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I stopped shaving my legs years ago.

I resumed shaving my arm pits because I didn't like the results of not shaving them.

I have never & shall never shave my crotch.


I definitely agree that what people do down there is their own business.

But it distinctly troubles me that body and pubic hair are seen as "gross". When I was younger, after I'd had maybe two sexual partners -- I was 18 I think, and although I'd started being sexual I felt pretty new and self-conscious about it. Anyhow, I started messing around with a new guy who, upon discovering I had pubic hair, actually stopped and said "yuck". I was INCREDIBLY hurt, partly because this was a guy I deeply cared about who found some part of me gross, partly because this was my first remotely-casual sexual encounter and I was terrified I'd crossed some sexual taboo I hadn't known about, and also partly because I was just so offended that he found something so natural so disgusting. I've thought about it more and I know the guy wasn't very experienced either, that all his experience had come from porn and maybe one or two other girls who completely shaved down there. (I also realize that not everyone thinks body hair is gross, although from what it sounds like it seems a lot of people at least don't care for it.)

What troubles me about this trend you wrote about it that his tastes had been tailored to find hair GROSS -- taking this trend to the extreme he did unconsciously builds on the concept that the natural body is something shameful that must be categorized a certain way, rather than something that can be handled differently per the individual's liking and not looked down upon because it is different. As someone who came into her sexuality as relatively prude-ish surrounded by people who often watched porn, and someone who finds most visual porn at least a little degrading to women, it really troubles me that my generation and below finds visual porn the erotic standard -- and that to act, in a new sexual encounter, in a way not expected from what porn has shown them is gross. Obviously not everyone who watches porn feels that way (lol does that even need saying? How could I possibly make a generalization that big with a straight face?), but I do think this is something that affects sexual self-esteem of teens and young adults who are discovering their sexualities now, in this internet-infused society.


I enjoy gently pulling and caressing my wife's pubic hair. Then again, we're in our 40's and shaving ones genitals wasn't something that was "de rigueur' when we were grewing up.

Like everything else, styles come and go I suspose.


What troubles me about this trend you wrote about it that his tastes had been tailored to find hair GROSS

Yes, this. Hair on adults other than on the head is not abnormal. I don't see the increase in "required" hair removal as a casualisation of genitals so much as a further policing of the human body. Not to mention an expectation that the body is prepped for pretty, movie-star casual sex at any time.


"I've been thinking about the shaving of public hair."

Well, shaving one's public hair is a bit different of an issue than shaving one's pubic hair. :)

Greta Christina
"I've been thinking about the shaving of public hair."

Oh, fuck. Fixed. Thanks. (In my defense, this piece has been up for weeks at the Blowfish blog and for hours here, and you're the first one to catch that mistake. But it's not much of a defense. Damn, I hate spelling errors that spellcheck doesn't catch."

K D Grace

Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer has a wonderful passage in it about pubic and underarm hair and how it has evolved to capture and enhance the scent of our bodies to entice our mate or potential mate. Anyone who has ever gone into a smokey room knows how effective hair is at collecting smells. While that may not be a good thing at a party with lots of smokers, for those of us who enjoy the ofactory pleasures of sex, it's the best! Pubic hair is like a banquet of delicious scents.

On a more visual note, to me, nothing says sexual maturity and readiness like pubic hair and underarm hair. I wish I were brave enough to let my underarm hair grow, but I have been conditioned, as you say, to fear being considered a crunchy granola hippy or a bomb tossing

It isn't that I don't like the feeling of silky bare skin. That's nice too, but sometimes I just really like the idea of enjoying my mammal nature, and that involves "furry" bits and stimulation of scent glands and all sorts of unfashionable sexy stuff.


Personally I find shaved pubes to be a turn off and even a bit creepy, as in too prepubescent. Besides, in evolutionary terms, the hair's probably there for a reason.

Tom Vincent

Must be a slow news day...nothing about the abject poverty, deforestation and horrible over-population of Haiti?

Or about Republo-fascists comparing support for segregation and an 'honest injun' comment to an old man from Nevada using an archaic term in a positive way?

Or the continued escalation of the Afghanistan war?

Or even Sarah "god's plan" Palin?

