Does it make a difference if the woman is also breastfeeding? And is it okay to find this a turn-on if she is?
Liam is turned on by women breastfeeding. Confessing this fact, he is worried that I’ll think he is some kind of pervert or that I’ll suppose it is has to do with a subconscious sexual desire for his mother. But I don’t. Frankly I find it a relief that – should I ever have leaking breasts – somebody, somewhere, might find me attractive.
Lactophilia or ‘erotic lactation’ is arousal by breastfeeding or suckling on the lactating female breast. Psychologists categorise this as a ‘paraphilia’ – that is, sexual arousal by people, situations or objects outside what is seen as typical or normal.
Psychology seems to have a real Puritan streak, as much sexual behaviour is classified as non-normative. Get turned on by your boyfriend’s manly smell? That’s called olfactophilia or osmolagnia. Are your eyes drawn to cleavage? Maybe you suffer from breast fetishism. Do you take pleasure in wearing clothes that are seen as appropriate to your gender? Congratulations! You’re a homovestite!
It seems almost everything is a paraphilia, and lactophilia is not as uncommon as you might think.
Unsurprisingly, it is a defining feature in adult nursing relationships and is popular in infantilism – the clue being in the names. It is relatively common in BDSM relationships too, apparently: breastfeeding may sometimes be used as a reward or punishment. However, it’s not all kink and fetish play – plenty of people whose tastes tend towards the milder end of the sexual spectrum are aroused by breastfeeding as well.
What little research there is on the topic suggests that a relatively high percentage of women have experienced an orgasm while breastfeeding – and that most of them feel guilty about it. There are good physiological reasons for the occurrence – the uterus contracts when you orgasm and it also does when you breastfeed; the hormone oxytocin is released during both; and having the nipple sucked is a pleasurable sensation for most women as well.
There hasn’t been a whole lot of study done on the topic, but doctors have suggested that these unexpected orgasms and the feelings of guilt they produce may contribute towards many women switching to formula.
I asked some mothers to share their experiences with me and I was met by a deafening silence. I spoke to some fathers too. They were a little more forthcoming, but not by much.
All of my male respondents had positive feelings about breastfeeding, although these were not generally erotic. Darren’s response was typical: “Looking at my wife breastfeeding sometimes did stir my sexual thoughts but only stirred and only at times and it was never directly connected to breastfeeding, just the vision of a breast. Breastfeeding is beautiful and natural.”
Only one, Paul, admitted to a lactation fetish. He told me he was surprised – and initially disturbed – by his reaction to watching his partner breastfeeding.
“I definitely got turned on, and I hadn’t expected that. At first I was worried there was something wrong with me, but fuck it! I think maybe it’s because breasts are beautiful – but does the reason matter all that much? I don’t
In Western culture – at least, in Anglophone countries – there is tendency to see women either as sexual beings or as mothers, but seldom both: there is often a real discomfort with the idea that the maternal body is also a sexual one.
The scholar Gerardine Meaney has noted that despite the valorisation of motherhood in our culture, Ireland has a history of anxiety around the pregnant body. In times gone by, film censors routinely excised close ups of pregnant women in films and even comic scenes of expectant fathers anxiously pacing hospital corridors were chopped. God forbid anyone be offended by the end result of sacred matrimony! After all, in Ireland, the ideal woman was the Virgin Mary – a mother allegedly unsullied by sex.
We have come a long way since then, but in 2004, Ireland was one of only two European countries to censor an advert featuring a breastfeeding mother. The image that caused all the fuss was of a baby pondering whether to feed from the right or left breast, and was used to promote voting in the European elections (and presumably to suggest that the EU is caring, nurturing mother). Guess who was the only other country that took issue? Why,
our nearest neighbours
– Great Britain.
Our friends in America swung right ideologically during the noughties – and with this there was a return to so-called “family” values. Both in political discourse and in the popular press, pregnancy and motherhood were frequently seen as (a) the pinnacle of female fulfilment, and (b) almost compulsory for women. While the politicians scaled back access to abortion, the tabloids went on “bump patrol” scrutinising the bodies of female celebrities for telltale signs
You’d think that the popularity of MILF porn meant that Americans were happy to see mothers as sexy and sexual, but you’d be wrong. MILF, as most of you will know, stands for “mother I’d like to fuck” and – my goodness! – they are popular! A recent study found that ‘MILF’ is second most popular porn web search term across the USA, after ‘teen’,
and the most popular term in many States.
