It’s pretty easy to hoax people. We all want to be deceived, but only up to a point. Some hoaxes are fun and pleasant, others malicious and unpleasant. We’d like a way to tell the difference (Robert Carroll).

Feb 20, 2015

Do men live longer if they watch female breasts for 10 minutes a day?

"Medical study" supposedly published in the New England Journal of Medicine claims staring at women's breasts every day is good for men's health.

The Story

Men, I bet, you will love the research and its outcomes.

According to a German study, staring at a woman's breast for just ten minutes a day improves men's heart health.

Based on the reports, the study recruited 500 men; 250 men were told to refrain from looking at breasts, while another 250 men were told to look at breasts every day for the five-year duration of the project. The results allegedly showed that the men who stared at breasts had overall lower rates of heart problems, a lower resting heart rate and lower blood pressure.

According to Dr. Karen Weatherby, a gerontologist and author of the study, looking at women’s breasts is nearly as healthy as an intense exercise regime, and can prolong the lifespan of a man by five years.

According to, she added, "Just 10 minutes of staring at the charms of a well-endowed female, is roughly equivalent to a 30-minute aerobics work-out."

The researchers then declared that sexual desire gives rise to better blood circulation that signifies an overall improved health.

Weatherby supposedly explained the concept by stating, "Sexual excitement gets the heart pumping and improves blood circulation. There is no question: Gazing at breasts makes men healthy. Our study indicates that engaging in this activity a few minutes daily cuts the risk of stroke and heart attack in half. We believe that by doing so consistently, the average man can extend his life four to five years."

Therefore, the authors of the study, of course, recommend that men stare at breasts for 10 minutes a day. Strictly for medical purposes, mind you. In addition, they also recommended that men over 40 should gaze at larger breasts daily for 10 minutes.

The study results are to be found in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Seems to be too good to be true? It really is.


As you may probably already guessed, no such study was ever published in the New England Journal of Medicine. If you do not believe me, you can check the journal achieves yourself.

A search of the thousands of peer-reviewed articles contained in the National Institutes of Health medical journal database turns up zero items documenting the health benefits of staring at women's breasts, and, for that matter, zero items authored by "Dr. Karen Weatherby".

If the story smacks of supermarket tabloid faux-journalism, well, that is precisely what it is. The text first hit the Internet in March or April 2000, mere weeks after a strikingly similar article appeared in the consistently misinformative Weekly World News. A slightly different version had already appeared in the May 13, 1997 issue of the tabloid.

A fresh round of breast-staring mania overtook the Internet in March 2011, when Fox News republished the story before checking the facts.

It showed up again a few months later on the Scottish news site Daily Record & Sunday Mail: "Doctors Say Looking at Busty Women for 10 Minutes a Day is Good for Your Health."

In addition, it was published yet again by the Nigerian Tribune in April 2013.

What is True?

The story itself might be just a funny hoax, but why men feel attraction to the female boobs. Are there any possible reasons from the evolutional standpoint?

Biologically speaking, this human male breast obsession looks quite unreasonable. Men are the only male mammals fascinated by breasts in a sexual context. Women are the only female mammals whose breasts become enlarged at puberty, independent of pregnancy. We are also the only species in which males caress, massage and even orally stimulate the female breasts during foreplay and sex.

Women do seem to enjoy the attention, at least at the right moments. When Roy Levin, of the University of Sheffield, and Cindy Meston, of the University of Texas, polled 301 people -- including 153 women -- they found that stimulating the breasts or nipples enhanced sexual arousal in about 82 percent of the women. Nearly 60 percent explicitly asked to have their nipples touched.

Men are generally happy to oblige. It is biological and deeply engrained in our brain. In fact, research indicates that when men are confronted with breasts, they tend to start making bad decisions.

For example, in one study, men were offered money payouts. They could have a few Euros right away, or, if they agreed to wait a few days, more Euros later. In this version of a classic "delayed gratification" (also called intertemporal choice by behavioral economists) experiment, some men watched videos of pastoral scenes while others watched videos of attractive women with lots of skin exposed running in slo-mo, "Baywatch" style. The men who watched the women's breasts doing what women's breasts do opted for the smaller-sooner payouts significantly more often than men who watched the pastoral scene. This likely indicates that parts of their brains associated with "reward," the pleasure centers, and the sites of goal-directed motivation, were shouting down the reasoning centers of their brains, primarily the pre-frontal cortex. Neurochemicals were activating those reward and motivational circuits to drive men toward taking the short money.

So, breasts are mighty tempting. However, what purpose could this possibly serve?

Some evolutionary biologists have suggested that full breasts store needed fat, which, in turn, signals to a man that a woman is in good health and therefore a top-notch prospect to bear and raise children. But, men aren't known for being particularly choosy about sex partners. After all, sperm is cheap. Since they do not get pregnant, and bear children, it does not cost them much to spread it around. If the main goal of sex -- evolutionarily speaking -- is to pass along one's genes, it would make more sense to have sex with as many women as possible, regardless of whether or not they have large boobs.

Another hypothesis is based on the idea that most primates have sex with the male entering from behind. This may explain why some female monkeys display elaborate rear-end advertising. In humans, goes the argument, breasts became larger to mimic the contours of a woman's rear.

However, the most promising explanation is neurological, and it has to do with brain mechanisms that promote the powerful bond of a mother to her infant. When a woman gives birth, her newborn will engage in elaborate manipulations of its mother's breasts. This stimulation sends signals along nerves and into the brain. There, the signals trigger the release of a neurochemical called oxytocin from the brain's hypothalamus. This oxytocin release eventually stimulates smooth muscles in a woman's breasts to eject milk, making it available to her nursing baby.

But oxytocin release has other effects, too. When released at the baby's instigation, the attention of the mother focuses on her baby. The infant becomes the most important thing in the world. Oxytocin, acting in concert with dopamine, also helps imprint the newborn's face, smell and sounds in the mother's reward circuitry, making nursing and nurturing a feel-good experience, motivating her to keep doing it and forging the mother-infant bond. This bond is not only the most beautiful of all social bonds, it can also be the most enduring, lasting a lifetime.

Another human oddity is that we are among the very rare animals that have sex face-to-face, looking into each other's eyes. We believe this quirk of human sexuality has evolved to exploit the ancient mother-infant bonding brain circuitry as a way to help form bonds between lovers.

When a partner touches, massages or nibbles a woman's breasts, it sparks the same series of brain events as nursing. Oxytocin focuses the brain's attention to the partner's face, smell, and voice. The combination of oxytocin release from breast stimulation, and the surge of dopamine from the excitement of foreplay and face-to-face sex, help create an association of the lover's face and eyes with the pleasurable feelings, building a bond in the women's brain.

So, men fascination with women breasts is an unconscious evolutionary drive prompting them to activate powerful bonding circuits that help create a loving, nurturing bond.

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