I can pinpoint the exact moment that I first encountered women’s breasts being portrayed in a sexual way. I was about seven years old and was in the little village post office, come newsagent, come hardware store, come sweet shop, in the very rural part of North Yorkshire where my family lived. I was having my usual quandary as to how best to spend my ten pence. I could either get a little white paper bag of 10p’s worth of sherbet pips or I could get 10p’s worth of assorted 1p sweets. Invariably I went for the latter, as I loved the whole process of choosing ten different sweets. Black Jacks, Fruit Salads and Outer Spacers were always a non-negotiable part of my mix. Whilst pondering the almost magical assortment of different boxes and jars of sweets, I looked up at the top shelf and saw the front cover of a ‘girly magazine’. I distinctly remember the photo on the front, not of the woman’s face, but of her bare breasts and the fact that her arms were above her head.
I have two of them and never would I have ever expected to be sharing the story of my breasts with the world, let alone celebrating the depth of beauty and Love they emanate and that I now live.
My True relationship with my Breasts began 9 years ago with my first Esoteric Breast Massage (EBM). At the time I was breastfeeding a baby and moving on from an abusive relationship. It could now be said that I was moving on from a long-standing, far more abusive relationship with myself.
I’d never realised how deeply ingrained self-abuse was, how insidious and foul – a stench that plagued me for as long as I remember and yet was a safe, known companion and the red marker pen which I branded myself with as ‘wrong’.
Although it hasn’t always been this way …
Breasts. Even just saying this word conjures up so many feelings.
When I was young, intimate body parts like breasts were never discussed with family or friends. There was a slight air of embarrassment around it, and from this I interpreted that breasts were definitely something to hide and not talk about.
It seems strange to say this now, but once upon a time I had no awareness of my breasts other than as:
- a visible marker of my womanhood
- objects of sexual pleasure
- a physical inconvenience due to persistent lumps and soreness.
In truth, I was actually more annoyed by my breasts than anything else. At times I resented their visibility and the fact that I would be judged in some way when given the ‘once over’ by others (men and women). I certainly was not impressed by the lumps and pain I’d experienced since my 20s, which had me frequently rushing off for mammograms, convinced I had cancer. There was some compensation for these woes, in terms of the feelings I derived from them during sex, but even this felt somewhat hollow and certainly didn’t offset my physical condition.
I never really considered how I related to my breasts beyond them being a nuisance or an annoyance. Yes, I got attention because of these breasts of mine, but not in a good way, and I felt riled and annoyed each time this was happening.
I’ve always been conscious of my breasts, not in a proud or appreciative way, but as something I felt extremely awkward about, a part of me I was not exactly sure what to do with, and blithely ignored as much as possible. Plus, they hurt, especially during my periods and so they were often considered a nuisance.
For years I wore the wrong size bra, apparently and surprisingly up to 80% of women do, (1). The figure seems absurd, and yet many sources corroborate this. Imagine wearing the wrong size shoes!
Often with even the best breast care, it is commonly accepted that cysts in the body are not dangerous, even when they feel like a lump. On many occasions, with further examination the lump is found to be a small, generally harmless sac filled with fluid, rather than a cancerous or benign lump of cells – there may even be one cyst or many cysts appearing together that end up being benign.
When was the last time you stood in front of a mirror, naked, and looked at your breasts?
When was the last time you stood in front of a mirror, naked, and looked at your breasts, absolutely without any judgement?
When was the last time you washed and moisturised your breasts with the tenderness, equal if not greater to holding a newborn baby?
When did you last care for your breasts the way you care for your face?
It is well worth stopping and pondering on these questions…
So, how do we see our breasts?
I am aged 33 and for most of my adult life I have not worn a bra. I didn’t really see the point as my breasts are quite small and bras were just something else I had to worry about in the morning, something else that cost money and were not as comfortable as not wearing a bra. I also liked the picture I had painted of being a braless woman – I was a bit of a hippy and a bit of a feminist. It was a label I liked the sound of.
The first bra I remember buying was during pregnancy. I was given a voucher for a maternity bra and thought why not? But the one I bought was pretty hideous and I never wore it. I then needed some bras once I was breast-feeding which were for no other reason than to hold in some pads as I leaked so much milk, it was a necessity.
There was very little care in this, and although I did try to buy nice ones, it was mostly about function. Continue reading “Discovering the Joy of Wearing a Bra and Uncovering More of the Woman I Am”
As a little girl I looked forward to having breasts, I wanted to look like my Barbie dolls and I knew my breasts were going to be beautiful. When my breasts started to grow at around age eleven I was excited and although it was painful I embraced the way my body was changing. At this time my mum had recently begun a new relationship and moved in with her new partner and she began to seem uncomfortable with the changes happening to my body. One day my mum sat me down and told me in no uncertain terms that my new breasts must be kept hidden at all times. I was not allowed to wear strappy nightgowns or clothing anymore, even if it was a 35-degree summer. She also said that this order had come directly from her new partner. Continue reading “Growing Breasts – The Reflection of my Life in my Breasts”
by Shevon Simon, UK
Small changes in the workplace and no more tears at the toilet!
I stopped working long hours, which left me feeling exhausted. I began to notice when my body would feel that it had come to a place of ‘enough’ work and slowly, slowly I chose to listen to this and stop working, rather than push through. This left me with more space in the evenings to be with myself rather than driving myself with work. As a result I felt more vital on the following day and consequently, more productive in lesser hours – a ‘win win’ situation for myself, my organisation, my clients and my colleagues! Continue reading “My Dream Job as a Bra Advisor – Reflections on Working in the Service Industry”