2.2.4 THE BREASTS
Although the female breasts cannot be considered sex organs in the narrow sense of the term, they usually play an important part not only in erotic arousal, but also in the nurturing of the newborn. In a sense then, the breasts can be said to have some erotic as well as reproductive function.
The breasts of a mature woman are two cushions of fat and tissue which surround her mammary glands. Whenever she gives birth to a child, these glands begin to secrete milk into special ducts leading to the nipples. The nipples, which are composed of smooth muscle fiber, and which contain many nerve endings, are very sensitive to the touch and can become erect during sexual excitement. (See "The Female Sexual Response.") The area around the nipples is pinkish, but becomes—and then remains—darker as a result of pregnancy.
The female breasts begin to develop fully during puberty as a result of hormonal stimulation. (See "The Role of Hormones.") Their eventual shape and size is determined by heredity.
For many men and women, the breasts have a special sexual significance. However, as in all sexual matters, preferences vary widely. In certain societies, long, pendular breasts are considered superior; in others, the taste runs to the round and firm, in some cultures, small breasts are praised as the most beautiful, while in others the ideal is an ample bosom. Even within one and the same culture, the concept of female beauty may change from one generation to the next, indeed from one individual to another.
Men also have breasts, although they are less well developed. Nevertheless, the male nipples may also be very sensitive to the touch. They can also become erect, and they may play an important part in sexual arousal. (See "The Male Sexual Response.") There is one important difference, however— the male breast contains only rudimentary mammary glands. In fact, a male may "give milk" only once in his life—at birth. A newborn baby still shares certain hormones with the mother, including those that stimulate her milk production. For this reason, the baby's breasts also contain colostrum, a pre-milk substance (the so-called witches' milk), This is true for both female and male babies. Naturally, the condition does not last long. (Also see "Male and Female Anatomical Development.")