Category Archives: Breasts

The Power of Breasts

Art Lucy H Pearce -http://lucy-h-pearce.artistwebsites.com

Few would deny the power of breasts. They are magnetic. Hypnotic. Fascinating.

So much so that their power has become taboo. They are biologically “secondary sexual features”. But their sexual aspect has supplanted their primary function. They are mammary glands. For nurturing young. They are what connects us to all other mammals. But our culture has forgotten this, and has put them into the “erotic” bracket, and kept for TITillation of men. Their superficial appearance is all that is valued: large, pert, neat nippled breasts.

But breasts are so much more than this.

When we talk of nurturing, the first thing we think of is their milk. And this is truly incredible stuff. Over the years, the more I have learnt about it, the more I have been purely stunned by the intricate miraculousness of this precious fluid. Breast milk, so I have read, changes composition according not only to the age and nutritional needs of the baby, but in order to protect them from infection. Every time a mother kisses her baby, she ingests the pathogens on their skin and creates antibodies which are then fed to the baby through her milk.

I breastfed all three of my children for around two years each. I am so glad I did. But many mothers can’t, or don’t. What I want to talk about is the invisible aspect that is rarely talked about that every mother, whether she breastfeeds or not can give with her breasts: her feminine, nurturing energy.

Think for a second of when you hugged your mother as a child, or when your child hugs you… where is the head? That’s right, laying on the chest, on the breasts. Soothing. comforting, transmitting love. It is intangible, but no less real. This is how mothers transmit the nurturing, loving energy to their children even when they are not breastfeeding, but when we breast feed this streaming of energy is even more direct from mother to child, and sustained for greater lengths of time than a hug.

I first read about the energy properties of breasts in Dr Christiane Northrup’s life changing book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, where she talked powerfully about energy depletion in the breasts and how this can lead to infections and abscesses, when the nursing mother is giving too much and becomes exhausted.

I have also read about the energetic properites of them in Tantric Orgasm for Women, Where author talks of the breasts as a woman’s positive energetic pole, which needs to be approached and awakened first, before genital contact is made. In The Art of Sexual Ecstasy there is an incredible picture of a man sucking his partner’s breast, with a thought bubble, and in it you see him remembering the feeling of suckling at his mother’s breast. His eyes are rolled back, in the same way a milk drunk baby looks, in sheer ecstacy, feeling deep peace and pleasure in their own body and profound connection to the beloved. This is the power of the breast.

Many who have not breastfed worry about the mixing of feelings and emotions between the eroticism of the sexual breast and the nurturing aspect of the mammary gland. Most women report that the physical sensations of breastfeeding are completely different to any sort of sexual interaction, and that if the sexual feelings do emerge, which can happen with a child who is weaning and gone a few days without feeding, that it feels odd and uncomfortable. But the feelings of pleasure and closeness for mother and child are similar to a post orgasmic haze as the act of nursing produces the same hormone: oxytocin, which produces feelings of bliss, bondedness, deep connection and relaxation.

But there is something more to the energetic and nurturing aspect of the breast – something to do with this energy flow which I have experienced many times. When each of my children weaned for a few weeks, to a couple of years with each different child, when they were tired or upset, they would choose to come and put their head, or their hand, on my breast. At first it would have to be on the naked breast. There was some sort of soothing which they got from its energy alone, that was separate from the sucking sensation and the milk itself with which they previously comforted themselves.

And it was not just my breastfed babies who would associate my breasts with nurture. A neighbor’s 3 year old son, who had not been breastfed, fell on the road outside my house, and was very shaken and upset. I picked the sobbing child up to carry him down to his house, the first time I had ever held him, and the first thing he did, was to put his hand gently onto my breast and kept it there, as his sobs subsided, all the way to his house.

And it is not even just humans. One day we found a tiny abandoned kitten in the hedge, and carrying it back home (I was still nursing at the time), it wriggled and nuzzled its way in under my cardigan, nuzzling and licking at my breasts, looking for milk and comfort.

