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Let's talk about breasts, baby!

February 23 2022 | Written by Rheanna Summers (She/Her)

Are my breasts too small? Are they too big? Are they perky? Or are they saggy? Let’s be honest, breasts can be a touchy subject. Literally. For me, I find myself asking these sorts of questions and eventually it just gets to a point where I throw my hands up and say, “ugh whatever”! I’ve spent a lot of time critiquing my breasts, having an internal debate on whether I should love them or hate them. And I’m not going to lie to you, some days I choose love and other days I think “gosh these suck I wish I could return them and get another pair”. Truthfully, my journey with my breasts has come down to me questioning why I’m comparing them to the breasts that I see in the media. It’s taken me a while to understand that those breasts that I see on TV or in movies are not the standard that I should be comparing myself to. While they are undoubtedly beautiful, some have been surgically enhanced, and others have been edited to perfection. So, if you’re reading this and thinking “hmm that’s nice but I love my breasts,” that’s awesome and I applaud you! But if you’re someone like me who questions their breasts, find comfort in knowing you’re not alone. So, let’s take a journey! From breast shapes and sizes, to how our cycles impact them, to the media and its effects, and tips on how to love your boobs, let's talk about breasts, baby!

Breast Shapes

I’ll be the first to admit, I had no clue there were so many unique breast shapes. That is, 12 different types to be exact. And honestly, it’s not surprising really when you think about how many different bodies exist and that there is no “one size fits all” breast shape. My theory is that the media only portrays 1 or 2, maybe max 3 different shapes and sizes of breasts. But either way, I digress. After a careful inspection, I was able to determine my shape and hopefully by outlining the different types below, you will be too. I encourage you to take a warm bath, read a good book, get some candles burning and then when you feel ready, stand in front of a mirror and take some time to figure out your breast shape! Feel free to use this blog as a reference point.

1. Archetype

This is supposedly the most common breast shape. These breasts are categorized as full and round, with the nipple pointing upwards. I would say they are potentially more bottom heavy when compared to a round breast shape. 

2. Round

With this shape, there is an equal fullness between both the top and the bottom of the breast. The breasts appear round in shape and size with the weight being roughly equally distributed.  

3. Bell Shaped

A bell-shaped breast could be seen as more bottom heavy, where they are full at the bottom but narrow at the top. Hence why they resemble a bell shape. This breast shape is more common in people who have larger breasts. 

4. Teardrop

Similar to a bell-shaped breast, a teardrop shape is typically seen as rounder but also a little more bottom heavy or fuller than the top of the breast. 

5. Conical

This breast shape appears to be more cone shaped as opposed to the round shape discussed previously. The nipples typically face outwards, and this shape is more common in people who have smaller breasts.

6. Relaxed 

These breasts are referred to as relaxed because the tissue in the breast is loose and elongated. A feature associated with this shape could be nipples that point downward.

7. East-West 

While this breast shape features fullness both at the top and the bottom of the breast, the key characteristic is that the nipples face in an opposite direction from one another. 

8. Side-set 

There is a separation between the breasts with a side-set shape. It is similar to an East-West shape though. 

9. Close-set

The opposite of a side-set breast is a close-set breast. With this shape, there is little to no separation between the breasts meaning they rest in the center of your chest. 

10. Asymmetric 

This breast shape is particularly interesting. Fun fact, it is possible to have one breast be asymmetrical from the other. An asymmetric breast shape is where one is different in either shape and size or both. It is important to note that while it is not uncommon to have two different breasts, one should consult a doctor if they notice a shift in the size or shape of one breast over a period of time. 

11. Athletic

These breasts typically contain more muscle than breast tissue and they can be described as wider than others. 

12. Slender 

Similar to a relaxed breast shape, slender breasts will have downward facing nipples and typically are long and narrow in shape. 

I think at this point it is important to note that all 12 of these shapes are beautiful and unique in their own way. Whether you identify with conical breasts or slender breasts, they are unique to who you are as a person. And breast shape and size can go through their own changes as a result of a menstrual cycle. 

Changes in Breast Size

Menstruation is one of the many factors that can alter and impact breast shape and size. In my experience, around a week or two before my period arrives my breasts become fuller, heavier, and tender. And along with my breasts changing shape and size, I also tend to put on a little extra body weight and become more irritable. These could both be indications of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which affects a large portion of those who menstruate. To reference a previous Marlow blog titled “What is PMS?”, breast tenderness and weight gain are only 2 symptoms on a long list of what people who menstruate may experience. Other symptoms may include but are not limited to an increase in anxiety, a decrease in energy, headaches and more. With breasts specifically, their shape and size change because of shifting hormone levels ahead of menstruation. Of course, these breast changes are temporary and will go away either during menstruation or just after. It is recommended that you contact a doctor if your breasts do not go back to their original shape and size after your period has come and gone. 

Representation of Breasts in Media

I, along with many other 2000’s kids, grew up listening to “My Humps” by the Black Eyed Peas and you best believe I was absolutely jamming out to a song about breasts at a young age. What I didn’t realize as a kid though was that this exposure to media was already shaping the way I would think and feel about my breasts today. A lot of what we see in the media is fake, overly staged, or displays overly edited versions of reality. But I was impressionable as a child and through media sources I was taught that breasts were sexual in nature. And that if they did not resemble the breasts that I saw in movies, porn, and magazines then they could not be desirable. In fact, media can be a source for why breast size dissatisfaction is prevalent around the globe. According to a study conducted regarding breast size dissatisfaction, out of 18,541 participants, 70.7% people wanted either larger or smaller breasts than what they had at the time of the survey. And through this research, the authors concluded that breast dissatisfaction is in fact connected to mental well-being and self-worth. This is why it is so important to talk about breasts, because it is breaking down the social assumption that all breasts should look like what is portrayed in the media. By breaking things down it is creating the opportunity to rebuild love and respect for our breasts. 

Tips to Loving Your Breasts

Did I mention that breasts can be considered an erogenous zone? That’s right folks, breasts can be a source of pleasure and can even lead to some people having what is referred to as a “nipplegasm”. So far, we’ve chatted about breasts as a whole, but nipples deserve their own moment of fame! Thanks to so many nerve endings in a nipple they are very responsive to stimulation. When they are touched, it actually sets off the part of the brain that is also activated by clitoral or vaginal stimulation. This part of the brain is referred to as the genital sensory cortex. And so, it is possible to orgasm just from nipple play. Crazy, I know. It’s almost as if breasts are an awesome secret pathway to sexual pleasure and satisfaction. 

Positive affirmations are so important. I encourage you to take the time to identify what breast shape you have, don’t be afraid to embrace them in all their glory. Tell yourself they are beautiful, and that they should not be compared to other breasts because yours are unique in their own special way. Spend some time in front of a mirror and thank not only your breasts but also your whole body for getting it to where you are today. Explore nipple play with yourself, see if it is something that can give you pleasure. Breasts can be a sensitive and touchy subject, but they don’t have to be. In my very humble opinion, I think it’s about reclaiming the power of breasts. The media has fabricated “perfect” breasts, so why don’t we turn it on its head and redefine what makes an ideal breast by embracing all of the different shapes and sizes. 

On a final note, be gentle with yourself. It is tough to unlearn certain societal norms and pressures about our breasts. But hopefully this blog encourages you to wake up each day and choose to love your breasts. It’s a journey that, like your breasts, is just waiting to be discovered.