Q&A with J: “What about an Adult Nursing Relationship?”

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.

Blog post title + silhouette of man and woman embracing

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.

12 thoughts on “Q&A with J: “What about an Adult Nursing Relationship?”

  1. L

    I cannot say that nipple stimulation works for me (it has been nice during one of my four pregnancies, but I’ve had four children in the six ears we’ve been married so I don’t have very much sexual experience with my “normal” body or hormones), but my husband likes my breasts, and he has never shied away from getting in there. But as far as I’m aware, he has never actually extracted milk. So I’m pretty sure it’s still possible to do what you love without having the “weirdness” of your husband drinking your milk, unless you’re in the first few weeks and your milk floweth over. 😉

    Reply
  2. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Well, wow…this pegged the ‘weird’ meter fo me.

    That said, I can see how this practice could be a boon to a couple in which one or both partners finds intercourse uncomfortable. As long as it’s not Biblically proscribed and there’s mutuality, and it enhances bonding, it would seem to be OK.

    But not for me. Not ever.

    Reply
  3. sunny-dee

    Maybe the issue isn’t doing ANR so much as it is not skipping breast play after the baby is born. Assuming there’s not a sensitivity issue, there’s no reason they couldn’t do their *normal* kiss / touch / even suck routine, and treat the lactation as a side effect rather than the focus. I think the thing with ANR is that it is not, in fact, centered on breast play — it’s specifically suckling.

    Reply
  4. E

    I also find a great deal of enjoyment from breast play with my husband. Like the reader who wrote in, I miss the carefree enjoyment during times of nursing. I am in no way interested in ANR for a number of reasons, most of which you and other commenters have mentioned. Nursing is a wonderful bonding experience with my babies, but it can be exhausting!! And ANR sounds like a lot more work since it does not just naturally happen. We can have some breast play during nursing, and just as a previous reader mentioned, we view the milk as a side effect, certainly not a goal. One other downside to ANR that you touched on – while nursing, I personally deal with the side effect of greatly decreased vaginal lubrication. So that’s something else to keep in mind for those considering ANR.
    I appreciate the fact that you point out the need to understand why a couple might want this type of activity.

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  5. Mike S.

    My wife nursed 5 children for 11 years or so, and yes, sometimes there was milk during breast play and sex. We joked about it, but it seemed rather weird to make drinking it into a “thing.” Infants nursing would initially bring strong contractions after childbirth and helped everything get back to normal. That would often happen whether it was our child or me. This lessened the farther away from birth we were in time.

    She has really enjoyed breast stimulation our whole marriage – though not as much arousal from it after menopause. A lot of the time it is the magic ingredient that takes her over the top.

    But there are real psychological issues in ANR that should be addressed and understood by both parties, far beyond normal breast play.

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  6. Adam Anonymous

    From a husband perspective (and someone who would be open to ANR) here are a few more thoughts. 1) ANR does not necessarily require milk. I gather that many ANR’s are “dry” but still consist of multiple daily sucklings. 2) I gather that for many, it’s actually not a sexual thing at all, but more of the emotional nurturing/bonding that you alluded to. 3) It seems that more people object to the idea of drinking breastmilk in general than the ongoing nature of the regular suckling (milk or not).

    My wife and I both enjoy breastplay. After our #2 was born she letdown one time during sex and I was faced with milk leaking everywhere or drinking it, so I drank it. Turns out I really liked it. From then on until our #2 was weened and all through the time when our #3 and #4 were nursing, I continued to partake–usually as part of sex, sometimes on it’s own, often times specifically because my wife was engorged. She didn’t mind, I enjoyed it, it solved a problem.

    When our youngest child was weened, we talked briefly about trying to keep her milk supply going for me, but in the end decided that it wasn’t worth the extra effort and just conceded that it was the end of a special time and moved on.

    The bottom line though, I agree with you, why do you want to do it? Which part is it that is appealing? I would argue that it’s not wrong, and that it’s not actually gross, but concede that it is a little weird. But yeah, as long as both husband and wife are in agreement, I say go for it. I’m glad we did however briefly, I think our marriage benefitted, and I do still miss it.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      I think its a wonderful experience. brings you so much closer. It beautiful. My husband and I really enjoy it, in fact when he is most stressed at work is the time he suckles more! he says it calms him down! and yea sex doesnt necessarily follow, but if it does its great! I have a one year old, and so my hubby enjoys my milk too!

      Reply
    1. J Post author

      Rarely. People typically explain their particular situation more than I provide in the question I publish, and I also look at email addresses for weird constructions. I do get fake questions from time to time, but those are pretty easy to spot by the information they seek.

      Reply
  7. Jack

    We are in our 60 years old, Breast involvement has been a plus in our 39 year marriage relationship even though for my wife it needs to be very gentle. Her milk tasted absolutlely delicious when she was nursing. Her breasts are not overly sensitive in a good way for her. But touch being my love language i can hardly get enough of it and would gladly do it three times a day from 20-30 minutes or more most days. While I am on the breast I relax like no other time or activity. It fills me with the deepest feelings for her that I ever feel and my hand is always busy gently and lovingly caressing anything I can reach. Do i have to say more? Am I a pervert? Or am I living Proverbs 5: 19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.? There is nothing more ravishing than her breasts. Realisticly it does not happen more than two or three times a week but It could be much oftener for me. They are still incredibly beautiful to look at, to touch and feel. I never get tired of it. To me it is bonding and wonderful.

    Reply
    1. J Post author

      I suspect there are a fair number of couples who wouldn’t mind hubby getting some of the breast milk when the wife is naturally in a nursing time of her life. But maintaining that milk flow just for him? That’s quite a task, and not really what Proverbs 5:19 means. But, as I said, just using your mouth on her breast isn’t ANR — it’s simply an arousing and/or satisfying activity.

      Reply

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