Social Question

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Males only please...Is this a cultural influenced reaction or instinct?

Asked by Pied_Pfeffer (28137points) May 23rd, 2011
92 responses
“Great Question” (9points)

Fluther women: Please refrain from responding. I am only interested in the male perspective.

Fluther men: There have been many questions posted that pertain to women going bra-less. It often sparks responses by men that they look and cannot help it. The same applies when it is a woman in a low-cut top.

Is this reaction an instinct or is it conditioned? If you have ever lived in a nudist colony, in a place where women do not wear bras or go topless, or if you are gay, I would love to hear your opinion, but am open to any man’s perspective.

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incendiary_dan's avatar

It doesn’t happen to all men in our species, and particularly is not common among cultures that are (arguably) living in the way we’re best adapted for. Therefore, it must be a part of cultural conditioning.

And besides this comment, I doubt I really want to engage further, considering the reactions I’ve received for using logic to approach this question elsewhere.

ucme's avatar

Pure unadulterated instinct. Roughly translated to, i’m a dirty bastard!

wundayatta's avatar

I’ve done it in places where everyone was nude. Of course me being me, I didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, so I didn’t really look. But I wanted to. Ok, so that says I can help it. But I don’t want to. I wish it were more acceptable and that women were cooler with it. There are some women who seem to enjoy having their boobs stared at, but they all seem to be writers on blogs or something.

I think the reaction is instinctual. In the summertime on campus, the women are all walking around with low cut tops and plenty of cleavage showing. I hardly want to look at any faces. Not that it matters. I don’t know any of these girls and never will. And even if I did, there’s nothing that could happen other than an insipid conversation with an 18 year old.

All in all, I prefer to stay hidden in my office where there is precious little student traffic.

Blackberry's avatar

I would say it’s both, it’s seems inaccurate to say it’s only one or the other, but I don’t know which is more cultural and which is more instinct. I’ve only walked through nudist areas, and those men obviously don’t care about omgboobs, so maybe it’s more cultural. Those guys are sitting around naked having conversations like you would at a coffee shop. I can’t determine if these same men would immediately stare at a woman stripping at a grocery store, but I’m sure most men would look just to assess and gain that stimuli.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I think it’s instinct. I still remember the first braless women I saw, and I think I was about ten years old. I can tell you where I was, which side of the street she was on, and how good she looked in that tight white t shirt.

tedd's avatar

Its reactive/reflexive instinct to glance at something, like cleavage or breasts in passing.

Its conditioned behavior to stare/glare at breasts being fully aware of what your’e doing.

(sidenote, thanks for asking this, I was debating doing it myself… but that other thread was getting pretty heated)

WasCy's avatar

Story time.

Once when I was much younger I was with a group of other young men and women at a beach in Florida. We had all gone together as part of a group outing, with no particular pairings in mind. We had footballs and Frisbees™ and other beach toys and paraphernalia, and some people were simply sunning or drinking and resting.

One lovely young woman and I started tossing a Frisbee. She was a gorgeous honey blonde, very athletic, but also very well proportioned, and she was wearing a knockout bikini. It was very difficult to watch her move and not watch specific parts of her move. I noticed especially when she would leap to catch a toss over her head, because at those times she would not have her eyes on me.

I got the idea that because her upper body was, let’s say, “challenging the confines” of the bikini top, that if I got something to add to the challenge, then it might be overcome. In other words, I wanted to see her pop out of that thing. So I maneuvered my tosses to be closer and closer to the water, until she was catching my tosses in water about up to her knees, and facing the beach instead of facing the water. The waves rolled in behind her, but they weren’t big or dangerous.

At a particularly opportune time, I made a toss in which all of the forces aligned: she had to leap upwards and backwards, and a larger than usual wave hit her from behind as she was coming down, and she landed in the wave as it crashed over her shoulders. It had the desired effect, and those puppies – those wonderful, beautiful, playful puppies – popped free of her top. And I couldn’t look.

I was forced by some innate vestige of chivalry (I know, I know. Me, chivalrous? Who knew? Where did that ever come from?) to turn away in modesty while she quickly stuffed them back in her top. We quit playing and she lay in the sun for awhile to dry off.

