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Waxing Poetic: Doc Says Leave Your Bikini Line Alone, And I Agree. You?

waxing, shaving, pubic hair, sexual health

Are you aware of the implications of being bare ... down there?

You know how every once in a while you come across an article that validates a position you’ve always held that might not be so popular, and you get to relish that smug feeling of righteousness? That’s what happened to me when I read this article on The Huffington Post about ending the war on public hair. I’m a pacifist – the only way you could think what’s going on in my pants resembles a war zone is if you fought in the jungles of Vietnam. (Yes, my pubes are hot, green and lush. You could get lost in them for days.)

The issue with pubic hair isn’t one of style, despite the fact that as my fellow Strollerderby blogger Joslyn Gray pointed out on her site stark. raving. mad. mommy., there are bona fide pubic hair trends. (Feathery merkins, anyone? Please God, no.) You see, our pubic hair isn’t just a vaginal decoration we should do with as we please – it’s actually there to protect our health.

Dr. Emily Gibson says “pubic hair removal is increasing the risk of infection and sexually transmitted diseases among young people,” according to HuffPo, and she believes pubic hair “should stay right where it belongs.” More specifically, Gibson notes on Kevin MD:

Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds.  Rather than suffering a comparison to a bristle brush, frequent hair removal is necessary to stay smooth, causing regular irritation of the shaved or waxed area. When that irritation is combined with the warm moist environment of the genitals, it becomes a happy culture media for some of the nastiest of bacterial pathogens, namely group A streptococcus, staphylococcus aureus and its recently mutated cousin methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA). There is an increase in staph boils and abscesses, necessitating incisions to drain the infection, resulting in scarring that can be significant. It is not at all unusual to find pustules and other hair follicle inflammation papules on shaved genitals.

The only happy culture media I want to be involved with is YouTube. Not strep on YouPubes. Heh.

It’s important to note that shaving or waxing your pubes also makes it easier for you to get herpes, which is way worse than a scar from an ingrown hair. Gibson writes, “Pubic hair does have a purpose, providing cushion against friction that can cause skin abrasion and injury, protection from bacteria and other unwanted pathogens, and is the visible result of long awaited adolescent hormones, certainly nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.”

This is a particularly important topic, I think, because so many women feel so much pressure to be perfectly hairless creatures from their nose to their toes. I’ve been told over the years by a few women and even one man that I should shave my forearms because the hair I have there is too thick. Too thick by whose standards? And also, the reason the hair on my arms is thicker than it might have been – or so I’ve been told – is because a childhood friend convinced me to shave my arms when I was, oh, about 10, I guess? And we all know, once you start shaving, you can’t stop. There are women who do shave their forearms as a part of their beauty regime, but I’m just not into it. Christ, if you’re staring at my forearms, you must think what’s coming out of my mouth is boring as shit, which means we have nothing in common, which means I have no need to consider your opinion. And besides, why would you look at the hair on my forearms when it’s much more fun to examine the hair on my upper lip, which is always in various states of growth, even as I try to tame it. You could also marvel at the hair on my toes peeking out from my sandals, or – if you’re lucky, mister! – that one random hair that sometimes makes its way out of my right nipple. She’s a beauty. But I try to get rid of her when I notice she’s come back to visit. It’s like, there’s nothing new here on my boobs but you, dude! Then there are the three little guys who like to poke out of my chin (Larry, Curly and Moe), and the ones growing in my armpits right now. Not to mention the ones I have never ever ever ever ever waxed off my lovely lady parts.

I’m not saying I’m thrilled that God made me as a Black Forest brunette or that I’m totally against hair removal; I shave my legs when I have time in the winter and as often as I can in the summer. I Nair my moustache every two weeks or so and I shave my pits almost every day. But shaving does sting, the chemicals do burn, and I just don’t see a reason to subject the tenderest part of my body to that kind of treatment. Especially since I’ve never received any real complaints about not doing it. In fact, in my post-divorce sexplorations I have been told on more than one occasion that it was a relief and a pleasure to see pubic hair on a woman. But I know not everyone is so stoked about a bushy kitty. One partner insinuated that oral would be easier if his tongue had only to contend with a landing strip, but that seems like a bogus argument to me. How does some side triangle affect what’s going on in the middle? As long as you trim, you’re fine. Removal is an aesthetic choice, not a practical one. Or, as my friend Desiree once put it, “If he’s not willing to put forth the energy to deal with pubes, he’s not gonna be any good at gettin’ in there anyway.”

People do have their preferences when it comes to hair: the same dude who wanted landing strip pubes also told me I should shave where the sun don’t shine. Because he was great in bed, I did it once, but I was terrified the entire time that I was going to cut my precious butt. I’ve heard stories about girls who get Brazilians getting their bungholios waxed, and I just can’t imagine how that must feel. First buttholes went hairless, then people started bleaching them … what’s next? Buttjazzling? I hope not. Then again, dogs are doin’ it! Us bitches can’t be far behind. Hey-oh! Rim … shot.

So, tell me in the comments below: Do you wax or shave your pubes, ladies? If so, a little or a lot? Does learning about the health risks associated with the practice make you reconsider? If you’re a dude, do you have a strong opinion about what women’s pubes should look like? Do you trim or wax your manhood? And, a big one: how will you teach your children to handle their hair?

Photo via iStock

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