The Great Public Pubic Debate

There’s hardly a porn or erotic photo or video that gets posted on the ’Net of a woman that isn’t completely free of pubic hair. Sure, there are a few women that keep their bush very neatly trimmed or sport a decorative strip of hair. Going totally natural is almost unseen these days.

Lately, there’s been a big debate over the “pressure” for women to go bald … and it’s getting louder.

Personally, I don’t feel pressured. I completely shave from time to time, but my pubic hair is so coarse that I get a 5 o’clock shadow (and the stubble) by 9:05 a.m., so I keep the hair on my lips trimmed neat and short and completely shave the rest.  As much as I love the velvety softness of my labia right after I shave, I’m really self-conscious about my partner’s soft lips brushing up against the Brillo pad of my lower lips. On the other hand, I don’t want him getting a mouthful of hair … or having it poking out of my bathing suit or a pair of pretty panties.

Waxing? No thanks. I’m not a masochist, and I really don’t like the idea of a salon pro handling my lady parts.

Laser hair removal? I just don’t have that kind of cash.

Sorry if that’s a really drawn-out way of explaining my personal preference. There are just so many reasons behind it.

But that’s what it is — a preference – and one that belongs to each individual woman.

What I find most odd is that the pressure to go totally bare often comes from men, many of whom would never think of taking a razor to their family jewels or think going pubeless doesn’t look manly. My opinion: what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.  We ladies don’t like getting the short curlies stuck in our teeth any more than you. At least take out a pair of manicure scissors every once in a while if you’re going to get vociferous about a preference mandate.

While lots of women are spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, on spa and medical hair removal, I’ve been seeing more and more articles pop up about women who are letting the ‘fro below grow. Even polished beauties like Gwyneth Paltrow and Ellen DeGeneres say they favor a bush gone wild.

This big backlash really burst a few years back around a survey conducted and released by the UK pharmacy chain Medix. The survey revealed that 51% of women don’t style or groom the hair in their nether regions, 45% can no longer be bothered to keep up the grooming, and 62% of them said their mate prefers the natural look.

Is it all for practical reasons? Perhaps. I know I already spend more time than I’d like every morning just on styling my hair and putting on makeup in addition to my shower and hygiene routine. Some of it is from feminine backlash that comes from the likes of Caitlin Moran and her book, How To Be A Woman. She claims that a lot of the pressure to shave down there comes from a society that watches too much porn.

I’ve also been hearing a lot of pro-pube advocacy from the medical community which says that pubic hair provides a cushion against friction and abrasions from a partner’s pubic hair. There are theories that suggest that pubic hair exists to keep genitals warm and to trap and release pheromones, those sexy scents that attract lovers and  heighten arousal. Plus, doctors and nurses say that pubic hair removal makes the skin susceptible to rashes, irritation and infections, especially antibiotic-resistant strep and staph infections and STIs. A warm, moist environment and sexual contact are breeding grounds for bacteria that make their way into cuts and open pores.

Perhaps the next sexual fashion trend is to go commando?

My take on the great pube debate is that we’re in a transitional waxing and waning period of what we consider to be sexually attractive. It’s been depicted in art and documented in history throughout the ages. Female pubic hair was depicted as painted triangles in Egyptian art. In medieval and classical European art, pubic hair was rarely shown. It’s been reported that European prostitutes shaved the cooch as proof that they weren’t harboring a crab farm or other questionable diseases and infections.  Francisco Goya’s La maja desnuda (The Naked Maja) painted sometime between 1797 and 1800 is  the European painting to show female pubic hair.

Cultures and religions have had their say in pubic standards. Pubic hair in the Middle East and Eastern Europe has been considered unclean for centuries. The Islamic prophet Mohammed is reported to have said that removing body hair is an act of fitrah, to be in a pure state. (The same goes for Islamic beliefs to practice circumcision.)

I remember my mother’s awkwardness when she gave me a can of Barbasol and my first Daisy razor when I hit puberty in the mid-70’s. She told me that I should shave my legs and armpits but didn’t show me how. She only told me that it was something that proper well-groomed ladies ladies did.

Of course my mother never mentioned anything about pubes. That dark growth sprouting between my legs absolutely horrified me. I couldn’t ask my her about it. She was already shamefully embarrassed to tell me that I had to shave my pits and legs.  I had no idea of what was “normal” for years.  Porn and erotic art just weren’t accessible and available in my world. It wasn’t until 1981 when a guy I was dating tried (and failed) to get it on with me by showing me my first stag film. In a herky jerky circa 1967 8 mm black and white short of a lame boss and secretary role play, I saw that the woman in the film had a thick dark bush much like mine. I felt relieved.

In the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s the proliferation of porn on VHS tapes accelerated the demand for newer and edgier. Landing strips and shaved pussies were among first trends.  As porn became more accessible online in the past decade, young women and teens wanted to rock the porn star look. In doing my research for this post, I came across a message board in which teens were asking at which age they started shaving their pubes. Some of them said it was as early as 12.

Ask any woman over 45 these days whether they go hair or bare. The numbers are in favor of keeping the hair. Is it because it’s harder to teach an older doggie a new style or does age bring wisdom?

Regardless of whether you go sans hair or full blow bush (and everything in between) your pubic hair style should be your choice.

Love your vulva and Mound of Venus! <3


Featured Image by Image by Mario Battaglia from Pixabay

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Bobby Morgan was a prolific and dedicated sex blogger, sexuality advocate and beditor-in-chief at A Good Woman's Dirty Mind (2012-2015), as well as creator of #AdultSexEdMonth (2013-2015). She was well loved and know by the sex-positive educator's community. She died suddenlt in 2015 at the age of 52, leaving a large body of work behind her. Before she died, she made me an Admin of her FB page, and gave me permission to syndicate her articles. So much of her writing still resonates today, so I am making her work available via Sexpert to share with a larger audience. "[My blog] was built on the inspiration of the love affair of a lifetime between me and my lover, Parrot... If only we could teach, bottle, sell or share our secrets of our great sex, romance and relationship, more people would be happier and more fulfilled. Like the way Parrot and I talk with each other, A Good Woman’s Dirty Mind is open, frank, and nakedly explicit in the way it talks about sex and relationships... In short, A Good Woman’s Dirty Mind is all about real sex — and really great sex at that — for real people." Website:


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