However, MILFs are not necessarily actual, real-life mothers – they are just older than most porn stars and are, on average, around 33. They also almost always have flat stomachs and perky, if not cosmetically enhanced, breasts – bodies that actual mothers rarely have, unless they’ve had a “mommy makeover” that is.
For years the mommy makeover has been a growing trend in the US. This is pretty extensive plastic surgery and includes a breast lift, tummy tuck and liposuction. The idea is to erase the physical evidence of motherhood and return the female body to its pre-maternal state.
In America motherhood is culturally, but not sexually, fetishised. The contradictory messages from popular culture tell a woman that she will be admired and fulfilled for being a mother, but nobody will want to fuck her if she actually looks like one.
Breastfeeding in public seems to create far more consternation in Ireland, the UK, and the US than it does across Europe or Africa. Generally speaking, those who are against the idea claim it is offensive and that it should be done in private. Interestingly, breastfeeding is frequently likened to urination, masturbating or having sex, suggesting that it is little dirty and definitely sexual.
The counterargument is that breastfeeding is natural, beautiful, better for babies and unrelated to sex. Of course breastfeeding is completely natural, and feeding babies is a boob’s primary function. Looking sweet in lingerie is a secondary consideration – although, of course, not unrelated to the survival of the species as a whole. Unfortunately, the thrust of this argument desexualises breastfeeding, which in turn makes those who find it enjoyable feel
like they belong to a depraved
My friend Beth objects to public breastfeeding for this reason. Beth identifies as bisexual and would prefer not to see women breastfeeding in public because, like Liam and Paul, she finds it sexually arousing, and what’s more, is troubled by this.
“People think you’re some kind of pervert if you see it as sexual,” she says. “But on the other hand, if I was breastfeeding I wouldn’t want people to see me as just a mother and not a woman. A baby does not desexualize a breast!”
Indeed it does not and for this reason Paul told his partner Elaine how he felt. While she was surprised, she wasn’t averse to the idea either.
“Sometimes after she’d finished feeding our son she would let me lick or suck her nipples as long as I was very gentle. It felt intimate and peaceful, but also really, really sexy. I’m not sure I’m explaining it very well. It’s hard to describe,” he said.
Elaine’s reaction was similar to the women on the Just Mommies message board, most of whom were unconcerned by the idea that breastfeeding could be seen or experienced as sexual. In fact, many of the posters felt that erotic lactation was mild compared to many other fetishes. As one woman wrote, “humans have all sorts of fetishes – it’s not that weird compared to some things out there (Furries come to mind...).”
Poor furries! They came in for lots of derision on the internet. And in case you were wondering, yup, it’s a paraphilia too – plushophilia.
Jane Austen wrote that, “One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other” but honestly, you don’t need that many people to share your tastes. If it is millions, thousands, hundreds or just a handful, as long as what you desire is consensual and mutually pleasurable, you should enjoy it with pride – or at very least, without guilt.
