In recent years the message about pubic hair has been abundantly clear: whatever you do, get rid of it. Yank it, burn it, wax it, sugar it, laser it, sacrifice it on an altar, whatever. It’s unhygienic and must go.
Usually, that rant is concluded by a product you need to use to get rid of that unsightly hair.
But here’s the thing: whether you choose to fluff it out or rock a Brazilian, what you do with your body hair comes down to your own personal preference.
There’s no right or wrong way to wear the hair that comes naturally from your body.
Each individual — you included — is created as a uniquely whole being from birth. So any form of body maintenance or modification is at your sole discretion.
The choices made in how you choose to present need only feel good to you. No explanation is necessary.
Most pubic hair removal ultimately comes down to personal preference. Some people love the ”neat workspace” shaving offers.
Trimmed pubic hair has become more common as oral sex becomes more popular. People tend to their gardens more frequently during periods of high sexual activity.
Hair can trap sweat and bacteria, which creates odors. This can be a hassle depending on the amount of body hair.
There are internal and external factors that could cause the body to produce excess body hair. Genetics, autoimmune conditions, and even prescription medication side effects can cause hair to grow more rapidly.
In these cases, shaving could improve a person’s quality of life — but this is still up to the discretion of the individual.
Partner preference, myths surrounding hygiene, and personal choice are still the most common reasons people shave their pubic hair.
There are plenty of ways to care for your pubic hair. Shaving is a relatively inexpensive hair removal option with low overhead and storage. All that’s needed is a razor and a good lather.
There are chemicals you can purchase (like Nair) that will essentially dissolve unwanted body hair making it easy to wipe away.
Waxing is another option that can actually affect hair growth over time with regular sessions. This is perfect for those who have their pubic hair removed regularly.
Regular hair removal also removes dead skin cells and bacteria that could clog your pores and cause pimples and blackheads. Regular exfoliation helps keep the skin healthy and happy.
If you choose to remove your pubic hair, doing it correctly is far more important than whether you should shave or not.
Razors can irritate and cut the skin while shaving. This can allow the bacteria present on the surface of the skin direct access to the bloodstream.
Chemicals are only safe for the exterior genitals and can cause burns when applied to sensitive areas. They can also cause skin irritation if left on for too long.
Wax is heated before application and could cause burns to the skin if applied at the incorrect temperature. It also has to be ripped off just right to get all of the hair.
The skin surrounding the genitals is fragile. Speak with a professional in the hair removal field if the process makes you anxious. A qualified technician can help you determine the best course of action for your needs. Follow their directions carefully to ensure a safe experience.
Hair removal can be traced back to the earliest Egyptian and Indian civilizations, with some of the first copper razors dating back to 3000 BCE. The disdain for body hair is fueled by the same motives back then as it is now: Class.
Ancient Egyptians considered body hair uncivilized and a mark of lower class status. Early civilizations also believed lice and parasites traveled in body hair, which contributed to the removal of all body hair. The smoother and more hairless the skin, the more modern and perfect that person appeared.
As time progressed, men didn’t completely escape this class war. The beard became the symbol of the blue-collar working man, and the modern man who shaved daily became the baby-faced CEO of the future.
Body hair doesn’t dictate a person’s capabilities in either of those societal roles, but it’s profitable for consumers to believe the hype that conventional beauty plays in success for the machine to thrive.
Entire industries — hair care, makeup, diet culture, and more — line up to reap the benefits of the insecurities they help sow. Controlling conventional beauty is big business and big business doesn’t always center the needs of the community it’s attempting to serve.
Some people choose to let their natural selves be. Since pubic hair removal usually isn’t medically necessary, there’s no reason it has to be removed.
Some simply prefer the natural look. The texture of pubic hair can be unique and the patterns can vary in different places.
Plus, hair removal can sometimes cause folliculitis, cellulitis, ingrown hairs, and other skin irritations. For people who are sensitive to these conditions, the trouble of hair removal may not be worth the reward.
Constant hair removal can also be expensive. The more you do to fight the hair, the more it typically costs.
Permanent hair removal, for example, can cost thousands of dollars. That’s a lot for the luxury of never having to care for your pubes again!
Pubic hair has received a bad wrap over the years, but it actually has a purpose. Hair is considered a natural lubricant since it helps reduce the friction skin-to-skin contact (like during sexual activity) could cause.
Pubic hair also protects those sensitive areas from outside bacteria and overheating. Hair traps sweat and wicks it away from the body. The genitals are already a breeding ground for their own host of bacteria.
Pubic hair balances the body by keeping everything down there cool and dry. This keeps the bacteria already present happy, and any new bacteria out.
Hair also straps sweat and pheromones emitted from the body. Notice how it’s usually the hairy parts of the body that make your nose do that natural body odor double take?
Your scalp, armpits, and groin all contain apocrine sweat glands that emit the BO that body hair collects. These glands are concentrated in the hair follicles and help emit your distinct body odor when mixed with your body’s unique bacteria.
The odor this mixture produces is a natural advertisement that’s broadcast to potential partners. Those pheromones unknowingly speak to another person’s pheromones and tell that person that your smell is compatible.
If you’ve ever liked a partner’s musty armpits or their after-gym smell, you were likely attracted to the pheromones their apocrine glands were emitting.
Is there anything you can do to help keep your pubic hair and pelvic area healthy?
Once more for the people in the back: Having pubic hair isn’t unsanitary. Regular washing and occasional exfoliation are all you need to keep your happy place, well, happy.
Washing your genitals frequently with water and allowing them to dry properly will keep your pelvic area clean and ready, no matter the length of hair.
Whether you opt for regular maintenance or the occasional trim with tapered sides is entirely up to you. There’s nothing wrong with hair “down there” if that’s what you prefer.
Don’t feel pressured to keep up with societal norms. Do what feels good to you (and your wallet!).
Catasha Gordon is a sexuality educator from Spencer, Oklahoma. She’s the owner and founder of Expression Over Repression, a company built around sexual expression and knowledge. You can typically find her creating sex education materials or building some kinky hardware in a fresh set of coffin nails. She enjoys catfish (tail on), gardening, eating off her husband’s plate, and Beyoncé. Follow her everywhere.