I got my reward a week later, and she confessed to me in bed that her aim had been exactly the same as mine, and part of the reason for the reward was – that I had been so decent about my reaction.

It only sounds like a fairy tale. You really had to be there. But I’m glad you weren’t.

tedd's avatar

@WasCy Yah I still look away when girls change in my vicinity. Not that it really happens all that often. But I remember a few years back while in college I was in my g/f of the times dorm, which she shared with two other girls. I was pretty good friends with the room mates and was there often enough that they didn’t bother going to the bathroom or asking me to leave if they were changing a shirt or something. Instinctively thanks to how I was raised, I would turn away or close my eyes anyways… to the point of them making fun of me and saying they were done so I would turn back to see them in their underwear.

Cruiser's avatar

IMO it is clearly a conditioned response. My entire life I was exposed to bra commericals on TV, Playboy, Hooters, Miss America pageants, even Barbie dolls with their augmented out of proportion boobs. It all starts when you are a child you are taught to keep your hands off them…do not touch…which they then become the forbidden fruit. Then as your become a pre-teen you see your sisters and classmates “sprouting” boobies. Then when you start dating and you finally get to second base these boobies become very special. Why? Because I was conditioned that these breast are something special…I was conditioned that breasts were just not feeding devices for babies, I was conditioned that they were to be looked at thanks to years of women wearing fancy bras, even stuffing them to make their boobs look bigger so you almost have no choice but to look at them. Then there are the outfits or lack there of women wear to draw even more attention to their boobies. So it is no fault of my own that I look at boobs….I was conditioned to look at them and I am only doing my job.

mazingerz88's avatar

It’s both. Also, it’s because we don’t have boobs like yours.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@WasCy So what are you saying? Is it instinct or culture? Don’t make me flag your response.

downtide's avatar

If I count as male… I can’t help looking, although I don’t particularly like the bra-less look. (As a child my next-door neighbour wasa middle aged woman who never wore a bra, and what used to be something like DDD-cups hung like a pair of empty sacks at her waist. Horrible).

I don’t think it’s instinct, otherwise we’d think “food” not “sex”. My vote is for culturally-conditioned.

6rant6's avatar

Is instinct or conditioning that we stare at a moon rise, or at a fresh fallen field of snow? They’re beautiful. They touch something inside us. I say it’s in our genetic coding.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No reason to limit it to just men ‘cause many of us love breasts in a sexual way. Or is it only men who love them in a sexual way instinctively and all of us queers learned to love them?

blueiiznh's avatar

for me its neither.
It’s curiosity and appreciation of it. Add the sensuality of it and it works for me.

YoBob's avatar

It’s both and neither.

It is both in the sense that our basic instinct is to admire the feminine form and we have been conditioned to view boobs as a particularly powerful visual queue. However, I also believe there is more to it than either of those individual factors.

We look at boobs for the same reason we look at anything else that strikes our fancy. (Please don’t misinterpret the following analogy as a misogynistic objectification of women, it is an analogy and nothing more) It’s rather the same thing as taking a good long stair at that immaculately restored classic car that you happen to see driving down the street. Yes, part of why you take a good long look at said vehicle is because you are culturally conditioned to view such a ride as “way cool”. Another component of why you look is because most of us instinctively appreciate beauty. However, the real reason we take a good look at the classic car is the same reason we take a good look at a nice bra less “rack”.... because we find them to be appealing on many levels.

rebbel's avatar


_zen_'s avatar

What @rebbel said.

tedd's avatar

@downtide I dunno about you but if I’m rather hungry and I see like…. some freshly cooked chicken wings being served or something… I definitely glance over. It’s instinct to glance over, because we can’t help but notice potential mates and what their physical attributes would bring to the table in a mating scenario… that’s just basic genetic built in instinct.

I think it switches over to conditioning when you glare with full awareness of what you’re doing, or joke about it with friends (Hey look at the X on that girl), or stuff like that. But that initial glance…. there’s no way that’s not reflexive in my book.

(heck even after debating this at end in the other thread and it being in the back of my mind, I caught myself glancing at women in public. If anything I just noticed that I did it more than I had been before).

tinyfaery's avatar

Sorry, but you have no right or ability to segregate a question from an entire group of users.
I am a woman who loves women. I’ve probably had more women than a few men on this thread added together.