In a nice way, that is! A UK research project found that both men and women are suspicious of sexually successful (some might say promiscuous) people. So, with it being Valentine’s Day, we have to ask: how come they keep getting laid?Read More
She is a US citizen. But, if Donald Trump has his way, her name will go into a new kind of black book: the so-called Muslim Register. Hend Amry has been commenting on the shift to right-wing populism in the US and elsewhere via Twitter, under the @libyaliberty handle, earning an impressively large following in the process…Read More
A musician by trade, Quentin Sheridan was homeless – and so he put out a call on Facebook. The occupation of Apollo House by Home Sweet Home is the result. But it is only the start of a battle, in which Ireland can provide the leadRead More
The singer has issued an invitation to the Minister for Housing to visit Apollo House, in Dublin, which has been occupied by campaigners who aim to bring an end to homelessness.Read More
With the exception of condoms, the responsibility for avoiding pregnancy has generally fallen on women. But men are entitled to control their own fertility too. The question is: how?Read More
Helena Mulkerns’ new short story collection draws on her extraordinary experiences as an aid worker, which brought her to the heart of conflict zones in Eritrea and Afghanistan.Read More
It might sound complicated – but I was very impressed indeed with Laura when she gave such a wonderfully precise definition of her sexual identity. Which got me thinking: what about all of those other interesting shades of sexual orientation? Well, it turns out that there is a word for most all of them!Read More
Cannabis lube, that is. And, based on our sex columnist's personal experiments, it heightens sexual pleasure only for women. Sadly, you won’t get it over the counter in Ireland – though that might change in the future. We hope…Read More
In terms of our understanding of the human mind, it is important to remember that we are only ever getting there. Not so long ago, after all, a woman who enjoyed sex was likely to be branded as a nymphomaniac.Read More
Irish author Conor O’Callaghan’s debut novel, the gothic mystery story Nothing On Earth, is one of the most gripping books of the year.Read More
Since the introduction of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution in 1983, women in Ireland have had to live with a shockingly restrictive regime on abortion, which has resulted in numerous deaths and untold trauma. Now, the Irish public is saying: no more…Read More
The myth that only men treat the opposite sex as objects, is just that - a myth. The sooner women are more honest about their lustful feelings, and the sooner society stops treating sexually open women as sluts the better it will be for all of us.Read More
Laura Kasischke, the critically acclaimed and nationally bestselling poet and author returns with a tense psychological thrillerRead More
Journalist Miranda Sawyer’s compelling and humorous new book, Out Of Time, explores the challenges of turning forty and maintaining a rock and roll edge.Read More
Liz Nugent’s Lying in Wait comes with praise from Sebastian Barry and Marian Keyes, among others.Read More
UnderCurrent are a group unlike any other in Ireland. A mix of cabaret, musical theatre, burlesque, physical comedy, banter and dance, they are also the only performance troupe in the country composed entirely of LGBTQ members.Read More
The progenitors of Britpop came to Marlay Park in Dublin yesterday – and the crowd lapped it up. Report: Anne SextonRead More
Anne Sexton gives her take on Conor O'Callaghan's debut novel.Read More
This four-piece cut their teeth busking in Temple Bar, but their journey is just beginning.Read More
With women being given jail sentences for using the abortion pill in Northern Ireland, three activists decided that it was time to act – and made a startling confession to the PSNI.Read More
First Dates offered a glimpse into the way people behave when they are looking for a romantic liaison - and maybe some sex into the bargain. But how different was the TV version from people's pursuit of a good time - and what does the history of dating tell us about how we view this ritual?Read More
Teenager David Beattie has written a powerful and insightful account of growing up trans in Ireland.Read More
The ‘dating’ app makes great claims in relation to the numbers using it. But are people hooking up and having sex successfully through it? Now, that is a very good question…Read More
Make no mistake, casual sex can be brilliant, wonderful, even life-affirming. But in the fuckzone, things are different. Because this is where a woman is just a piece of pussy or a man is no better than a dick or an asshole on legs...Read More
Since the release of his acclaimed first novel, The Spinning Heart, Ryan has established himself as one of Ireland’s most talented writers.Read More
Eighties Ireland: in a country where divorce was impossible, unmarried mothers were treated like pariahs, gay sex was illegal and condoms could only be bought on prescription, finding the joy in sex was not easy. But the excitement of it was no less real.Read More
Glenn Patterson’s latest novel tells the extraordinary story of John DeLorean’s time in Belfast – a saga of federal agents, undercover sting operations and alleged cocaine trafficking.Read More
