It is all quite busy here at the moment as I am putting the final touches to my new book – A Splendidly Smutty Dictionary of Sex.
The book will be unleashed upon the unsuspecting public sometime in January.
To give you an idea of what lurks within its pages, I give you:
B for Breasts.
It appears that in the male’s endless and drooling search for sexual gratification, the breasts seem to act as beacons. Particularly in Western culture they are a means of enchantment, to some they possess magical qualities. They do, however, seem to be revered beyond rationality.Much has been written, sculpted, painted, and sung about them.
These natural assets of women have been unfairly labelled as sinful in past centuries. Men of the cloth have been preaching against the female form throughout recorded history. The curmudgeonly Jerome, a 4th century priest, later a saint of the Roman Catholic Church said, “Woman is the gate of the devil, the path of wickedness, the sting of the serpent; in a word a perilous object.”
Yet, art from the time of the Greeks to the Renaissance was always filled with paintings and sculpture glorifying the female breasts. A number of works of art from the Medieval and Renaissance periods even depict Mary, her chest uncovered, breastfeeding the baby Jesus.
The Nude Maja by Spanish artist Francisco Goya was considered both daring and beautiful in 1800, but Victorian Puritanism soon put a stop to that, as the humble boob became shameful and wanton again. The “fullness of the female breast” was, according to one 19th century theologian, “a wanton lure to righteous and upstanding men.”
The award for the ” bleeding obvious” must surely go to a recent research paper from the University of Wellington which, after nearly 70 stultifying pages of graphs and group studies, concluded that men look longer at a woman`s breasts than the rest of her body. The academicians went on to say that “Men may be looking more often at the breasts because they are simply aesthetically pleasing”
The word breast is from the Old English broest, which also evolved from an Indo-European root, bherus, “to swell” or “to sprout”. The term first appeared in English sometime before the twelfth century.
In Early Modern English, duckys and bubbies were used to denote a woman`s breasts. Duckys appears in a letter that Henry VIII wrote to Anne Boleyn
I long to be in my sweethearts armes whose pretty duckys I trust shortly to kiss
Bubbies appear to have then morphed into the familiar boobies, which have now shortened to boobs.
Later, it appears that paps was the word of the moment as the poet Edmund Spencer wrote as a wedding gift to his wife in 1595
Her brest like to a bowle of creame uncrudded
Her paps lyke lyllies budded
But it was a taboo word during much of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For example in Frederick Marryat`s Peter Simple (1834) there is a dining scene involving a breast of turkey.
Fate had placed me opposite a fine turkey. I asked my partner if I should have the pleasure of helping her to a piece of the breast. She looked at me indignantly and said, “Curse your impudence, sir. I wonder where you learned your manners. Sir, I will take some turkey bosom, if you please”
It seems that the poor old Americans are even more bewildered about breasts than the British. In 2003, an internal memorandum from Fox Television was leaked to the satirical Spy magazine. The memo was extremely concerned about a forthcoming programme about women with big breasts. The author was concerned about the networks “Standards and Practices” in case they offended any viewer or advertiser. The report then went on to say that under no circumstances were “tits” and “knockers” to be mentioned, but “boobs” “bazongas” “jugs” “racks” and “hooters” were deemed perfectly acceptable.