My regular readers will be aware that I have an ongoing curiosity regarding human sexual attraction: what it is, why it’s there, how it works, what it means. The subject of nipples seems apposite and offers a number of challenging questions.
Which body parts it is “proper” for a woman to reveal in public is a complex subject. Relying on some sweeping generalisations to circumvent the complexity: there are situations (red carpet at the Oscars?) where upper breast, cleavage, under breast, side breast are deemed acceptable, but nipples are not. Many beaches in Europe permit topless bathers but, where this is not so, it is the nipples that are covered. The most daring bikinis reveal most of the breast but conceal the nipple. I think it is reasonable to say that the nipple is a step beyond the breast.
Why is this so? In the coy sexual play of conceal and reveal, it is logical that the focus should fall upon the sites of human sexual differentiation. So vulva versus penis and scrota makes perfect sense. Developed female breasts versus undeveloped male breasts similarly makes sense. But what of nipples?
Men have nipples too. What’s more, to the naked eye, male nipples are indistinguishable from female nipples. So visually at least, the nipple is not a site of human sexual differentiation, unlike the rest of the breast. So the pecking order is all wrong: the breast should, logically, be more important than the nipple. Whence came this counterintuitive system?