Male bra – also known as a compression bra, compression vest, or gynecomastia vest – refers to brassieres that are worn by men. Adolescent boys and middle-aged men sometimes develop breasts and the estimates of those with the condition are presented as a range "because the definition of gynecomastia varies and the method of surveying varies." Although there are options for treating gynecomastia, some elect surgery to reduce their breasts or wear a male bra. Male bras typically flatten rather than lift.
Men who choose to wear a brassiere may broadly be divided into two categories, depending on whether or not the brassiere is worn primarily for utilitarian purposes. Some men who have large breasts as a result of obesity or gynecomastia may choose to wear a brassiere to provide support for their breasts and to flatten their appearance. Other men wear bras for cross-dressing, for sexual purposes such as transvestic fetishism or feminization, or as a form of submission to their partner. Petticoat discipline may also involve male bra wear. Additionally, some male athletes – more specifically runners – may choose to wear a sports bra under their shirts in order to prevent a common medical condition called jogger's nipple, also known as nipple chafing. This condition is caused by excessive rubbing of wet sweat-soaked material over one's nipples. The condition, often very painful, can be prevented by wearing a sports bra.
Although some bras for men have been developed, they often differ only superficially from their female counterparts. There is sometimes no medical necessity for men to wear bras, and the same considerations for and against apply to both genders.
In popular culture
- An episode of the TV sitcom Seinfeld, titled "The Doorman", had the character Kramer invent a male bra, which he called a "bro," for Frank Costanza, who was said to have very large breasts. Frank initially decided to market the invention, but disagreed on the name, instead wanting to call it a "Manssiere," a play on the term "brassiere".
- An episode of the American animated television sitcom Napoleon Dynamite titled "FFA", featured Napoleon revealing that he is wearing a "men's action bra" in a cutaway in which he competes in a 'speed milking' contest.
- Cox, Therese Smith. (August 1, 2000) Charleston Daily Mail Men who develop breasts more numerous than people realize. Section: News; Page 1D.
- Read, Genevieve. (July 15, 2007) The Mercury (Hobart) The curves men hate. Section: 1; Page 16.
- Tober, Bruce (August 2004). "Boys With Breasts". BBC Four. Retrieved 2007-09-22.
- Watrous, Monica (August 26, 2007). "A Masculine Taboo". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2007-09-22.
- McGivern, Mark; Main, Jill. (January 23, 2002) "Men are from Mars..." Daily Record (Scotland)
- brassiered: a complete guide to brassiere discipline
- Brassiered Husband
- Bumgardner, Wendy (July 26, 2007). "Men Who Need Chest Support". About.com. Retrieved 2007-09-22.
- Enell Sports Bra: for men
- Female Intelligence Agency: Men and bras