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My girlfriend has no sensation in her breasts
July 17, 2006 5:27 AM   Subscribe

My girlfriend has no sensation in her breasts.

She has no sensation at all, it's as if they are paralyzed, somehow. Nipples, everything. She's in her mid-30s and says it's always been this way.

I've spoken with everyone I'm comfortable speaking about it with (including her), and those discussions suggest it's anomalous. But I don't know. I've certainly never encountered it before.

I ask in particular because it's wrapped up in larger sexual issues, more or less along the low-libidinal aspects described here (though that's a different anonymous!)

My question is, of course women's breasts will vary wildly in terms of how sensitive they are, but does the total absence of sensation suggest something neurological or psychological embedded in these other sexual questions (e.g., lack of desire)? Is it cause? Effect?

I know you're not doctors. But statistically speaking, some of you are women, and some of you may know something about women (even if you're a guy!)
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (17 answers total)
 
Has she had an augmentation? If so, that may be contributing to the problem.
posted by ASM at 5:43 AM on July 17, 2006


Sure she never had breast reduction surgery? I know a woman who had it and now has no sensation in her nipples. because at one point they were sitting on a table next to her.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:43 AM on July 17, 2006


Actually some of the posters here are physicians. Of course, they are not your (or your girlfriend's) physician, so anything you get here is not a substitute for actual medical advice. What you describe sounds like something that would be unlikely to have an organic cause, but the first step should be an actual physical exam to determine the type and exact location of any sensory loss. For example, light touch and temperature sensation are transmitted differently and if she has some sensory loss that affects one but not the other it is usuful information. Total loss of all sensation in the absence of any trauma or serious neurological disorder is pretty much unheard of. Also when such loss does occur it tends to follow a different distribution than you describe. Finally, although you describe total loss of sensation, I would be surprised to learn that she could have a surgical procedure (for example) on her breasts without anesthesia. Of course this is all out the window if she does have other health problems and/or has a history of trama or surgery on her breasts. Those unanswered questions are of course why internet advice from strangers (including this one) is best taken with a grain of salt.

However, a bigger question is whether or not this bothers her and does she want to do anything about it. As you mention she could very well be at the not-so-sensitive end of normal, which may or may not in turn be tied in to the other issues you raise. In short, this may just be who she is and if she is happy with it that way, then there may be nothing that needs to be done.
posted by TedW at 6:02 AM on July 17, 2006


Lots of women just don't get off to breast manipulation, and she may be one of them. The breasts don't necessarily have a lot of nerve endings, and if she's got big ones the nerves may not be that close to the surface.

I would be careful to collapse libido issues with not having much sensation in the breasts.
posted by pomegranate at 6:03 AM on July 17, 2006


Lots of women just don't get off to breast manipulation, and she may be one of them.

What pomegranate said. I've known many women who "feel nothing" in their breasts. IE, they feel nothing sexual there--it's like touching their hands--they feel a touch but...

I (and they) never seem to have found it a problem.
posted by dobbs at 7:07 AM on July 17, 2006 [2 favorites]


The original poster said she feels nothing, like they're paralyzed. I get the impression that they literally can't feel anything, not that they feel nothing in the sexual sense.

I have no answers really, but thought that was an important clarification.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 8:03 AM on July 17, 2006


I have, ahem, larger breasts naturally and they have very little sensitivity. I can feel things like touch and all, but it's not at all sexual and sometimes just annoying. I've always been jealous of those women who got off by having their breasts touched.
posted by hollygoheavy at 8:06 AM on July 17, 2006


My understanding, Holly, is that that's not uncommon; anecdotal reports from the field<tm> seem to indicate that sexual sensitivity in the female breasts is inversely proportional to size -- though I've personally gotten lucky a couple of times.

