Last month I spent one Friday night sprawled topless on my bed while a guy named Joe twiddled my nipples until I came over and over again. My eyes rolled back in my head and my whole body bucked and twisted as he squeezed and rolled and flicked. "Oh my God," Joe kept saying, as I moaned and clawed at the sheets, "I can't believe you can do this."

My super-erogenous nipples have always been something of a shock to men, and my ability to orgasm based solely on their stimulation is seen as some kind of bizarre talent, like those people who can touch their tongue to their nose, or girls who are double-jointed. My ex-boyfriend used to idly flick one of my nips while we lay in bed in the morning, and when I winced, my back arching in an involuntary spasm of pleasure, he would raise his eyebrows and say, "Really?" his Doubting-Thomas tone unmistakable. "Yes," I'd tell him, feeling defensive. But what I meant was, Yes. Yes!

My breasts arrived right on time in sixth grade, and within two years they had grown into their full, glorious DD cup. From the start it was clear that I was supposed to be self-conscious about my boobs, hiding my bras and complaining to my friends about how embarrassing it was to find guys staring at my chest, but secretly I rejoiced in my buxom bounty. My body seemed to get everything wrong — I was too short, too round, too muscular — but finally my Eastern-European roots were smiling on me. Big, beautiful breasts. Thank God.

Those same Eastern-European roots provided a significant drawback. When I was in fifth grade I first heard the word lumpectomy in a conversation between my mother and my grandmother, who was about to undergo the procedure. I learned all kinds of other words that summer, including radiation, chemotherapy, and biopsy.

Finally my Eastern-European roots were smiling on me. Big, beautiful breasts. Thank God.

On spelling tests that year we were asked to choose a difficult word we found in the dictionary or in our everyday lives and add it to the pre-assigned spelling lists. So I was ten when I learned how to spell bilateral mastectomy, though I had no idea what it meant.

My grandmother's breast cancer was treated effectively, and for a solid decade my breasts were an unadulterated joy. Sometimes my friends would complain about the frustrations of having huge boobs, and though I could sympathize to a degree, none of the downsides ever seemed that bad to me. Yes, bras and especially sports bras were difficult to find and very expensive, but it was a price I was willing to pay for the advantages of having my DDs.

When I was twenty-two I got my right nipple pierced. My friends were getting tattoos on their lower backs, but I couldn't imagine picking a design I'd have to live with for the rest of my life. The silver barbell I chose was my little punk-rock secret, never failing to elicit a gasp from the men I brought home. Sometimes guys would ask if it hurt to get it pierced, and I answered honestly: a little, but it was worth it.

That same year my aunt had an abnormal mammogram, and eventually she had a lumpectomy followed by radiation. It was becoming increasingly clear that my genes were stacked against me in the breast-cancer department, but the news didn't seem all that bad. Breast cancer was highly treatable. Practically everyone I knew had an aunt or a grandmother or a mother who'd had breast cancer at some point, and most of them were fine. I bought things with pink ribbons on them in October to be supportive. My aunt went into remission.

At twenty-three I started doing yoga every day and finally discovered one of the real disadvantages to having big breasts: while doing inverted poses, my boobs hung in front of my face making it difficult to take deep yogic breaths. My yoga teacher blushed when I explained my problem. "I-I don't know what to suggest," he stammered. I experimented with blankets and blocks, but never found anything that made it much better.

I was sitting in my car after yoga one day when my mom called and told me she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. I shivered uncontrollably while she explained that it had been caught early, she was sure she would be fine. Those words became a mantra in the weeks that followed. Caught early, she'll be fine, I always told people. She had more tests, and she and my dad met with surgeons and oncologists to plan the best course of action. They chose to do a somewhat complicated procedure — a bilateral mastectomy, followed immediately by reconstructive surgery using fat and skin from her stomach. A boob job and a tummy tuck, we joked with each other, and both were covered by insurance. What good luck!

Commentarium (39 Comments)

Oct 26 09 - 9:05am
ja

wow. this was amazing

Oct 26 09 - 10:43am
JRB

Daaaaaaaaaark....

Oct 26 09 - 11:50am
IFC

This was really heavy. But amazing

Oct 26 09 - 1:34pm
m

My mother spent my whole life talking about her breasts and how she lucked out... she was diagnosed with breast cancer since past summer... it is so difficult to watch.

