Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Debate over Pubic Hair

Trends come and trends go. Take genital grooming norms, for instance. Prior to the 1990s, the standard was for women to remain bushy between their legs. Hairless lady bits were considered perverse unless they belonged to European or Brazilian women. By the start of the 2000’s, going bald below became the norm and women who didn’t follow suit were derided as being out of touch or radical. As of 2012, the trend is switching back to favor bushy crotches and the same level of vitriolic statements has trailed along with the trend in an attempt to shame other women to follow suit.

In this post, I will present the two types of hair removal (depilation and epilation) and explore some of the arguments for and against the removal of crotch hair. Although I have no love for pubic hair unless it’s fully blond or red, and even then preferring only a patch, I strongly believe that it’s each person’s personal choice as to how they maintain their crotch.

The Types
Before presenting the arguments for and against pubic hair removal, let’s define the main types of genitalia groomers: shavers and nonshavers.

Both these approaches to hair removal have technical terms. Depilation is the act of removing hair above the surface, usually via shaving. Epilation is the act of completely eradicating the hair right down to the root, usually via electrolysis, laser, waxing, or plucking.

Let’s explore each side by stating some of the most often cited arguments against pubic hair removal and following each up with the counterargument from the pro-removal camp.

It’s Unnatural – Most Practices Aren’t Natural
Whether coming from a religious position or a philosophical position like hardline feminism, the classic argument is that it’s not natural to rid your crotch of hair.

Most things humans do aren’t natural. Cutting hair, brushing teeth, producing steel, using cosmetic products like hairspray. These were all learned and built upon as we grew beyond our natural environs as hunter-gatherers. Shaving our crotches is no different.

Celebrate What Nature Gave You – Celebrate What Nature Gave You
There are some who choose to keep themselves wild and wooly in order to celebrate the full glory of their bush, to honor what nature gave them.

Counterpoint:Then there are those who choose to remove their hair because, once the hair is gone, the treasure within is allowed to stand in full view. And for men, it really does make it look bigger.

It Fulfills Pedophilic Fantasies – People Can Tell the Difference
Some women who keep their hair and even some woman who shave but leave a patch make their choice based on a common sentiment. They don’t want to look like a little girl down there. Most of these women label (complete) hair removal as helping men fulfill fantasies of being with underage girls.

Counterpoint:Unless a woman is built like a little girl, no man is going to mistake a grown woman with a shaved cha-cha as a pre-pubescent girl. 

It Is Uncomfortable – All Hair Removal Is at First
Razor burn, nicks, and the tearing out of hair during a waxing are all some of the obvious ways that hair removal is uncomfortable. But for those who have shaved in the past, the regrowth is the worst. It itches horribly and sex is way too prickly after it starts to come in.

Counterpoint:Everyone who engages in the act of shaving anywhere on their body knows that shaving results in discomfort. After a few times, though, it’s no longer uncomfortable and many even find it more comfortable when, say, their faces or legs are shaved. Prostitutes and porn stars shave because sex is more comfortable without hair, nothing to get tugged in during penetrative acts.

Pubic Hair Serves a Biological Function – It’s the 21st Century
Since time immortal, humans have relied on the scent produced in the groin to facilitate the act of mating. The musky odor actually serves that biological purpose and the bush traps and retains the mate-attracting scent.

Counterpoint:Welcome to the future. In a society that bathes at least every other day and in which we select our scent via our personal hygiene products, we shape our scents for the most part. Plus, even though there are those who live for the scent, most prefer mostly scent and taste free crotches.  

It’s Humiliating and Degrading – That’s Antiquated and Biased
To shave your pubic hair is to remove the visible sign of your wo\manhood. Only wo\man can grow hair. The practice is all too reminiscent of BD\SM activities of the past, in which a new slave is shaved bare during her initiation. (And so on…)

Counterpoint:Long gone are the days that shaving genitalia was primarily the domain of subaltern sex culture. The sentiment that pubic hair defines our status as adults is more a reflection of the one who holds that view. After all, pubic hair grows back. It’s still there. 

The Benefits of Hair Removal
I admit it: I’m pro-hair removal. So, I’m going to present a few top benefits of keeping at least the area immediately surrounding the genitalia free of pubes:

  • No pulled hairs during penetration.
  • Condoms feel comfortable longer.
  • Easier to spot visible STIs.
  • Signals sexual desire in the same as any pre-date grooming does.
  • No hair in your “food,” i.e. during oral sex.
  • Major decline in pubic lice, aka crabs.

A Shaving Tip
One of the most oft-cited issues regarding shaving is the development of ingrown hairs. All pubic hair is curly. As curly hair grows out, it wants to curl back around and into the skin. If you start to get white pimply growths where you've shaved, you likely have ingrown hairs. (They might be herpes, as well, so be sure to note whether or not you have semi-flu like symptoms that accompany the growths. If you have no accompanying sickly symptoms, they’re ingrown hairs.)

To avoid such ingrown hairs, apply some triple-antibiotic cream or ointment, like Neosporin, on the area immediately after shaving. This also works for the faces and necks of men with curly hair who tend to get ingrown hairs in that region more often than other hair types.

In Conclusion, It’s Your Choice
Like everything else in life, there will be camps trying to draw you to their side. All too often, they will try to shame people into accepting their viewpoints as the righteous ones. What you choose to do with your body is completely your choice.

If you are shamed into something, you are a victim of bullying and should stand up for yourself. If you find yourself judging others for not sharing your views on pubic hair maintenance, remember the golden rule. We all have different tastes and make different choices, so make yours and respect others.

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