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February 10, 2013 9:25 PM   Subscribe

The rate of grooming accidents is exploding. When did we start hating pubic hair? Waxing Our Way to the Emergency Room.
posted by flapjax at midnite (111 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey I don't like when a girl needs to stop going down on me to pick hairs out of her mouth. And so I don't want to do to do the same when going down on her. Is that so bad? It goes both ways for sure.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:35 PM on February 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of an advertisement I saw in North Sydney a few years ago. Was early February, and said something to the effect of "Hey Ladies, want to give your man something special for Valentine's Day? Come in & get your landing strip prepared!"

Even I, a comfortable San Franciscan, was a bit taken aback by this.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 9:38 PM on February 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


60 to 80 percent of men? I had no idea.
posted by scose at 9:39 PM on February 10, 2013


Is that so bad?

So I had a bunch of stuff typed up and then I realized that it was kind of personal and I didn't really want to get into private details about feeling judged and ashamed and hurt and everything based on my body and my choices regarding it so all I will say is this:

Hair removal is expensive, inconvenient, and often really painful as well as being intensely personal. I'm not entirely sure I can convey how much baggage comes along with any judgement about a woman's choices in that area but no, it's not as simple as "is that so bad?"
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:44 PM on February 10, 2013 [109 favorites]


Damn. DAMN! Yes, "be careful when wielding razors or very hot wax by your genitals" is good advice, but what kind of doofus must a person be that this caution is necessary? I guess if people will get behind the wheel of a car wasted, (which is well beyond stupid), then trimming or waxing their sensitive parts when drunk is not beyond the pale. The human condition indeed......
posted by but no cigar at 9:46 PM on February 10, 2013


But if it’s all there is, if the option of something different is not even on the table, if guys don’t want to go down on their girlfriends and people are sitting in emergency rooms with embarrassing wounds, that’s a problem.

I'd also sort of like to respond to this quote from the article. For me (and I will acknowledge that I have been super happily and supportively married for a while so this stuff hasn't applied to me for a while) part of the problem is that you actually don't KNOW if "the option of something different is not even on the table" because you might get judged for conforming too! When people (often those with opinions that jibe with my own in many areas) say things like "a woman looks best when she looks natural" or "why mess with perfection" or "waxed women look like they haven't hit puberty yet" it's still really judgmental. One of the things that's terrifying about this whole morass is that you really don't know what is or isn't "acceptable" until you take your clothes off which is scary enough without adding this pressure.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 9:49 PM on February 10, 2013 [26 favorites]


What began the change between the big bushy porn stars of the 80's and the pube-aphobic present? AIDS. At least in the gay porn world. Who wouldn't want to get fucked by a big nasty daddy in the 70's? AIDS happens and suddenly no one has hair bellow the neck. We wanted pure, boy-next door looking porn stars.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:50 PM on February 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


Just re-visited the article, and the headline jumped out at me: "... When did we start hating pubic hair?" Like, you know, that's suddenly a thing.

Research much?
posted by armoir from antproof case at 9:51 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


men accounted for 43.3 percent of the injuries, and almost 30 percent of them were girls under the age of 18.

So 13% of men involved in pubic-grooming injuries are actually girls under the age of 18? This is more serious than I thought.
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:53 PM on February 10, 2013 [73 favorites]


The real pain comes when you try to vacuum up the clippings
posted by mattoxic at 9:56 PM on February 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I'm going to guess that the big aversion to pubic hair came along with the increase in popularity of oral sex.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:56 PM on February 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


ReeMonster, your two previous comments come across as really judgmental. Receiving oral sex can be a really intimate and, as such, terrifying experience and knowing that you're being judged based on things your body does naturally such as grow hair and have an odor don't really make it more pleasurable.

Similarly, I see you dismiss the actual process as simple if you are "not a fucking moron" but there are further issues such as ingrown hairs, itching (OH GOD DO NOT QUESTION ME ON THIS), and, uh, challenging contours that mean that skin can get caught even if you're being careful. Also, if you prefer waxing (as many of us do), it means you have to take time and let the hair grow out. And this is all without even going into the question of whether a woman wants to remove her pubic hair (since it's actually her hair I feel like she should have some say this matter). Again, it's not as simple as getting a razor.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:02 PM on February 10, 2013 [17 favorites]


Yeah, I'm going to guess that the big aversion to pubic hair came along with the increase in popularity of oral sex.

Yeah, remember the days when people used to just hate oral sex?

I have no jugdment to offer one way or the other on liking or disliking pubic hair--it seems to me no more inherently significant than liking or not liking facial hair--but if you find yourself unable to perform oral sex because your partner isn't shaved, oh my god are you ever doing it wrong. Here's a hint--you don't just wildly lap at everything in the general crotch area like an eager labrador. Well, unless that's your specific thing, I guess.
posted by yoink at 10:06 PM on February 10, 2013 [35 favorites]


[A couple of comments deleted; ReeMonster, cool it. This isn't your playground thread.]
posted by taz at 10:08 PM on February 10, 2013


Yeah, I'm going to guess that the big aversion to pubic hair came along with the increase in popularity of oral sex.

