Small Breasts

Portrait by Tabitha Rayne

Portrait by Tabitha Rayne

Ah, breasts. They’re lovely, right? Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about breasts, (I know, it’s hard not to), mostly because I realized that the only time I ever describe them in my erotica, is expressly to say that the breasts in question are small.  If I don’t describe them, it’s fair to say that the character’s breasts anywhere from average-sized, (whatever that means), to large and that they are, of course, lovely.

However, if I take the time to actually describe them, it’s almost always to say that they are small or “delicate” just as the bodies that go with them are “boyish” with “subtle curves.” I don’t do it often because most of the time, I want the reader to slide herself, (or himself), into the story and, for better or worse, tiny tits are not very common. At least, they never were, especially in the erotic content I read when I was younger.

In many ways, popular erotica tends to traffic in ideal body types, which means that the genre has been graced by an abundance of full, heavy, goddess-like breasts – the sort of tits a man can lay his head on after fucking the slender yet curvy woman they’re attached. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se. Erotica is, in many ways, a fantasy driven genre, and for many people, slim bodies and large breasts are the fantastic ideal. Recently though, we’ve seen more stories featuring women with true-to-life proportions, which I think is wonderful. These women are sexy and hot despite not being a size-4. They rock those goddess-like breasts in a whole new way, and it’s wonderful to see the slow integration of realistic body types in erotica. But this left me wondering about those of us who do not have full, goddess-like breasts; ladies who, rather than rocking a pair of D’s, are sitting pretty with a set of A’s?

I read a lot of filthy romances growing up, which meant that I was exposed to a great many “bountiful  orbs,” (no joke). Somewhere along the line, I internalized that a woman’s orbs should be bountiful, and that, if they weren’t, it was something of a problem, if not an outright flaw. I’ve often wondered where my insecurity over my small breasts came from, because I’ve never once been with anyone who complained. In fact, the men and women I’ve been with, (and there have been quite a few), never once criticized my breasts in any way. Nor was I ever on the receiving end of another woman’s platonic critique. In fact, as a younger woman I was a ballet dancer and briefly modeled. Both industries are brutal in their own ways, and yet my A-cups were ideal by the requirements set by each. And yet, I’ve often found myself reflexively fixated on my chest, as if somewhere along the line I judged my breasts to be a flaw. It’s bullshit, but it’s true.

My first serious exposure to sex and desirability were in those trashy romances, at the age of 12 or 13, when I had difficulty distinguishing a fantasy from my real life body image. So, despite the fact that my small breasts work in proportion to my long, tall body type, I got used to wanting fuller breasts, breasts that adhered to my own false notion of what sexy should look like. It took a long time to unwind that internalized sense of proportional failure. And then, very recently, I realized that I hadn’t unwound it as thoroughly as I’d thought.

The portrait above, which was done by the massively talented Tabitha Rayne, arrived in the mail last week. When I opened the soft paper that protected it, I was reminded of something I often forget. I was reminded of what I look like. I have a hard time seeing myself in photographs, or even in the mirror. But I can see myself in this portrait to an almost uncanny degree. That’s my hand, looking strong and capable, my shoulders and my collarbone, and yes, my breasts. They are small, and yet within the context of my figure, they are undeniably right. Change those breasts in any way, and the subject would no longer be me.

We are all more than our bodies. And yet, our bodies are the conduit through which we engage the physical world. For years, I held myself to an impossible self-imposed ideal, impossible because, short of silicon, my breasts were never going to change. Now that I write erotica it gives me pleasure to let that ideal fall away. It gives me pleasure not to describe a woman’s “orbs” in lurid detail, but rather to have her partner say “god, I love your tits,” regardless of what her tits look like. And, on the rare occasions that I do describe a woman’s breasts, it pleases me to make them small and delicate. The perfect mouthful. Because I think if I’d read something like that at 13, it might have made all the difference.

41 comments

  1. I recently got some massive kudos for my Sexy Librarian’s story where the main character is a big beautiful woman… because the reader had never seen a bbw in an anthology that wasn’t specifically about bbws.

