I wanted a breast reduction for as long as I can remember—when you’re already sporting a DD cup size in middle school, the years of puberty kind of blur together. They didn’t stop growing then though, making me a full G cup by the time I got a reduction this past April. Even though I talked openly about my back and neck pain, skin stretching, custom bras, painful workouts, mental health, and developing scoliosis (among other symptoms), I was often met with the sentiment of “People pay big money for boobs like that,” and my personal favorite, “I bet the boys like you”. I was uncomfortable in my skin, and that didn’t change once I became sexually active.
My sex life wasn’t bad, per se, but it wasn’t that fun either. I was completely at the mercy of my breasts when it came to intimacy, as they dictated my movement, my bra choice, my pain level, and my confidence. My sex drive was pretty low, and on top of that, I’d be in a world of hurt if I decided to take off my bra (there wasn’t enough core strength in the world to save my spine if I did anything but stand still). So even when I was able to actually focus on the feeling of sex and the connection with my partner, those moments were overshadowed by my pain or insecurity.
So, I decided to get a breast reduction. I’d be lying though if I said that as the day of my surgery approached, I didn’t get a little worried. I mean, could I still feel sexy when looking in the mirror at my scars? Would I lose my sense of self? Would the way my body moves through space change? The answer to all of those questions was yes, but not in the way I imagined. Getting a breast reduction changed my sex life for the better, and it completely altered the way I feel about intimacy in general. Now, when I look in the mirror, I see myself as someone who can choose to be sexual, not someone who inherently is. Ahead, I’m sharing everything that’s happened to my confidence and sex life since.
My breasts are no longer the primary focus during sex
Partners have always complimented my chest to the extent that I sometimes felt like nothing more than a walking pair of boobs. It often felt like the rest of me was an afterthought, and my self-confidence took a hit because of that. Even when it wasn’t others ogling them, I was hyper-aware of how they limited my movement, making certain positions and activities extremely painful. I’d feel guilty expressing how much I hated this feeling, even as a joke. I mean, people pay for breast augmentations all the time! But even still, when it came time to be intimate, that guilt didn’t stop me from being worried about how my boobs felt, how they looked, and why they seemed to be the most interesting thing about me in the bedroom.
Now, when I look in the mirror, I see myself as someone who can choose to be sexual, not someone who inherently is.
That changed when I met my now fiancé. Where intimacy of any kind typically felt like a chore, I found myself wanting to be close to him. It felt like two people actually connecting, and he wasn’t all about copping a feel. When I told him I was considering a reduction, I asked if he’d be disappointed at all, and he couldn’t believe I’d ask, telling me emphatically that he couldn’t be, as long as I felt better. Even with his full support, it didn’t stop my discomfort in the bedroom—I couldn’t get my own fixation out of my head.
Since getting my reduction, my breasts feel like only a small (no pun intended) part of the equation. I don’t think about them all that much anymore, except to be grateful. During sex, I spend far less time thinking about my breasts, which allows me to be more present and experience true intimacy with my partner. Plus, it’s a bonus that I didn’t lose nipple sensitivity after my surgery (which is something I feared). In fact, sensations are more intense, so it’s been fun to incorporate things like nipple play here and there without feeling like my breasts are the main event.
I have a new-found confidence
Aside from the physical changes in my sex life, I finally feel at home in my own body. Even at my most confident pre-surgery, I didn’t realize just how much emotional space my boobs took up in my head. I’d stand behind friends in pictures, wear three sports bras at a time to minimize their size in daily life, and find it extra difficult to let loose—especially during sex. As soon as my shirt came off, I’d be aware of the places where my skin stretched and how my shoulders caved in to support the weight. Sexy lingerie wasn’t an option, and I preferred darkness (or the moodiest of mood lighting) over daylight.
Now, I don’t hide from pictures, I can wear standard bralettes and lingerie, and I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with the way clothes can enhance my figure, rather than hide it. I still have the scars, and I likely always will. To me, they’re beautiful—a reminder of how resilient my body is. I certainly don’t think body modification of any kind is the only answer to the question of confidence, but I feel like a new person when it comes time to get down and dirty.
I feel it in my daily life, too. I no longer need to plan my outfits around my boobs, and they aren’t the first thing I see when I look in the mirror. For the first time in my adult life, I feel free to move through the world around me sharing all I have to offer, not avoiding attention and gazes.
I still have the scars, and I likely always will. To me, they’re beautiful—a reminder of how resilient my body is.
I’m no longer in constant pain
The chronic pain I experienced radiated from the base of my head through my middle back like a spiderweb. I was a serial self-medicator, taking enough ibuprofen and Tylenol on the daily to fuel an urgent care. I tried chiropractors, foam rollers, stretches—anything I could think of. Sitting at the computer for work was bad enough, but add in a vigorous workout or sex and I could be brought to tears. It was devastating to crave that intimacy with my partner and know that while it was happening (and after) I’d be adjusting my shoulders and rolling my neck for hours.
I woke up from my surgery with enough immediate relief that I cried. It was truly as if someone had lifted a 20-pound dumbbell off of my neck, and that feeling hasn’t left me since. There are things I am willing to try now that I wouldn’t have considered before. Positions that were once painful are now fun, and this is only the beginning. I am looking forward to the years of intimacy ahead of me, and the experimentation I’ll be able to comfortably and confidently explore.