Oct 26 09 - 2:17pm
mo

thank you for sharing. i'm glad you are living with reckless abandon while you can!

Oct 26 09 - 3:53pm
adg

I can also orgasm with nipple stimulation. My hubby doesn't do it much though, because, due to surgerys I'm lopsided. I hope to have surgery to fix this soon. I just hope I don't lose sensation in my nipples.

Oct 26 09 - 4:39pm
yo

incredible story. thanks for sharing it.

Oct 27 09 - 8:24am
MM

I refuse to believe that any woman can reach orgasm strictly from stimulation of her nipples.
I can't believe it. I wont believe it.

May 23 12 - 1:51pm
@MM

It's a fact. I'm a man, and I've done the stimulating. Some women say that nipple stimulation goes directly to their clits. I believe it; and I like it.

Oct 27 09 - 10:32am
JBH

"PLEASE" let me see for myself!

Oct 27 09 - 10:39am
MBY

Whoa, do a lot of breasts come this sensitive?

Oct 27 09 - 8:07pm
mpb

I assume the "I can't believe it" is a joke. I mean, really? My husband come come from nipple stimulation alone. I'm not so lucky, but it's sure a neat trick for him! I have another friend who can come from having the right spot on her lower back massaged in the right way. I didn't believe that until I saw it happen by accident at a BDSM club. That was crazy. Lesson? The human body and human sexual response are really diverse. I mean, I can come with no stimulation at all. Most of us can./ They're called wet dreams. So why is it so weird that this also happens when you're awake and a body part that feels really good is being stimulated?

Oct 27 09 - 8:08pm
mpb

"can come." Although "come come" would be interesting to see . . .

Oct 27 09 - 8:15pm
kel

this was amazing and heartbreaking and wonderful.

Oct 27 09 - 9:16pm
TL

It's an amazing feat to get me reading something because I think it's going to be porn and then switch it up and make me all weepy and STILL leave me satisfied. Wowsers.

Oct 27 09 - 11:30pm
aj

Great story! Just wishing there will be an article someday on small breasts *feels really left out after this article plus the 'I Did It For Science' one on large breasts*.Maybe i'm just in a bad mood after reading yet another article on breast implants where a woman is talking about how her small breasts made her feel 'less like a real woman'.

Jun 22 12 - 10:03am
Sweet and firm

Be grateful. I wouldn't trade my itty bittys for all the milk in Wisconsin! I can't imagine having to live my life with elastic strapped around my chest and shoulders. Needing "support" sucks. Be grateful you don't sag and have to deal with sweaty under-the-tit pits. If you want a cleavage, you can always get a bra that gives you one. But you can also go braless and flash some bouncing, perky nips through thin fabric, a sexy look which your more bovine sisters can't do. In college, I used to hang out with a big breasted friend who referred to hers as "jerk magnets." Really, having small, sensitive breasts is a wonderful gift.

Oct 28 09 - 11:08am
ml

aj, smaller ones are more sensitive.

Oct 29 09 - 12:30am
TG

Well written, thank you for sharing. As a guy with sensitive nipples I can relate to the electricity that runs from nipple to crotch. It's turned into a positive as my girlfriend knows that she can get me hard instantly just by sucking on my nipples. I consider it a blessing :) I'm glad you're not afraid to embrace the assets god gave you in light of what has happened.

Oct 28 09 - 3:38pm
DXXI

Life is a celebration and something special, Elisheva. Here's to your embracing your "heritage" and the sexuality and sensuality surrounding your breasts. I'm one male who openly supports breast cancer research, as should every heterosexual man should. I also support people who refuse to give in to fear. Keep your head high and your chest out!

Oct 28 09 - 5:16pm
EM

Good for you for living your life, and for finding a positive outlet to deal with those yentas who suggested you have a prophylactic mastectomy in your twenties.

Oct 28 09 - 7:06pm
wrl

whats your number?

Oct 28 09 - 8:31pm
rck

you made me cry. thanks for sharing your story.

Oct 28 09 - 9:32pm
gc

this was a powerful article somehow... you go elisheva. it's so awesome to see someone who truly embraces their whole self no matter what.