    It always fascinates me that women I would consider ideal (like YOU) have the same freaking issues that I have as a bbw. We’re not enough, not good enough, not pretty enough, not perfect enough…

    I’ve been dealing with that a lot in my writing. If you read a lot of my work, you’ll notice a lot of my characters have scars and have difficulty dealing with a part of their body that no longer looks or works the way they think it should… work out those issues through writing. That’s what we do.

    1. “If you read a lot of my work, you’ll notice a lot of my characters have scars and have difficulty dealing with a part of their body that no longer looks or works the way they think it should… work out those issues through writing. That’s what we do.”

      Yes! In fact, that’s one of the many reasons I love your work – the fact that your characters are often built in a far more realistic physical mold, and that you allow them to have issues or difficulties with how they look. I think that’s *real* and the more erotica I read, the less interested I am in cookie-cutter perfection. Real people, whether they’re bbw’s or flat-chested ladies with boyish hips, are beautiful, because there is beauty to be found in every body type. It’s just hard to remember that when we’re constantly fed imagery of ideals that don’t look anything like we do. As writers of erotic content, I feel like we have an opportunity to be more inclusive in how we write characters, and it feels really good to take advantage of that.

  2. It doesn’t matter what size your chest is – you always want the other girl’s tits! I spent so many years being desperate to be virtually flat chested – desperate to wear little tank tops and escape the tyranny of the bra… But in my writing I actually never specify the size of a woman’s breasts – it’s all about the sensation and what her lover does with them. (Apart from one story I wrote from the viewpoint of woman who considered her chest too flat…)

    1. I think you’re right, Tamsin – in many ways, we do always want what we don’t have. I know I do. That said, I love that you almost never specify the size of your characters’ breasts. It makes it so easy to slip in and put yourself in the story. It sort of goes back to that PT session we did on details, and how it’s very often better to leave some things unspecified, to make the story more immersive for the reader. xxx

  3. I wonder if the change over time in erotica and romance, the change to more “realistic” bodies for women (though, it seems to me, the men remain impossibly Adonis-like, with bulging biceps and sculpted pecs despite being apparently so busy they would never have the kind of time for the gym that such a physique would demand, and their cocks…. well, you don’t often read about small cocks in erotica, do you?)… ok, I distracted myself, but back to the women of our little niche of literature. I wonder if the change has to do with the writers themselves becoming more comfortable with the fact that they are writing (mostly) for women, and women want a bit of an ideal, it’s true, but we also want to identify with the heroines. In the past, perhaps the writing was done as much to a male ideal as it was to a female ideal, despite the majority of readers not being male. Now women are (a little) more liberated to write for their actual audience. I, for one, have a hard time putting myself in the shoes of a heroine who is impossibly accomplished, with superhero-like qualities, who never makes a mistake, and of course who sports a Goddess-like rack on a Vogue model frame. I want to imagine that these stories could actually happen *to me,* which means a heroine who is a bit clumsy, who’s likable but not perfect, who has flaws, who’s pretty but not necessarily gorgeous (except to the Dom who falls helplessly for her, of course!), and who has, well, normal breasts.

    Tabitha’s portrait is beautiful. She is an accomplished artist, and she was working with a beautiful model, inside and out.

    1. Thank you so much, Lace! Tabitha is an extraordinary artist. You brought up so many good points. I do think that it’s very interesting that while we’re seeing more realistic female body types in romance and erotica, the men are still held to Adonis-like standards of perfection, and I think it has to do with exactly what you mentioned – audience. Women are the primary consumers of our genre, (though I know quite a lot of men who enjoy erotica and the occasional romance too). As such, while women want to more easily identify with heroines now, they still want to read about ideal males. It’ll be interesting to see if that ever changes…

  4. Oh, Malin… I am so happy that you have brought this topic up. I have joked for years that I am a member of the “itty bitty titty committee”. It was my defense mechanism. I too read those bodice rippers where the breasts heaved and spilled from tight corsets. It was a fun fantastical world to slip into, but it left me ridiculously insecure and self-conscious. I know that some women feel empowered by their large breasts, whether natural or doctor designed, but for me it would be a false empowerment. It took a while before I really understood that when true passion occurs, the breasts are appreciated-no matter their size. Whether you dress them up or bare them entirely, it is the woman behind them that make them sexy, desirable and mouthwatering.

