To shave or not to shave: Pubic Hair Removal under the microscope

 

In Eve Ensler’s play “The  Vagina Monologues “ , a woman tells a story of her pubic hair. She never liked trimming or shaving her hair. She liked it natural. Her husband liked her to shave, to be completely  clean shaven, , to remove all her pubic hair.  She disliked it as she said it made her feel like a little girl.  He discounted this . She had discovered that he had been cheating and went to couples therapy. He blamed her unwillingness to shave as a reason for his infidelity. The therapist told her to just please him , to shave– what’s the big deal. She describes going home from this therapy session, shaving her pubic hair, nicking it and seeing the blood flow. And  a few hours later, the feeling of her husband pounding into her , on top of her. The  unnatural feeling of being naked and  exposed, And she ends her story by sharing that in any case her husband never stopped cheating.

Why do you do this?  Why do you trim , shave, laser, wax,  use depilatory creams, tweezers, or electrolysis to remove your pubic hair? I get that grooming, or preening, is essential behavior to many species. From cats to birds to chimpanzees, social animals implement specific grooming behaviours to stay healthy and clean, to bond with other members of their group, or to attract a mate. Im not sure that Pubic Hair Removal(PHR) serves any evolutionary purpose.

Pubic Hair Removal (PHR) actually  is not a necessity .  There are no health benefits to it. In fact it carries health risks for women.  Pubic hair is a natural barrier to protecting the female genitalia.

Vaginas are made of mucous membrane, a type of skin that is more delicate than that on the rest of your body. Your pubic hair is  there to cushion and protect your vagina from penis’s,  other vaginas, sex toys, bacteria, viruses.  Pubic hair helps ensure that your vaginal folds don’t stick together, which can result in rash and infection. It also protects your vagina from friction during sexual activity. The hair  acts as a natural barrier, preventing potentially harmful bacteria from entering your vagina.

Pubic hair offers additional protection from STDs spread through skin-to-skin contact.

Every time you shave and wax, you create microscopic tears in your skin, through which viruses can enter. Keeping your pubic hair  makes it less likely that you will  contract “genital herpes, human papillomavirus (HPV), HIV (which isn’t transmitted skin-to-skin, but can be transmitted through microscopic skin tears), and molluscum contagiosum, a skin virus thought to be increasingly prevalent specifically because of the bikini waxing trend.

And men are doing it too. It’s a thing. It’s a trend. Apparently it is said to be primitive and unheard of for men to have pubic hair. Something about “Manscaping”.

A  Men’s Health survey shows that 62% of men trim or shave their pubic region .In 2018,   A survey was done on 2000 people  at Chicago’s Advanced Dermatology. They asked how and why people of all genders arrange their body hair (from their armpits to their pubic region)

For women, legs, eyebrows, the groin area, and underarms top the list—95%, 77%, 68%, and 67% of women remove their body hair from these areas respectively. For men, the numbers were a little different. Ears (91%), back (76%), nose (73%), and chest (71%) were the topmost groomed for dudes. And 32% of men reported grooming their pubic area.

Let’s talk about why you do this grooming practice, a practice that takes your time and money, and puts women at risk of infections, rashes, itchiness and discomfort?

Do you do it to enhance your  own bedroom confidence? Please a partner? For your own feelings of personal hygiene  ? The paradox is that  more women now believe they are not “clean” unless they are shaven, while actually they are more likely to develop hygiene issues.

A study was conducted in Europe The researchers recruited 2,687 men and 1,735 men to take part in an online survey. The participants lived in Flanders, Belgium, and ranged in age from 15 to mid-sixties .Middle-aged and older men were more likely to remove pubic hair, as were bisexual men. The practice was also more frequent among married men and men who had several sexual partners.Women of all sexual orientations, relationship statuses, and sexual activity statuses were more likely to engage in PHR than men.

It appeared that their decisions about PHR was based on social norms: About a third of the men said they didn’t remove pubic hair because they felt the practice was “more appropriate for women.” About two-thirds of the women said they felt more feminine when they removed pubic hair.

Social norms appeared to play a role in partner expectations as well. More men expected female partners to remove pubic hair, while more women expected male partners not to do so. Thirty-six percent of the men and 62% of the women said their partner preferred that they remove their pubic hair.

For men, a partner’s PHR habits and their adherence to men’s expectations played a role in sexual and relationship satisfaction. However, sexual and relationship satisfaction for women was associated with adherence to both partner’s PHR expectations.

Sexuality was an important reason for removing PHR. About 39% of the men and 75% of the women said they felt more comfortable receiving oral sex after PHR.

The numbers say it all:   our romantic partners and friends have the biggest effects on our grooming behavior (accounting for about 84% of respondents’ body hair choices). External influences are also at play: 26% of respondents reported that fashion influences their grooming, 18% said the media does, 15% are influenced by celebrities, and 14% are influenced by pornography.

This same  survey says that men are 88% more likely than women to groom their body hair based on what they see in porn and 38% more likely to be influenced by a romantic partner. Women, on the other hand, are 61% more likely than men to be influenced by their siblings’ grooming habits. 21.1 percent of the respondents said they do so because of the pubic hair styles their partner prefers.

Can pubic grooming habits be a deal breaker for you ?  Do you prefer it trimmed, natural, or totally hairless? What is a turn off for you?

It disturbs me that pubic hair has become yet another part of women’s bodies that gets scrutinized. Women have enough to contend with in learning to accept their own genital shape , tastes,  smells and changing textures. Many feel “dirty” and use “feminine hygiene” products and vaginal douches to overcome their natural body discharges. PHR should not be an added burden to a woman .

So when a partner issues an ultimatum as in “I won’t go down on you until you do some form of PHR” ,Or says: “You’re the only woman I’ve ever been with who didn’t wax,” she looses more of her  body confidence and sexual pride.

It should go without saying, but if your partner is in any way demanding or demeaning about your pubic hair, you shouldn’t let them bully you into making a change. And you should consider dumping their ass to the curb.

Woman must do whatever they want with their bodies Removing pubic hair can be an act of infantilizing women, or stripping away her sexuality.  And a lot of women remove their pubic hair because they think it’s “gross,” “unsightly,” or “unacceptable” to keep their pubic hair as is.

In Summary, it’s about #MyBodyMyChoice. A woman has a right to choose, to make her own decisions about PHR. Be aware of the health risks, and follow safe hair removal practices.

For men who are manscaping. Follow safe hair removal practices. And understand that the presence or absence of hair maketh not a man . Respect, kindness, consent towards women and their hair maketh a man . That is healthy masculinity.

PS. Full bush is coming back #justsaying:)

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