The introduction of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution in 1983 was one of the most regressive pieces of manipulative political chicanery in the history of the Irish state. Repealing it is essential to establishing a regime in Ireland, which respects the reproductive rights of women. Let’s end the evasiveness by making it an election issue…Read More
It may be highly illegal, but Irish women - including TD Ruth Coppinger - are willing to risk jail by taking the abortion pill all over Ireland. Anne Sexton and Julia Schimkus travelled to Galway with the pro-choice activists...Read More
Life is a drag for Miss Panti - but wonderfully so!Read More
Anne Sexton chats to Hanya Yanagihara, whose second￼ novel A Little Life has been the subject of truly rapturous reviews...Read More
Men have been lectured for a long time about how ladies need a bit of foreplay before getting it on. But that is an axiom that rubs both ways – because men tend to like a long, slow build-up too...Read More
Men have been lectured for a long time about how ladies need a bit of foreplay before getting it on. But that is an axiom that rubs both ways – because men tend to like a long, slow build-up too...Read More
...Or, in a different situation, you might ask, why didn’t he leave her? Abusive relationships are unfortunately common – and both sexes are victims. But perhaps you have to have lived through one to really understand the cruel dynamics at work...Read More
Acclaimed author Glenn Patterson continues his exploration of the Northern Irish psyche in his latest book, which cherry-picks his finest non-fiction pieces from the last decade.Read More
The crass outlook of pick-up artists is insulting and fails to recognise each individual's unique attractivenessRead More
There are no rules as to how much you reveal to prospective sexual partners. But it is probably true that – most of the time anyway – honesty is the best policy...Read More
Before the gay marriage ‘Yes’ vote had people dancing in the streets, before civil partnerships, before gay people could publicly identify as such, Senator David Norris was waging a brave and often thankless fight on behalf of minorities in Ireland. In his first major interview since the referendum he recounts his long struggle with prejudice in Ireland...Read More
With her second novel Tender dealing with homosexuality, emotional abuse and mental illness, Belinda McKeon reflects on the repressive, oppressive culture of mid '90s Ireland and the perverse pleasure she takes in pushing readers' buttons.Read More
It may be the name of a cocktail, but it is also a reasonably popular pastime. So is public sex a good idea? And how are you best to go about it?Read More
Every now and then, they come out of the woodwork: people who believe that thinking, talking and writing about sex in a positive way is a sin and should be punished. It is a bit scary when someone like this tracks down your email address just to tell you...Read More
As the results came in, crowds gathered in Dublin Castle to hear them. It became on of he biggest and best parties Ireland has ever seen...Read More
The novel is about an Irish family and all their problems in life from 1980 on and written in episodic style.Read More
It is vital to gay couples that the upcoming referendum on same sex marriage should be passed. But an even bigger prize is the feeling that we are living in an open, inclusive society that a resounding victory would inspire. So, make sure to get out and vote ‘Yes’...Read More
When it comes to sex, men have it far easier and far better than women. In fact, there are ten good reasons why a sex change might just be the best option...Read More
A lot of concern has been expressed in conventional media about ‘hook-up’ culture. Curiously, however, the impact of social media and online mate-seeking sites seems to be that people are having less sex rather than more. Something will have to be done about it, is all we can say...Read More
It is an invitation that most people would find extremely difficult to turn down. But there are those who prefer giving head one at a time to the classic 69. Which side of the great oral sex debate are you on?Read More
When Hot Press ran a competition for a columnist to write about sex, the competition was pretty hot. In the end, we chose a certain feisty, red-headed female, who wrote with wit, verve and style – and whose name just happened to have the word ‘sex’ in it. Clearly it was a role that she had been destined to, um, perform...Read More
And there’s nothing wrong with that! Indeed, while sexual conservatives try to claim otherwise, the reality is that men and women are really very similar in their appetites for sex, porn and all the rest...Read More
That was the implied message in Teleflora’s 2012 Valentine’s Day ad, which featured the model Adriana Lima. Is that really what romance is all about?Read More
That’s bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism to you and me. Oh, and there will also be copious face- sitting; lots of gay sex – some of it within marriage hopefully; and vibrators that know what you like. Bring it on!Read More
During the Graham Dwyer murder trial, members of the Irish BDSM scene were sometimes depicted in unflattering terms. So what is BDSM all about?Read More
Cowboy landlords, substandard living conditions and ever increasing costs are just some of the problems facing people in rented accommodation, and many of those in difficulty are afraid to speak up.Read More