This energy, its pull, its draw for both nurturing and sexual terms fascinates me. One of the most distinctive thing about my paintings is the nipples with the spirals on that emerge so often: a making visible though art, of what lies invisible.

Many of us are unaware of this energy spiral. We have learnt to shut off our feelings to our breasts. But whether we are breastfeeding or not, being aware of this aliveness in our breasts, the energy spirals is key to our feminine health and to healthy, loving, connected relationships. Bringing our attention to them throughout the day and especially when you are hugging people, and before and during intercourse is a key way to be sure that we are in our bodies, giving freely of our energy, not depleting ourselves, nurturing and connecting with love. It is also vital to receive love in through the breasts and heart chakra through hugs and open communication, through keeping our bodies warm, through rest and relaxation, and through massage and loving touch.

Your breasts are miraculous, not for what they look like, but for what they are and do. Take care of them.

This post is part of the Irish Parenting Bloggers BlogMarch to support Breastfeeding Week. For an introduction to the March, and a list of the other participants please visit
Mama.ie

Let’s talk about sex… when you have kids

I seem to have been talking sex a lot recently, with soul-sisters, my women’s group and my partner. It strikes me that though we may not want to DO it as much, us married women with kiddies sure love to talk about it! It matters to us. It excites and intrigues us and makes us glow – as one friend says, she knows I’m about to start talking sex (which is quite often, if truth be told!) because my face lights up! But talking and doing are not the same. 

There comes a time in your life when sex isn’t, well, so sexy. And it’s certainly not carefree. Nor spontaneous.  Sex becomes more functional as you enter your thirties – tied up with conceiving… or desperately NOT conceiving another. It can feel like a strategic military operation at times to get both partners in the same place, minus kids and plus small amounts of energy. Nor is it about lust-filled exploration – as you know each other’s bodies back to front. So what IS sex about…?

In one word: connection – to ourselves and each other.We’re all pretty good at superficial connection via Facebook, and superficial titillation in this sex-saturated world. But real connection is anything but superficial. The longer you know someone, the less places there are to hide. Sex cannot be used as escapism once you have been together for a prolonged period. It requires connection. I know in myself, I turn away from this connection when I feel overwhelmed with the world and myself: the thought of being that open, that connected, is more than I can take. And so when I go off sex, it is a great reminder to me that I am disconnected – not just from my partner, but also my own body, and from other areas of intimacy in my life. If I can’t show up in bed, I am not showing up elsewhere.  If I can’t let myself go in the bedroom, chances are the rest of my creativity is being inhibited too.

Sex requires that we turn up as we are, in the bodies we currently inhabit. And with an openness of spirit. It requires complete openness and vulnerability. A desire to engage fully. To BE together. And that’s before you get to the physical aspects which might be blocking your path…

Post-baby bodies: it might be as simple as stretch-marks or as serious as tearing and scar tissue, or a body memory stored in your genitals from a traumatic birth – going down there post-babies can be a lot less straight forward. We are aware of our bodies in a more functional, less romanticised way. As are our partners. It can be hard for either or both of us to detach from their baby making qualities, to their erotic ones, especially when breastfeeding and our partners might cop a squirt of milk in the eye during foreplay!

Cycles: It is natural for libidos to be dampened down whilst breastfeeding. But when our menstrual cycle resumes, so do our monthly hotspots. It is great to be aware of when these occur and take your lead from your hormones. When your libido rises just before ovulation, and just before (or for some women during) menstruation. For more information on your cycle do check out my book Moon Time: a guide to celebrating your menstrual cycle.

Feeling touched out: Mothers, especially those who are co-sleeping, breastfeeding, or mothers of under 3s can feel totally overwhelmed by touch at the end of a long day mothering, and when evening comes just want their physical space rather than being touched some more.