If I find a woman attractive and she is wearing no bra or has a low-cut shirt, I glance. It’s habit, maybe even a reflex, but I don’t see how it can be instinctive. After all, a woman desiring to look at another woman’s breasts has nothing to do with instinct. I mean, they are right there, in front of me. so I glance. But since I am a woman, I know the difference between a look and a leer, and I am quite capable of focusing my attention elsewhere; never to glance again. Of course, I can help it. I don’t piss my pants anymore, either.

Now, why would a gay man have more perspective on this than a gay woman? I can’t decide if you are being sexist or gaysist.

Zaku's avatar

So you are asking if the uncontrolled reaction to look at naked breasts is instinctive or conditioned? I’m not certain I’d know the difference, or to be able to distinguish what in my behavior is voluntary or not. I think it’s probably some of both. I’d say the cultural aspect is definitely there in some cultures. I think the instinct is there too. After all, non-human animals tend to be able to find and use breasts without much culture. So both, but trying to root at what part of the behavior comes from which… I think would be very subjective.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tinyfaery gaysist – nice

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir and @tinyfaery I’d like to hear the responses from those that have a ‘Y’ chromosome or feel that they should have one. Please refrain from posting on this thread. I understand your veiwpoint as a female who is sexually attracted to other females, but that isn’t what I am after. This is an opportunity for men to discuss their feelings on the subject without criticism from the female gender, be they bi, straight or lesbian.

tedd's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Amen… Its hard to logically debate the issue while being put down in any number of ways (see the other thread).

tinyfaery's avatar

Again, you have no right to say who can and cannot answer your thread. And you better count on the fact that I will always post on such threads because sexism is alive and well and I will not let it go unchecked. And, again, I HAVE SEX WITH WOMEN. I AM ATTRACTED TO WOMEN. I have more to say than a gay man with a Y chromosome. But I get why you don’t want me here. My mere existence completely debunks any instinct/biological excuse for staring at women’s breasts.

But thanks for answering my question. You are being a sexist and a gaysist.

tedd's avatar

@tinyfaery All he’s trying to do is get the opinions and prospective of men on the subject, with us in an “environment” where we won’t be ridiculed by women for our beliefs on the subject.

You’re right you have every right to answer the question… but you’re ignoring the point that you would be completely negating the point and premise of the question.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@tinyfaery I suppose that is true since it was posted in the Social section. I did make it clear in the details that it was designated for the response of males, no matter what gender or culture they related to. That should account for something, even in the Social section.

@tedd I am a female. Other than that, I agree with the rest of your latest post.

tedd's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer My apologies, lol.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer I understand that and it’s fine. I don’t identify as a woman, however. Or as a man.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Thank you for the clarification. I want the opinion of only those that feel that they are only male.

Brian1946's avatar


“Amen… Its hard to logically debate the issue while being put down in any number of ways (see the other thread).”

Do you have a link to that other thread?

tedd's avatar


It started as a debate about bra’s (a pretty standard and non-confrontational one). It devolved into a flaming fight between me and most of the other people commenting.

(this thread is a much better summary of it imo)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tedd Not for nothing, but the question was more than just you and the others fighting. There were many great responses.

tedd's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Agreed there were some pretty good ones. But its still hard to carry on a good debate on the topic when it got as rough as it got.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@tedd Rough? You haven’t been around Fluther much, have you? That wasn’t rough.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@tedd Nothing got “rough” until you got defensive. Well, someone else was way more defensive, and frankly insulting, but my point is that it wasn’t on our end.

I was just thinking of another great theory I’ve read about and contemplated. It basically stated that the sexualization of breasts is a result of the domestication of humans, much in the same way domestication of other animals have differences from their wild counterparts. Many species will keep behaviors usually lost after adolescence well into adulthood. Dogs, for instance, wag tails throughout their lives while wolves only do as pups. The theory goes that we sexualize breasts as sort of a holdback of a child’s desire for them. I’m not sure if I really buy that theory, but it’s an interesting one to think of in terms of human domestication and social programming.

Of course, it could just be because we figured out how much fun the things can be and so incorporated them into our culture’s sexual practices. That’d still mean cultural condition is responsible for the involuntary peeking, of course.

