Breasts, glorious breasts

Ah, breasts: They can nourish our babies, hold up even the slinkiest of strapless dresses, and get us served in crowded bars. Pre-adolescent girls eagerly await their arrival, and yet once they're there, a majority of women spend the rest of their lives wishing they were different. That's right, the odds a woman 18-65 is unsatisfied with her breasts are 1 in 1.43-that's 70%!

And since breasts, unlike the most attended-to male appendage, are always available for public observation-unless they are hidden beneath a burqa or some other tent-like garment-their shape, their size, and their perkiness (or droopiness) quotient are always being scrutinized.

Conventional wisdom suggests that heterosexual men are enticed by big breasts. Maybe it's an Oedipal thing, who knows? Whatever the reason, a full-busted woman has been known to attract far more attention than her lesser-endowed girlfriends.

But does size really matter? After all, it was French men who advised us that the ideal breast is one which fits into a champagne glass. And who knows more on these subjects than the French?

But research suggests that, when it comes to women they're not in a relationship with, American men prefer beer mugs to flutes. They own up to enjoying bantering about big breasts with their buddies. It's even been shown they are more likely to pick up a female hitchhiker if she has large breasts.

And, on the whole, American women seem to favor big breasts as well (although the jury is still out on what lesbians prefer in their partners-rather unsurprisingly, the research focuses largely on men's views of women and women's views of themselves). But more-and younger-women are opting for breast implants than ever before. Other procedures, like the breast lift, are also on the rise-no surprise, since droopiness is the most common complaint women have about their breasts. 1 in 3.03 women wish for a perkier chest, closely followed by the 1 in 3.57 ladies who wish for a bustier one. Breast reduction is the least common breast surgery-again, no surprise, considering that only 1 in 11.11 women wish for smaller breasts.

But from a man's perspective, things change once he's in a relationship. Whether he is smitten by a woman's smile, her smarts, or her heart, her breast size seems to diminish in importance. It turns out that heterosexual men care more about the breast size on strangers than they do on their partners-a recent study at UCLA revealed that a majority of men (56%) are satisfied with their partner's breasts. And while 13% of men say they prefer a D-cup or larger, compared to only 1% who prefer an A, the most popular size of all is the C-which also happens to be the average, up from a B cup in 1995.

As for the 1 in 2.27 men who are still unsatisfied with their partner's breasts, it might be time to take a cold, hard look in the mirror. If you don't like her breasts saggy, she probably doesn't like yours that way, either.

Read More Articles