Brazilian Waxing as Spiritual Practice. ~ Emelia Symington Fedy

Via elephant journal
on Mar 5, 2012
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I may be the only 33 year old in the western world that has not gotten the full meal deal when it comes to waxing, so I thought it was high time.

I was unclear about options, rules and etiquette so I spoke plainly:

I would like the front to look normal. I would like the undercarriage clean.

Why? Why am I doing this? I started to wonder as I took off my pants and lay down on the dentist’s chair. To be completely honest it’s because everyone else is doing it. It’s because I’ve been told that ‘keeping it real’ is considered grotesque.

It’s because when my hippie 9-month pregnant friend walked naked into the living room the other day and I saw her huge bush before I saw her belly I thought, “How on earth could her partner navigate through all that?” I gotta’ simplify.

So here I am lying supine with nothing but a cable knit sweater on and the tension is palpable. Am I ready? Will I falter? My esthetician is 21, soft-spoken and clearly wise beyond her years. I feel safe with her. She has walked this journey before.

There is mantra music playing in the background. Whales, bells, flutes, chimes and another sound that reminds me of a whispering baby. The relentless repetition of the canned Muzak deeply comforts me.

Photo: wikimedia commons

She asks me to put one leg into half Bodda Konasana. I am suddenly exposed. She pulls at my inner thigh and assesses the situation. She can’t even begin at the bikini line yet as first she has to clean up all the way down to my knee. My first experience in this practice is deep humility.  “Sorry” I want to whisper “I’m sorry that my hair grows.” She finally moves into the bikini line area and this is the first time I have to focus on white light and deep breathing.

It f*cking hurts.

I only now realize that this woman is waxing my vagina. She is putting hot wax on my vagina lips and ripping the hair out. I am paying her to do this. She unfolds my labia and begins to work on the inside. Now I am moving from humble to a deeply vulnerable state. I don’t know if my partner touches me where she is going. She asks me to help by keeping the skin taut.

Like in any deep spiritual practice there is a moment of wanting to turn back. This was mine. My vagina starts to cry. I don’t care if half my p*ssy looks cut up by a 5 year old I want out. My vagina continued to weep (this is not an metaphor, I actually felt it happen) but I pushed through. I am strong. I am a warrior. I can take it.

Has anyone ever taken White Tantric Yoga? Well I haven’t because I know I am not disciplined to complete it and my ego is too big to fail. Well this was my White Tantric. This was my 61-minute arms up and breath of fire meditation. This was my 10-day Vipassana retreat. This was my Master Cleanse.

She then asked me to move into Happy Baby. Wow…so she could get in the creases I suppose. I am holding onto my toes, reminding myself to get the knees directly under the ankles and she goes inside again. This woman is actually inside of me and ripping hair out. I have never, ever felt so present in my life.

It was at this point that the alpha waves kicked in. I suppose I was transcending. I did not feel  anymore pain. I got very sleepy, my thoughts stopped and I was awash with calm.

“Please turn to your right side and bring your left knee across your body.” A spinal twist? “Please grab your bum cheeks on either side and pull them apart.”

No, no, no what the f*ck is happening? No she isn’t! As I spread ‘em she layered the wax around my anus. I could feel the cold air going where it shouldn’t go when people are nearby. She started focusing, talking quietly to herself  “You bugger, get in there, that’s right, damn it…”

It didn’t seem to be going as easily as it could be. I started to worry. Am I on the right path? Have I veered from the truth? Will I fart in her face? My guide brought me back to my body with her voice “I’m sorry to be hurting you” she said kindly. You are the one tweezing my asshole, I thought. No apologies necessary.

Relax, relax, breathe deep, white light, white light and again the soft place cradled me in. I am not exaggerating when I say I almost fell asleep I was so tranced out. Can you imagine, sleeping while getting your undercarriage cleaned. Rip. But I imagine like any trauma Rip, Rip or deep spiritual event Rip we do go somewhere else. Rip. I was rising. Rip. I was above myself. Rip. I had found a deep inner peace.

Then with all the love in the world she slathered cream on my bottom and sprinkled me with talc. Regressing back to my primordial state I was a baby again. Like one feels in a first time transcendental experience I had found home and I didn’t want to leave.

I paid the woman well for her services. For that kind of trip you must respect the guru. Like good teachers do she created the space for me to transform. She showed me the path I wanted to take and then ruthlessly, with great love she cleared the debris out of the way. I am now linked to my master and I will study with her again.

Now I’m going to have a nap. It was an intense journey but it was definitely worth it. I am sore and tender and my comfort zones were stretched. I am a babe.

I am re-born.


Editor: Kate Bartolotta

Emelia Symington Fedy is a theatre creator, writer, yogi, friend and popular raconteuse.
Her favorite quote at the moment is: “Live the light, spread the light, be the light” (found on a yogi tea teabag). This is probably because she has a penchant for darkness. You can read more of Emelia’s offbeat essays at


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56 Responses to “Brazilian Waxing as Spiritual Practice. ~ Emelia Symington Fedy”

  1. Thirtysomething says:

    This is brilliant! And you are not the only 33-year old. I am 37 and I have never been able to bring myself to live through such torture. Your post just confirmed for me that it is in fact that, torture. No thank you! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Shawna says:

    Hilarious! I have a similar story, only from a 'wax-gone-bad' experience in Vietnam, where I left with what my homeboy and I referred to as a handlebar moustache

  3. I loved this. Funny and true…it is almost a spiritual experience. Once you go Brazilian you never go back–awesome!

  4. Jamie says:

    "I would like the front to look normal. I would like the undercarriage clean."