Also, and I’m just butting my opinion in here, wouldn’t it make sense to include the women who are also attracted to women? Not doing so kind of implies that their attraction might not be natural or instinctual, which we can pretty clearly state that it is. Even if it turned out there was a difference, that’d be worth noting.

flutherother's avatar

It’s instinct, period. Make that two periods. .

DominicX's avatar

Well, as someone with Y-chromosomes but an attraction to the same gender, I too would probably be inclined to look at a braless woman. Not because I find breasts sexually attractive (though I know there are gay guys who like them for various reasons), but because it’s such a taboo for breasts to be exposed and it’s something you normally wouldn’t see while out and about, so it would draw my attention. For me, it would be culturally-based. I doubt that if I were gay in a culture where people did not cover their breasts that I would be inclined to look.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@DominicX Wonder why gay men have less of this ‘instinct’? Fascinating.

tinyfaery's avatar

Or why women do have this “instinct”.

zenvelo's avatar

For me, it is instinctual, which is why I asked about cleavage

I got curious about breasts long before I ever saw a Playboy or modern commercial advertising.

_zen_'s avatar

Breasts are simply goddamit beautiful.

HungryGuy's avatar

I honestly don’t know.

Two people here on Fluther are of the adamant opinion that it’s culturally conditioned.

Another person is of the adamant opinion that it’s instinct.

Various, less adamant, opinions go both ways.

I joined the discussion by stating that a Google search revealed no hard evidence either way, and asking both sides to post links to studies defending their side of the argument.

The side who believes that it’s culturally conditioned, not only refuses to identify studies defending their opinion, but instead, resorted to a personal attack against me for daring to suggest that the debate is inconclusive without hard evidence either way.

Personally, such defensive and rude behavior leads me to suspect that they have no evidence to support their side of the argument, and that their opinions are merely politically-correct wishful thinking.

So I conclude that it is largely instinct after all (even if some cultures and individuals can overcome that instinct with cultural conditioning).

HungryGuy's avatar

Oh, by the way, I wish to clarify my answer above that I’m referring to a quick momentary glance; and not staring or glaring, which is rude and not at all instinctual.

Ron_C's avatar

I have no idea whether the interest in female presentations is cultural or instinctive. I suspect that it is a little of both. Who am I to complain and look away if a woman presents herself in a fetchingly low cut top? She wants me to look and I am willing to oblige. I see it as being considerate of others.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@incendiary_dan I considered including women who are attracted to women in this conversation. I came to the conclusion that they shouldn’t be included because I wanted to hear from men who were born with a ‘Y’ chromosome as well as those that felt like they should should have been born a male.

Maybe it was wrong to invite the latter group to respond. The reason for doing so is that I assume that most, if not all, females who feel that they should be male, would prefer not to have breasts themselves, whether they were attracted to them or not on another.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir and @tinyfaery The intent of the stipulation to this question was to allow men to answer freely and not be challenged by females. While I may or may not agree with your viewpoints, please refrain from chiming in anymore. You have made your feelings clear.

HungryGuy's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer – Good intent, but unfortunately, it’s not only females who are brainwashed by political correctness and attack and ridicule those whom they disagree with on this issue…

amujinx's avatar

As a straight male, I size up all people I meet, regardless of sex, by a glance at their bodies. So to me, a glance is instinctual. I think all people do this, again regardless of sex or sexual orientation, just as a way to get a quick idea of who you are looking at or about to talk to. The fact that we over interpret and sexualize this basic sizing up of others is completely cultural though.

I will give that men do get caught doing this sizing up more often though because we will purposefully spend a little more time looking at attractive females. This is by definition instinctual since the sex drive and looking for potential mates is instinctive, but it is also cultural in the fact that the cues we use are what we as a culture find attractive. The common cues now tend toward skinny women than previous generations who viewed more ‘rubenesque’ women more desirable. It is also cultural since most first world countries put more of a stigma on bared breasts, which in turn makes them more ‘taboo’ and sexualized.

