shaved

The Bare Truth: Why I Don’t Have Pubic Hair

When my life overwhelms me – which, as an introverted entrepreneur and mother, is often – I try to escape to the one place that I know no one will speak to me, The Korean Day Spa. I spend the entire day there, soaking, steaming, sweating, and watching the glorious variety of women move through this sacred space as the holy bodies that they are. Everyone is naked, as mandated by the spa itself. They come in all shapes, sizes, colors, styles, and when surrounded by them I truly feel as if I am part of something, some magic thing that needs no words or creed. The mere fact of our nipples and wrinkles and bulges, and the fact that we all look ridiculously bad in the little shower caps the spa makes us wear, is enough to refill my soul. If I were the platitude sort, some part of me would probably start singing, “I am woman, hear me roar,” but the rest of me would be all like “shut up, bitch,” and I would return to the silence that I so crave.

The silence is the point. Specifically, the silent people watching. There is one woman that I can’t take my eyes off of, though as manners dictate, I try – not least because eye-contact might look like an invitation to speak, and I do not want to speak to anyone. She is so old that any trace of race has all but disappeared, though she appears faded in a way that implies something other than Irish. Her thick, white hair is just shy of unruly and the wrinkles around her eyes create a deep dark well that you can’t help but peer into in the hopes of discovering a private truth. If I am well past “a certain age,” this woman is ancient.  And she is mind-bogglingly beautiful. I envy her far more than I do the handful of young women whose tits still point upwards, as if to remind them “the sky’s the limit.” (Mine, on the other hand, point down now, as if to remind me, “that’s where the babies came out.”)

I am in the hot tub, alone with the ancient woman. We make eye contact. I avoid the urge to run. She speaks. I avoid the urge to shut down completely, and instead I say “of course,” sweetly, when she asks if she can ask me a question.

“Why do women remove their pubic hair?”

This is such a loaded question these days. And admittedly, as a woman in my 40′s, I am older than most of the people who seemed to have embraced the Brazilian. In recent months, prominent sex-scholars have gone so far as to say that removing all of your pubic hair promotes pedophilia, infantilizes women and that the men who prefer it do so because they either like little girls or want women to be powerless.  Such talk – and it is rampant – infuriates me. Besides being completely wrong, it assumes that women are somehow powerless to make these choices for themselves.

I don’t know what to say to her. So I just tell her the simple truth.  “I do it because I want to.”

“Oh, dear, I assumed that, but I am wondering why you want to.” There is not a hint of judgment in her voice.

I will not have to explain to her that pedophilia is a serious mental disorder, an actual pathology, not something that can be caught when the winds of social trends blow across you, like a cold. I don’t think I have to explain to her that a woman can do whatever she wants with her body. My decision to remove the pubic hair on my body is not a statement that pubic hair is wrong, bad, dirty or gross in general, just that I don’t like it. Which has no deeper meaning, or impact on anyone else. If you like pubic hair, you should have it and celebrate it. If you don’t, get rid of it. It’s as simple as that.

Still trying to keep it simple, I say, “it feels better to me.” And with the innocence that belongs only to the young and the elderly, she asks “what feels better?”

“Sex. Sex feels better to me when I have no pubic hair.” She smiles. I imagine that she is running through years of memory-movies, of great sex she had when she was younger.

She asked how and why. I told her. I started, as I always do, with a simple analogy. Imagine someone kissing you on the top of your head. Now imagine them kissing you on your lips. Which one feels better?  She smiled. I believe she really was imagining it. She utters a confirming “oh, yes.”

That is most of why I do it. Your vulva has a bajillion nerve endings, right there, under the hair. And they feel really good when touched. (Or breathed on, or licked, or spanked or…..) As we have learned more about genital anatomy, we have learned that the clitoris is not just a little button, but rather a sort of butterfly shaped collection of nerves spreading out from what is like a little penis, shaft and all. That button is just the tip of the ice berg. I am greedy, I want to feel as much as I can feel. I want to feel not just the pressure, but the tingling of breath, the subtle evaporation as kisses dry. I want to feel it all. Hair just gets in the way, in my book.