...stats?
posted by adamdschneider at 10:09 PM on February 10, 2013


Eh whatever. This isn't a guy girl issue. Yes, I deal with itching and it's possible for guys to have ingrown hairs too. I've had girls want to go down on me and then stop because there is too much hair. I respect their aversion to it and enjoy making myself more attractive and clean for them. All of the things you mentioned, in my PERSONAL OPINION, fall into the realm of "moderate inconveniences" (that is, ingrown hairs, itching, waxing, etc), and a loving/considerate/GGG partner who knows what their partner likes will take these things into consideration and make the best choice for both parties. It really doesn't turn into such a big issue if both people are open with each other.
posted by ReeMonster at 10:12 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


re the oral sex issue, Slate is on the case. Unfortunately the link to the lit review seems broken for me, but the article quotes the major points.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:18 PM on February 10, 2013


the big aversion to pubic hair came along with the increase in popularity of oral sex

Every generation thinks they invented sex.
posted by davebush at 10:19 PM on February 10, 2013 [40 favorites]


If a guy has "too much hair" for someone to go down on him, his problem is his dick is too short or too limp. I can state this with the strongest authority based on decades of experience spread over a majority of American states.

My suspicion is the popularity increased about the time the word "Brazilian" got to be a known thing. Once it had a 'brand', it was suddenly within the realm of 'normal'. (blame it on Madison Avenue).
posted by Goofyy at 10:20 PM on February 10, 2013 [7 favorites]


Creepy pornification of preadolescent mammalian physiology ftw.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 10:21 PM on February 10, 2013 [9 favorites]


Just wait'll they hear what P90X does to a body.
posted by The White Hat at 10:22 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Interesting/scary study. Females under 18... yikes.

Though I should've stopped reading after the third paragraph, when it became clear that reporting the study was just a jumping-off point to a MOAR PUBES AMIRITE? editorial.
posted by supercres at 10:23 PM on February 10, 2013


Booze+Scissors+Genitals = keerploop! OH GOD! there goes my smokey joe!!
posted by quazichimp at 10:28 PM on February 10, 2013


Creepy pornification of preadolescent mammalian physiology ftw

Can equating groomed pubic hair (on oneself or as a preference on partners) with pedophilia be treated as the Godwin-ing of these threads that it is?
posted by supercres at 10:28 PM on February 10, 2013 [44 favorites]


If a guy has "too much hair" for someone to go down on him, his problem is his dick is too short or too limp.

Ah, well that's an easy problem to solve in ways other than trimming his hair, then. He just needs to stop being such a loser and get to work on growing a larger dick.
posted by the jam at 10:28 PM on February 10, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hmmm....I gotta choose between 12 o'clock shadow or hair in my teeth.

I'll take the hair, thank you.

Not that I'm keeping track, mind you, but sometimes, when I think I've let myself get pushed into geezerhood a bit too fast, I see stuff like this. I am newly validated every day, eh?
posted by mule98J at 10:31 PM on February 10, 2013


Creepy pornification of preadolescent mammalian physiology ftw.

I believe that this is a semi-common misconception. I think it has a lot more to do with the contrast between men and women than the contrast between women and girls. It's an accentuation of gender differences, very much like shaving one's legs. That is not to prescribe things one way or another, but is it really necessary to come to the worst conclusions?
posted by Edgewise at 10:32 PM on February 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


From the article: Now, between 70 and nearly 90 percent of females remove part or all of their genital hair, and roughly 60 to 80 percent of men.

That's a pretty misleading stat, I think. I mean, it's a pretty big leap from a bikini line to a brazilian, and further that line is unlinked in the piece and doesn't seem to come from the study? Where did it come from, I wonder.

It's also interesting that "waxing our way to the emergency room" is the headline, when the large majority of the injuries seem to have come from razors (shudder).
posted by smoke at 10:33 PM on February 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Where do people find the time for this is what I don't understand. It's time consuming for women. And requires flexibility. And a mirror. It's not quick or easy or painless or cheap. AND I have to spend another hour or two on hair, makeup, and cooking all of my own meals and another hour working out. (Not that I do those things but I'm supposed to.) It's not nothing.
posted by bleep at 10:34 PM on February 10, 2013 [5 favorites]


Where do people find the time for this is what I don't understand.

Depends what "this" you're talking about. If you're talking about waxing, then that's generally performed once every three weeks at maximum. A simple trimming of the length and bikini line need not take very long, and doesn't need to happen every day. However, if you are going for something fairly precise like, say, a silhouette of Ferdinand II of Aragon or the coastline of Australia, that does take both time and frequent maintenance.
posted by Edgewise at 10:43 PM on February 10, 2013 [8 favorites]


However, if you are going for something fairly precise like, say, a silhouette of Ferdinand II of Aragon or the coastline of Australia, that does take both time and frequent maintenance.

At some point I considered getting the Wu Tang symbol but realized I might be sending a mixed message.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 10:50 PM on February 10, 2013 [23 favorites]


Hey I don't like when a girl needs to stop going down on me to pick hairs out of her mouth. And so I don't want to do to do the same when going down on her. Is that so bad? It goes both ways for sure.

And this is EXACTLY why no one had oral sex, ever, before the last ten years.
posted by scody at 10:55 PM on February 10, 2013 [22 favorites]


Is this the thread for pathologizing/psychoanalyzing different people's aesthetic preferences? Because if so here I am
posted by downing street memo at 11:01 PM on February 10, 2013 [10 favorites]


The sexualization of the absence of pubic hair is not a gendered phenomenon (or why would so many men be lacerating their scrotums with razors?). The identification of that particular physiological signifier of sexual maturity (however imprecise) is really not up for debate. To point this out by virtue of saying that pr0n and indeed mainstream culture have more or less systematically sexualized the absence of pubic hair should not be even minimally contentious. To call it threadshitting is high-test nonsense.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:07 PM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


"the coastline of Australia"

I see what you did there.
posted by gingerest at 11:26 PM on February 10, 2013 [2 favorites]


At some point I considered getting the Wu Tang symbol but realized I might be sending a mixed message.