Anyway, the porn industry has been the engine of change for much of technology (web-cams, professional video, hi-speed internet, etc.) just as the gaming industry has been the engine of change for computer technology (mostly sound and video).


What worries me about everybody shaving their pubic hair is the "prepubic" factor, as somebody wrote above. I as a grown-up have hair growing on my body! And insisting on having sex with a hairless person makes me wonder if this person has some pedophile tendencies.
And there of course it fits with (some) porn: women are often showed in a childish, not grown-up way e.g. in school uniform. Anyway, women have always been preparing for being attractive and ready for sex, don't you think? So why would there be a emancipated point about shaving especially pubic hair? Do you think shaving legs or armpits is a sexually self-esteemed act in itself?
And i also see girls wearing make-up and bras and other "sexy" stuff much earlier in age than ten years ago. That together worries me: it worries me for women, as i see a backlash into having to be childlike.
And it worries me for the girls who get sexualized before they even get the point of it. And of course it's a shame for men, if they start to get afraid of a little hair here and there, so they never get to see how their partner looks being herself before preparing. They never get to see how a grown up women looks!
Well, and of course it is absolutely twisting the "free choice" argument if it is so normal to be totally shaved, that people, even your lovers find you disgusting if you are not.
And all this together is undermining the "consensual grown-ups" idea. So i find it a very worrying trend.

Thanks for reading this.

Greta Christina

Mia: No, no, no, no, no.

Sorry if I seem crabby; but every time this subject comes up, someone makes this point. And I have serious problems with it.

I get that for some people, their main association with hairless pubes is pre-pubescence. But that is most emphatically NOT the main association made by people who shave or who like their partners to be shaved. There are lots and lots of reasons people like shaving. Some people prefer the increased sensation; some people find it more comfortable; some people like the increased access and vulnerability; some people find it more hygienic; some people just think it looks neater; etc., etc., etc. And for better or worse, for some people, it's just what they've come to expect and assume is what's expected of them.

If you don't like it because you associate it with pre-pubescence, that's fine. But please don't assume that everyone else has the same associations. They don't.


Yeah, this "pedophile" meme is popular way out of proportion to its validity. You're allowed to not like shaved crotch because it reminds you of children, but you cross a major line when you infer that someone else likes it because it reminds them of children.

A few years ago I was rolling my eyes over this same meme and thought to myself, no one thinks men who shave their faces look like little boys. And then I realized that the analogy really does go all the way. A man has options for his face: clean shaven, mustache, soul patch, Van Dyke, goatee, full beard trimmed short, full-on Grizzly Adams. In free societies, there is broad social agreement that he can wear whatever he thinks looks good on him, or feels good, or is convenient to maintain, or says the right thing about him socially, or pleases a romantic partner. Other people will have aesthetic opinions about it, and some of them do come with subtle social judgments, but making moral judgments about any of them would be laughable.

I want everyone to give the same type and amount of thought to their crotches as men do to their faces.


This topic always irritates me, because it so often brings out a lot of "My personal aesthetic choices are totally individual and couldn't possibly be influenced by anything external to me!" (this is slightly unfair to bring up here, since there wasn't much of it in these comments, although I think more over at Blowfish).

Personally, I don't wax because a) it must fucking hurt, b) I'd be kind of embarrassed to go and get it done (yeah, I know that's stupid), and c) I don't see why I should. I don't shave because a) it sounds like a pain in the arse and I can't be bothered, particularly with upkeep, b) I get bad enough ingrown hairs/nasty red bumps on legs/bikini line when I shave there, really not wanting that in more uncomfortable places (also a reason for not waxing), and c) I don't see why I should.

I do trim my pubic hair and have done for several years. This makes me feel more comfortable having sex, because I'm not thinking "Shit, does (s)he think I'm too hairy and gross?", and I also like the way it looks on me better than when I leave the hair to grow. But I didn't just grow those feelings independent of the culture I live in. It's not like a meagrely haired genital area is *objectively more appealing* than one with lots of hair. I am really quite happy to admit that I do certain things because they make my life easier in a culture where I've internalised certain expectations about femininity, sex, bodies, etc. There are many cultures I could imagine in which I probably would not want to do anything to my pubic hair. I would rather not feel the necessity/desire to do anything to it - it would save some time and effort. But as it is the mental benefits of trimming outweigh the disadvantages for me.

