs exist?

  • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

    You’ve articulated what bothers me about the “free the nipple” movement. Why do breasts need to be desexualized? Is this the *real* problem? That idea actually makes me sad; I like that my boyfriend finds my breasts sexual.

    • LaMont

      Well I think it’s symptomatic of a pretty big and real problem actually, that women’s bodies are seen as inherently more sexual than men’s bodies. Bodies can be used sexually or not at each person’s individual discretion, but when out in public minding one’s own business, the idea that a woman’s hair/breasts/legs/arms/whatever are *inherently* an invitation to sexual action or behavior while a man’s corresponding part isn’t is a *huge* problem. Hell a woman showing her *face* is often seen as an invitation to comment on her sexual appeal while a man is just, you know, a person with a face. Big problem. *Not* a problem that a boyfriend finds you sexual, or even that people out there might find you or some woman on the street attractive, but that ought not be the first and only deduction people make about women on sight.

      • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

        I can’t say I disagree with any of that. I haven’t seen the movie (actually didn’t even realize there was one) and am going off of what I’ve read online about the movement. And what I’ve seen is the focus is on breasts, and “desexualizing” them, whatever that means. It makes more sense to me to focus on things like you stated above, women even EXISTING in public is often seen as an invitation to a sexual approach from men. I guess what I think is that the problem is way bigger than breasts, and trying to “desexualize” breasts is only treating a symptom of a larger issue.

        • Roadstergal

          I would like to be respected without being desexualized. I suppose that’s the issue – sexualization is seen as objectification and subjugation.

          • Amy M

            Sexualized is fine, as long as you are the one sexualizing your body/parts. Basic bodily autonomy should be a human right, but, depending on culture, women aren’t necessarily granted that right. The lactivists insisting on breasts being only for feeding are still trying to control women’s bodies, by reducing them to milk machines. They are also trying to control women’s minds, because they want the women to believe that breasts are never sexual.

          • Roadstergal

            Good point. The solution to the subjugation of sexualization is not to substitute a different subjugation.

          • Mishimoo

            I think it’s an entitlement issue – “You have parts I like; I am therefore entitled to comment on their existence, demand your time/attention, demand access to your body, and be angry if you aren’t interested in what I have to offer.”

        • LaMont

          Oh totally! The idea that we should say “using your body sexually with your chosen partners, as you like, is part of the PATRIARCHY and breasts aren’t for FUN” is very wrong. But “free the nipple” I think is part of the “let women live in public the way men do” mentality and I can get behind it for that reason. Basically, we ought to put an individual’s sexuality in their own hands (and other parts! ha see what I did… I’ll show myself out).

      • Dr Kitty

        I think we can all agree that seeing some* men shirtless will be more sexually attractive than seeing the same men wearing shirts.
        But they still get to go shirtless if they want to. That is the issue.
        Not whether nipples and breasts are or aren’t sexual, but whether women should have to cover up in a way that men don’t.
        This is based on the assumption that straight men cannot control their behaviour and so women have to dress in ways that won’t “cause” them to act out, while women (and apparently gay men) can control themselves, so men can wear whatever they wish without “asking for it”.

        * YMMV as to which men exactly that might be…

      • Sue

        “women’s bodies are seen as inherently more sexual than men’s bodies”

        And yet, penises can be used for both urination and sexual functions. See – men can multi-task too.

        • BeatriceC

          And on the theme others have brought up here, there are those who are into “watersports”. Be careful if you google that term.

          • Charybdis

            Definitely. Not for the naive.

  • Zornorph

    I really don’t know why it has to be either/or. As a guy, I’m certainly into boobs – how can this be surprising? Dolly Parton made a career out of hers. Mind you, had I had children the conventional way, I wouldn’t have demanded that my wife give up breastfeeding sooner than she wanted so I could ‘have them back’ or something like that. But there is even both pregnant and lactating porn – where does that fit on the Madonna/whore chart?
    I don’t have strong feelings about public BFing. I don’t think people need to cover their babies heads or anything. It doesn’t take much to be discrete – just in the way you sit or face people, that can make a world of difference. It’s women who go out of their way to make a show of it and then dare people to say something that I roll my eyes at. By the same token, I would also roll my eyes at somebody who got the vapors because a woman was discreetly breastfeeding in public.

    • LaMont

      Amen! I do take some issue with the “ugh go breastfeed in private” dictum – if you’re not comfortable breastfeeding in public don’t do it, but maybe as a city dweller I’m used to just *ignoring* stuff that doesn’t interest or offends me. Just ignore it if you feel so strongly! Men’s chests can be visually appealing/prurient but nobody blinks when guys go out running shirtless! I feel strongly about this. Sexual or not, there are things you let roll off you.

      As for telling people what is or is not sexual, that seems like an uphill battle. Rule 34 and all that. Meanwhile now I feel weird b/c second base never really does it for me and I find it a little weird that guys are so into it. But hey, so long as I get what I want too, I’m fine!

      • Bugsy

        “Sexual or not, there are things you let roll off you.” Very nicely said. This is something that troubled me about my friend who descended into the all-natural abyss – everything was seen as a battle. As she adopted the mantra, I noticed that she perceived her role as mother to fend off every innocuous comment and to fight against every aspect of the outside world whose very existence she had come to believe would do her family harm. There was no such thing as letting anything roll off of her; everything was the sign of an emotional or physical attack on her lifestyle.

        • AirPlant

          That just sounds EXHAUSTING.

          • Bugsy

            I imagine it was for her – it was for me just to listen to it. She didn’t seem truly happy the last few years, just intent on fending off life.

        • LaMont

          Best thing about living in a city, I say, is the “your own business” mentality. If someone wants to dress super sexily, or is attractive to me, or dresses hilariously/stupidly by my standards, that is not my business. Now if someone does attack me or tell me that I’m doing stuff wrong without jurisdiction, I’ll… well I’ll usually just roll my eyes. They’re the one breaking the social contract at that point…

        • DelphiniumFalcon

          Sounds like someone needs to listen to the Frozen Soundtrack again!

          Seriously. The “how about you worry about you and yours and I’ll worry about me and mine” is so much less energy. Assigning yourself as the thought police has to just suck.

      • Blue Chocobo

        I blink a lot when men run shirtless. Like, a LOT. 🙂

        • BeatriceC

          MrC occasionally wanders around the house shirtless. I approve of this action. A lot. Really a lot. The Evil Attack Parrot doesn’t like it so much, but he can go stuff it.

          Also, when I lived in Miami, I was always first in line to buy the yearly Fire-Rescue calendar. 12 months of smoking hot firefighters half naked is a good thing.