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Q: Should I Shave Down There?
I’m a newbie lesbian who’s just entered into my first real relationship with another woman. I generally stay pretty hairy. I don’t shave my legs or armpits and usually just give my bush a trim every once in a while. I’m never hairless because I find it less comfortable, but I’m now considering shaving because I am super femme and have a femme girlfriend (who I’m not sexual with yet). What’s the norm and does having hair down there make sex difficult?
Well, reader, let me address your letter in a few separate parts. There are a few distinct answers in regards to what I have to tell you.
First: The idea that hairiness is not feminine is purely cultural. Society tells us to equate smooth, hairless skin with femininity – but that’s not a universal thing. I strongly feel that society should not dictate what you do with your own body, and yes, this includes your body hair.
Second: Your body hair actually serves a purpose, believe it or not, and this is especially true for pubic hair. There are pros and cons to shaving, as well as not shaving. I feel that I should address these things separately, so that you can make your own decision.
Third: There is no “normal”. There is only “common” – and what is common will depend on a huge variety of factors. Your culture, your age, and your relationship status will each play a small part in it, but you shouldn’t lean so heavily on what works for everyone else – focus on you.
Fourth: Pubic hair doesn’t make sex “difficult”, but it is a different experience. My current partner’s body hair situation is pretty similar to yours, although she does not identify as femme. But, like I said in my first point, the idea that body hair is inherently masculine is not really based in any facts. She’s the only woman I’ve ever been with who doesn’t shave anything, and while it took a little while for me to get used to, it’s one of my longest (and most sexual) romantic relationships.
Now, onto the specifics of whether you should shave or not. I would like to reiterate that it is a personal decision whether you shave or not, and anyone who is genuinely interested in you won’t really care one way or the other. I had an ex who used to get embarrassed when I said “I’ll take it however I can get it” when the subject of shaving came up. Truthfully, though, there’s still a vagina under there either way – and every vagina is already different by design, whether you choose to shave or not.
The Advantages of Shaving:
- You can put designs in it. Some “adult stores” even sell little stencils you can use to shave a heart, a star, or a “racing stripe” as one of my exes so affectionately referred to hers. It doesn’t make much of a difference in the sexual experience whether you choose a design or you just shave it all off.
- It’s sensitive down there after you shave. Like, really This can be a good thing, especially if your girlfriend is skilled at teasing. (Trust me on this one.)
- Pubic hair can hold onto odors – and a shaved vagina may smell better than an unshaved one. You can get around this by paying close attention to your washing habits and using a pH balanced soap that is intended specifically for “intimate” areas. Generally speaking, if you’re washing properly (and eating a fair amount of fruits), your vagina is going to smell fine.
- If your girlfriend has a tongue ring, hair from an unshaved vagina will get wrapped around it during oral sex. Apparently, most of the time this doesn’t hurt, but there is a chance that the stuck hair will get yanked out by the jewelry. If you shave, there’s no hair to get stuck.
- Choking on a pubic hair isn’t fun. During oral sex with an unshaved partner, the hair can stick to the back of your throat if you get a little too “enthusiastic”, and you’ll feel like you have to cough up a hair ball. Because you do. (You get used to it, though, and after a while it’s actually something you can crack jokes about.)
- Some women are incredibly aroused by the sight (and feel) of a shaved vagina. Your girlfriend might be one of them. But of course, this shouldn’t be the primary reason you decide to shave – although it can be used as a tie breaker.
The Advantages of Not Shaving:
- If you shave it, you’re going to have to keep shaving it, or it will be uncomfortable. This is true for pretty much any part of your body. (Although, unlike the myth, the hair will not grow back thicker and darker. It only seems thicker because the end of the hair is flat, rather than tapered like “virgin” hairs.)
- While it’s really smooth and sensitive for probably the first day after you shave, for the next two to three days after that first day, it’s going to be really itchy, and you might be tempted to scratch until you bleed. (From personal experience, don’t do this – it’s a pain like none other. That skin is really sensitive, after all.)
- Your pubic hair is there to keep your vagina “clean”. It helps to prevent some infections, and it can keep it relatively warm. When you shave it, you not only remove the “cushion” between your clothing and your vagina (hint: tight underwear can cause yeast infections), but you also run the risk of ingrown hairs – which, for some people, can lead to painful cysts (caused by a staphylococcus infection). If you happen to get these cysts, they can get to the point you’ll need to go to the emergency room to have them cut open and drained – which is not fun. (I’ve got a two-inch scar on my inner thigh from one such cyst.)
- Shaving takes time, and is a learning process. My girlfriend has told me that she doesn’t shave because she can’t be bothered. Honestly, as long as you’re washing and trimming, it doesn’t make a difference with the sexual experience. Shaving your pubic hair will add an estimated 5-10 minutes to your shower time, every time you decide to shave.
- When you shave, you are likely to miss spots. If you don’t shave, this won’t be a problem.
- Some women associate a hairless vagina with pedophilia. You could get around this by leaving a patch. Or, you can just decide that you don’t care if it looks like a child’s pubic area – your partner knows you’re not a child, after all.
As you can see, there are a multitude of reasons why you should or shouldn’t – so it all comes down to your personal preferences. There’s not really anything set in stone, whatever you decide, so you’re always free to change your mind and give the other option a shot. Just keep in mind the pros and cons, and make your choice based on what’s comfortable for you. More important than how other people feel about it is your own “bush confidence”. You’re the only one who actually has to be happy with your decision.