At the end, I would say looking is both. It definitely has some instinctual factors, but it has just as many cultural factors that weigh against it.

ddude1116's avatar

In cultures where it’s normal and acceptable to show breasts, it isn’t any large concern at least so I’ve read, I don’t have any legitimate experience on that matter, but it makes sense, the whole taboo matter comes from the religious insistence in the 1700s roughly that breasts should be covered. However, in those days, a lot of cleavage was shown, so elbows were the thing. I presume, that was considered in exactly the same manner as breasts are today. Taking a glance at someone’s elbow in passing is normal, but do you ever find yourself ogling at them? No. Because we’re culturally conditioned that elbows are completely appropriate; therefore any yearning for them is gone. Breasts are taboo, and it’s human instinctive nature to have a curiousity or an absolute loathing for the taboo. And so, I conclude by my own personal opinion that most human males have been culturally conditioned to instinctively enjoy breasts. And why not? They’re lovely.

woodcutter's avatar

I just like to stare at tits, and the moon, the ocean….and fire. Not sure why anyone else does it.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar


Sorry, but you have no right or ability to segregate a question from an entire group of users. I am a woman who loves women. I’ve probably had more women than a few men on this thread added together.
If I find a woman attractive and she is wearing no bra or has a low-cut shirt, I glance. It’s habit, maybe even a reflex, but I don’t see how it can be instinctive. After all, a woman desiring to look at another woman’s breasts has nothing to do with instinct. I mean, they are right there, in front of me. so I glance. But since I am a woman, I know the difference between a look and a leer, and I am quite capable of focusing my attention elsewhere; never to glance again. Of course, I can help it. I don’t piss my pants anymore, either.
Now, why would a gay man have more perspective on this than a gay woman? I can’t decide if you are being sexist or gaysist.

As for the first statement, I feel that I do have a right to select a certain group to respond. Maybe I should have put the question in the General section, but I wanted to hear candid opinions of a particular group that do not seem to be able to provide facts. If I had asked a question directed at women only about what it feels like to go through menopause, I would hope that only women who have experienced it would answer and not those who have seen a loved one (partner, parent, etc.) go through it.

The reason I requested that females not respond is that they will, do, or have owned a pair of breasts, with the exception of some females that feel that they should have been male. I felt that their opinion should be included.

Call me what you wish based upon my wording of this question and responses. I am neither sexist or gayist, but I understand that this is my opinion and not yours. All I was trying to do is create a safe place for men to let their feelings out on the subject whether I agree with them or not. I only ask that you do the same.

rooeytoo's avatar

Men didn’t seem to have any problems expressing their opinions in the other thread on the same subject. Why would they be intimidated by women in this thread?

ETpro's avatar

@rooeytoo Doesn’t intimidate me. Anyhow, it’s cultural. In cultures wehre women routinely go bare breasted, it’s no big deal. THe more we make the breast a secret, the stronger the push to see it. You see the same thing in among Muslims who insist women be completely covered with Burkahs. They have huge problems with rape and abuse of women. Hiding it mystifies and empowers it, not the opposite.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@rooeytoo I don’t think that men were intimidated. I could be completely off-base, but it may have to do with the fact that the other question was titled “If you wear a bra, do you wish you didn’t have to anymore?” There weren’t that many men participating. Maybe they didn’t follow it, or maybe they felt that it wasn’t their place to answer the question.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Might not have been many of us, but we were particularly vocal.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@incendiary_dan Yup…I agree. It’s part of the reason I asked this question. :)

tedd's avatar

Can we for sure say that cultures where bare chested women are the norm are without “glancing”? Ok maybe they’re not sexualized as much, maybe the men don’t stare for sexual purposes.

But does that mean they don’t still reflexively glance? Is anyone by chance from one of those cultures that could clarify that?

For example, I tutor an eleven year old autistic boy. He is pre-puberty, and has no sexual knowledge or conditioning whatsoever. The concept of sexuality or sex is completely beyond him. At our last tutor meeting the girl tutors (there are 4) commented that they had noticed him glancing at their cleavage, to which his mother and program director commented that he’s been doing it since he was nearly 5 or 6, and that its very normal. (I wish I had probed them a bit further about it now since the program director has multiple doctoral degrees in sociology and psychology and probably would’ve been a good person to ask about this).

HungryGuy's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer“All I was trying to do is create a safe place for men to let their feelings out on the subject whether I agree with them or not. I only ask that you do the same.”

