Wise Guys: Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Cleavage?

cleavagephoto by Stefan Andrej Shambora

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: We know that men love boobs, but is there such a thing as too much cleavage? At what point — if any — does it become tacky to guys? Is it all about the situation and context?

Straight Married Guy (Matt): Yes, I guess there’s such a thing as too much cleavage. If I took a date to a wedding and she rolled up with 3/4 of her boobs out, I’d be a little embarrassed (and, okay — it’d probably turn me on at the same time). You see, my inner ape is endlessly fascinated with boobs, and seeing cleavage is always appreciated. But sometimes it’s inappropriate or tacky. I think all guys are a little schizophrenic about this. It’s like, man, that is a ridiculously cheesy outfit… but I wish I could see the rest of those boobs.

Straight Single Guy (Colin): I fall in love all over again with cleavage each day, but I guess when you really get down to it, there are a few specific contexts when it’s time to cover up. The scenarios are hard to distinguish. If you’re meeting my family, it’s a no-go on breast exposure, whereas if you’re meeting my co-workers, it’s totally okay. If we’re going to dinner, take them out, but if it’s Sunday brunch you might want to keep them concealed. If you’re a woman with real class, you’ll always find a way to pull it off. But please, double check with a friend who’s not afraid to hurt your feelings before you try something like J-Lo’s 2000 Grammy dress.

Gay Committed Guy (Terence): There’s no such thing as having too much cleavage. Showing too much cleavage, however, can be a situational no-no. As the bible says, there’s a time for everything that is done on earth. Let’s look at it this way (my way): Billowing cleavage in the grocery store at 10am and I crack a wry smile. Billowing cleavage in a dance club at midnight and I break into a shit-eating grin. It’s the same as a guy with his shirt unbuttoned down to just above his navel. There’s a time for everything. The bigger question is, who can pull it off well? That’s a matter of personal taste, but I bet we all can pretty much agree on whose cleavage/chest needs some covering up when we see it.

Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. Colin Adamo is an undergrad at Yale University where he directs the biennial Sex Week at Yale; the other two are a little shy.


  1. I agree wholeheartedly with A. As a proud owner of a pair of natural 38DD’s, almost any top that I wear will show cleavage even if I’m not trying. That said, I am well aware at how much attention serious cleavage garners and at times I use it to my advantage. In fact, I have some shirts that I only save for special occasions when I’m TRYING to get that attention because they’re so revealing.

    I dont understand the women who wear sexy tops and then complain when men stare. Hello? Don’t tell me you left the house wearing that top and honestly didn’t think a man was going to look! Please! But again A is right: there is a difference between looking and leering. I dont mind if men look, I expect that given what I’m wearing. But lascivious leers? Those need to be held in check.

  2. I am a straight girl and even I like to look at a nice pair of boobs its just something about it. It’s just very attractive. Yes there is a point where I bet even guys are like okay just put some of that away. But for the most part if it’s a time when it really doesn’t matter, not at like a family dinner, then unless your just letting it all hang out then your most likely fine. Just watch around other girls cause there catty and will call you a slut and other bad names because there upset that there man like there goods.

  3. I actually get (part of) Jane’s point. A woman with a nice pair on display will literally get stared at – or bothered – by every single straight guy who walks past them all day long. I can totally understand not wanting that kind of attention or that much attention.

    Of course, I can ALSO relate to women who get massive validation – or sexual arousal – from having guys drool over them all day long.

    What I don’t get – and we’ve all heard this before – is women who sport the cleavage, but then act offended by the attention. That’s a sign of a disordered personality.

  4. Only a few women can pull it off well–like Sophia Loren or Tyra Banks, for example. For them, somehow cleavage is part of their style and fashion and they don’t look like they’re desperately soliciting oggles.

    As a woman, I strongly dislike cleavage. Yes, I am well endowed and have had men stare at my breasts covered.

    What happened to modesty?

    Everyone is saying it’s a sexual turn on. Knowing that, why would you want to elicit those feelings from someone who is not your partner. Do you want your son’d friends, teachers, dirty old men having sexual thoughts about you?

    Women are reduced to sex enough at it is.It takes litlte to turn men on. I have always had A LOT of male attention, and I NEVER sport cleavage.

    When I see women presenters showing hint of cleavage on Huffington Post…I think why can’t she dress appropriately and can this story be presented or people even watch her report wtihout her girls hanging out.

    To me, cleavage is immodest and inappropriate and attempts men to stray or reduce your value in their eyes.

    Have enough respect for yourself and men and cover up.

    Yes men are turned on but are also embarrassed at the same time. They may not want a visual affornt of another women’s breasts when they are committed to another, for example. Why put them in that position, or essentially invite someone with whom you have no intention of becoming intimiate to stare at your mammaries and have sexual thoughts about you?

    I don’t get it.

    WOmen who sport cleavage usually are communicating through their dress that they are sexually available and promiscuous. Often on a subconscious level. They may not be that way, but that is what people will think of them.

    It doesn’t look fashionable–it looks cheap.

    No one has a right to dictate what another wears, but just as you would have enough consideration not to blast loud music around others…why not show a similar courtesy and stop assaulting peoples’ hormone and tempting men to have impure thoughts when they want to be faithful to their wives and treat women with respet as opposed to reducing them to little play things with T and A.

