Original Paper

Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 42, Issue 7, pp 1199-1207

First online:

Men’s Oppressive Beliefs Predict Their Breast Size Preferences in Women

  • Viren SwamiAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of WestminsterDepartment of Psychology, HELP University College Email author 
  • , Martin J. TovéeAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Newcastle University

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Previous studies of men’s breast size preferences have yielded equivocal findings, with studies variously indicating a preference for small, medium, or large breasts. Here, we examined the impact of men’s oppressive beliefs in shaping their female breast size ideals. British White men from the community in London, England (N = 361) viewed figures of women that rotated in 360° and varied in breast size along five levels. They then rated the figure that they found most physically attractive and also completed measures assessing their sexist attitudes and tendency to objectify women. Results showed that medium breasts were rated most frequent as attractive (32.7 %), followed by large (24.4 %) and very large (19.1 %) breasts. Further analyses showed that men’s preferences for larger female breasts were significantly associated with a greater tendency to be benevolently sexist, to objectify women, and to be hostile towards women. These results were discussed in relation to feminist theories, which postulate that beauty ideals and practices in contemporary societies serve to maintain the domination of one sex over the other.


Breast size Physical attractiveness Oppressive beliefs Sexism Objectification