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Let's discuss breasts -- what's in them, all the different ways they appear, how to care for them, and in part 2, how to touch them for pleasure. Stella Pearl, our model has graciously allowed me to draw on her to show the ins and outs. Thanks, Stella!!

These are two websites which show the diversity of breasts:
http://www.007b.com/breast_gallery.php
http://breastnotes.com/

Another great resource for breast exams is:
http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/breast-self-exam

Again, special thanks to Stella for modeling and many thanks to our supporters on Patreon for your part in making comprehensive sex education accessible.

To stay curious with Sexplanations outside of our weekly videos we're in all these places:
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This is my friend Stella. These are her breasts... well, not the nipples. These are pictures of male nipples taped to Stella's body because they can be shown on the internet without getting flagged.

[whip cracking sound, throat clearing sound]

Today we're going to talk about breasts, Part One of a two part series on how to touch boobs. This episode discusses external and internal anatomy, as well as breast exams, and then the second episode will be about touching boobs for pleasure in addition to their health.

Stella's breasts will help; just keep in mind they are only one representation. There is so much diversity within and across ages, sexes, racialized groups, and experiences, like being pregnant or having one's nipples pierced. 007b.com has a variety of breast photographs, including descriptions written by the person who has the breasts, about how valuable knowing what other breasts look like is, how much it improves the feelings we have about our own bodies.

Stella, are you feeling good about your body and your breasts?

Stella: Yes, I am.

Lindsay: Can I draw on you know?

Stella: Yes, you may.

Lindsay: Aww!

Not all breasts are the same, but most entail this area here, which is mostly round except for the tail of Spence, named after Scottish surgeon James Spence. This is the upper inner quadrant. This is the lower inner, lower outer, and then we're back to the upper outer quadrant and the tail, or what you might call the side boob, the top boob, underboob, and cleavage. The darker, circular tissue in the center is known as the areola, and the center of it is the nipple. Some are small, like these, and others are larger, like these. You can find a bunch of examples on breastnotes.com.

The small bumps around the areola are Montgomery glands, which secrete oils so the surface doesn't crack or chafe. And there might also be some hair present, like this one I'm drawing.

Now the nipples. We can't see Stella's, so here are some drawings. Prominent nipples, nipples that protrude out. Flat nipples, which blend in with the rest of the areolae, all flat-like. And inverted nipples, which actually tuck into the body, creating a dimple. There are also unilateral nipples, when you have one type on one side and another type on another. And polythelial or supernumerary nipples, referring to those that are extra, like Harry Styles' third nipple.

Whatever the type, the more scared, cold, or aroused the person is, the more the nipples tend to harden and the areolae tighten. Similarly, the fuller the breast, the more stretched the skin, the more you might notice blood vessels. Breasts change a lot, and you'll want to pay attention to these changes so you know when and how to touch breasts and what to do if you find a change that isn't normal. For example, some breasts will get perkier as ovulation approaches and achy around menstruation. Just with age, the inframammary ridge, where the bottom of the breast meets the chest wall, thickens to feel more lumpy.

But those are normal changes. Let's look at the internal anatomy and then discuss what is abnormal. Internal anatomy: on the inside of the breast, there are another set of structures. All of this yellow is meant to represent fatty tissue, a large portion of the breast's mass. These pink and orange shapes are lobules, which produce milk. The lactiferous ducts, in purple, are what draws the milk out to the nipple. The green lines represent Cooper's ligaments, which help hold everything in place and give it that nice boob shape.

And if the person has had implants, they look more like this: Subfascial, where the implants are placed between the pectoral muscle and the fascia. Subglandular, behind the mammary glands. And subpectoral, between the layers of the pectoral muscles.

When touching breasts, you may feel some or all of these parts. Things might feel smooth, lumpy, swollen, or mysterious. Some of it's natural and healthy, others not so much. This is where touching breasts comes in handy.

Here's how to give yourself a breast exam. Naked, check things out in the mirror. Do you see or feel any dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin? Has one of your nipples changed position or direction? Are your nipples leaking? Anything sore or swollen? Do you have a rash or redness? Write your observations down and date them. Then raise your arms up and look for the same symptoms, this time using your fingertips to feel for anything going on under the skin.

One technique is to use two fingers, pads flat on the breast, moving back and forth in columns or rows. Another is a spiral from the nipple outward or going from the outside inward to the nipple. Whatever you choose, just make sure you have a path that will examine every square centimeter and that you vary the pressure. You want to make sure that you're feeling things that are closer to the surface and things that could be going on deeper in the breast tissue. Go all the way to the armpit, up the clavicle, across the sternum, and toward the abdomen. Then touch your breast while you're lying down flat in all the same ways and write down your observations. Again, you want to know what's been there for a while and what, if anything, has changed.

Hard sequential lumps that are always there are probably ribs. Lymph nodes, which are along the armpits pulling gunk out of the breasts into the immune system, also not a concern. And breast buds, the coin shaped pad that breast development starts with, worried me as a growing girl, but they too are okay.

Something that alarms you, because it gets bigger or hurts or is one of the aforementioned symptoms – that's a reason to call your doctor for a professional breast exam. According to breastcancer.org, about one in eight U.S. women, about 12%, will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, and a man's lifetime risk of breast cancer is about one in 1000. My hope is that by knowing more about breasts as organs and how to rub them down, you'll be able to spot problems early and understand them more.

Stella: Stay curious!