OK, that actually made me laugh out loud.
posted by jaduncan at 11:27 PM on February 10, 2013


I have found that this is a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation, re: what other people think of my personal pubic choices, so I do whatever I want. Shave it, trim it, Vajazzle it with googly eyes, if you want any part of my Southern business, deal with it.

Of course, shaving is risky and waxing is painful and costs money and involves accessing unauthorized personnel, so I recommend a hedge trimmer - a hair buzzer is good for the greater swaths of property, for the more delicate areas you might want to use one of those pen wands or a... uh... nose hair trimmer. If you simply must go bare, this stuff does the job pretty well..
posted by louche mustachio at 11:28 PM on February 10, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's the wrong question. Given that we have always groomed practically every other part of ourselves, from our toenails to our eyebrows, it seems to me it was just a bit pathological that we used to think there was something wrong with trying to fix things up down there -- particularly if you were a man. Obviously it's stupid to injure yourself there (or anywhere) but that's a separate issue. Why do people take issue with trimming pubes as if it were somehow sacred, unlike facial or underarm hair or what's on your head?

Let people do the things that they feel makes them attractive or comfortable. If shaving or trimming your beard (no, the one on the face) (no, the one that actually grows on your face) is not politically incorrect or amoral or whatever, then why should trimming that other beard be? Why are people always flipping out about this sort of shit?

On preview, what louche mustachio (epony... yeah, you got it) said.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:29 PM on February 10, 2013 [15 favorites]


Why are people always flipping out about this sort of shit?

Because it is in someone else's pants where it cannot be seen so it is clearly ALL KINDS OF EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:04 AM on February 11, 2013 [13 favorites]


Creepy pornification of preadolescent mammalian physiology ftw. ... The identification of that particular physiological signifier of sexual maturity (however imprecise) is really not up for debate.

I don't think that removing body hair, especially pubic hair, is as gendered as it was even a decade ago, although most men are still allowed to keep their armpits and legs unshaven without getting shit for it.

But on the other hand, I don't think that the vast majority of men and women shaving their pubic areas are doing it to look like children, because boobs and butts are still pretty fashionable for most women (professional clotheshorses excepted) and men are encouraged to get a lot more muscular and cut than they used to be. There are not very many naturally pneumatic or buff kids out there.

If pubic hair removal ever gets associated with societal trends towards extreme breast reduction surgery, extreme penis reduction surgery, and careful use of diet, exercise and strategic wrapping of the body to get the soft, tubular look of a child, anyone arguing that pubic nakedness is an attempt to evoke childlike bodies may finally have a basis for that claim.

I don't know. Maybe western civilization is just in a phase where many people want to be REALLY REALLY NAKED (and many other people go along because they don't want to be rejected). We also like to watch. A lot of professionally shot porn for the past 10-20 years has been about carefully lit and composed close-ups of just about everything disappearing into just about everything else, and getting rid of the hair makes all those very adult parts of the body easier to see.

In addition, the increasing pressure for people to look perfect in every way, fretting about fine facial lines in their twenties and agonizing over any sign of wobble even in their teens, may contribute. If your pubic hair isn't perfect, shave it off. You may or may not feel in need of labioplasty or a scrotal ironing once you get it done, but that's another way you can perfect yourself, too.

And, of course, trimming or shaving can make sex a little more tidy and/or rather more fun for all involved (YMMV, obviously). If you can find a hair reduction or removal method that fits your budget, gets the results you want without leading to irritation or injury, and seems like a reasonable investment of your time and attention, all is well. If you find hair removal too much and you just want to comb and trim (which should take care of almost all loose hair problems), good for you. And if you want to leave everything natural, good for you, too.

I think all sorts of mentally healthy and happy people choose to shave or trim to one degree or another, and all sorts of mentally healthy and happy people choose to skip all hair removal. I just don't think there's any point in scolding people about the choices they make, whether you think they're being too freaky or too compliant.
posted by rosebuddy at 12:17 AM on February 11, 2013 [15 favorites]


I just want my own waxing specialist. They'd come in a box, like those giant sewing machine cases, and set up right there.

Ugh, I want to maintain for personal "I feel cleaner" reasons, but shaving is a serious itchy ingrown pain and I can't maintain waxing for availability reasons. The only way to get the most difficult hairs seems to be to pinch and pluck, and apply liberal amounts of lotion or body oil afterwards.

Maybe someone could make a successful DIY kit already that won't make us afraid of removing our genitals?
posted by DisreputableDog at 12:31 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I find either extreme to be unappealing, for myself (and for anyone else, by whom I mean Mrs. zardoz). You can let it go down there and let nature rule, but that could allow a dense, unpleasant, malodorous thicket to form (especially in summertime!). On the other hand, the Brazilian wax is somehow kind of pathological, as if your own body hair were some kind of enemy to be eliminated.

The middle way? Scissors. The thick foliage can be taken care of, but you don't have to destroy the roots and salt the earth. It's a nice lawnmower, trimming things up nicely but not to excess.
posted by zardoz at 12:35 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


So 13% of men involved in pubic-grooming injuries are actually girls under the age of 18? This is more serious than I thought.

