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Do bras actually make breasts sag?

A 15-year study into breasts has revealed that the use of bras actually increased the risk of sagging, rather than preventing it.

The study looked at 330 French women aged 18-35 across the past 15 years, assessing the influence of bras on breast sag. It concluded that if you are wearing a bra to keep your mammaries on high, you are probably doing it wrong. We’ll just repeat that – the study found boobs sag more when wearing a bra!

While sag protection has never been the only reason for using bras, it had been seen as an ancillary benefit. Indeed, many bras had used this belief in their marketing/propaganda, often spliced with images of braless African women with comparatively sagging breasts.

Unfortunately, a range of other genetic and lifestyle factors come into play, and simply comparing cups across continents is in effect an exercise of comparing apples and oranges.

The study showed significant changes in those who had worn a bra, and those who hadn’t. How significant? Those who wore bras across the past 15 years experienced a yearly loss of nipple lift of around 7 millimetres, which amounted to a significant drooping over the period of the experiment.

A chart purporting to map the phenomenon of breast sagging. Image: Reddit.

A chart purporting to map the phenomenon of breast sagging.

Wearing a bra inhibits the growth of breast tissue, which acts to strengthen and support the breast. Without this breast tissue, breasts are more likely to sag.

Participants also reported a range of other benefits, with one saying “there are multiple benefits: I breathe more easily, I carry myself better and I have less back pain”.

There have however been a range of subsequent reports debunking the study, saying that the range of findings had not been independently verified.

There’s another significant caveat – this story was written by a man, so personal experience is out of the question. However as part of the research for the piece – which were perhaps dominated by males – it appears that this story is far more interesting to men than to women, which is probably because it is about boobs.

A similar discussion recently – covered of course by Techly – which focused on breasts in video games suggested that breast physics was a huge and in-depth industry.

In terms of bra versus no bra, I really can’t relate any personal experience here other than I have no idea why any man would ever find it comfortable to go ‘commando’, regardless of genitalia size or status. But penises and testicals aren’t boobs, so the support offered by a set of underwear is pretty irrelevant here.

Is there a lesson to take out of this? Wear bras? Don’t wear bras? Who cares about breast sagging? What is ‘breast sagging’? Is ‘breast sagging’ another socially constructed ‘beauty’ phenomenon in our hyper-sexualised society to encourage women to feel bad about their bodies and spend yet more money in pursuit of another unattainable ‘ideal’? Why are men writing about breast sagging?

(While the answer to most of these questions is above my pay grade, for those playing at home answer to the last question is ‘boobs’, and the answer to the question before it is ‘yes’).

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