Good luck with that from the political correctness crowd… :-p

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@HungryGuy I don’t feel that those that are opposing the details of the original post are attempting to be politically correct. They are speaking from their heart. While it doesn’t meet the criteria of the of the original post, I still value their perspective. I would prefer it in a PM rather on this thread. In hindsight, I should have included that in the OP.

If you mean that some people will not respond because they do not want to be construed as being politically incorrect, then I suppose that is their own burden to bear.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@HungryGuy Do you have any actual criticisms aside from calling every position you disagree with “politically correct”? Also, do you actually know what’s politically correct? The more I think about it, the more I realize this debate has absolutely nothing to do with political correctness. It’s just anthro-biological theory.

fundevogel's avatar

It’s nature vs. nurture. It might un-complicate the issue to debate it in more basic terms rather than boob-centric ones.

The question falls solidly into the fields of science, psychology and neurology. This isn’t an issue that will be determined by internet debate. There is a quantifiable right answer. Either there is a biological basis or there isn’t. Or it could be that biology and social constructs both play a role. They could even be complementary roles.

We’ll have put on our research hats for this one.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@fundevogel Not surprisingly, I believe this can be solved by logical deduction using available facts from research, specifically cross-cultural studies complimented by archaeology. I’ve made a summary of my case in the other thread, I believe.

fundevogel's avatar

@incendiary_dan I’m afraid that though I have finally obtained a copy of The Blank Slate it will be a while until I get to it. I’ve barely started my current read.

As such whatever I could contribute to the conversation is based on my college anthropology classes which led me to believe neurology and sociology are deeply intertwined. But I’d really have to refresh myself to provide any meaningful elaboration.

incendiary_dan's avatar

P.S. @HungryGuy I genuinely want to know why it is you consider some others’ comments to be just “political correctness”, what you consider “political correctness”, and your specific issues with individual points. I realized my last response directed at you sounded more abrupt than I’d intended.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer gave me permission to post this. I put it in the question that sort of prompted this one, but the only male who replied was @incendiary_dan. Perhaps more males will respond if I post it here. This is what I want to said…

“This discussion continues to play in my mind and has led me onward. I really think this should be posed in the other question but since females are not allowed to respond to that question I will pose it here. Since men “reflexivly and uncontrollably” look at breasts, does that mean men check out their own daughters or mothers or sisters? Do they feel guilty for doing that? How do fathers feel if their best mate is checking out their 12 year old developing daughter? Are the male teachers at high school checking out all their female students?

I am beginning to find it intimidating. All males feel they have the genetic right to view me as a couple of anatomical parts instead of a complete human being. Are there any men who are capable of seeing a human and not a pair of breasts (with other parts less visible)?

Seems sad to me. Is @incendiary_dan the only male in the world I can speak to as an equal not a pair of breasts?”

fundevogel's avatar

glancing at your boobs =/= viewing you as just anatomical parts

Especially when the men doing it consciously avert their gaze when they catch themselves doing it. They don’t move their eyes because the see you as a collection of parts. If you were just parts why should they care if they stared? They shift their gaze because they know you’re a person and that they shouldn’t stare at you.

rooeytoo's avatar

@fundevogel – aren’t the men are capable of speaking for themselves?

tedd's avatar

@rooeytoo I’m a man, and she just took the words out of my mouth. Its not that I don’t see you as equal or something, if I didn’t then I probably wouldn’t care when I noticed I’m glancing at cleavage.

And for the record, yes I have caught myself/noticed myself glancing at people who are in my family or in roles that would most definitely never be appropriate for me to engage in that kind of relationship with.

(I will say this doesn’t extend to like young girls or anything like that…. they’re not developed so I don’t think even a subconscious psyche views them as potential mates…... so you don’t have to worry about this being teachers at schools or something)

WasCy's avatar


Maybe the point of my story above was too subtle. What I was trying to demonstrate was that although the young woman was dressed to display (and barely hide) her breasts, and although I spent time trying to maneuver her into a position where she’d spill out of her top (and later found out that she had the same goal in mind), and even though I was successful in the attempt, I had to avert my eyes when it happened out of some notion of “decency”.

The young woman in question was definitely not “just a couple of anatomical parts”. She also had an adorably pretty face and legs to die for. Unfortunately, that’s about all she had going for her, as I also discovered. Her physical assets attracted me to her, but the fact that she had no other major assets in personality or intellect is what drove me away.