They weren't when they started the manscaping session.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 12:37 AM on February 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


You may or may not feel in need of labioplasty or a scrotal ironing once you get it done

Instinctively I shy away from an operation involving 'scrotal' and 'ironing' so closely. I like to think it's a pain avoidance thing.

Also millions on PR as an industry and that was the best name they could come up with? Really?
posted by jaduncan at 12:43 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hey I don't like when a girl needs to stop going down on me to pick hairs out of her mouth. And so I don't want to do to do the same when going down on her. Is that so bad? It goes both ways for sure.

Somewhere, in the alternate universe where sex isn't quite as big a deal, there is a pay-per-order depilatory ad that runs ten times an hour on late-night TV purporting to address this very problem; the .gif that makes it to /r/wheredidthesodago is, by all accounts, exquisite.
posted by darksasami at 12:48 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


most men are still allowed to keep their armpits and legs unshaven without getting shit for it.

I actually starting trimming my armpit hair when I was running training quite seriously (a while ago now, damn you, baby!) to avoid a persistent chafing issue.

An unexpected bonus was how much more effective my anti-perspirant became - it was fabulous and I have no intention of going back!
posted by smoke at 12:54 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just stop shaving off all your pubes, and stop moaning because you once got a hair in your mouth. This has nothing to do with anything other than fashion. Your squeamishness is a social construct; your expectations of hairlessness is weird and sheeplike; all you are doing is adding another level of maintenance to female grooming.

I've tried to be more understanding about this, but you youngsters are being really weird about hair. And about anything that smells or looks remotely human.
posted by zoo at 12:59 AM on February 11, 2013 [19 favorites]


I think each person has a right to manage their own body hair how they see fit. I don't think it's anyone else's right to be judgmental about it or exert peer pressure to maintain it in any particular way. A partner may ask you to groom a certain way, and you may choose to do it out of a sense of affection or in the spirit of compromise, but that's a matter between consenting adults. Those choices shouldn't reflect on the rest of us.

I do object to societal conditioning that makes girls or women feel ashamed of their body hair (or any part of themselves). But conversely, if a woman chooses (or feels she has no choice but) to remove her body hair, she shouldn't be judged.

The only time I think removal of pubic hair could be problematic is if you spent long hours in a high disease vector environment where your bare crotch was constantly exposed (Genital skin is much thinner than other skin, and micro wounds from hair removal could potentially allow infection/contamination). So unless you're a naked doctor dealing with MRSA patients or a nudist zombie hunter, no biggie.

Whatever you do, just try to be true to yourself.
posted by i feel possessed at 1:59 AM on February 11, 2013 [11 favorites]


Wax? Does one wax the wild prairie?
posted by Slackermagee at 2:07 AM on February 11, 2013


A guy at work just came back from two weeks sick leave for -- it was too much information for me this morning while I was eating my breakfast pastry, but I think I got the gist of it -- for some kind of infection that started with an ingrown pubic hair because he shaved too closely, etc., etc.

Ack. Just be hairy.
posted by pracowity at 2:07 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


...you youngsters are being really weird about hair. And about anything that smells or looks remotely human. -- zoo

Eponylicious.
posted by datawrangler at 2:29 AM on February 11, 2013


I tend to agree with zoo. Shaving your pubes, or preferring that your partner does so, is not weird; considering hair that grows in places where hair naturally tends to grow to be gross or unhealthy... yes, I'd call that weird. And this seems to be a trend that's mainly seen in the younger crowd.

It's mostly a US thing, but seems to be spreading in Europe too. Probably because of porn.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:43 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hair there becomes a lot less of an issue with the frequent use of conditioner. Someday a hair care company will take me up on my idea of conditioner specifically for pubic hair, and I'll retire rich.
posted by waraw at 3:04 AM on February 11, 2013


adamdschneider: Yeah, I'm going to guess that the big aversion to pubic hair came along with the increase in popularity of oral sex.

...stats?
OK, here they are:

Of the people surveyed who used the alias "adamdschneider" on Metafilter, 100% of them (p=1.00, sampling error +/- 0%) guessed that the big aversion came with the increase in popularity of oral sex.
posted by IAmBroom at 3:16 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


yoink: Yeah, I'm going to guess that the big aversion to pubic hair came along with the increase in popularity of oral sex.

Yeah, remember the days when people used to just hate oral sex?
No, but I do recall studies Kinsey, Masters and Johnson, and later researchers showing that oral sex greatly increased in popularity over the last several decades.
davebush: the big aversion to pubic hair came along with the increase in popularity of oral sex

Every generation thinks they invented sex.
And yet, every generation has different ways of expressing their sexuality. Or are you of the belief that there were TV shows in the 1950s making frequent jokes about blowjobs, teen pregnancies, and lesbian hookups?
posted by IAmBroom at 3:21 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is a big adversion to body hair in general now a days. YouI rarely see anyone under 40 with a beard nowadays and I can't think of the the last full on dwarvish beard I saw. Something that 40 years ago was quite common.

zardoz: "The middle way? Scissors. The thick foliage can be taken care of, but you don't have to destroy the roots and salt the earth. It's a nice lawnmower, trimming things up nicely but not to excess."

