Editor's Note: This is a new feature exclusive to the SFR website. It includes real questions from real people and real answers from Hunter Riley, a Santa Fe native living and working in Albuquerque as the store manager of Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center. She's also the author of a monthly column in the print edition of SFR. Have sex questions? Send them to email@example.com.
Question: I’m 58 and beginning to date again after being in a monogamous marriage for years. I don't know what's expected these days in terms of pubic hair. Back in the 60s when I came of age sexually, as far as I know, everyone either still had all their pubic hair or just trimmed it a bit so tufts wouldn't poke out of bathing suits. Now it's the era of porn, and I’m wondering if au naturel is considered poor grooming. I'm really resisting the idea of waxing or shaving, yet feeling very insecure about this issue, and can't seem to get any clear answers online about what people are doing.
I hesitate to wax because of all the pain and also the horror stories found in medical journal of infections. Likewise there are infection risks from shaving, such as increased risk of catching chlamydia or other STDs too. I believe Mother Nature put pubic hair there for a health reason. Aesthetically, I also think it looks attractive and balances out the body.
I am not opposed to trimming, and that certainly makes things look tidier. But instead of soft hair, it's then coarse. Doesn't seem like an improvement to me. So if guys are okay with pubic hair, do they want it free form and soft, or coarse, short and tidy?
I've only been with a couple men since dating again. Neither came right out and asked me to get rid of it, but they do start talking about "fantasies" and that always seems to involve naked pubes. I always figured if the relationship seemed otherwise good, I'd go along with it, but ask the guy to get waxed too! And he'd go first! Not my fantasy at all, but it’s not right to ask me to have pain if he isn't willing to do it himself. I figured that would be a one time incident and that would be the end of it!
So what's the norm these days, Hunter? And what's your opinion of this. Thanks!
Answer: Thank you for sending this question — it’s one that many people have and probably worry about. Luckily for you, preferences about pubic hair are as diverse as the pubic hair itself! Some people enjoy a completely bare region, for reasons ranging from it’s what they see in porn, a potential evolutionary preference that might indicate youth, or for some people, it makes it easier to get down and dirty with their mouth and hands and to really see what’s happening. Some people enjoy a full bush because it can look really sexy and natural and it can be fun to play with and pull on as a way to add sensation. And some people enjoy pubic hair that is somewhere between 70s bush and bare. Many people don’t want to put the effort into full waxing or shaving, but they want to keep the hair to a minimum because it can be easier to see/feel what you’re doing and you’re less likely to end up with stray hairs your mouth. You should do whatever feels comfortable for you — your body, your choice.
If you find yourself with a partner who has a strong preference, it’s completely up to you to decide if you will indulge their desires to trim, go bare or grow it out. If you don’t want to change your pubic hairstyle, you and your partner get to decide if this issue carries enough weight to separate and not be sexual partners, or if you’re both fine with the pubic hair as is.
If you aren’t comfortable with shaving or waxing, that’s completely fine! But keep in mind there are excellent professional services that will help you take it off in a safe and clean manner.
It’s true that there will probably be some pain involved in shaving and waxing, but there are things you can do to reduce that. Self Serve carries an amazing shaving cream called Coochy Cream that helps reduce the shaving irritation, and people swear by it and buy the biggest bottle they make! Coochy Cream is great for men and women and can do wonders to reduce those little red bumps that are often a result of shaving a delicate area.
As for waxing or sugaring, many people go for professional help because it can be intimidating, painful and hard to reach all the areas you might want waxed. After you do waxing or sugaring for some time, the pain isn’t as intense anymore and you get used to it.
If you want to try trimming, you can use several methods such as using scissors, a small electric trimmer or even a plain old razor in the shower to cut the hair short.
The long and short of whether to keep your pubic hair long or short is to do whatever makes you feel sexy and happy. And if your partner isn’t down with your pubic hairdo, go find someone else to do.