For the record, I do notice “development” in younger female members of my family. Specifically, my daughter, for example. Every time I see her I think to myself “how much she looks like her mother at that age”, and her mother was a knockout. But she doesn’t dress to show cleavage, so that’s a moot point.

wundayatta's avatar

My daughter is in the process of filling out her breasts. How can I not notice? It is one quite dramatic physical difference that has occurred over the last year. It is more surprising because she will be far more well endowed in that area than her mother is.

In any case, I find that as time goes by, they are less distracting, so I think newness has a lot to do with it. If anyone grew a lump the size of a breast anywhere on their body, wouldn’t most of us want to stare? We manage to find a way not to unless we are pretty boorish.

It worries me because I know other men will start paying much more attention to her. I don’t think I want her to get involved in any way, shape or form with a man who is attracted to her because of her breasts. She seems to be sensible, though, and has found a way to keep boys or men from being interested in her.

rooeytoo's avatar

@wundayatta – your remark addresses my exact thoughts. If the bloke up above who keeps saying it is his genetic heritage and does not even try to control this so called heritage, meets up with your daughter on the street, he feels he has the genetic imperative to check out her assets. I think this is what disturbs me most, any male passing any female of any age anywhere, at anytime claims the right to look, assess, comment on etc. her breasts. It makes me feel absolutely creepy. I may never walk out the door again.

@WasCy – I don’t know what to say about your story. I guess it is one of those deals where one must decide if the end justifies or excuses the means.

tedd's avatar

@rooeytoo You seem to be under the impression guys are just like instinctively glaring down on the tits and ass of every girl they pass. That’s not the case and not at all what we’re talking about.

Think of it like this. A guy with really nice abs or something walks by without a shirt on. You probably don’t stare at him, but I’d be willing to bet some level of money you might glance over at him.

Someone walks by and they have those shoes on that flash every time they impact the ground. You probably aren’t going to stare at the blinking lights, but the first time they go off I bet you reflexively look over at them.

Its in the same boat as that. Its not even necessarily sexual I don’t think, so much as some kind of primal instinct to scout for strong potential mothers to your offspring.

HungryGuy's avatar

@incendiary_dan – And do you have any factual evidence to support your opinion that it’s socialized behavior (other than to post abusive and obscene messages attacking people who disagree with you and/or even merely state they believe the issue is inconclusive without such evidence, and/or who dare to ask for corroborating studies from both sides of the debate)?

incendiary_dan's avatar

@HungryGuy Don’t deflect my questions. I’ve posted where you can find factual evidence: ethnographic data of the San and Hadza peoples backed up by the sum total of ethnographic data on prehistoric people. Not to mention present day reports from other groups, such as @ETpro mentions. This is commonly available. From there use deduction.

Further, I have posted nothing abusive, whereas you have called me names and challenged my character as an educator (because I said I teach my students deductive reasoning, which you took to mean I teach them “political correctness”, which I certainly do not). Seriously, respond to the actual conversation, or don’t please don’t bother responding at all. It’s a waste of everyone’s time.

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WasCy's avatar

I don’t really understand all of the heat in the discussion, either here or here.

In the first place, “cleavage” isn’t natural. That’s a creation of the clothing that women opt to wear. I’ve never seen natural breasts that push together to create cleavage. Not once. And I look at a lot of breasts; I freely admit that. In fact, it takes two things to create cleavage: a bra that pushes the breasts together (and probably upwards, too) and a low-cut shirt / blouse / top that exposes the upper chest and the cleavage that the bra created.

It seems to me, then, that if women go to the trouble to create cleavage, then they want us to at least notice, even if they don’t want us to stare, make rude remarks, stalk or grope them or do any of the other things that make the attention “undesirable”. It’s not that I’m being “a nice guy by doing what women obviously want to notice their breasts pressed together and forming a cleavage line”, but… I like those things, I like the titillation / tease of seeing more of that flesh, and they’re showing it, so why not look?

Aside from that, it’s normal and natural for men (and women) to notice anything that they’re attracted to, isn’t it? I like sailboats. I notice them, and a lot about their handling, the seaworthiness of the boat on the water, the skill of the skipper and crew, the colors, the amount of care that has gone into preserving them, all sorts of things. I suppose that’s not “natural”, because… boats themselves are artificial. Ditto cleavage.

