Written by Tunde Ajaja - Nigeria
It is not for nothing that some men skip their breaths on sighting women with big breasts, so, it is no news that men like buxom ladies while others prefer those who are less endowed in that region.
Suffice it to say that it is one of those things that can soften a 'strong' man's heart. Previous studies have also shown that on realizing how attracted men are to their priced body parts, some women now use them as a powerful weapon to get whatever they want. "Men are 'extremely' drawn to breasts," one of the studies said.
So the question is, why are men so obsessed with breasts and why is it that some men tend to be confused, misbehave or even take bad decisions when confronted with breasts or breast-related stimuli, like bras?
This is certainly a question many would scratch their head before answering, not necessarily because they are too shy to say it but because many don't know; they just can't explain why. However, scientists have said men are just helpless when it comes to the issue of breasts because the attraction is borne out of nature, meaning, they just cannot help but love them.
Two scientists, Larry Young and Brian Alexander, believe that heterosexual men are so fascinated by women's breasts due to oxytocin, a simple hormone released during nursing or breastfeeding, which helps to forge the powerful bond between mother and baby. It also creates an evolutionary drive for a strong nurturing bond between lovers.
Now that it has been established that a man's fascination with the breasts is an unconscious evolutionary drive that has been ingrained from birth, it seems interesting to know that a man's economic status influences the size of breasts he prefers in women, according to some scientists.
They found through a study that poor, hungry men substantially love women with big breasts while financially secure men prefer those with smaller breasts. This means the amount of money a man earns has a lot to do with the size of breasts he prefers.
This implies that beyond good looks, and other things that attract men in women, the size of the woman's breasts is also a factor to consider.
The study explained that poor men are attracted to big breasts because the breast may act as a signal of the woman's fat reserves, which in turn reveals her access to resources, good economic status and financial security they can benefit from while hungry women are also attracted to men with macho, where they can benefit.
Meanwhile, Evolutionary biologists have suggested that full breasts are mostly made up of fat, which signals to a man that a woman is in good health.
The study sought to find out the reason for the divergent preferences in breast size by poor or hungry men and rich or satiated men.
The researchers, Viren Swami and Martin Tovée, who are psychologists, said, "Poor men preferred larger-breasted or voluptuous women who may likely have better access to food and financial security as revealed in their body structure, especially their chest size (a strong indicator) and hungry women also tend to be attracted to muscular men."
This implies that the macho appearance (masculinity) of a man and the chest size of the woman are two different factors that can influence how attractive they are to the opposite sex because they see such as a measure of their financial security.
In other words, a woman's shape, particularly her chest size, is seen to indicate her level of fat reserves and a man's shape, especially how macho he is, indicates how much access he has to food. Hence, people's physical appearance symbolises their access to food and good life.
In the study, carried out by scientists from the University of Westminster, United Kingdom, and reviewed byDailyMail, 124 men were shown images of five different body shapes and they were told to rate them on how attractive they are. In the study, 66 of the men in the study had not eaten for six hours, while the remaining 58 had full stomachs.
After collating the men's rating, the poor respondents who are also hungry and have not eaten for six hours, rated women with larger chests as significantly more attractive than those with smaller breasts, while the rich men, who have eaten and have full stomachs, rated women with smaller breasts as more attractive.
This means that women with large breasts are more attractive to poor men, more so to those with an empty stomach, which corroborates an earlier submission by some psychologists that breast size may indicate fat reserves, which in turn indicates access to resources.
Swami said people who are not endowed with resources want a partner who has the resources, because they tend to have higher access to food, hence, the attraction.
"If a man is hungry, he prefers larger breasts sizes and a slightly larger woman and if a woman is hungry, she prefers more muscular men because these are clues about resources. If you are hungry, you want resources and a partner who has resources and someone who is heavier is seen to have access to food," he said.
In another study published on psychologytoday.com, 266 Malaysian men from different socioeconomic backgrounds (high, medium and low) were shown a series of five animated female figures that varied only in terms of breast size and they were asked to rate the figures for physical attraction.
The study revealed that men from the low socioeconomic status, who are experiencing 'resource insecurity' rated larger breasted figures as more attractive than men with medium socioeconomic status, who also perceived women with larger breasts as more attractive, while men from a high socioeconomic context, i.e. those who were 'financially well off,' preferred smaller boobs.
"This means that poorer men like larger breasts, because they see a woman's breast size as a signal of fat reserves and that she has access to food and has some financial resources they could benefit from," the study said.
Commenting on the findings of these studies, a professor of experimental physiology at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, Gareth Leng, said the link between hunger and attraction may be down to oxytocin - a hormone, produced during childbirth, breastfeeding and lovemaking.
"Oxytocin, known as the love hormone, boosts libido but also suppresses hunger. Hunger and sex are basic drives but it means we cannot pursue both at the same time.
"Women with big busts and hips have historically proved popular in periods of economic depression, which psychologists think is because larger women communicate strength, control and wealth in tough times.
"Taken together, these studies provide evidence that resource security impacts upon men's attractiveness ratings based on women's breast size," the study said.
Commenting on the study, a psychologist, Prof. Toba Elegbeleye, said both poor and rich men, as against the belief of the researchers, are attracted to women with big breasts because it is a sex object and not an economic factor.
He said, "I don't agree that a woman's breast would invoke a feeling of economic security in a poor man, because you cannot correlate the size of a woman's breasts directly with provision to assuage hunger or provide riches.
"Normally, breast is an arousal for men, including poor and rich, and it symbolises the feminism and sexuality of a woman, rather than turning it to an economic factor."
He explained that men, regardless of their economic status, like their women to be well emphasized in all departments, particularly the breast and the buttocks.