There is, for me, an aesthetic component too. I never liked the hair. I was sad when it grew in, but I never knew I could shave it. It just wasn’t done, then. Just a few years ago, when my daughter and I were doing the mother-daughter sex-ed class sponsored by the local Children’s Hospital, the instructor cheerfully told girls that they could shave their legs and the hair that comes out from your bathing suit, but that “you don’t” shave any more than that.  My daughter looked at me and raised an eyebrow as if to say, “are you going to correct her?” I did.

I was well into my 30′s before I shaved off all of my pubic hair. I did it as a surprise for my then-husband, who had asked me to several times, but I kept thinking it was “wrong” somehow. But when I did, it became the best gift I ever gave myself. It was the first time in my adult life that I actually saw all of my vulva, my clitoris, every fleshy fold. I loved how it looked. I loved how connected I felt to my own body. And oh sweet mother-of-all-that-tingles, I loved how it felt.   I haven’t had hair there since.

I lasered it off. Done. Gone. Aint’ coming back.

I told her all of this.  She smiled. Perhaps I’m a bit touchy, I was waiting to get lectured about how I was betraying women, or something.  But, no. She just looked at me, widened the pools of her eyes to show me even more generosity and wisdom than I had seen before, and said, “Well, I’m going to have to try that.”

I want to be her when I grow up.

16 comments

  • Eelco

    I’m surprised you’d still feel judged for shaving your pubic hair at this day and age. You must not be coming across much porn I guess, where it’s hard to find anything natural. And I’ve heard quite a few men talk about hating bushes/ preferring shaved women.

    The times that I had girlfriends that were completely shaven, I found it a put-off personally. The stubbles irritate when having sex, and I just don’t think it looks very sexy. It’s funny that preferring natural women puts me in the ‘fetish’ section of sexuality.

    Anyway, to each their own, and while I find it hard to believe that any modern woman who doesn’t live in a church or mosque would feel bad about shaving for even a single minute, I fully support the idea that everyone should do whatever the hell they want with their private parts :-)

  • Julia Roussel

    I was in my 40s when I decided to go completely bare down there! I had been shaving my bikini line since my teens and just wondered what it would feel like to take the lot off. It was a revelation!! I’ve not stopped shaving since (I’m 55 now)and I love the sensation of hairlessness (is that a word?) when I’ve just shaved.

  • Eloisa

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I truly appreciate your efforts and I will
    be waiting for your next post thanks once again.

  • Joan Price

    “I imagine that she is running through years of memory-movies, of great sex she had when she was younger.” — Ah, that’s a common stereotype, isn’t it? She must not be having great sex now?

    I go natural both because I prefer the grown-woman look and because the joy of friction is enhanced by a little cushioning. I don’t judge people who choose otherwise, though I — like the woman at the spa — am curious about what went into their decision.

    Thanks for this thoughtful post!

    Joan Price

    Author of Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex and Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty.

    • Sari Bloomfield

      Thank you for pointing that out! I read this article on another site and tracked it down here just to comment on that. I’m only 33 but I hope when I’m a senior I won’t know great sex only in my memories!

      To comment on the main point of the article; thank you for explaining in a brutally honest and detailed manner. My pubic grooming habits fall somewhere in the middle (I shave some of it, I’ve had some of it lasered off, and some of it just gets a little trim), and the trend toward completely bare has me a little befuddled (really, I’m not a senior I swear) and occasionally angry. I fully support your right to do whatever the hell you want with your hair, it’s just annoying when the only images we generally see of naked women are of those who are 90-100% devoid of pubes. It becomes the ‘norm’ and those of us who don’t prefer hairlessness are treated as abnormal even though WE’RE the ones in our natural state! It’s that collateral damage that makes me angry, not the women who choose to be bare.