    1. Yes! Thank you, Rose. We’re members of the same committee! It took me a very long time to realize that the size or shape of my breasts didn’t actually matter. Or rather, that I was the only one hung up about it. It really is true that the most empowering thing a woman can do is accept and love herself honestly, regardless of her size, shape or measurements. It’s so hard sometimes, but that security and happiness shines out, and boy, does it make her look beautiful.

  5. This. Absolutely this. I am not small but the advertised concept of perfect still excludes me. All bodies can be erotic and can be adored. Celebrating the beauty and undeniable delight of all is a mission worth embracing. I am determined that my children are not growing up with a sense that their bodies are wrong.

    1. You’re absolutely right. I look at my daughter and think about all the subtle ways my body image got twisted up, and just hope to help her avoid as much of it as possible. Luckily, as parents, there’s a lot we can do to influence them towards a healthy body image, including being role models who are happy and comfortable in their own skins.

  6. As a man, breasts are as beautiful as the woman they are connected to. Big, small, average or whatever…. It is irrelevant (to me). It is the woman that makes the boobs. That is a simple fact and I would love to argue the point with any man that disagrees. It’s the woman, not the flesh.
    Damn, that is a good title to a post. Remind me to write that if I forget (and I will, I’m a man!).

    1. Thanks so much for commenting! And what a great comment too. I think the more women hear things like this from men, the better. We get so preoccupied with what we *think* men want, that we forget that real men don’t fall into stereotypes any more than women do. And yes! You should totally write the “It’s the woman, not the flesh” post! I would love to read it 🙂

  7. I enjoy a writer that employs little description of the anatomy, leaving the reader to insert their own imagery. When realism is inserted into erotica, such as scars, flaws, torments, and emotional conflict. That is what motivates me to read, I desire the character push forward despite being an imperfect human. That is erotic, unless of course the focus of the story is of a characters specific body part, small breasts. Interesting post, thank you.

    1. And thank you for your comment! I’m the same kind of reader – I like having the freedom to put myself in there, or, if the details are specific and pertinent to the story (like scarring) to allow empathy and a compelling story to draw me in.

      1. Too often I’ve read physical descriptions that just didn’t help me imagine the person or even called to mind a body I couldn’t match to the personality. It’s one thing when the details are relevant, but when authors add physical detail unnecessarily, they may be limiting the imagination of the reader instead of facilitating it. I guess that’s why I like the idea of describing breasts mainly in the reaction of a partner. It let’s us imagine what he/she is actually seeing rather than imposing something specific which might not have the intended effect.

        1. I couldn’t agree more. Most of the time, I think a writer’s best option is to stay out of the way of the reader’s imagination as much as possible, especially with a participatory genre like erotica. Everyone’s sexuality and tastes are so specific to them – providing too much detail risks the danger of turning off a reader who might otherwise love a story.

  8. I used to edit erotic romance, and one repetitive difference between men’s and women’s manuscripts was this phrase: “milky white DD’s.” Men almost always included it, often in descriptions like “At 5’10 and 97 lbs, Mia knew her milky white DD’s atop her dancer’s body were ripe and succulent.” It always took me out of the story (assuming I was in it to begin with) because it didn’t sound like it was describing a breathing person but rather a collection of cliches. Big, small, I don’t care – but make sure the body you’re describing sounds human and inviting.

    Personally, I’d like to see fewer musclebound studs with ginormous cocks in erotica. But all in all, I believe in representing a range of shapes and I think it’s lovely that you’re conscious of the impact that can have on readers.

    1. Oh wow. That description is really something. Unfortunately, I’ve seen lots of that sort of “succulent” prose too, (though far less than you have, never having edited in the genre). It’s hilarious and uncomfortable all at once. And yes – I agree with you. I’d love to see more realistic portrayals of men as well. *People* are so much more interesting than these ideals, and that goes for both male and female.

      1. Now I’m starting to think that several of us should collaborate on an erotic satire, using all the overblown and ‘succulent’ language we can come up with! The more stereotypes and tropes we can throw in there, the better.

