refers to an adult's sexual arousal from being breastfed. Depending on the context, the terms adult suckling, adult nursing, and adult breastfeeding can refer to the practice. Practitioners sometimes refer to themselves as being in an adult nursing relationship (ANR). Two persons in an exclusive relationship can be called a nursing couple, though this term is also sometimes used for a mother and her child.
"Milk fetishism" and "lactophilia" are medical, diagnostic terms for paraphilias
and are used for disorders according to the precise criteria of ICD-10
Breasts, and especially nipples, are highly erogenous zones
, both for men and women. Nipple and breast stimulation of women are a near-universal aspect of human sexuality
, though nipples in males are not as sexualized. Humans are the only primates that have females with permanently enlarged breasts after the onset of puberty; other primate species only are enlarged during pregnancy. One hypothesis postulates that the breasts grew as a frontal counterpart to the buttocks when primates became upright, thus attracting males, a theory first developed in 1967. Another hypothesis assumes that during evolution, women prevailed who were motivated by physical pleasure to nurse their babies in the best possible way. Other theories include that by chance breasts act as a cushion for infant heads, are a signal of fertility, or elevate the head in breastfeeding to prevent suffocation. Paradoxically, there is even a school that believes that they are an evolutionary flaw, and can actually suffocate a nursing infant. The same holds true for the lips, also erogenous zones where pleasure may have led to "kiss feeding
", in which mothers chew food before passing it on to the child.
Unintended milk flow (Galactorrhea) is often caused by nipple stimulation and it is possible to reach normal milk production exclusively by suckling on the breast. Nipple stimulation of any sort is noted in reducing the incidence of breast cancer.
Because female breasts and nipples are normally an important part of sexual activity, it is not surprising that couples may proceed from oral stimulation of the nipples to actual breastfeeding. In lesbian partnerships, mutual breastfeeding has been regarded as a familiar expression of affection and tenderness.
In its Sunday issue of March 13, 2005, the London daily The Times gave a report of a scientific survey (composed of 1690 British men) revealing that in 25 to 33% of all couples, the male partner had suckled his wife's breasts. Regularly the men gave a genuine emotional need as their motive.
The breasts have two roles in human society: nutritive and sexual. Breastfeeding in general is considered by some to be mildly exhibitionary, especially in Western societies (See Breastfeeding in public
). Even breastfeeding mothers have faced legal ramifications for nursing their children into toddlerhood or in public, or for photographing themselves while nursing.
Persons who engage in erotic lactation often keep the practice secret, even from close family and friends. While Western societies do not largely have a collective opinion on the practice, for many the rarity of the practice coupled with its sexual connections relegate it to a perversion at worst or an alternate lifestyle at best. Researcher Nikki Sullivan, in her book A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory calls erotic lactation a manifestation of "Queer". She defines Queer as an ideology; as a "sort of vague and indefinable set of practices and (political) positions that has the potential to challenge normative knowledges and identities." Drawing on a statement of David Halperin, she continues "since queer is a positionality rather than an identity in the humanist sense, it is not restricted to gays and lesbians but can be taken up by anyone who feels marginalised as a result of their sexual practices." The heteronormative profile of breastfeeding assumes certain norms. These include: an infant between three and twelve months old; motivations of nutritional and developmental benefits for the child and physiological benefits for the mother; possible secondary motivations of convenience and cheapness; practice in private, domestic settings; breast milk-consumption exclusivity to the youngest infant. Additionally, any relevant third party is assumed to be the mother's significant other and this person is regulated to a supportive role to maximise the breastfeeding mother's success.