Electric hair trimmers with a plastic guard are pretty well impossible to injure your self with and you can get them as low as a 1/16th of an inch.
posted by Mitheral at 3:36 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


A simple trimming of the length and bikini line need not take very long, and doesn't need to happen every day. However, if you are going for something fairly precise like, say, a silhouette of Ferdinand II of Aragon or the coastline of Australia, that does take both time and frequent maintenance.
posted by Edgewise


also epony!
posted by futz at 3:46 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Australia, I found it ironic that they banned photos/videos of women with small breasts because they could encourage pedophilia, while in the meantime the mad rush to shaved pubic areas continued unabated.
posted by fairmettle at 3:54 AM on February 11, 2013


That article is from 2010 and was over-stated.
posted by Mezentian at 3:58 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Possibly the worst thing a waxer has ever told me was about her emergency visit to a client who essentially glued herself to the floor during a DIY waxing gone bad.

On the other hand, the waxer's services were running about $60 per go (so basically monthly!) at that time, so I can see where she was coming from...
posted by jetlagaddict at 4:56 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Trying to claim that pubic shaving has grown in popularity because oral sex has is like trying to claim that no one wants to kiss a man with a beard. (Hint: wrong, from personal experience.) A neatly-trimmed beard does make kissing more convenient, but I'm not, uh, anal about it.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:18 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is so out of date that pubes are actually back in fashion now. Seriously.
posted by longbaugh at 5:22 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is this the thread where I tell everyone whether or not I like pubes?
posted by nathancaswell at 5:22 AM on February 11, 2013 [12 favorites]


There is a big adversion to body hair in general now a days. YouI rarely see anyone under 40 with a beard nowadays and I can't think of the the last full on dwarvish beard I saw. Something that 40 years ago was quite common.

That is more or less exactly the opposite of my experience. A good portion of the men under 40, I see on the street/know have beards. Nothing crazy, but fairly full beards. I think beard wearing is fairly cyclic, and I would have told you it was coming back.

But on the other hand, I don't think that the vast majority of men and women shaving their pubic areas are doing it to look like children, because boobs and butts are still pretty fashionable for most women (professional clotheshorses excepted) and men are encouraged to get a lot more muscular and cut than they used to be. There are not very many naturally pneumatic or buff kids out there.

The connection between pubic hairlessness and looking prepubescent seems to mostly exist in the mind of people who dislike public hairlessness. The strong association with pubic hairlessness for most people is going to be porn; that is, the connection is with adult women having sex. The fact that people who grew up watching porn featuring women with very little or no pubic hair makes it only expected that they're going to prefer that in their sex partners. Very few of these people will have much, if any, experience with prepubescent female genitalia, so there's not really going to be any association between hairlessness and prepubescence. I'd also say that, while I can't speak from extensive experience, I'm pretty sure that shaving/waxing/whatever doesn't make anyone's genitals look like a child's. Adult and children's genitals differ in ways other than having hair.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:28 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hey I don't like when a girl needs to stop going down on me to pick hairs out of her mouth. And so I don't want to do to do the same when going down on her. Is that so bad?

Dude. Scissors and hand mirror in the bathroom takes care of that problem. You do not have to go totally hairless.

And hey - I am a grown-ass woman, and I have sex like a grown-ass woman. So I want to look like a grown-ass woman.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:09 AM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't think that removing body hair, especially pubic hair, is as gendered as it was even a decade ago, although most men are still allowed to keep their armpits and legs unshaven without getting shit for it.

Except basketball players who were weirdly far ahead of the trend. I guess the jumpman silhouette wouldn't have had as clean lines if there was pit and leg hair.
posted by srboisvert at 6:15 AM on February 11, 2013


And so I don't want to do to do the same when going down on her.

Oh man, what's this in my mouth? Hair? GROSS! I thought it would just be genitals! It is troublesome to have something other than genitals in my mouth!
posted by Greg Nog at 6:23 AM on February 11, 2013 [35 favorites]


Since shaving my pubes, they clean the cat litter, mow the lawn, and vacuum my carpets!
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:44 AM on February 11, 2013


Razors and wax? I like the more traditional tool to get rid of unwanted pubic hair.






Dental floss.
posted by 445supermag at 6:49 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


A neatly-trimmed beard does make kissing more convenient, but I'm not, uh, anal about it.

You might be doing it wrong.
posted by DigDoug at 6:53 AM on February 11, 2013


When did we start hating pubic hair?

I'd say it's an individual thing, but for me, since forever.

60 to 80 percent of men? I had no idea.

Been doing under arms and around the gentlemen's appendage since mid high school, though shaving, not waxing. Never had an issue.

If a guy has "too much hair" for someone to go down on him, his problem is his dick is too short or too limp. I can state this with the strongest authority based on decades of experience spread over a majority of American states.

In my experience, people have a startling amount of difference in how hairy or not hairy they are. Some people are very hairy and grow it very long. I don't believe too much hair automatically means small cock or tiny ass is really the case.

Just stop shaving off all your pubes, and stop moaning because you once got a hair in your mouth. This has nothing to do with anything other than fashion. Your squeamishness is a social construct; your expectations of hairlessness is weird and sheeplike; all you are doing is adding another level of maintenance to female grooming.

I've tried to be more understanding about this, but you youngsters are being really weird about hair. And about anything that smells or looks remotely human.


And just have long fingernails and don't shave your beard or cut your hair while you're at it. I mean, you can cut yourself shaving your face, quite badly, so why bother? Can you believe it that some men and women actually want men to be clean shaven? Why don't they get real? Let's be human. Other human qualities include murder, bad behaviour, selfishness, etc. It's all a question of social constructs and you're not free, you're just fashionable.

