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

By carolyncastiglia |

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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About carolyncastiglia

carolyncastiglia

carolyncastiglia

Carolyn Castiglia is a New York-based comedian/writer wowing audiences with her stand-up and freestyle rap. She’s appeared in TONY, The NY Post, The Idiot’s Guide to Jokes and Life & Style. You can find Carolyn’s writing elsewhere online at MarieClaire.com and The Huffington Post. Read bio and latest posts → Read Carolyn's latest posts →

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

  1. Jen says:

    I shaved my girl once… ONCE. The growing-in experience that followed was so heinous that I refuse to ever do it again. She looks weird bald, anyway.

  2. Jennifer Myszkowski says:

    Let the cavalcade of too much information begin!

    I’m 100% pro-trimming pubes. I had a pretty silly accident with scissors in my mid-20s and then bought my first beard trimmer. It’s the way to go. Quick and easy. I shaved my lady business precisely once because my sister told me I should and it was a GRAVE error. That said, I do shave my ass crack every couple months because I’m grossed out by my hairy manliness and am concerned about related hygiene issues (i.e., hair traps smells, I’m a hairy beast and I don’t want to be a smelly fat lady). I shave my legs about four times a year. I shave my pits twice a week on average. When I met him, my husband was shocked to learn I shaved anything ever, and I think he’d prefer it if I didn’t.

  3. carolyncastiglia says:

    Oh Jen M, you and your husband are the best.

  4. Jennifer Myszkowski says:

    I kind of agree. :)

  5. Grant says:

    As a guy that enjoys and is pretty good at a certain act in that area… Let em grow! There is nothing worse than trying to explain why you have a raspberry on the end of your nose.

  6. Jen Fama says:

    whenever I have the money or before a vacation I call the salon and get a brazilian bikini and full leg wax combo. It costs too much money and is CRAZY painful but I don’t care. It feels nice and smoothe and awesome. And I’m lazy and hate having to deal with the maintenance myself. I wish I had the money to do it all the time.

  7. Lindsay Q. says:

    I think that it should be a personal preference. Most of my friends who shave or trim theirs do it for comfort reasons. (One friend says being hair-less makes her period a lot easier to deal with.) I think that as long as MEN realize it’s a personal preference and not a HYGIENE issue, then it should be “to each her own”. Personally, I just trim the top and sides a little bit to keep stuff from popping out the sides of my underwear and bathing suit. If I really wanna get fancy, I’ll get nail scissors and trim the hair down, but that’s rare. I’m probably just a huge jerk, but the men who INSIST that women be hairless down there are weird. The only people who are always hairless down there are porn stars and little girls; if a partner wants me to look like a porn star or a little girl, then I want nothing to do with him.

  8. Jacquetta Szathmari says:

    I think it’s nice for a change of pace and definitely in the summer with the heat and perspiration and what not it can be refreshing to have less going on in my Australia. Same goes for the monthly action. But I have never felt the pressure to make the area look a certain way. If you don’t like it, stay out of it. Hold up. Wait a minute. Did you say young people? Maybe it’s different now with waxing being so available. Back in the 90s waxing was not as popular and I don’ think you could have convinced me to take a razor to my girl. H to the no. In re: hair as decor as long as I don’t see any lacefronts, perms, or S-curls heading down south I’m okay with most of the vj trends. Those too shall pass.

  9. DeathMetalMommy says:

    From what I’ve read, there actually isn’t much purpose for pubic hair anymore. Way back when humans began, pubic hair was there for the exact reasons that you stipulated, to keep out germs and infections and the like. Well, we have things called clothes now that pretty much takes care of that on its own. So while there may be little biological necessity for it now, it’s still a personal style choice. I don’t think there was ever a biological necessity for a bleached anus, however.

    http://www.deathmetalmommy.blogspot.com

  10. LogicalMama says:

    How else are you going to gather lather on your soap?!

  11. icon package says:

    Excuse, I have thought and have remoevd this phrase

    hpixel

  12. Michigander says:

    As a man, I take offense to anyone who even mentions “little girl” in a discussion about pubic hair styles. Yes, I understand that most women probably think that the first time a man asks them to shave, but self-consciousness and reality are, more often than not, completely different. . I asked my woman to be completely shaven down there and she asked me to grow out my beard, fair trade right? She doesn’t care how I keep mine, but personally I also wax myself down there; which is very painful to do, but no torturous itching in the following days. I think it’s disgusting for it to grow wild on a man or woman, at least take the beard trimmer to it. Soft and clean is much more sexy and appealing to me than a ‘cousin it’ mystery. To each there own, I respect peoples’ personal preferences one way or the other. Here’s a final thought to consider, if you’re partner prefers it one way or the other, wouldn’t you want to be more appealing to them? Compromise.

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