The function of women’s nipples in lactation makes sense. But why do men have nipples?
It’s a great question. And there are many who have given their two cents: science, religion, ancient myth…
But I prefer a different question:
Why do we all (almost all) have nipples?
To show that the sexes exist on a continuum, not as a male/female flip of the coin. At different points along life’s journey, males may have swollen breasts or they may have flat chests, females may have flat chests or they may have swollen breasts. And anywhere in between.
I remember that when I was fourteen, I went through an excruciating summer in which one of my nipples had puffed out but the other remained flat. This can happen to anyone, female or male, especially during adolescence. I’m male, so I was expected to uncover my chest for swimming at camp. The body shame that most of us learn to feel, left me desperate to spend as much time as possible submerged or lying on my abdomen.
There is a big but welcome challenge here for naturism and for those of us who consider ourselves naturists or nude-positive: to more effectively broadcast naturism’s corollary to body acceptance. Nipples, breasts, chests – just like any other body part, they come in different sizes and shapes and colors and are not even always symmetrical. Just like any other body part of either sex, they can and will be eroticized by some people. But any kind of law, regulation, or censorship guideline that attempts to prohibit some nipples and not others in the perverted name of decency, or prohibit some particular parts of breasts defined with bizarre specificity, is inhumane, psychologically damaging, prurient, and ultimately, ridiculous.
Not just our twin nipples like two coins, but the entire wealth of our bodies should be able to be freely displayed in more, not fewer, contexts, whether in cyberspace or in real space and time. But freedom cannot be forced, or it’s not freedom. Mandating top-free in public may sound ridiculous, and it is, but it is no more ridiculous than mandating that women, and not men, always cover their chests or their nipples in public.
Free the Nipple! That’s my two cents.