(My infantile bias being well known to my friends, I very much enjoy a sex partner whose breasts and nipples are very sensitive...)
posted by baylink at 8:13 AM on July 17, 2006


Female here. I would ask how old your GF is. As I recall at 27 my breasts were not very sexually sensitive (not numb, but not erogenous zones either). At 37, they are extremely sensitive.

I have no idea why this is, but would note that these things do change over time as hormones fluctuate.
posted by zia at 8:41 AM on July 17, 2006


Can't feel anything as in, touching her breasts does nothing for her, or can't feel anything as in, if she accidentally leans on the hot iron, she doesn't notice?

Because the latter strikes me as serious cause for concern, while the former is (afaik, ianad) fairly common.
posted by joannemerriam at 10:01 AM on July 17, 2006


I have, ahem, larger breasts naturally and they have very little sensitivity. I can feel things like touch and all, but it's not at all sexual and sometimes just annoying.

Ditto.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:25 AM on July 17, 2006 [1 favorite]


Also pretty decently endowed here. And yeah, for the longest time I wasn't overly sensitive in the nipple region. What changed it? Well, I, er, I got 'em pierced. Plenty of sensation now.

Not that I am suggesting AT ALL that's an option to consider; I'm just telling what my own experience has been in terms of having sensationless breasts and what worked for me, personally.
posted by Windigo at 10:26 AM on July 17, 2006


I am going to support the opinion that if you truly do mean she cannot feel *anything* you need to get her to a doctor. Any time you lose feeling in something, it's dangerous, but since she has "always" been that way, it can probably wait until she can get in to see her normal doctor. Or maybe ever a phonecall.
posted by starbaby at 12:20 PM on July 17, 2006


I've been married to women with both large and small breasts, and I have another theory, which I interject here for consideration:

Normally, human beings learn to ignore most sensations from the skin, as existence would otherwise be highly distracting at best, and nearly excruciating much of the time. These cognitive filters are essentially subconscious mechanisms, overcome only in unusual situations, where paying attention to sensations normally ignored has value. But we've all (male and female) likely had the common experience of becoming chilled in a wet cotton t-shirt, to the point of becoming suddenly and uncomfortably aware of our own nipples. The combination of erectile response, cold, and friction is suddenly enough to make us painfully aware of our situation, and we may remain so, even after we take the t-shirt off, and our nipples relax, for hours or days thereafter.

In my experience, boobs don't lie, but neither can you lie to them. Much as a woman or her lover might want to "activate" pleasurable sensations in "insensitive" boobs, that is not the way boobs or the sensation filters that a woman has developed her whole life actually work. What does "work" apparently, is a combination of desire, opportunity, hormones, and emotion which come together, just so, to create some lovely, perhaps even magical, moments, now and again.

So my answer to your questions regarding cause and effect is that, yes, sexual insensitivity in a woman's breasts have a cause that is the perfectly normal operation of physiological filtering learned and adapted over a lifetime. It will not be a problem in the right moment, when the stars and her heart align. Until then, well, boobs don't lie, and she's not that into you.
posted by paulsc at 12:35 PM on July 17, 2006


Aw, paulsc...

that's mean, and probably not entirely a valid argument, either.
posted by baylink at 2:12 PM on July 17, 2006


Until then, well, boobs don't lie, and she's not that into you.

This is one of the most ignorant and idiotic things I've ever read on AskMeFi. You haven't a clue what you're talking about and your answer is in no way helpful. Perhaps you ignored the OP's statement:

She's in her mid-30s and says it's always been this way.
posted by dobbs at 10:56 AM on July 20, 2006


"So my answer to your questions regarding cause and effect is that, yes, sexual insensitivity in a woman's breasts have a cause that is the perfectly normal operation of physiological filtering learned and adapted over a lifetime. It will not be a problem in the right moment, when the stars and her heart align. Until then, well, boobs don't lie, and she's not that into you."


Believe it or not, breast's are not thinking beings. They don't lie, or tell the truth. What an odd and freakish post.
posted by peglam at 4:51 AM on July 29, 2006


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