Oct 28 09 - 9:42pm
TH

Powerful writing indeed. That such heavenly parts of the female anatomy can be harbingers of such trauma, and yet still have the power to turn my head from across the street, its amazing. You sound like a strong woman Elisheva, I'm glad to hear those breasts of yours are still giving you the plesure you deserve.

Oct 29 09 - 11:51am
BM

Beautiful!!! What a refreshing read - powerful, well-written and makes such a statement in so many ways. Thanks for the thought-provoking read, and of course sticking up for boobs.

Oct 30 09 - 12:06pm
rn

wonderfully written...this is a thousand times better then porn...and it makes sense and has a wonderful message!!! simply awesome!

Oct 30 09 - 12:36pm
MPC

now THIS is some good writing. bravo.... It's been a long time, Nerve.

Oct 30 09 - 10:25pm
AM

Thank-you, Elisheva, for sharing this with us. Know that current research suggests that diet plays a significant role in helping keep cancer at bay. Do your research, get some exercise (even just walking more) and up your intake of anti-oxidents. May you live a very long time and have many, many happy orgasms.

Nov 02 09 - 4:28pm
rdb

Your boobs are not "Wonder Boobs" just because they're DD -- women with small breasts can reach orgasm through breast stimulation, too. I'm tempted to tell you to get over yourself.

Jun 02 12 - 11:59pm
a.

You completely missed the point, hm?

Nov 02 09 - 4:30pm
rdb

Correction to previous post, "...through nipple stimulation."

Nov 06 09 - 5:58pm
SS

Powerful. Very powerful. I can relate 100% to loving my big tits and not being able to imagine enjoying sex to it's fullest without them. I too can come from breast and/or nipple stimulation (and so can my boyfriend - his are even more sensitive!). I honestly don't know what I'd decide to do if breast cancer ran in my family. And even though considering all of the options is prudent, I'm appalled that so many women in your life so casually suggest having them removed, just like that. And in your 20's! I applaud you for enjoying them while you're young, and for sharing a very personal story.

Nov 17 09 - 1:53am
CMR

Just read this on AlterNet... Right now, I am 2 weeks away from having an excisional biopsy/lumpectomy to determine if my cancer has come back after 7 years in the clear. Like you, Elisheva, I love my breasts...The Twins, The Girls. I was fortunate enough to have caught the first cancer extremely early 7 years ago at age 33; though my mother was diagnosed 4 months later and was not so fortunate (double mastectomy, etc; and she is still alive). The 6 weeks of radiation therapy and 5 years on Tamoxifen weren't so bad, all things considered. I have spent the past 7 years thoroughly enjoying my 38Ds and flaunting them when I can, but the past few weeks have been something of a nightmare. Enjoy them - let others enjoy them too, if only to admire them. Ultimately, do whatever you need to do to stay healthy. Now, if I could only convince myself........

Dec 19 09 - 7:37pm
mmm

aWWww!!! dats realy touching story.... :-(

Aug 15 10 - 7:35am
bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbb

a touching story

Jun 07 11 - 1:07pm
Jarret J

Hey girl you say you use them every day come to my house me and my friends will show ya how it's done and damn are your boobs that big oh and sorry for your loss. Text me I wanna fuck you sexy!

Jun 16 11 - 10:27pm
Joanna

This story hits close to home for me. Breast cancer is genetic in my family too. However, we don't have either of the known genes. So far it has gotten my grandFATHER (yes, men can have breast cancer too), my mother, and my aunt. Luckily they have all survived. Only my grandfather needed chemo; my mother's and aunt's were taken care of with mastectomies. My mother, aunt, and I all have (or had) large breasts. We aren't able to trace this any further back into our family because my grandfather is adopted. Since the advent of the internet, we were able to track down his mother's family and they have no instances of breast cancer, so we've concluded it must be his unknown father who passed this on. What you say about being Jewish and and having an unknown gene causing it, leads me to believe my grandfather's father may have been Jewish.

May 25 12 - 3:53pm
Mel

My sister has one of the gene mutations that causes cancer. After so many women had breast cancer in my family we saw a genetic counselor and my dad tested positive for the gene, subsequently my sister and I got tested. I am thankfully negative, but my sister has to live with this fear of cancer and will probably get her breasts removed at some point for preventative purposes. Eventually my brother will have to get tested to see if he could give it to his children that he will have some day. Weird how this gene works its way down the family tree and won't go away.