The objectification of breasts is frustrating, especially when the one thing they are supposed to be used for — breastfeeding — is still considered controversial by many. But there's no denying that breasts have their place in sexuality and that they can be a huge turn on for both men and women. Because of this, a lot of people are uncomfortable with nursing and wonder, "What if breastfeeding turns me on?"
It's a legitimate question. Not only are breasts used in both sexual activity and breastfeeding, but the hormones present in both an orgasm and milk production are the same, according to International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and Registered Nurse Rachael Anastasio-Collins. "Hormones play a large role in our ability to make breast milk and sometimes those hormones can affect our sex life," Anastasio-Collins says. "Some moms find that an orgasm causes their breasts to leak. Oxytocin, the hormone that causes our milk to flow when the baby nurses, is the same hormone that plays a huge role in orgasms and those feelings of closeness and bonding."
Basically, if breastfeeding turns you on, it's totally OK. It's biology and it's not really something you can control. Research in The Journal of Perinatal Education noted that, while it's not often spoken about, mothers may become aroused when breastfeeding and it's completely normal. There are so many similar instances between an orgasm and breastfeeding — uterine contractions, nipple erection, and nipple and breast stimulation to name a few. But that doesn't mean you can't use your breasts happily for both breastfeeding and sexual play.
"I feel many women worry about this, especially if breast play is a turn on for them," IBCLC Lori Atkins of Oh, Baby Lactation Care tells Romper:
Breasts are like fingers — they can be sexual and functional. Interchangeably, we don't even think about making dinner with the same hands we had fun during sex with. When a baby nurses, there are pleasurable feelings, but they aren't sexually harmful for mom or baby — it's just different.
Atkins notes that your baby nursing at your breast is lovely, but sex with your breasts involved is wonderful, too — and your body and brain are awesome enough to know the difference.
Just remember — it does not mean you're sexually attracted to breastfeeding or your child if you feel turned on while breastfeeding. It's just the way your body works. If your breasts are an erogenous zone for you in the bedroom, especially if they are fondled or suckled, then it stands to reason that breastfeeding could trigger those same types of feelings.
This may be one of those things no one ever talks about, but it can happen. If you're concerned about how it will affect your sex life, talk to your partner. By keeping the lines of communication open, both of you can feel more comfortable and you can feel less alone and inhibited by it.