Varieties of erotic lactation
The following are various methods people employ to practice erotic lactation. They are listed according to prevalence, in decreasing order:Lactation games: Any kind of sexual activity which includes the woman's milk. Such activity is widespread, and often unintentional, in the time after a woman gives birth since many women experience a let-down reflex (releasing milk) when sexually aroused.Lactation pornography:While lactation does appear in pornography, it is a niche genre, and considered a taboo by many because of its proximity to incest and children. Most breast representations are without milk, and abound in the media in erotic way both in and out of pornograhy. Japan produces the most lactation-related pornography, both in live action and hentai (pornographic Manga and anime).Adult Nursing Relationship (ANR): The suckling of milk from a female's breast on a regular basis from one or more partner(s). Successful ANRs depend on a stable and long-term relationship, as, otherwise it is very difficult to maintain a steady milk flow. Couples may begin an ANR by transferring regular suckling from a child to a sexual partner (eg. husband). Such a relationship may form as an expression of close intimacy and mutual tenderness and may even exist without sex. Breastfeeding can have a strong stabilizing effect on the partnership. The breastfeeding woman may experience orgasms or a pleasurable let-down reflex.
- ANRs has also been employed in cases where a mother may desire to breastfeed her child, but has to find an alternative to inducing lactation. She may have difficulty beginning lactation, so supplements the infants's suckling with that of a partner. Or there are cases where breastfeeding was interrupted for an extended period of time as a result of infant prematurity, infant absence, or mother's illness (taking prescription medication). In such cases, adult nursing has often caused lactation to continue until it was possible for the child to resume breast feeding. Others may want to nurse an adopted child, so uses an ANR to stimulate breastmilk production before the adoption occurs. Though such scenarios do not have erotic motivations, erotic expression may be an additional aspect of the relationship.Pumping: Some women experience sensual pleasure from pumping milk from their breasts or expressing milk manually—with or without a partner. In addition to the sensual pleasure, women have reported feeling more feminine while producing milk and continue with lactation after weaning a baby for emotional or sensual reasons.Lactation prostitution:As it sounds, it is the breastfeeding for pay. In 2003, there was a report of New Zealand brothel that offered lactation services to its clients. Though not strictly prostitution, a Beijing restaurant offered breastmilk-based dishes on its menu.Infantilism: The non-lactating partner assumes the role of a baby in sexual role play. Breastfeeding might play a secondary role in this type of relationship, and being pampered by "mommy", wearing diapers or a hidden incestuous character may be the predominate motivation in this kind of relationship.BDSM:
- # Breastfeeding as a reward (or surrogate pleasure): Breastfeeding of the submissive partner can serve as a reward for his/her submission.
- # Milking: Milking of the submissive woman, or commanding her to give milk for her dominant partner.Excessive breastfeeding of a child: In order to give a comprehensive overview it should be mentioned that "excessive breastfeeding" for reasons of sensual pleasure in the mother might occur. This is not a topic of this article and it is highly unclear whether a woman can harm her child directly by excessive breastfeeding.Breastfeeding an animal:There are reported cases where animals (eg. cats, goats, etc...) have suckled from a human host.
Lactation, re-lactation and induced lactation
Erotic Lactation between partners or an Adult Nursing Relationship (ANR) may develop from natural breastfeeding of a baby. During the lactation period the partner starts to suckle on the female breast, and continues after the baby is weaned off. Milk production is continually stimulated and the milk flow continues. According to the book "Augustine and Literature", adult nursing may occur when an "individual, usually a mother, may choose to continue lactating after weaning a child, so that she avoids the significant physical challenge that inducing lactation can entail."
However, milk production can be "artificially" and intentionally induced in the absence of any pregnancy in the woman. This is called induced lactation, while a woman who has lactated before and re-starts is said to relactate. This can be done by regularly sucking on the nipples (several times a day), massaging and squeezing the female breasts or with additional help from temporary use of milk-inducing drugs, such as the Dopamine antagonist Domperidone. In principle — with considerable patience and perseverance — it is possible to induce lactation by sucking on the nipples alone.
It is not necessary that the woman has ever been pregnant, and she can be well in her post-menopausal period. Once established, lactation adjusts to demand. As long as there is regular breast stimulation, lactation is possible.
