Defining the Adult Nursing Relationship

How do we Define the Adult Nursing Relationship?

At its most basic, an adult nursing relationship, or ANR, as it is commonly abbreviated, is a mutually pleasurable partnership in which one adult suckles from the breasts of a woman who may or may not be producing breast milk. If the woman is lactating, the practice is referred to as wet nursing. While lactation is not always an important part of an ANR, in which two loving and consenting adults may choose to dry nurse for the purpose of creating physical and emotional intimacy, some couples opt to encourage milk production and flow, and do this by a process known as inducing. When a woman has produced breast milk in the past, and hopes to begin the process once more, the practice of encouraging non-maternal breast milk production is defined as re-lactation.

The adult nursing relationship, which is sometimes referred to as an adult breastfeeding relationship, or ABR, is steeped in mystique, taboo, misconceptions, and stereotypes, and while the lifestyle has gained quite a bit of notoriety over the past few months, popping up in sensationalized news stories and trending here and there on various social media sites, sometimes even earning its own hashtag, the fascination with adult suckling has done little to shed a light of reality and normalcy on the experience, which, to some adult nursers, is simply another amazing facet of their already strong pre-existing relationship.

Although the suckling experience can be a beautiful and joyful part of any relationship, it is not often publicly discussed because people who practice adult nursing are often negatively and unfairly targeted for their lifestyle choice. Much of the misconceptions surrounding ANR stems from the beautifully quaint word “nursing” that is eloquently placed within the otherwise perfectly typical phrase adult relationship.

While it is often associated with maternal breastfeeding, the word nursing is actually defined as the act or practice of caring for someone, and that is precisely what adult nursing means to many people who enjoy the lifestyle; we care for our partner, but we just do so in something of a non-traditional way. Nursing, while, of course, a very physical act, is a means of nurturing, tending to another person’s needs, and fulfilling his or her innermost desires in a deeply intimate way.


Why do Adults Nurse?

Along with being a relatively private lifestyle choice, the decision to nurse is also a very personal one, and each ANR is as unique as the individuals involved in it. Adult nursing can be viewed and practiced in a wide variety of ways, and none is “right” or “wrong”. Two people, even when involved in a suckling relationship, may choose to nurse for very different reasons. In some cases, the adult nursing relationship can be simplified; there doesn’t always have to be a deep, unspoken, or profound reason behind the desire to suckle, and, contrary to popular belief, the longing does not always stem from a deeply buried and unrecognized psychosis–sometimes, you just want to, and that is okay.


Is it Common?

Adult nursing may be much more common than we are led to believe. While some research has been done on the lifestyle, it has often been conducted as a way to “uncover the mystery” surrounding the practice rather than to shed light on the subject, so very little is still known about ANR, and because it is such a private part of most people’s everyday lives, statistics simply do not exist.


Is there a Difference Between Adult Breastfeeding and Adult Nursing?  

Sometimes. Often, how the lifestyle is defined is dependent upon the participants’ individual views. Like any other “subculture”, the practice of adult suckling is generally based on specific interpersonal dynamics, and the  experience can be broadly classified into particular categories. How casual or dedicated the experience is may determine whether or not the word relationship follows either breastfeeding or nursing. You can read more about this by clicking here.

 My Partner Would Like to Nurse, but I’m Just not Comfortable Doing it.

Sometimes, a person feels uncomfortable about the idea of nursing because the practice is seen as being strange, atypical, abnormal, or even wrong. These views are very misleading, and help to cement the belief that suckling shared between two loving and consenting adults is a sexual deviation. This one-sided way of thinking can cause a person to miss out on one of the most satisfying and rewarding moments that he or she can share with the person they love. Although it is a very unique practice, nursing does not have to be unusual. There is a very big difference, and sometimes, we truly don’t–or won’t–know if we like something unless we try it. Life is full of wonderful new opportunities, and beautiful things can arise from them in the most unexpected of ways.

And while nursing is quite beautiful, the lifestyle simply isn’t for everyone. If you are new to nursing, considering the opening of an ANR, or simply curious about it, you can learn more about the lifestyle by researching the subject, discussing your thoughts and feelings with your partner, and turning to reliable sources in the adult nursing community for support and assistance. These things may help you to decide if an adult nursing relationship is right for you.



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