Ack. Just be hairy.

No thanks.

And this seems to be a trend that's mainly seen in the younger crowd.

Are there studies that prove this? I've known people of various ages that have been doing it for well over 20 years but then being in my mid 40s I tend to only know people well that are 30 + up and it's very common. That said, this is hardly a large sample to make any conclusions with.

I rarely see anyone under 40 with a beard nowadays and I can't think of the the last full on dwarvish beard I saw.

Interesting. I guess you have no young hipsters living in your neck of the woods.
posted by juiceCake at 6:59 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Of the people surveyed who used the alias "adamdschneider" on Metafilter, 100% of them (p=1.00, sampling error +/- 0%) guessed that the big aversion came with the increase in popularity of oral sex.

Wrong attribution. I don't guess that at all. The Kinsey stuff sounds like a decent lead, but I'm going to guess that the rise of popularity of oral sex way predates the rise in popularity of grooming and correlates much more with (as others have already mentioned) hairless porn.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:06 AM on February 11, 2013


The Barbie-dollification of our nation's crotches needs to stop. I've got no problem whatsoever with a bit of grooming to keep everything in order, but through the years every time I've encountered a smooth area (or worse yet, a bumpy razor-burned post-apocalyptic wasteland) in a new partner, I've been a little less turned on. If the encounter were to turn into something ongoing, I've casually and playfully mentioned that some hair is sexy and that the scorched-earth treatment isn't necessary. I don't remember ever getting a reaction other than one of relief that full removal wasn't my thing and that growing out could commence.
posted by item at 7:17 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Just stop shaving off all your pubes, and stop moaning because you once got a hair in your mouth. This has nothing to do with anything other than fashion. Your squeamishness is a social construct; your expectations of hairlessness is weird and sheeplike; all you are doing is adding another level of maintenance to female grooming.

I've tried to be more understanding about this, but you youngsters are being really weird about hair. And about anything that smells or looks remotely human.


Eh. Pubic lice are going extinct. You're welcome.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:21 AM on February 11, 2013


That article is from 2010 and was over-stated.

For serious. I was wondering about just this topic, as I was showering at the gym the other day, that I actually have more than a wild ass guess about the pubic stylings of many of my friends and neighbors. So articles like this just seem so much more like an excuse for people to talk about oral sex (for the record, I am in favor of it) and the general moral failings of strangers with entirely constructed morality. And body policing. But maybe we can talk about math. "Grooming accidents" increasing fivefold, from almost non to about 11K. 83% of them were from electric razors. Here's the actual article. May I draw your attention to this part
From the review of the short narratives, most injuries occurred as the result of appropriate or intended manufacturer use of the grooming product. However, in 7 of the actual cases (2%), injury resulted after incorrect or unintentional application of the product. Examples, identified with our NEISS search term criteria, included the use of the shaving cream lid to control bleeding from a vaginal cut, self-circumcision with scissors, slip and fall on a razor with external genital injury, use of a razor to incise genital lesions, razor handle assault by another person, ritualistic genital cutting, and shaving skin over a spider bite.
So people doing odd thigns with razors generally is on the upswing, we still have more to fear from misuse of energy drinks and trampolines.
posted by jessamyn at 8:10 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The 11,000 number didn't seem that impressive to me, so I just googled "11,000 accidents per year" and apparently that's the same number as kids injured in bounce houses.

Obviously, the real take away is not to groom your pubic hair in a bounce house, but hopefully everyone already knew that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 8:18 AM on February 11, 2013 [14 favorites]


Creepy pornification of preadolescent mammalian physiology ftw.

I feel like every time there's a discussion of pubes, someone has to drop in and be all "hurf durf pedophiles" and it doesn't make a damn bit of sense. I'm positive that there are more men in the world who remove their facial hair than women who remove pubic hair, and I somehow doubt they're all doing it for the Pedobear Seal of Approval.

It's fine, I suppose, if you want to argue that we should all be totally accepting of all our secondary sex characteristics all the time, but at least in mainstream cultures (both Western and in much of Asia) that ship has sailed, and it seems to have done so approximately right after people invented the ability to remove said hair with anything better than sharp rocks. So clearly, preferring less hair than nature gifted us with, just in general, isn't exactly rare or uncommon or new. There seems to be more than a tinge of sexism and pearl-clutching when as a culture we obsess over women's preferences re hair removal (and particularly when people insinuate that doing so somehow enables or caters to pedophilia) when there is comparatively little attention or insinuation over men's.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:56 AM on February 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't know why people get so up-in-arms about stuff like this. It's simply fashion. Pubic hair is unpopular right now, but it will swing back in the other direction eventually. Remember the '70s?

I can understand why it's dismaying, especially if you're stuck in the out-group. But there's still plenty of people who do not remove all their body hair, and there's plenty of people who prefer people with hair. And eventually those people will be back in the in-group, and all the shavers/waxers will be the grumpy ones. This isn't a cause for alarm.

I admit it's weird that body hair is subject to fashion trends, but it's a strange world we live in.
posted by mokin at 9:06 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, I think that people would be happier if they'd accept their "imperfect" bodies, and even learn to love and flaunt them, but there's not really anything I can do about that. Ads and entertainment (including porn) are way more seductive and powerful than any Accept Yourself hippy-dippy vibes I can put out there.
posted by mokin at 9:08 AM on February 11, 2013


Pubic hair is unpopular right now, but it will swing back in the other direction eventually.

