This chapter concentrates on mothers nursing infants to whom they have given birth. The breastfeeding relationship appeared the safest place to begin working out the distinctions between healthy and perverse maternal eroticism. It discusses physiological links among overtly sexual maternal experiences: pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. It then investigates four alternative modes of relating women's experiences of breastfeeding and sexuality. It shows the tendency of accounts of maternal sexual pleasure to be tied to visions of eroticism that pattern sex on male orgasm and approach the breast through the male erotic gaze and touch. Women's accounts of breastfeeding showed that women's erotic experience is potentially polymorphic, polyamorous, and fluid, tinged to varying degrees by what is thought of as orgasmic satisfaction and by more diffuse sensual pleasure, but also shaded by boredom, pain, and irritation and often colored by several of these qualities simultaneously.
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