  • Angie

    Great post, good topic. Your honesty is refreshing. I too, was never fond of hair growing in what seemed to be odd places for a girl(despite my ‘birds-and-the-bees’ talks and fairly comprehensive sex ed classes), but swim team as a teen and modeling in my 20′s made detailed grooming a must. This practice just so happened to set me up for sensations that were unexpectedly heightened for me, and as a bonus, for my future husband. Wah-hoo! I only hope that I can pass along such a healthy/natural/confidence-inspiring attitude toward the entire human body (male and female) and the sexuality that goes along with it to my young daughter in the coming years.

  • yellowmarigold

    In recent months, prominent sex-scholars have gone so far as to say that removing all of your pubic hair promotes pedophilia, infantilizes women and that the men who prefer it do so because they either like little girls or want women to be powerless. Such talk – and it is rampant – infuriates me. Besides being completely wrong, it assumes that women are somehow powerless to make these choices for themselves.

    Why are these sex scholars “completely wrong”? You’ve done nothing to refute their claims at all. A pre-pubescent girl does not have pubic hair. Pubic hair is a key indicator of sexual maturity in both females and males.

    You claim that a sex scholar arguing that the removal of pubic hair infantilizes women “assumes that women are somehow powerless to make these choices for themselves.” I’m sorry, but this makes no sense. How does it assume that? Pubic hair removal can infantilize women and women can still choose to do it. One does not preclude the other. Just because someone “chooses” something doesn’t refute arguments that the activity is harmful or unhealthy. If someone chooses to rob a bank, does that make it okay?

    • Alyssa Royse

      Removing pubic hair does not infantalize women any more than shaving facial hair infantalizes men. Do women like men to remove their facial hair so that they will look like little boys? Is that why men do it?

      And anyone who has changed a little girls diaper knows that the child’s vulva bears little or no resemblance to a woman’s. The hormones the bring on puberty also change the landscape. Somewhat technically speaking, the same hormones generally speaking, cause a sort of separating of the outer labia, which then exposes the clitoral shaft and is often accompanied by a dropping of the inner labia lips. In less technical terms, little girls vulva look like puffy hot dog buns with no hot dogs. Adult women have hot dogs in their buns. There are a lot of visual cues about sexual maturity, pubic hair is one of them.

      I can assure you that no man who has ever seen me naked has said, “now that looks like the body of a little girl.”

      Other cues about sexual maturity include consent. Which preclude anyone else’s right to judge the choices you make about your own body and sexuality.

  • Hairyette

    It’s good that you don’t judge people who choose not to remove their body hair – many people do. I’m in my late 30s, & my decision to be natural has always limited me to dating a tiny sliver of the population, because hairlessness is seen as a mandate by most men. It goes both ways, though – I like unshaven guys myself, but most of them are manscaping these days. I’ve been shaven (for pay, honestly) & found it far more uncomfortable than pleasurable – I’ve never had any problem enjoying sex fully with hair on my pubic mound, in my armpits, or on my legs. Stubble, on the other hand (or the residual pain from depilating sensitive skin with non-razor means) detracts my attention from fully enjoying an intimate encounter. I guess our follicles are wired very differently!

  • Steve E.

    Please….You have to go back and follow up with that old women…Did she shave??? Hmmm….I’ll always wonder.

    • Alyssa Royse

      And that’s the beauty of the Korean day spa….. Totally anonymous. I have no idea who she was and I’ll never be able to find out. For what it’s worth, I love those chance interactions in life, the ones that change us without asking to be held on to. :)

    • Alyssa Royse

      You never know if you like something until you try it. I have a “rule” that unless something really freaks me out, I’ll try it and then decide whether or not it’s for me. Especially with sex. I’ve never regretted trying new things, even though they often turn out to be things that I’ll never do again.

    • Sam

      Interesting read. As a man, I can appreciate more the attention that a woman gives her body, especially when it comes to “down there.”

      And I like your spunk, it takes a certain kind of woman to correct a sex educator and do it with poise, as I have little doubt you did :-)