I guess we'll see. I'm extremely skeptical of the suggestion upthread that this has already begun to happen, though. Every single thing in my own experience (including listening to others) suggests just the opposite.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:14 AM on February 11, 2013


self-circumcision with scissors

Congratulations to "self-circumcision with scissors"! You have been awarded Worst Idea Of The Day!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:16 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


The sexualization of the absence of pubic hair is not a gendered phenomenon (or why would so many men be lacerating their scrotums with razors?). The identification of that particular physiological signifier of sexual maturity (however imprecise) is really not up for debate.

Consider me properly chastened! What was I thinking? The last word has been spoken. Undoubtedly, the experts have figured this out for us, so no further discussion is required.

Incidentally, this is probably why I've always felt that clean-shaven men have been disturbingly infantilized.
posted by Edgewise at 9:31 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, but I do recall studies Kinsey, Masters and Johnson, and later researchers showing that oral sex greatly increased in popularity over the last several decades.

Right -- as in the last 40+ years, since the sexual revolutions of the 1960s-70s. In other words, the decreased taboo on oral sex preceded the increased taboo on pubic hair by decades (see The Sensuous Woman [1969] or The Joy of Sex [1972]).
posted by scody at 10:26 AM on February 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Congratulations to "self-circumcision with scissors"! You have been awarded Worst Idea Of The Day!

...but best sockpuppet name.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:06 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, I think that people would be happier if they'd accept their "imperfect" bodies, and even learn to love and flaunt them, but there's not really anything I can do about that. Ads and entertainment (including porn) are way more seductive and powerful than any Accept Yourself hippy-dippy vibes I can put out there.


Sorry, there's no money to be made off of self-acceptance!
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:20 AM on February 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


I was shopping with my 67 year old mother in law and she was wondering aloud at all the waxing salons we kept passing. So I told her -- pretty much no one under 30 has pubic hair. She was flabbergasted. It was a sweet bonding, "I know, aren't we both old and out of fashion?!" moment for us.
posted by Malla at 11:33 AM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Holy crap! You need to do some grooming! Looks like a thimble wearing a clown wig down there." Joy - My Name is Earl


That's all.
posted by PuppyCat at 11:52 AM on February 11, 2013


This is one of those things where a lot of people seem to be weirdly defensive AND aggressive about how they do it.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:58 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Some people like to trim or shave, some don't; some people like their partners to trim or shave, some don't. Maybe it's easy for me to say this as a man who's mostly into men, but I don't feel like I'm chasing prepubescence by being in the 'Do trim' column. I just don't like the tactile experience of dealing with body or facial hair.
posted by Drexen at 11:59 AM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]




Some people like to trim or shave, some don't; some people like their partners to trim or shave, some don't. Maybe it's easy for me to say this as a man who's mostly into men, but I don't feel like I'm chasing prepubescence by being in the 'Do trim' column. I just don't like the tactile experience of dealing with body or facial hair.
posted by Drexen at 11:59 AM on February 11 [+] [!]


The existence of personal preference doesn't disprove the existence of social pressure, or the possibility that it can be burdensome to some segments of the population. As you suggested, women certainly have carried a disproportionate amount of the burden of this one, which still isn't to say that all women will agree or resent that.

It's always worth stressing in these conversations that the existence of personal preference really does nothing to disprove the existence of social pressure.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:05 PM on February 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


well. in Germany, this issue made for a bestselling novel
posted by helion at 12:13 PM on February 11, 2013





So I told her -- pretty much no one under 30 has pubic hair.

Man, am I glad I'm over 30!
posted by serena15221 at 12:31 PM on February 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos: I don't think it is necessarily a factor in what people find attractive since many males have not seen naked females between the ages of diapering and puberty, but the process is not nearly as marked as with male puberty. The changes that occur in the genital region with puberty are minimal compared to the variation between individuals. With girls and women, minus the hair, you will not necessarily be able to tell the difference between a seven year old and a seventeen or twenty-seven year old.
I am female, I had multiple younger sisters (one much younger) and have a daughter.
posted by rai at 12:31 PM on February 11, 2013


Even without the risk of a medical accident, this era's focus on pubic hair is increasingly problematic. Living a pubic-hair free life requires people to devote an inordinate amount of time and attention on their own pubic regions (I know). And when people aren't removing hair, they're thinking about it and talking about it. All that time could be occupied by doing something more interesting--and just about anything in this world is more interesting than one's own pubes. Life is too short for this! All things being equal, I'd prefer a hairless world, but all things aren't equal. The ratio of costs to the benefits just isn't favorable, and, quite apart from the risk of accidents, the results just aren't that good. Until we find a way to remove hair once and for all, we'd be better off if we resigned ourselves to hair *down there* and got off this kick.
posted by Transl3y at 4:59 PM on February 11, 2013


Thought one: It is a rather odd fashion, one that takes considerable time, is invisible to pretty near everyone under normal circumstances, and when viewed reveals all the idiosyncratic and often asymmetrical details of the dingle-dangle which hair might otherwise obscure. However, it appeals to the human (or primate) urge to groom, pick, and otherwise self-attend and therefore has its own rewards. And I have lived through everyone having muttonchop sideburns, not to mention the beehives of my childhood.

Thought two: Waxing at home is very imperfect, shaving leaves stubble, why not just pluck? Spend a nice hour alone with your tweezers once a week or so. It's like meditation.

