Sometimes I get questions and I wonder if I should answer them, because then I’ll be introducing people who don’t know about a certain practice to that practice, and is that a good idea, and will someone read the question and answer and shudder… Anyway, since I’ve been asked this 3-4 times, I thought it was time to answer the question on my blog. Here’s a recent query in this regard:
Something I have recently been reading about & simply unsure how to process is the subject of ANR (adult nursing relationship) in essence breastfeeding your husband. First obvious thought was “WHAAAT?!?” But I know I really enjoy breast stimulation as foreplay, like REALLY enjoy it. I have breastfed our children & while doing so my husband & I just kind of considered breasts off limits in a sexual sense. I’m currently pregnant [again] & the thought of no more stimulation from my husband after baby starts nursing is really….sad. But am I weird to even consider wanting that type of relationship? I am in no way sexually aroused by infant nursing, that’s a completely different category! & to be honest I still think that a true ANR relationship is strange. Nursing your husband multiple times a day for at least 10 minutes? Ain’t nobody got time for that! anyway, sorry for the strange email.
As I said, you’re not the first person who has asked.
Let’s first cover what an adult nursing relationship (ANR) is not. It’s not your husband simply using his mouth on your breasts because it’s pleasurable to both of you. That’s foreplay and/or sexual affection. If he likes kissing, licking, or sucking your breasts, and you enjoy it as well, go for it — whenever you both want. (Well, I mean within reason: Don’t horrify your neighbors by doing it on the front porch.)
ANR, also known as erotic lactation, is the exchange of breast milk between two adult sexual partners. So basically, the wife produces breast milk, and the husband drinks it right from the breast.
Sometimes ANR is established while a woman is breastfeeding, and the husband tries her milk, and they both enjoy the experience so they continue. Other times, many times, a wife must induce lactation — through massage, nipple stimulation, sucking (with his mouth or a breast pump), and perhaps even drugs that help the process along. Breast milk works on supply and demand, so for lactation to continue, regular feeding must take place.
Some of you are asking: Why would anyone want to do this? Here are a few of the reasons commonly given:
- Breastfeeding can be an erotic experience for some women particularly sensitive to the nipple stimulation. Some moms might feel bad about these feelings when they’re nursing a baby, but with their husband they get to lean into those feelings.
- Oxytocin is produced while nursing. In mothers and infants, this body chemical helps establish bonding. Some participants feel ANR does the same thing for their marriage.
- We associate breastfeeding with caretaking — the women takes care of the one being nursed, and the one being nursed feels taken care of. That dynamic is appealing to some couples.
The next question might be: Is ANR wrong? Well, there’s no biblical command against it, and indeed the Bible talks positively about a husband enjoying his wife’s breasts (Proverbs 5:19). So the next step is to see if ANR lines up with biblical principles.
And this is where I think of the scripture that says, “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say — but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ — but not everything is constructive” (1 Corinthians 10:23). Thus, is this practice beneficial and constructive?
I have some concerns. First off, when I said that we associate breastfeeding with caretaking, that’s true — but we associate it with mothers caretaking infants. Which is why some readers have cringed as they’ve read this post, because it just seems so … infantile. Like didn’t we outgrow that?
I’m not saying that’s what’s happening in all cases, but I’d be asking questions about why a couple wants to engage in this practice. Is it an attempt to make up for something missing from childhood? Is there something about feeling childlike or motherly with your mate that appeals to you? If that’s part of the draw, then rather than establishing an adult nursing relationship right away, deal with the underlying issues.
Second, it is not easy to keep lactating for years. If you don’t regularly nurse or express your milk, you could experience engorgement, a rather uncomfortable feeling; blockage of milk ducts, which require releasing; and even an infection that requires medical intervention. Moreover, the supply could go away, and then you have to start over with inducing lactation. It’s a lot to ask of a woman.
Third, some women lose erotic feelings while nursing. Plenty of women report a decrease in libido and sensation while breastfeeding, so an ANR relationship might be counterproductive to the main event — sexual intercourse. I’d be concerned if regular suckling took the place of foreplay and sex.
Fourth, it’s pretty one-sided. Yes, I know that she might enjoy the experience as much as he. But she is doing all the actual work of producing milk, keeping it going, dealing with engorgement or blockage or infection, and perhaps leakage. Yes, he has to suck, but ask nearly any guy if he feels like it’s work to suck a breast and he will say, “Nice work if you can get it!”
Finally, I believe in sex. By that, I mean that we don’t have anything from God talking directly about ANRs, but we do know that He created sex that involves breast play (Song of Songs 7:7-8), releases Oxytocin with physical touch and climax, and involves taking care of each other‘s needs and longings. I’m just not sure the primary benefits of ANR can’t be achieved by going with what we already know God designed.
That said, I won’t say that ANR is wrong. I don’t think it is. But it is a somewhat strange practice and quite an undertaking, so I wouldn’t advise anyone stepping into this lifestyle lightly. Ask why it appeals to you, whether you could find other ways to meet your physical touch and bonding needs, and then make your choice on whether you want to pursue this.