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augustlan's avatar

[mod says] Flame off, folks. There is no need to make this personal.

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mattbrowne's avatar

It’s about dopaminergic reward. Which means men can learn to forgo the reward. Cultures and a lot of training do have this potential. But it’s not easy.

Most behaviors have instinctive and learned components. Men have learned that looking at women can give them pleasure. But the real kicker requires more. For example when an attractive woman you don’t know or hardly know is looking you in the eye and smiling at you. The dopaminergic reward is far greater than observing bra-less women walking by.

Response moderated (Personal Attack)
WasCy's avatar

… So then God said, “How many lanes do you want on that highway from Los Angeles to Hawaii?”

HungryGuy's avatar

@incendiary_dan – If you’d been civil and maybe even friendly to me in reply to my original post here instead of attacking me for merely doubting both sides of the debate without facts, none of these hostilities between you and me would have happened and I might have been willing to do that.

But now, I will not go out of my way. You’re the one who wants people to believe something contrary to intuition. So the burden of proof is on you, not me. If your side of the debate refuses to provide any evidence whatsoever that it’s learned behavior, then I maintain my original impartial assertion that, at best, it’s inconclusive that it’s instinct or learned.

HungryGuy's avatar

@mattbrowne – Bravo! Finally, a comment from someone with a scientific background… Yay!

WasCy's avatar

All I know is, with the various omens and portents of my own impending doom all around me today (aside from the fact that I’m in a great mood, which should be the biggest foretaste of disaster that there could possibly be for me), if I see a fairy godmilf holding a lantern tonight and beckoning me to come with her, I’m looking. I might even ask her to adjust the light to give me a better view. And maybe more than looking, depending on how available (and hot) she appears to be. After all, it’ll be my own imagination, won’t it? Sky’s the limit, then. I might be killed by my own dreams tonight. Bring it.

HungryGuy's avatar

@WasCy – Just beware the succubus :-p

incendiary_dan's avatar

@HungryGuy Bro, I’ve never attacked you once and I’ve given you proper direction to ethnographic studies. You can go to the library and find them if you care to, they’re fairly common. Add the Yanomamo to that list if you’re going to, by the way.

I’m genuinely sorry if you took anything I’ve said as an attack, but only sorry so far. Otherwise, I’m not bothering with this.


For me it’s purely instinctual, and I’m happy with that. ;)

poisonedantidote's avatar

I’m not really a fan of tits. I can have a long conversation with a topless woman and not even have a single sexual thought. However, I will look, It’s an impulse, and there is little I can do about it.

I much rather see a clothed ass than a naked chest, but thats just me. I like asses and faces.

I do like touching tits, they are nice and comfortable things to touch, but looking at them does nothing for me. I have probably just been desensetized to them, I see 100’s of tits on a daily basis. It’s now almost 1pm here, at 3pm I will go to work, It will take me 5 minutes to get there, and by the time I get there, I will have seen at least a dozen of them. All laying out on the beach like stips of bacon.

Actually, thinking on it more. Seeing tits that have been greased up and baked in the sun for 2 hours is not nice. If anything it is visually unapealling. It’s not as bad as that 400 pound hairy guy in a thong building a sand castle, but I dont really like it.

Maybe it’s because the tits where just there by default, I do tend to like tits a little bit if I am the one responsible for making someone show them. But if they are just served up for all to see in public.

Actually, tits can be highly annoying some times. Some times I am forced to interact with topless girls, and because I’m a guy I am also forced to look. When it happens I always think something allong the lines of: “ohp, she saw me looking, now she thinks I like them, why did I have to look, these are not even nice.” or “why is she smiling? ahhh.. I see, hehe no, you are mistaken”.

WasCy's avatar

Mmmm bacon.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

I think culture just augments the natural flame for a pair of boobs a man should have. Sad to only want to see a pair of pecs on a male, I would watch the boobs of an ugly woman all day before staring at the pecs of a GQ male for 5 minutes. Certain societies, the US in general I can think of, that doesn’t want to admit how fixated with them because of as mentioned before some false sense of chivalry, to not act as though it is something to view in a pleasurable way.

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