  9. I utterly love this post Malin – thank you for letting me paint you – it was a wonderful experience and I am overwhelmed that you think I captured ‘you’. I think this is a very interesting post because when I am writing erotica a rarely ‘see’ my characters at all – I really don’t describe them in physical detail unless it is to show what the are wearing – especially if a garment is fetishised. Perhaps in a moment of self discovery, they will look in the mirror to see what they feel inside, matches.

    When a publisher asks for a description of my lead characters to inform the cover artist I am completely stumped! I experience my characters from the inside out – It’s weird considering I put so much into studying physicality in the drawings.

    And I hardly ever describe breasts either – I have recently drafted a story focussing on breasts as I feel I ignore them somewhat. But I don’t even think they are described there either 😀 – this may have something to do with the fact that I did not EVER want to grow them. But I did – little though they may be, they still bloody well happened! I love boobs now though (other peoples) – I love drawing them especially – all of them!

    It’s astonishing how one’s body image impacts life – it’s torturous! It’s incredible to think that even with all your lovers adoring you, loving you, never criticising you, you still manage to detect ‘flaws’.

    Thank you Malin – insightful and wonderful writing as always x x x

    1. Thank you, Tabitha! You just made me feel all warm and happy 🙂 I love that you write your characters from the inside out… I’d never thought of it that way, but that feels very similar to how I think about mine. Their interior lives are just much more interesting than their body types, whatever they happen to be. And I know what you mean about other people’s breasts. Even though I was ambivalent about my own for so long, I’ve always loved the female form. I think that’s a large part of why I love your work, (aside from the obvious fact that you’re freaking phenomenal) – your paintings are *exactly* the style of nudes I love. Aesthetically speaking, breasts are gorgeous, and I love them them in art as much as on other people!

  10. The female form is the most beautiful thing. Big, small, “average”,(what a terrible descriptor). I am as fascinated by a woman’s small, even flat, breasts as I am any other size. Of all that I’ve seen, it seems the smaller breasted women have the best selection of beautiful bras. The look of a small set under a light tee or nylon blouse is absolutely intriguing to me. I think men have all sorts of tastes as varied as the woman we admire. As a teen, experimenting with sex as all teens do, a night with a beautiful long blond haired girl and discovering and caressing and kissing her small A sized breasts stretching them so tight as she arched her back, is one of the most erotic memories I have. From that experience that form has always been my favorite.
    From a reader’s, writer’s and just from a female form admirer’s point of view, small breasts are indeed very erotic. And should be written about and displayed more whether in literature, art or films.

  11. Nice little blog, Malin. Yes, erotica seems to be obsessed with large breasts, as does culture in general. My female “lead characters” in stories tend to have smaller breasts, partly because that’s my personal preference, and partly to make them sound a little different. In time, I may well feel inspired to write a story about a very slim character or a larger-than-average one. If so, I’ll do my best to make them attractive and interesting characters who engage the reader. Fantasy aside, we’re all stuck with the bodies we’ve got (subject to exercise, diet and surgery). I appreciate my partner as she is, and she seems to appreciate me as I am. One less thing to worry about, maybe?

  12. Another lovely post, Malin. The specifics so rarely need to be there in our stories, because “ideal” ranges from person to person, and it’s best to let the reader visualize in that manner. And even then, what everyone above has said is even more true—it’s not the body, but the person behind it and the way she wears her own skin. I think there’s occasionally something to be said for wanting what you don’t have (I would love to wear a strapless dress or a backless shirt sometime, for example), but with age, we do grow more comfortable, more attuned, more content with what we have and that what’s so damn sexy—no matter what size or shape we are.

  13. I think if you did a survey, you’d find plenty, if not a majority of men-who-like-women either are fine with small breasts if they are on a woman they love, or find them at least as esthetically pleasing as larger breasts. I’ve known plenty of small breasted women who, let us say, did not wont for interested lovers. Perhaps there are those who base their self esteem and/or their taste in lovers on porn, romances being a genre of porn. But people who see more than the current fashion fad in their lovers are not going to buy into that.