  5. For the person who said “if you get mad at guys for staring then you are showing too much” your theory doesn’t stand up. I have natural 32F breasts and any slight dip in the neckline of my shirts and my cleavage pops out. Girls with big breasts cannot hide cleavage unless they wear a t-shirt of turtleneck. I guess by your books I am always showing too much. Staring is not a problem, but leering is and it’s my right to get mad – if men can leer, I can get upset – we all have our own rights

  6. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I believe God meant for women’s breasts to be a sexual attraction. But, personal control is a definite help. I’ve been married to a large breasted woman since the 80’s. She is never upset with my personal enjoyment but is justifiably angry with men who gauk. So guys, please use controlled actions when observing. Be kind.

  7. I have no issue with women having a lot of cleavage, it is all good.
    At the same time, I hope women can exercise good judgemrnt and understand their limitations.
    There is a point where cleavage means style, beautty, but there is a threshold where it becomes tacky, where it becomes exhibitionism, where it becomes plain vanity.
    If a woman wants men to appreciate her beautty, that is ok, but there are some women that sport cleavage, and at the same time act like uptight brats, giving evil eyes or acting snoby at men that look at them.
    If you do not want to attention, do not ask for it. Some women are hard to understand, they dress up as if they want all men to look at them, but once the bee is laid down and the bear comes out to get it, you can not get mad at the bear for liking honey.
    Also, beware of this game , you might attract a bear you will not be able to handle.

  8. I agree with a previous post. If you don’t want guys to look, cover it up. The most unattractive thing is trying to be too sexy, and always tugging at something. Wear what you are and chill out.

  9. yeppers. ya were. get over yourselves and get back to talking about connection things. this is degenerating into a baby bottle fest in more ways than one.

  10. Panzer is either trying to be delibrately annoying or is just out and out sexist (neither very edifying). I’m mad that guys are looking because you know what? I am not a piece of meat for you to drool at and really it should be you modifying your behaviour rather than the other way round.

    Why? We’re not trying to modify your behavior.

  11. Bit disappointed that none of the guys even went near ‘well, it’s your body it’s up to you’ as a viewpoint. For me its a balance between your own comfort and having the right to do with your body what you want and respecting others (such as what I wear to someone’s Sunday dinner with their family may not be what I wear the previous Sat night) and that is what I mainly go by.

    Panzer is either trying to be delibrately annoying or is just out and out sexist (neither very edifying). I’m mad that guys are looking because you know what? I am not a piece of meat for you to drool at and really it should be you modifying your behaviour rather than the other way round.

  12. Ouch Nawny. Someone struck a nerve with you?

    That’s not what he said at all. Not even close. Implanted breasts can be more hideous than natural breasts. I think this was touched on awhile back. The fake breasts with an area you could land a 747 in between come to mind. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being natural or fake for that matter. Just realize that people have their own tastes and just because they don’t like yours doesn’t mean they are shallow. I for one love huge areolas and he doesn’t. Does that make me disgusting? No it just means we have different tastes.

  13. Rei, so according to your guy friends, implant breasts are beautiful, while real human breasts are ugly?


    Wonder if those guys have bods that measure up to the standards they use for women…

  14. Although I don’t think it’s about who else you’re with I’m with Matt that context matters. Whether your parents were there or not cleavage in a choir robe would seem out of place. Meanwhile cleavage in a two-piece bathing suit would be par for the course. And cleavage in a sauna… wouldn’t even be cleavage!

    But here’s the deal: wearing a choir robe in a sauna would be just as out of place as a wearing a bikini in a choir loft. It would be *wrong* — not in the sense one should be ashamed of one’s self. But unless there was prior agreement with other participants (e.g. “For our next challenge we all have to wear choir robes in the sauna”) it would be out of place.


  15. ^I understand shape is more important to a guy than size. I’ve had a few guy friends tell me that they do not like big saggy, stretch-mark, lop-sided, big areola breasts; and like the perky, teardrop shaped breasts with nipples that point toward you, not down. But my guy friends do not speak for every other guy out there.

    If a guy thinks ugly breasts are a dealbreaker, don’t go out with him, find someone else who appreciates your breasts.

  16. I realize this another thread, but I’ve got to know.

    Is there such a thing as ugly breasts, how do you describe them and are they a dealbreaker for guy?

  17. I don’t think you can blame the apes on this conundrum, they were just fine without booby traps or even strings attached.

  18. PS, one exception: extreme heat. Really hot weather is a legit excuse to open or take off your shirt and show your gleaming abs, particularly if you’re anywhere near a body of water.

  19. Here’s a good rule of thumb:
    If you’re mad at guys for looking, then you are showing too much cleavage.

  20. I was with Terence on the “guy with his shirt unbuttoned” analogy, until I thought… unlike cleavage, which is sometimes sexy, isn’t the very-unbuttoned shirt always cheesy? I mean, I can’t look at this through gay or feminine eyes. Is it like excessive cleavage – tacky and sexy at the same time? Is there ever a time when it’s just plain hot? I guess for some it must be. As a guy who’s not big into clubbing, to me, those guys always look like a big orange-skinned greasy joke.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *