There Are 9 Boob Types: Here’s What To Know About Each, From OB/GYNs

March 15, 2021 — 14:00 PM

Just like every other part of the body, breasts are unique to each individual. Everything from the shape and size of the boob itself to the shape, color, and size of the nipples can vary. 

There’s no such thing as a “normal” set of boobs. Pointy, round, tubular, large, small, and pendulous are all common, healthy ways for breasts to look, according to OB/GYNs Suzanne Gilberg-Lenz, M.D., and Wendie Trubow, M.D. The nipples can also have a lot of variation from person to person: They can be small and flat, large and protruding, or inverted, Gilberg-Lenz says.

“One myth to bust: Breasts are pretty much never symmetric in size and shape,” she adds. One might be slightly bigger or slightly different in shape than the other.

Here’s how bra company ThirdLove defines nine diverse boob shapes, according to their breast shape dictionary

Asymmetric

Asymmetric breasts are a set of breasts where one boob is larger than the other boob. Notably though, most people’s boobs are at least somewhat asymmetrical, according to Gilberg-Lenz, though some might be more so than others. “No human is perfectly symmetric—hands, eyes, feet, and boobs.”

Asymmetric

Grace Lee / mbg creative

Athletic

These boobs tend to be wider-set, and they contain more muscle and less tissue. (Not all physically active people have this type of boobs though, despite the name.)

Athletic

Grace Lee / mbg creative

Bell

With bell breasts, the breasts are shaped like, well, a bell. They’re thinner at the top and fuller at the bottom, forming a bell shape. This shape is common among women with larger cup sizes, and they may commonly deal with a lot of “overflow” with some bra types.

Bell

Grace Lee / mbg Creative

East West

East West breasts are wide-set, leaving a space in the middle of the chest. The breasts themselves, as well as the nipples, will point outward in opposite directions. 

East West

Grace Lee / mbg Creative

Relaxed

This type of breast tends to hang longer, and the tissue is more relaxed than perky. The nipples will point downward. 

Relaxed

Illustration by Grace Lee / mbg Creative

Round

Round boobs are symmetrical all around, meaning they’re equally full on the top and the bottom. They generally don’t need much support. 

Round

Grace Lee / mbg creative

Side Set

Side set breasts can easily be confused with East West, since they’re both wider-set with a space in the middle. However, in this case, the nipples will be pointing more forward, and the breasts are rounder or more fuller-shaped.

Side Set

Grace Lee / mbg creative

Slender

Slender breasts are more oval-shaped than round. They tend to be thin and long, and generally smaller in size. The nipples usually point downwards.

Slender

Grace Lee / mbg creative

Tear drop

These breasts are a mix between round boobs and bell shaped boobs. They tend to be slimmer on the top than round boobs, but they are round and full on the bottom.  

Tear drop

Grace Lee / mbg creative

Getting to know your boobs.

Becoming familiar with your boobs will not only make it easier to find a comfortable, supportive bra, but it can also increase self-esteem and overall mental health. Comparing the body you have to the bodies seen on social media, TV, or even in bra advertisements can lead to comparison and unhealthy expectations. 

“Body image is linked to physical and mental health,” Gilberg-Lenz says. “Eating disorders, mood disorders, and substance abuse have been linked specifically, in research, to consumption of social media and negative feelings about looks, weight, and self image.” 

Understanding that boobs and nipples come in a diverse range of sizes and shapes reminds us that “perfection only exists in marketing,” Trubow says. “We rarely see examples that reflect us. It’s important to remember that we’re all different and every way we’re made is something to be celebrated.”

On top of that, being comfortable with your breasts may also enhance your sexual self-esteem and pleasure.

“Discomfort around one’s body and breasts can create a psychological block that can inhibit sexual wellness,” certified sex coach Gigi Engle, tells mbg. “I often find that a lack of body confidence is generally present when a client is experiencing some form of sexual distress, whether it’s low libido, trouble orgasming, lack of orgasm, etc.” she says.

Coming to accept, and eventually love, your breasts can open up opportunities for exploration in the bedroom.

“Breasts can be a wonderful way to increase sexual arousal in both men, women, and folx of all genders,” Engle says. “The nerve endings in the nipples light up the genital-cortex, the same area of the brain that is activated then the genitals are aroused.” In other words, nipple play can lead to orgasm.

Give yourself self-exams.

Getting to know your breasts goes deeper than the outer appearance. Giving breast self-exams at least four times a year is a good way to monitor any changes in the breast tissue that could indicate breast cancer.

According to Trubow, you should be feeling for a pebble or frozen pea-like lump. “It’s often something you can feel from all angles and doesn’t disappear from one direction,” she says. “It’s usually on the harder side, and either mobile (moves around) but can also be fixed in place.”

If you’re someone with naturally lumpy breast tissue (aka fibrocystic breasts), to help distinguish this from something more concerning, Trubow says harmless lumps will generally be felt from one direction, but not palpable from another direction. 

“If you are menstruating, the best thing to do is examine your breasts a few days after your period ends when you are least tender, lumpy, and bumpy,” Gilberg-Lenz adds. “You will always know yourself the best! If you feel or see something different in the skin, nipple, under your arms/axilla, see your doc.”

See your doctor regularly.

It’s good practice to receive a breast exam from your doctor annually. “If there’s a specific concern, I’d recommend having an exam and not waiting for the annual one,” Trubow adds. 

Your doctor can also give you recommendations for specific breast concerns. For example, if you do have naturally cystic breasts, Trubow says cutting down caffeine and improving iodine and B12 stores may improve the issue. 

Aside from breast exams, engaging in nipple play and giving yourself breast massages can be impactful ways to practice self-care with your boobies. “Breast massage can potentially improve circulation, relieve pain and swelling, reduce tension and stress, and aid with breastfeeding,” licensed massage therapist Ben Brown, LMT, recently told mbg. “Plus, self-massage can center your mind, care for your body, and bring an overall sense of well-being.”

Getting to know your boobs better can help you find bras that fit better, improve your body image and mental well-being, and even help you experience more sexual pleasure. Understanding the feeling of your boob tissue, so you can detect when something might be out of the ordinary, is also essential. If you’re concerned about your breasts, always consult your doctor.

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