Exhaustion: Many mamas get into a spiral of I’m too tired, I don’t want to have sex. Their partners subtly or not so subtly express that sex hasn’t been had in a long time, and she begins to feel resentful about being put upon – doesn’t he understand I’m tired? I don’t have any more to give. I really just don’t want to… A vicious spiral of disconnection can build from here, with both too frustrated and misunderstood to communicate. How do YOU break out of this? How do you find a way through where both of you feel your needs are being heard and honoured?

Turning it around…

Reframing: I often feel hounded if I am not in the mood. And know that many other women do too. But when it was explained to me that that hungry look was not a demand, but an appreciation, a visual “I love you, I love your body.” Rather than perceive it as a threat which I had to defend myself and my tired body from, I could totally reframe it, and it made me feel energised, loved and grateful. What woman doesn’t want to feel loved, to know she is loved? And that is all most of our partners want for us too: to express their love. For them it can often be with actions of physical love making, rather than words or other gestures. But you may need to have the words and gestures first. Reframing it in your own mind can make you feel a whole different way, instead of him “needing” or “demanding” something, can you consider it a devotion, meditation, a shared enjoyment, an invitation for play or fun, a chance to feel loved?

And can he reframe what he considers “necessary” for “sex” – is sex just intercourse leading to orgasm? What other ways can you connect physically and emotionally? Negotiate non-intercourse ways of interacting lovingly. Everyone needs touch, some of us more than others – making sure you are giving, and receiving loving touch is vital for all relationships.

Get away – a change of scene is so important to get our energy flowing. Our energy stagnates if we live day in, day out, in the same place, in the same way, and in the early years of parenthood we can be very stuck at home. Getting away together – to a hotel, or house sitting a friend’s house, or having a naughty Saturday afternoon together sans kids at home is often just what the doctor ordered. Time out of mundane reality to reconnect on every level.

The erotic – pillow books were a common thing of the Japanese, I like this idea of shared enjoyment of eroticism. In our culture pornography tends to be a male-dominated, female-exploiting field, and is often mixed with aggression, domination or abusive models of sexual interaction. But we all have an erotic side – a side that loves sensuality, titillation, naughtiness, the erotic – can you find a way to share this in a way that celebrates, not denigrates you as a woman? That makes you feel good?  Do share your suggestions below for woman friendly eroticism that you share with your partner.

Keep exploring, and enjoying and pleasuring your own body – the more to love and enjoy your body and sensuality, the more you understand, without pressure or expectation what you like, and love, the more alive your body feels on a regular basis, the more alive and in your body you will feel.

There is, and always has been, a pressure on women to have sex – both to make babies and to give pleasure, often regardless of her own desires. Even when our partner may not be intending to put pressure on, there is the cultural pressure on men and women to be doing it more. Enough, enough already. Sex is nothing to prove, nothing to achieve. There are no minimum requirements.

But that is not to say it is not important. But our vision of sex, our definition is narrow. And what is important is that which makes us glow when we talk about it, and that we experience after making love – the glow of our heightened life force flowing through our veins, the feelings of ecstasy, of abandon, and sensuality. The sense of being one with another, one with the world. The comfort and pleasure of being touched by and touching. These matter. These impact all of our relationships and our life as a whole. However you can, make sure to weave THAT sort of magic through your life and your partnership. Find how to connect, and reconnect in a way that pleasures and celebrates you both.

 

The Hypocrisy of Images

I have just been “cleansing” my Pinterest account from illicit images at their request – “it looks like the pin may have had nudity on it.” Pinterest prohibits content that is “is sexually explicit or contains nudity, partial nudity or pornography…We don’t allow nudity—photos that show breasts, buttocks or genitalia on Pinterest.”

The threats are real – the closing of your account if you do not comply. I understand their reasoning – I have come across some of the most horrible porn on Pinterest which has no right being there.So now we know that I’m not advocating Porntrest… let me puzzle something out with you.

I’ve been trying to figure out what I am “allowed” to keep on my boards like the Goddess,  Mother Love and The Happy Womb boards… so for example genitals are not allowed – but how about cupcakes made to look like genitals?

Vagina Cupcakes - Multiracial and anatomically correct. Perfect snacks for afterwards...