A lactogene effect of herbs is not clinically confirmed, although several herbs are recommended to increase or evoke milk flow. These are for example fenugreek (the most popular), blessed thistle, and red raspberry leaf.
Adult lactation historically and culturally
Though birth is the beginning of the separation between mother and child, breastfeeding slows this process, making the mother and infant connect physically continually, sometimes for years. As a source of nourishment, the immediacy of this connection is intensified. Breastfeeding has a sexual element as a result of physiological factors. In a study conducted in 1999, approximately 33 to 50 percent of mothers found breast feeding erotic, and among them 25 percent felt guilty because of this. This study corroborated a study in 1949 that found that in a few cases where the arousal was strong enough to induce orgasm, some nursing mothers abandon breast feeding altogether. In a 1988 questionnaire on orgasm and pregnancy published in a Dutch magazine for women, asked "Did you experience, while breastfeeding, a sensation of sexual excitement?"; Thirty-four percent (or 153 total) answered in the affirmative. An additional 71 percent answered in the affirmative when asked "Did you experience, while breastfeeding, pleasurable contractions in the uterine region."
Erotic lactation in history
Since the European Middle Ages
a multitude of subliminally erotic visionary experiences of saints have been passed on in which breastfeeding plays a major role. One prominent example is the Lactatio of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
. Generally speaking this was a rather strong taboo, and it can be concluded that an adult man suckling for milk is in contradiction to well established images of masculinity
There exists a very old story mostly called "Roman Charity
" (or caritas romana
). This story is most known from old paintings showing a young woman nourishing an old man who is imprisoned by suckling him.
The story comes from the Roman writer Valerius Maximus in the year 14 AD - 37 AD. In about AD 1362 the story was retold by the famous writer Giovanni Boccaccio. After Boccaccio hundreds or possibly thousands of paintings were created, which tell the story.
Primarily, the story tells of a conflict. An existing taboo (implied incest and adult breastfeeding of a woman's milk) or saving a life by breaking the taboo. In this aspect there is no erotic focus to the story.
Most interesting in context of erotic lactation isn't the fact of nourishing a man from a woman's breast. More interesting is the following affair: Valerius Maximus tells two stories, not one only. There's first a long elaborated story with a woman breastfeeding her mother, which is followed by a very short story with a woman breastfeeding her father. The second father-daughter story in fact consists of one sentence only. 1500 years later Boccaccio retells the (first) mother-daughter story only and doesn't mention the father-daughter story. Nevertheless nearly all "caritas romana" oil paintings and drawings show the father-daughter story only. This fact changes the original background into an erotical direction and we can very clearly see the (erotical) fascination of the adult suckling situation for the artists, who created all the paintings.
Adult suckling was used to treat ailing adults and treat illnesses including eye disease and pulmonary tuberculosis. The writer Thomas Moffat recorded one physician's use of a wet nurse in a tome first published in 1655.
In traditional Islamic law
, someone who suckles the breast of a woman is that woman's child, either biologically or through a foster relationship. However, according the the Jurist Abu's-Su`ud (c.1490-1574), this only applies to sucklings under the age of two and a half years. This is a source of some dispute, as a modern Saudi Jurist, in 1983, upheld that if a man suckles from his wife, their marriage is nullified. The query remains a popular one into the 21st century, and has come up in Saudi advice columns.
In the Bantu
tribe, rites of "milk brotherhood" dictate that brotherhood can be forced upon someone by making them suckle the person's wife or daughter. A milk covenant can be made between two clans by a clanmember suckling a sister of another clan in a hut. This may be followed by a blood ceremony outside.
Historically, induced lactation and consumption of females breast milk in the Hawaiian [Kabu-Khan] was believed to ward off evil spirits. The most fertile of tribe females were enslaved and forced to supply milk to many of the Kabu warriors. This service sometimes lasted up to 7-10 years often resulting in overtly large and quite inflated mammary tissue. Through tribe accounts, it has been implied that some women produced up to 3 gallons of milk a day. (Tibet to Mahui. p 77)
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