Can Men be Attracted to Gravity-Challenged Breasts?

I was interviewed recently by Sarah Hampson about Boomer sex and dating for Canada’s Globe and Mail. The article, “Boomers, it’s a brave new sexual world,” appeared 1/15/09 and has attracted many reader comments, mostly people objecting to the tone or examples in the article, and several exhibiting the “ick factor,” as I call it — such as these examples:

  • I don’t really want to hear about people my parents age having sex.
  • Geriatric sex is just nasty. Back in the closet Woodstock.
  • Please go have your “old-person” sex somewhere else, but for everyone’s sake do it quietly.
  • I am now canceling my subscription to the Globe and Mail.
A quote from me in the article, “A man is attracted to you because he is attracted to you, not the shape of your breasts,” led to this comment from a reader:

This woman expert is clearly out to lunch on this one … discounts the physical part of attraction altogether, which for man is probably at least 50/50 with personality. The shape of a woman’s breasts are definitely part of the attraction package.

I had to respond:

Actually, I’m not discounting the physical part of attraction at all. What I am discounting is the notion that only a youthful appearance can be attractive. We ARE attractive and sexy even if our breasts are susceptible to gravity over time. My wonderful husband always exclaimed that he was stunned by the beauty of my far-from-perky breasts. Let’s just get over the youth orientation of what our society and the media label beautiful and/or sexy….

Then I had to laugh at the follow-up comment from another reader:

Your husband is also biased. Do you honestly think a husband is going to tell his wife he prefers the firm, perky breasts of a 20 y/o. No…he just dreams about them.

This amused me because as much as “the firm, perky breasts of a 20 y/o” fit society’s image as beautiful, and I never begrudged Robert any pleasure or fantasy he might have enjoyed when seeing (or imagining) a young woman’s cleavage, Robert was not wishing that I had breasts (or face, or feet, or hair) that were anything other than reality. He was an authentic man, and he valued authenticity in the woman he loved. He told me so, and proved it with his words, his caresses, and the delight in his eyes.


  1. C4bl3Fl4m3 on April 6, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    I’m so sorry you had those comments on that website. I know what that’s like… not because of age, but because of size. If you replace the words dealing with old and aging with words dealing with fat and size, it sounds exactly like some of the stuff people say when we talk about fat people having sex.

    It’s a shame that society can’t handle the idea of anyone who isn’t young, skinny, and supposedly “beautiful” having sex. (And who says that beautiful = young and skinny? Hardly!)

  2. starmann28 on February 2, 2009 at 4:37 am

    I’m a 46 year old male…I have always found natural breasts much more attractive than the silicone fakes that Hollywood would present as being an ideal of sexiness. I find the “gravity effect” to be incredibly sexy……and so do a lot of other men of all ages. A sexy woman is a sexy woman. We don’t need to qualify whether we are talking about an “older woman” or a “younger woman” Sexy is Sexy whatever your age.

  3. Sally Wendkos Olds on January 27, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    How great that you are celebrating the sexuality of mature people! You’re carrying on the legacy of Simone de Beauvoir who wrote years ago about the pleasures that older people find in sex and in older bodies. Boo to the ageists in our society! Keep up your important work.

  4. Paul on January 26, 2009 at 3:19 am

    I have to say, that as a 26 year old guy, I absolutely love older women’s sagging breasts…when I am out, I always seem to see older women who have very beautiful breasts…if only they knew that young guys like myself really like them, as well as their sagging breasts….I envy older (40s, 50s) guys cause they get their pick of the younger women with perky breasts and the older women with the saggy breasts, because women in their age group see someone my age as not capable of being in a relationship and loving them for who they are. They dont realize how beautiful older women truly are!!!

  5. paula, 56 on January 24, 2009 at 4:26 am

    I enjoy watching MSNBC news, but just now I was reminded of how even though the more liberal and open minded elements of our society would never dream of being sexist, racist, or homophobic, it is still perfectly okay to be ageist. Especially when it comes to sexuality. Keith Olberman did an “Oddball” segment tonight (jan. 23) about a claymation production made by seniors about the need to practice safe sex.

    The claymation is really cute and well done, based on what I saw of it. Keith didn’t mention that sexually transmitted diseases are spreading among seniors, choosing only to make fun of the idea of seniors having sex.

    Having tried to wade through the mire of Keith’s comment area on msnbc’s website and finding out that there is no simple way to send Keith a comment, and apparently no way to send a comment about that particular story, I decided to visit “better than I ever expected.” Interestingly the top story here is about — or at least related to — this very subject.

    Sorry Keith, but today YOU are my WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD. One day you too will be old. Have you thought about that? So much for your much trumpeted political correctness.

    To get to the particular subject of this post, the comment above is so “right on.” Also special thanks to Joan for leading the way for all of us older folks to be brave and still be sexy despite the effects of gravity, and despite the careless pandering by otherwise pretty okay news anchors.

    I’m actually a bigger fan of Rachel Maddow and usually watch Keith — sort of — waiting for Rachel’s show, which I take more seriously.

  6. Anonymous on January 21, 2009 at 2:55 am

    Good for Robert! How refreshing to hear that those kind of men *do* exist.

    I worry that many women have the attitude that “the shape of a woman’s breasts are part of the attraction package”. Thank you for putting that statement in its true context.

    I am reading “The Beauty Myth” by Naomi Wolf, and though it’s a little old now, its overall message is still relevant: the beauty industry (and other corporate-driven enterprises) propagate odd, unrepresentative, and arbitrary standards of beauty as a way to keep women distracted and out of touch with their true sexuality and the power that comes with it.

    Aging women pose a particular danger to the status quo, because with age comes experience and knowledge and confidence (ideally). Hence the “establishment’s” desire to 1) attach “beauty” to sexuality and 2) create such wierd standards for that beauty that no woman will ever attain them.

    The people who are making rude or unhelpful comments in response to the Globe and Mail story are helping to perpetuate the whole sexist plot, though they might not know it.

    I don’t mean to sound as if I wear a tinfoil helmet on my head. (I only do that on Sundays.)

    –CC at

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