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Why are breasts so attractive? After all, they’re just fat and mammary tissue. Is it a psychological thing to do with breastfeeding as infants?(r/askscience)
First off, I’d like to point out that as a primarily psychological topic that it is difficult, if not impossible, to differentiate whether or not breasts are attractive based on evolutionary biological impulses or cultural, sociological constructs. At this point no one in the primary literature (that I know of) agrees that breasts are ~~objectively~~ universally attractive among humans.
From a biological perspective:
Men spent more time looking at breasts than any other portion of female bodies in a University of Wellington eye fixation test. However, this does not provide unambiguous proof for the theory that breasts are indicative of fertility because, as the researchers themselves state, “Men may be looking more often at the breasts because they are simply aesthetically pleasing, regardless of the size.”
From a sociological perspective:
Men who tend to engage in short-term, low-commitment relationships are more attracted to large breast sizes than men who tend to engage in long-term relationships with high emotional commitment. If the evolutionary psychologists in this thread are correct (i.e. large breasts are intrinsically attractive), then in light of this study, shouldn’t large breast sizes been selected against?
Attraction to breasts is varied across cultures, with some preferring small, pointed breasts, some preferring larger breasts, and some where breasts are not seen as secondary sexual characteristics at all (Namibia amongst them, if I recall correctly).. (I own the book, can’t find an online version, sorry). Breast fetishim has been called an exclusively American/Western modern phenomenon, not a biological fact.