Thought three: There's no reason to assume that it's only people under 30 who do it. However, I deeply suspect the dramatic statistic cited at the top.
posted by Peach at 5:00 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even without the risk of a medical accident, this era's focus on pubic hair is increasingly problematic. Living a pubic-hair free life requires people to devote an inordinate amount of time and attention on their own pubic regions (I know).

If a few minutes every once in awhile is an inordinate amount of time what is 1 minute, just a bit too much time? Is pubic hair the new commuting where 5 minutes equals an hour?
posted by juiceCake at 5:11 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


> "When did we start hating pubic hair?"

Pubic hair killed my family.
posted by kyrademon at 6:20 PM on February 11, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm all in favor of "whatever floats your individual boat" when it comes to personal grooming. But I have a problem with the increasing instances I'm seeing in mainstream discourse of referring to women with pubic hair as somehow being nasty or unclean. I'm talking jokes on mainstream tv sitcoms working off of the premise that "everybody" finds pubic hair unappealing.
posted by billyfleetwood at 6:20 PM on February 11, 2013 [7 favorites]


Saying that pubic hair is disgusting is the opposite of "whatever floats your boat." It's "whatever doesn't float my boat is disgusting." Saying that getting rid of it is horrible or unnatural is also not letting people do what they want.

The only way to let people do what they want is, as always, not to judge other people's choices.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:53 PM on February 11, 2013


Pubic hair killed my family.

Isn't that the central plot of Batman as well?

"Bruce," Alfred said. "It wouldn't hurt you to put down the trimmers and let it grow out now and then. You go out there every night and expect me to wax it off. Well let me tell you. While you were gone, about once a year I'd visit this particular salon in Venice, one that overlooks the plaza, and I'd look over and hope to see you on the couch next to me. Because it meant that you had moved on and found something outside of Gotham...."
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:56 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hi boys! Just checking in to see what I'm supposed to be doing with my pubic hair. Thanks for all the advice!
posted by naoko at 7:45 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just checking in to see what I'm supposed to be doing with my pubic hair.

Spin yarn. Make a sweater. You're welcome!
posted by houseofdanie at 9:39 PM on February 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


armoir from antproof case: "Just re-visited the article, and the headline jumped out at me: "... When did we start hating pubic hair?" Like, you know, that's suddenly a thing.

Research much?
"

You know, we also had the Internet back in the early 90s.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:43 AM on February 12, 2013


There's no reason to assume that it's only people under 30 who do it.

See also: "Naked" by David Sedaris.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:18 AM on February 12, 2013


and roughly 60 to 80 percent of men.

Bullshit
posted by caddis at 7:41 AM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just checking in to see what I'm supposed to be doing with my pubic hair.

I don't think you'll find the answer in this thread other than, whatever you want.
posted by juiceCake at 12:55 PM on February 12, 2013


Just checking in to see what I'm supposed to be doing with my pubic hair.

Knit a sweater.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:00 PM on February 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think you'll find the answer in this thread other than, whatever you want.

Well yeah. Should have added a heaping helping of {/hamburger} to my comment. It kind of irks me that whenever we have one of these threads some men rush in to announce their personal preferences - whether those preferences be "natural," trimmed, or hairless - as if what they want is the point.

The sweater tip is a new one though, so thanks for that.
posted by naoko at 4:12 PM on February 12, 2013 [2 favorites]


I still can't for the life of me figure out how people remove their pubic hair without ending up with a mass of angry, hurty red bumps in their intimate areas for weeks on end. If I shave my legs two days in a row, no matter what equipment I use, I end up with razor burn. I once tried waxing and ended up with what basically looked like a series of bee stings and mosquito bites all over the bottom half of my body, for nearly a week afterwards. Because I have sensitive skin. I just literally do not understand how a person could take off denser, thicker hair in a more sensitive region without serious, long-term pain. Like, "can't possibly think about having sex because I just need to take a warm bath and cry for a while because my crotch feels like it's being stabbed with needles" kind of pain. (And please don't tell me that TendSkin or whatever magic lotion or potion you use clears that problem right up, because that shit is made of lies and does not help at all for people who actually have sensitive skin.) Literally, am amazed and baffled that this is a thing other people can do without it ruining their lives.

Also, I have a logistics question. My understanding of waxing is that you have to let the hair get to a certain length before it can be waxed off. So, for those people who use waxing to remove pubic hair, are you basically hairless half the time and hairy half the time while you wait for it to get long enough to re-wax? And if your partner, like some of the folks upthread, doesn't like to give oral sex when you have hair, do you just go without oral sex half the time? Do you feel less clean or less sexy or whatever while your hair is growing in? How does that whole growing-out process work?
posted by decathecting at 7:44 PM on February 12, 2013 [3 favorites]


It kind of irks me that whenever we have one of these threads some men rush in to announce their personal preferences - whether those preferences be "natural," trimmed, or hairless - as if what they want is the point.

Who did that?
posted by juiceCake at 6:24 AM on February 13, 2013


bleep said:
Where do people find the time for this is what I don't understand. It's time consuming for women. And requires flexibility. And a mirror. It's not quick or easy or painless or cheap.
One option in a long-term relationship is for each partner to help the other one out. (This is true whether the desired outcome is hairlessness, trimming, visual inspection for health reasons, piercing maintenance, etc.) Still time-consuming and possibly expensive, though.
posted by brainwane at 2:49 PM on February 13, 2013


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