So am I allowed this? It LOOKS like a yoni… but it’s not, it’s an aerial photograph of the Earth!

Great Mother's Sacred Yoni

It’s not to do with being “sexually alluring”, because that happens everywhere with clothes on, that is the norm in our twisted society. Women looking sexual, erotic  to sell everything from shower gel to cars. I have already dumped some beautiful goddess woman images before I thought to share them with you here, which because they were bare-breasted, though not in the least “erotic” would come under the ban.

So  went for a trawl through Google to find some images… the sort which would be doing the rounds, totally above board, on the likes of Pinterest. There are LOTS of women in figure revealing dresses, underwear and swim wear on the fashion pages…

This would be allowed, because she’s wearing a bra to cover her (evil) breast flesh and nipple. So even though we can see the OUTLINE of her breast shape, and the COLOUR of the fabric is the same as her skin… I’m guessing it’s OK…So when they say no breasts… what I think they mean is no nipples…

Oh, sorry, female nipples...I think we’ve been here before! So this is OK, because he has a penis. (Which we are not allowed to see).

But this would not be OK…

Or this I think…

Everybody came out of the body of a woman, and that should not be forgotten, or be frightening'  -By Nan Goldin

Because they don’t have a penis. Now the reality is I don’t think ANYONE, male, female, young or old would find these images offensive or sexual. They are simply the human body doing its thing (I guess you could argue sex is too, but usually those images are there to titillate and arouse and are, therefore, “adult”, which is fair enough.)

But – it depends on your medium, because this is OK

Because it’s sculpture. Not REAL flesh. It’s by Rodin. So it’s ART people.

And this…

is just fine too I think. Because it’s a painting… (by a man…)

So it’s just real women’s bodies that are offensive?

Ah, OK! We’re back to that basic argument of women’s flesh is bad methinks! In the digital age, nothing it seems has changed.

Nipples to the wind

Last weekend we went to the swimming pool, the whole family. It brought home to me how alive the gender divide still is when it comes to our bodies. My husband just put his trunks in the bag and went, where as I spent half an hour de-fuzzing my armpits and legs from their winter growth.

And then as we got ready to swim, I looked at my two girls, aged two and four. Each completely themselves. One in a pink floral patterned ultra girly swim suit, with frilly parts to draw the eye to her non existent four year old bust. And the other in a pair of her brother’s old pirate monkey shorts. Topless.

“You look like a boy,” my seven year old son said to her.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because she’s only wearing shorts and I can see her nipples,” was the reply.
And yes, there she was, nipples to the wind, just the same as he was at that age.

And it felt good to me. And to her. And everyone else just got on with their lives assuming she was a boy.
Because truly, there is no shame in a girl’s nipples. It feels ridiculous to even say it.
Why do they need to learn to be “discrete” with a non-genital part of their body, when little boys can bear them in public, shamelessly? It is just learning a body shame which will get worse as they get older. Something is seriously wrong with our culture, when nipples are fine on the cover of lads’ mags, and Page 3 of the daily paper in the UK, but are considered shameful to be exposed for their biological function: feeding a baby.

I see pictures of tribes’ people around the world with longing. There are the women – from 14 to 70 with their breasts, all shapes and sizes, to the wind.

Their beautiful, normal breasts.

But the first sign of civilisation, when other cultures impinge on theirs, is the covering of a woman’s breasts. I remember hearing an Aboriginal elder, one of the lost tribes, who was “discovered” by a white explorer in the 1950s. She looked back at the photographs he took of their lifestyle, this woman who was wearing a baggy T shirt. Oh look she says, we used to go everywhere with nothing on our boobies! And laughs.

And I feel a longing to have that freedom. When the sun shines, to not be tangled in a bra for support, and a T shirt for modesty, but to join my husband and son and every builder in Ireland as we whip off our tops to feel the sun soak into our skins.

Not to make a statement, or to tittilate or shock. Just because the sun is out, my body is not shameful, and I put my nipples to the wind.