Do we really want breasts to be non-sexual?

St. Jones River, Dover, De.  We paddled up the St. Jones River into Silver Lake park and behind the state capitol building.  Delaware code criminalizes female breast exposure.  Summer 2015
St. Jones River, Dover, De. We paddled up the St. Jones River into Silver Lake park and behind the state capitol building. Delaware code criminalizes female breast exposure. Summer 2015

I believe the argument that many gender equality and topfreedom advocates use, that breasts should not be sexual, is deeply terrifying to many men and women and forms a barrier to normalizing breast exposure.

Both genders use the breasts of both genders to assess physical attractiveness (which can be translated as sexual worth.)  It is disingenuous to say breasts are not ever sexual.  They are one of the defining features of the physique.

One of the most erotic things I have ever seen was a family of Indian women, without men present, performing a “hand dance” together, in which they simply moved their hands rhythmically, with deadpan facial expressions.

Every body part has sexual and non-sexual functions.

My blog is about normalizing the sight of female breasts.  Part of that is understanding what breasts mean to people of both genders and then bringing that understanding forth in your demeanor when appearing bare-chested in public.

I think it’s fair to say that most men, straight or gay, enjoy the sight of female breasts.  Mature males understand that female capability and attractiveness are not linked, except perhaps in the nebulous sense that confidence in one arena begets confidence in another.  An immature male (of any age) will reduce a woman to only those parts of her body that please him and associate her ability to please him sexually in some way with her ability to perform other functions.  If that immature man has power, (employer, teacher, father, spouse, police officer, politician) then it becomes a real and urgent problem.

One of the arguments that topfreedom fighters employ, understandably, is to say that since breasts are viewed as sexual, and since sexual bias limits women or makes them targets of predation, breasts should be made non-sexual.  They are for feeding babies, the argument goes, not for pleasing men.

Yes, but no.

My argument is that the woman who owns them gets to decide what they are for and when, and that men can develop the maturity to both enjoy the sight of breasts and not then reduce the owner of those breasts to simply those breasts.  The women and men with whom I choose to associate understand that beauty can be found in all elements of a woman’s existence.

I say this to emphasize that there is a difference between my opinions and my tactics.

Tactically speaking, it is important to understand that women have for all eternity used breasts to attract sexual partners (male or female).  I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s real and we have to acknowledge it to move forward in our goal of normalizing the sight of bare breasts.  The thought of removing breasts from the arsenal of tools women can use to attract a mate is going to terrify some women.

When I am walking bare-chested, I see this play out in the reactions of attractive, provocatively dressed women.  Life to them, as I interpret it, is a constant battle to either attract a mate or to protect the mate they have from being drawn away by a more attractive female.

They often see me coming from a distance and experience an instant conflict.  They want to assess my threat level while also looking at the man beside them to see what his reaction is.  Are they losing him?  What do they have to do to regain his attention?  And they do this fascinating move, which is to turn their head toward their man, but their eyes toward me, which has the effect of exposing the whites of the eyes (mid-brain!)

Then, and this is almost universal, their expression turns from the hitherto attempted and failed deadpan to a specific type of anger, which is, “You bitch.  I have to do that to compete now?”

Pause here to ponder the incredible poignancy of the women who have mastectomies and struggle with body image and sexual confidence, and celebrate the strength of the women who find peace.

For the purposes of my blog, which is to empower women venturing forth bare-chested, it is important to understand people’s feelings on breasts and honor them.

This means, from a practical standpoint, reducing the mid-brain fear reactions people have about bare-chested women.  Announcing to the world that we are going to show you so many breasts that breasts become non-sexual is asking for a collective panic attack from both genders.

In the guerilla warfare sense of it all, go ahead!  Show the world so many breasts that it becomes desensitized, just don’t announce that!  Simply go out and do it, quietly, relentlessly, unapologetically until it becomes normal.

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11 thoughts on “Do we really want breasts to be non-sexual?

  1. I’m sure I’ll always find breasts attractive, but context matters a lot. A breast that’s feeding a baby is a lot different from one that’s being used to titillate. My friends’ breasts when we’re skinny dipping are a lot less sexualized than my partner’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I find breasts attractive too. But then I find hair and faces and hands attractive as well. Proving your point, which is that body parts can be used for sexual and non-sexual purposes according to circumstance and context. It’s no harder to understand when a breast is serving a sexual role as it is for a hand or mouth.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As a man (resident in UK, where stupid prudery seems to be increasing) I too very much like seeing women’s breasts, so I am with you in wanting to make their exposure in public normal. However, that is not my main reason for wishing you well in your campaign. I strongly support the view of John Stuart Mill that people should be free to do anything they like provided it does not significantly and adversely affect anyone else without their permission. That means that anyone should be free to wear what they like, where they like when they like, and further that sexual activities between consenting adults are nobody’s business but the participants, again, anywhere and at any time.

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  3. I so do appreciate MS Covingtons’ efforts in going through all of this.
    I’ve had the hardest time trying to find a venue to write to her as I’m not
    on Blog, Facebook, or any of that other stuff. I can barely handle e-mail.
    SO, I limit myself to just that. She seems like such a sharp lady and do
    hope to talk with her someday. NO, I’m not after young flesh; far from it.
    It’s hard to comment when you’re a 64 year old male, who’s supported this
    all his life. So please, do know that I mean absolutely no disrespect or
    anything improper here. I so deeply admire her guts, determination, and
    energy in all of this. Please let her know that…Thank You so very much..G

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    1. Thank you for this kind and supportive message, Gene. And you’ve reached me! 🙂 I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog and to make your comment. Hopefully someday it won’t require guts and determination for women to feel comfortable in our bodies. Until then… onward! Be well.

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  4. Very well written, Thank you and others for your ground-breaking work.. I think desensitizing the visual breasts to immature males would be beneficial to society and the interrelationships of males and females. Breasts are a beautiful creation God gave women to enable them to continue their wonderful creation of another human. I also say this because two immature males gave my wife chemicals in the hospital. They assaulted her. It destroyed her brain. She no longer knew me. I cared for my Dear Wife and my Love for over a decade until she died recently. They, who did this terrible destruction for a few minutes of animal pleasure, are free probably hurting others. Now, I have to live the rest of my life alone and in pain from her loss.

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    1. Thank you for visiting my blog, Lou. I’m so sorry to hear this. I don’t really know what I could say that would comfort you except that I am working as hard as I can to change the way people view autonomy, consent and sexual assault. I wish you only peace, and appreciate the time you took to read and write to me. Be well. C

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      1. Dear “C” thanks for your words of consolation. Unfortunately, it will be many years before the Male Mentality changes, and most Males are able to appreciate and respect the generally smaller, more vulnerable, more beautiful, and more gifted human that Women are compared to Men. If you or others need an Escort or Protection while doing your special desensitizing work for your Blog, please contact me. I am located in the New England area. I think that this effort will take time, and results will take many years with risks of condemnation from religious and conservative groups, those who are ignorant, and those enforcing antiquated laws that are discriminatory against Women.

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  5. Very good Blog, I agree with you, A woman makes her own choices. If her choice is to be topfree, I don’t have the right to tell her to cover up. Women’s breast are pretty to look at, but so is a woman’s face, or hair, or shape, maybe in a generation or so top free women will be common.

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