Basically, much as with many, many other societal expectations, if it really was equally expected of men and women to be hairless, I wouldn't really have much of a problem with it (although I would still have some problem with it being *required* to be acceptably sexy). But it seems to me that it isn't. I don't know if this is a cultural difference - I'm from the UK where I understand there isn't quite such an imperative for everybody to be naked, and certainly I think male hair-alteration is less common. And I haven't had sex with enough people to make that wide a survey. But I feel fairly confident in saying it's still pretty unequal; and women are already expected to undertake far too much work on their bodies in order to appear acceptable.

Re children: I, obviously, don't think people who like shaved genitals are paedophiles, although I admit I do think it's a little bit weird that complete hairlessness, which is only natural for children, is currently supposed to be the epitome of sexy. But I accept these are probably independent of each other.

Anyway, as far as I'm concerned people can do whatever they want with their own groins. But I don't think anybody should be or feel obligated to do anything in particular, and I wish (also in relation to, oh, pretty much every topic ever) there was more of a middle ground in debate between "It's my empowerful individual choice" and "You're just being duped by the patriarchy".


When I was growing up, I absolutely hated my pubic hair. It grew way too fast and long, got caught in my underwear and toilet paper (ouch!), poked out of my bathing suits (both the sides, and through the fabric on the front), and made my monthly visits that much more messy and uncomfortable. I should also say that I'm 39 years old. Creeping up on middle age.

Back then, nobody trimmed or shaved. At least nobody that I knew! But I did. I trimmed, and shaved all but a neat little patch. My first sexual encounter was at 17, and I honestly don't think the guy ever knew the difference. As I got into adulthood, and changed partners, I started shaving completely. I just liked the feel of not having anything between me and my partner.

The first time I was with a woman (I'm bi), I very much appreciated that she was clean shaven as well. I've had other female partners who weren't, and I was turned off by their hair.

I also love it when a guy will keep himself neatly trimmed. Not shaved, and not porcupine short and prickly! But trimmed to under 1/2 inch. For me, the worst thing is perform oral sex on a guy (or gal), and end up with a mouthful of hair; having it stuck in teeth or caught in the back of your throat. Gag!

These days, I find it very sensual to have my Husband do the routine "maintenance" on my pubic hair. It takes a lot of trust in another human being to do that, but it's SO worth it! :-) <---satisfied smile


We live in a society where people talking about whether the Olsen Twins, Emma Watson, et al ask "are they legal yet?" Clearly some of the push for having a young-looking body (for both genders) is from an undercurrent of ephebophilia in our society.

Given that teens are at/near their physical peak, are fertile, and are on hormone overdrive, doesn't it make sense from an evolutionary standpoint that our development as a species ended up selecting for desire of teenagers? When you look at our history the idea of sex with teens as being bad is actually relatively new; for most of human history it was either tolerated or actively encouraged! But nowadays we know that people are still developing at that age; in fact I believe the current estimate is that our brains are only fully 'adult' at around 22. Which is why as silly as having an arbitrary age for legal sex seems to me, I can't fault its intent, which is to protect young people while they're still trying to figure out what's going on and what they want.

Also, don't assume that everyone saying this thinks you're in denial about wanting to molest children just because you like a shaved partner; I personally dislike all body hair EXCEPT pubic, but am also the person who told his girlfriend he didn't want to go see the latest Disney movie because of "all the stupid kids who'd be there making noise." Oh well, at least I have the sense to let the children enjoy their children's movie without Old Man Dan shaking his cane at them and telling them to get off his lawn. =P


I'm a woman age 50 and don't shave anything--legs, pits, pubes. I think the pubes is a generational thing. (that is what I infer from the locker room). The legs and pits started with the aesthetics of the 70s' feminists and staying with it because I think I'm sexier that way. No complaints, but I'm in a committed relationship with one man, so I'm not hearing what any other men think of me.

When I go gray I might dye the pubic hair. or not.


Greta and Quinpalus,

Thanks for this. That pernicious myth really annoys me - especially given that people repeat it even after being informed of what pro-shaving people's actual reasons are.


Aristophanes mentions women "plucking their triangles" in his plays, so even if this is a trend, it's hardly *new*.


For the closest shave, Al's Shaving Boheme. What a wonderful shave.

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