Q: I’ve been seeing this guy since November. He’s fun to be around, but I am definitely ready to end things for a lot of reasons. The biggest reason: From March onwards, he grabbed my breasts so hard during sex that they would hurt for weeks at a time — bruises, swelling. We haven’t been intimate in three weeks and my breasts are still a little sore! Slowly getting better, but still noticeably painful. No matter how many times I asked him to stop, he would grab as he came. Can this do permanent damage to breast tissue?
A: Ow, that sounds horrible! I think every woman reading your question just reflexively cradled her boobs in alarm. Nipple stimulation is one thing, but I don’t know one gal who likes her mammaries squeezed to the point of bruising as an element of a regular sexual encounter. In fact, I verbally polled nine of my lady friends on how much hardcore boob squeezing they’re into during sex — and I’m sorry I couldn’t get an even number for you, but that’s just who was available — and every single one of them said that nipple play is always enjoyable, but they’ll pass on the painful boob palming. Clearly, the breasts are far more tender than your soon-to-be-ex realizes.
While it tends to vary depending on where we women are in our cycle, overall sensitivity of the breasts is pretty consistent. The human breast contains a bunch of adipose tissue, which houses plenty of blood vessels that are prone to bruising if subjected to excessive stimulation. Breasts also consist of a great deal of fascia tissue. If you have a mom or grandma who used to pinch you in the back of the arm when you were acting a fool, then you know how sensitive fascia tissue can be. Comparing boobs to balls is also fair on the pain scale; a pinch or punch to the testicles hurts mostly because they’re exposed without any bone or muscle mass to absorb the blow. Likewise, rough handling of the breasts hurts more than, say, grabbing an ankle, because you’re squeezing sensitive tissue and nothing else.
The good news is that it’s unlikely your boob grabber boyfriend managed to do any permanent damage. Physical trauma to the breasts is rare, and it would probably take rigorous abuse (like daily) for an extended period (like months) to cause lasting injury. If you have endured such an injury, you would most likely develop a lump. This is either caused by ruptured blood vessels that create a hematoma, or by a normal condition called fat necrosis, where the body releases fatty acids that combine with calcium to form a small build-up. While the condition is probably nothing to worry about if it was induced by your enthusiastic partner, any lumps or changes in the breasts should still be checked out by a professional. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, with approximately one in eight being diagnosed in their lifetime, so don’t dismiss any abnormalities you may have noticed.
Interestingly enough, regular massaging of the breasts has been shown to encourage healthy cell-growth patterns and even reverse the growth of malignant cells. Not to encourage your boob squeezer in his future erotic endeavors, but routinely feeling up a partner — and yourself! — can actually help prevent cancer. You could do your fellow ladies a favor, though, and inform your guy that pretty much no one likes their boobs honked like a bicycle horn before you release him back into the dating pool.