Why breasts are fascinating

Have you ever wondered why women’s breasts are so fascinating? If so, here’s your answer: they’re like buttocks with eyes.

Now here’s your explanation. The first part basically recapitulates a common hypothesis:

  • Much of evolution results from random genetic mutations that help individuals within a species to reproduce more than other individuals. Survival doesn’t matter unless it helps an individual to procreate. Human breasts are considerably larger than those of other apes, and this size does not seem to improve women’s health (i.e., survival). If anything, large breasts stress the rest of the body. So some researchers have looked for reasons that large breasts would increase reproduction.
  • Other apes favor rear-entry sex (although not exclusively) so our common ancestor probably did, too. As a result, things that look like buttocks might trigger a genetically inherited association with sex. A genetic mutation that made breasts fuller would trigger this desire, too.
  • This mutation would have more effect among human ancestors than among other apes, because human ancestors spent more time upright, with chests fully exposed. Also, as the only ape with exposed “whites” of the eyes, humans are particularly oriented to others’ eyes. So, being near the face, buttock-like breasts would be particularly noticeable to us.

Here is where my Nobel-laureate-level insight takes place:

  • Most human breasts have pronounced differences in darkness between the areola/nipple and the rest of the breast. This is especially visible among humans because of our relative hairlessness, compared to other apes.
  • Excluding the occasional pimple, buttocks don’t share this feature, so why would breasts? Watch enough videos of breastfeeding apes, and you’ll know that it’s not to help an infant find the nipple. The answer: the areola/nipple complex mimics eyes, much as breasts mimic buttocks. Ta da! What could be more fascinating?

If this sort of specualtion strikes you as hooey, I suggest that you not dedicate your life to evolutionary psychology or sociobiology. Otherwise, the next time you see breasts, think, “buttocks with eyes.”

P.S. Actually, we could jettison the whole buttocks bullocks and retain my MacArthur Fellowship-deserving insight. After all, many women have quite flat chests.


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