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Pubes heartMany women groom their pubic hair to enhance their attractiveness and sexuality.  This form of beautification began in ancient times and continues to the present day. According to Psychology Today, “in ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Indian art, some female nudes sport trimmed or shaved pubic hair.  In Renaissance Italian art, female nudes were often depicted bald between the legs, but the art of the same era in Northern Europe shows full bushes.  We don’t know whether the Italian artists reproduced what they saw or indulged in artistic license.”

This trend has gained momentum in our times.  Will salons appear in the Caribbean that specialize in cornrows for the pubis?  Beads and all? A spokesman for the British Association of Dermatologists commented on the potential risks of cornrows on the head: “Some of these hairstyles might be fashionable, but they can lead to permanent hair loss, which is difficult to cover up and can have a huge impact on a person’s confidence.”  Would women want these supposed beautification methods to cause loss of their pubic hair, such a central feature of our sexuality and ability to arouse our partners?

According to, Sutter Health Palo Alto Medical Foundation (Nancy Brown, October 2013),  “pubic shaving actually originated in ancient Egypt and Greece when prostitutes had to shave for both hygienic reasons and as a clear sign of their profession. Although female body shaving was established as the norm between 1915 and 1945, pubic hair removal did not gain a strong foothold until the 1980’s.  In part, this was due to a trend in the porn industry where it was common for women to shave the pubic area. As pornography has become more accepted in the general public, more women have mimicked what they have seen. In this way, pubic hair shaving has become mainstream. Also, bikini bathing suits began to reveal more of the pubic area in the 1970’s and 1980’s. With this trend came increased pressure to avoid revealing pubic hair by removing it. Shaving the pubic area has become much more common, even desirable, among teenagers and young adults. Although shaving may be becoming the social norm, that does not mean you should do it.”  But it is an option for women and girls that believe grooming makes them more attractive to their sexual partners.

A generation ago women thought pubic hair was sexy, arousing, a fuzzy, welcoming, and luscious gateway to our warm, wet inside. What man ever envisioned braided, bleached, or beaded pubic hair on his beloved?  Why improve upon nature in this area? Why become hard and scratchy instead of soft and bushy? What would an aroused lover want in that most sacred and alluring part of our bodies? According to  The Journal of American Medicine,  62 percent of a cross-cultural sample of American women prefer to go bare down there and 84 percent did some “grooming“ of their privates. Fifty-nine percent do it to feel better about themselves, and 21 percent to please their sexual partner.

According to Metro UK, AskMen.com surveyed 5,000 men about what they find attractive when it comes to women’s pubic hair (quelle surprise!), and found that 41 percent of respondents like it totally bare down there and 38 percent like to see a well-groomed bush.  However, a whopping 85 percent would date a woman who doesn’t shave or groom her pubis.

What about the safety of shaving? Gynecologists say: “Pubic hair functions as a protective cushion for sensitive skin, and has its own hygienic purpose, trapping bacteria and preventing them from entering the vaginal opening. Prepubertal girls have a higher incidence of irritation because they don’t have that protection,” Dr. Gunter

According to Psychology Today, consistent with the pubic hair fashions in ancient societies described above, 21 percent of young women between 18 and 24 are bald, no pubic hair at all. Psychology Today Even women, or should we call them girls, who have just entered puberty. Somehow they are convinced their vagina needs cleaning.  Now the doctors have debunked regular douching as unhealthy as it changes the natural flora in the vagina, we guess the beauty industry needed to create a new income stream.

Besides all the razor blades and shaving cream sold, this activity costs time and money.  Beauty salons make mega bucks on the hair that is waxed or threaded. Threading is an ancient hair removal method still practiced in countries in the Middle East and Asia. Some say it is a painless, quick, and cost-effective ways of removing hair. Some girls and women have turned to threading for removal of pubic hair. The technique is quite simple and if done expertly is pain free. While similar to plucking and tweezing, it may be preferable because of the ease in removing hair in clean straight lines.

Dr. Rowen, an Assistant Professor at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, is concerned about the prevalence of grooming both because of a spate of health problems linked to it, and because of what it may suggest about women’s self-image. She and other doctors have seen grooming-related cases of folliculitis, abscesses, lacerations, allergic reactions to waxing burns, as well as vulvar and vaginal infections. One study has noted that 3 percent of emergency room visits for genitourinary trauma are a result of grooming.

We all want to look attractive, and grooming is appealing to many women and their partners. There may be health benefits as well as risks. According to an article in the The British Journal of Medicine (June 2006) by Armstrong and Wilson, anecdotal experience in their clinic suggests a reduction in cases of pubic lice coinciding with extensive use of pubic hair removal procedures such as “the Brazilian,”  despite increased prevalence of chlamydia and gonorrhea during the same period.

So there are aesthetic, sexual, and health implications of “going bare” that are all part of the equation as you think about this option, albeit one that originated with prostitutes and porn stars.

As for fashion, decide what feels right for you and enhances your self-image. Your “hairstyle”’ is a personal choice that should enhance your attractiveness and make you feel alluring.   Fortunately, whatever choice you make (with the exception of permanent laser removal http://www.telegraph.co.uk/beauty/body/reversing-the-lasered-bikini-line-why-women-are-paying-thousands/) is readily reversible if you have a change of heart later and want to have nature’s bounty reappear. If you think you may want to restore your bush in the future, you should probably avoid the laser procedure.

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Vagina Dialogue: Bush or No bush? was last modified: by