  14. Another brilliant post.

    I would love to swap my Kk’s (sometimes L) for something smaller, and have seriously considered a reduction but I wouldn’t be me without them. Backache, shoulder marks, and all.

    They say reduction surgery can cause loss of feeling and sensation, and I wouldn’t want that, they’re so sensitive and react to the slightest stimulation I wouldn’t want to lose that.

    1. I understand exactly what you mean – I could never seriously consider implants because of the same issues. Aside from losing sensation, (and who wants that!), it would so fundamentally change your form that it would just feel strange.. I know many people have reductions and implants, and that’s wonderful if it works for them, but I feel happy having left things alone.

  15. I am a small breasted woman. As in tiny. As in 30AA. But I am in proportion; I am small all over. It is very, very rare that I see my body shape represented in erotica – or in mainstream visual media. When I was younger, my lack of chest made me feel inadequate but, over time, and thanks to the positivity of all my partners over the years, I’ve come to enjoy and embrace my flatness. In fact, I am now focussing on it a lot more heavily in the self portraits I take.

    Breasts are great, in all sizes and all shapes. The more diverse (and realistic) our representations of them, the better.

    Jane xxx

    1. I suspect we’re built to similar proportions – I’m a 32AA and haven’t changed much in the chest department since I was 13. It used to upset me because, as you noted, ours is not a body type often represented in erotica or visual media. It was only later, after my breasts swelled to a massive B during pregnancy that I really understood the importance of proportion. While I was kind of novel to have larger breasts for the brief span of time, I was relieved to go back to my regular size as it made more sense on my body. It was actually some of your recent Sinful Sunday portraits that prompted me to use my own image for the post, in fact, so thank you 🙂 The bottom line is that you’re right breasts *are* great – they’re beautiful regardless of shape or size, and I would love to see a more diverse representation in all forms of media, both erotic and not. xxx.M

  16. I loved reading this, as a writer (I often feature smaller-breasted women in my erotica), and as a woman (I have very small breasts.) I struggle with self-image about them, and have been cogitating on a blog post about being small-breasted for a while now. Hooray for helping to equalize small-breast-representation in erotica!

    1. Thank you! That makes me so happy to hear! There are so many gorgeous body types, including slighter, small-breasted ones. It would have made such a difference to see more of them represented.

  17. The most books I’ve read by one author with characters that had faults with themselves, or their bodies was Katie MacAllister. I don’t know if I’d peg her as an erotica writer, but she knows how to write sex scenes.

  18. I’m interested in why you, as well as most men in the world, are fixated on size; being bigger is better.

    Myself, being a guy, I admit that I also used to be fixated on size, ie: bigger is better, but, and I’m quite surprised and proud to say this; as I’ve ‘matured’ I’ve become far more interested in what they DO.

    Do your breasts stand to ‘attention’ when your interested in a guy?
    Do they offer themselves up to would be suitors on cold or brisk day?
    Do they behave themselves adequately when in public, or in the pool?
    Or do you have to ‘truss those puppies up’ to keep them in check when exercising.

    I have no problem with small breasts, perky, discrete or otherwise.
    But I do love the way breasts behave as extensions of the women they are attached to; no pun intended (seriously, a bad choice of words maybe but no pun intended).

    Personally, and please forgive me ladies if I inadvertently offend those with fuller figures but I’d hate to have Double D’s that cause me back ache and end up hanging half way to my hips when I can’t find my bra.

    Surely, despite most peoples preoccupation with ‘bigger is better,’ a smaller cup size is more of a gift than a curse? I think so.

    Enjoy.

    1. I think you may have misread this post.. I never said that “bigger is better” What I did say was that growing up as a smaller breasted woman I consumed media in which larger breasts were idealized, thus instilling in me a sense that my own smaller size was *not* the ideal, an insecurity that I have since worked through and abandoned. While I applaud your appreciation for smaller breasts, I must say that your perspective as the person enjoying the preference in the third person is very different from my experience as the owner of the breasts in question. As such, my relationship to my own body image is going to be a bit more complicated than your relationship to a preference in body type. Cheers.

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