But not always in a good way! Because someone out there apparently thinks that sex toys specially designed and packaged for Christmas are, like, a good idea! Starting with the Barack Obama dildo…Read More
It’s a tough one. The man you want just happens to be hooked up — with your best friend. If you really want him, there’s only one way to go about it. But should you dare?...Read More
As Ireland emerges from a period of economic turbulence, there are now a myriad of ways to get a foothold in the jobs market.Read More
That’s a question that more or less everyone has had to ask themselves at some time in their lives. Because, modern mating methods notwithstanding, getting regular sex is still a minefield for a lot of people to negotiate…Read More
It doesn’t make sense to start blaming social media for what is a horrible crime. Because the truth is that women are entitled to go about their lives free of the fear of rape…Read More
It may be a cliché but there is a lot of truth to the notion of “a healthy body, healthy mind.” As Bressie notes in his emotional fitness tips, the food you eat affects your mood, and physical activity promotes the creation of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good.Read More
Time spent overseas volunteering shouldn’t be treated as a holiday and is only worthwhile if you are prepared to put in some hard graft...Read More
That, as they say, is a bold statement. But new research has indicated that the association that has often been made between casual sex and lower self-esteem is really a product of prevailing religious-based orthodoxies. Having sex will not cure depression. But as an aspect of a holistic approach to our well-being, it can play a vital role…Read More
She has chronicled the seamy side of Dublin in her novels. Now crime writer Tana French turns her attention to the privileged elite of south DublinRead More
Everyone else seems to be! However, the recent celebrity Hackergate scandal throws up a multitude of intriguing questions about the wisdom of recording DIY porn...Read More
We all know how enjoyable a bit of role-playing is – especially when it comes to sexual matters. So get down on your knees: our resident sexpert Anne Sexton is about to give you a lecture…Read More
Is it the Yanks with their enthusiasm; the Aussies with their frankness; or the Germans with their, umm, precision? And how do Irish men compare with their international peers? Anne Sexton road-tested males of eight different nationalities (not in the last fortnight, you understand) and is delighted to offer her educated view on the subject...Read More
It makes a huge difference to your sexual development – and ultimately to your sexual happiness – if you can talk about things openly with your mother...Read More
They have a long and distinguished history, and nowadays come in all shapes, sizes and colours – but the basic latex cock ring beats the rest hands down, where making sex better for women and men alike is concerned.Read More
A debate is currently raging about the idea of ‘Enthusiastic Consent’. That’s when you say ‘yes, please’ to having sex with someone else. But should that be required under the law? It is, as they say, an interesting one...Read More
The beloved drag queen deals with the serious business of "Panti-gate" and more in hilarious fashion in new show High Heels in Low PlacesRead More
Whoever you had sex with, and whatever he or she looked like, there is someone out there in academia who wants to try and explain it. But the fact is that sex is – thankfully! – far more complicated than your average bit of social research allows. The question that really matters is: how can we all have better sex?Read More
There are those who might say that it is an unholy combination. But from the pill through LSD to Viagra, chemical agents have made a huge difference to our ability to enjoy ourselves sexually...Read More
And you know it. So should you tell the wife or girlfriend who is being cheated on? Or would you let a bloke know if his wife was having it off with someone else? It's an interesting conundrum indeed...Read More
Social awkwardness can be endearing in moderate quantities but, come on guys, let's not overbake the pudding here...Read More
If so, then read on. For what follows is a primer in how to escape the clutches of the very scary and decidedly horrible breed known as MRA pick-up artistsRead More
It's only February - and already a series of controversies on sex and sexuality have erupted. It is you might say, a sign of the times...Read More
Is giving a gift on Valentine’s Day the ultimate expression of love or just a way of getting into someone else's underwear? A good question: now read on, for a happy ending...Read More
While the basics remain constant, the sexual climate is likely to get even better over the coming 12 months. But with apps emerging to measure every aspect of performance, there may be a few downsides too...Read More
A winner of the Booker Prize for 2007’s The Gathering, Anne Enright is one of the most acclaimed contemporary Irish authors. During a recent Q&A at the Write Touch competition, run by HOT PRESS in association with ALCATEL ONETOUCH she discussed the creative process, the pressures faced by female writers – and the subject matter of her next novel.Read More
There are some things which even a well-known sex columnist won’t do (perhaps Paris Hilton shouldn’t have either). One of the most important sex lessons we all have to learn is to respect other people’s limits…Read More