    I was just watching a clip of the DVD naked yoga and noticed the woman had this style. I thought it was just so the dvd wouldn't be rated as porn. I didn't know women still kept a bush in the front? I thought bare everywhere was the norm. (I'm 30 by the way)

  5. Brenda be says:

    that was the must ludicrous disgusting thing i have ever read. yes, we can turn “anything” into a faux spiritual practice by pretending that it is and using fake spiritual words to describe it. just like republicans can claim they are ‘pro woman’ as they systematically dismantle women’s rights because they ‘know better’ what is best for women to have the right to (hint its not to control their breeding). you can be all the new age yoga crap you want to be: waxing is anti woman. it is not ‘grotesque’ to have the natural hair that god gave you. does her husband or boyfriend remove the public hair on his body? no? is it grotesque? is it the first thing she sees, and is it the first thing she sees because she has jumped on the anti woman bandwagon – fostered, like most anti woman crap- largely by self hating women. this is the worse, most ridiculous thing i could EVER imagine a ‘spiritual’ blog or website posting. ever. i would actually rather read the brainwashed quiverful ladies talk about how wonderful it is that christ and the bible led them to use their master’s degree to homeschool their eight biological children, than to read some kind of yoga new age bs paen to the joys of making yourself into a porn fetish prepubescent because supposedly everyone is doing it. i hope she never has a female child.

    • @LillithLV says:

      Um, my husband could care less whether I wax my Vagine or not. In his immortal words, "I'll take it any way I can get it" I wax for ME. It makes ME feel better, I like the way I feel waxed and to imply that I hate myself or do it because the big old mean penis wielders make me do it is quite frankly insulting.

    • esf says:


      I'm sorry you missed my tone. I am a feminist writing about a popular contemporary ritual that a lot of women experiment with. It is a satirical and light look look at a charged issue. It is meant to be funny. The shaming tone of your opinion feels a bit intense and unfair as you don't know me at all as in fact I will indeed make an excellent and loving mother one day.

    • hipdiva says:

      I enjoy being bare down there because I like the way it feels, and I like the way it makes lovemaking feel. Sometimes my guy shaves as well for the same reason. It doesn't make me feel oppressed at all! It is, in the end, a personal decision that has no bearing on one's ability to be a wonderful mother. Telling a woman that she will be an unfit mother because she waxes "down there" sounds very 'anti woman' to me!

  6. brenda be says:

    changing yourself into a plastic porn barbi because men like it at the expense of pain, expense, and time, is a spiritual practice now? what next? tweezing your eyebrows out and drawing them back in as a spiritual practice? how about fake boobies the size of grapefruits as a spiritual practice?

  7. Kelli says:

    this is fucking awesome!! Go you. Keep speaking the truth.

  8. Emily Seipel says:

    can we all agree to stop confusing "vagina" with "vulva" ? Eve Ensler could barely pull that off.

    • esf says:

      touche. very good point. noted. thank for the reminder.

    • Louise Brooks says:

      Thank you Emily!! I too am aghast at how many men and women call a vulva a vagina. What the hell? Women: your vagina is INSIDE your body.

    • Stina says:

      Yes! I loved this article until that moment. At first I thought she actually meant vagina and I thought the story was taking a sick turn.

  9. iloveginger says:

    funny stuff! oweeeeee. how much do they $$? im curious why waxing is still super popular..time, $.. might as well go for the laser hair removal no?

  10. let'sallgrowup says:

    Isn't there any modesty left in the world. Nothing left to be private even private parts (named such for what reason?)

  11. Turquoise says:

    I met a woman writing a thesis on this practice and it shocked me. The horrible ongoing itchiness that goes with just cutting pubic hair seems tortuous, but to go through this as a solution seems wrong.

    It’s depressing that this is what we’ve come to … young women hobbling around on six inch whore heels (sorry, but that’s what they look like) and women letting pornography become their identity.

    It seems really wrong to want to look like a pre-pubescent girl to have sex. Women who think this is sexy have serious identity issues.

  12. beth davis says:

    Where do I even begin? Shall I start with the fact that you are an adult female who does not know what a vagina is? Hair does not grow on vaginas. It grows on vulvas, labias, and perineums. These are technical terms that require a medical degree, so please do not cop that excuse. A vagina is one part of a female’s internal reproductive organs, like the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. If you’re allowing people to put hot wax in your vagina, then you really need to seek psychiatric help.

    I’ve never been one to buy into the practice making my body pleasing to the eyes of American men who desire women to look like prepubescent hairless waifs, or porn stars, or even Playboy centerfolds; however, for most of my adult life, simply because I was instructed to do so by my mother, I shaved my legs and underarms. But then I got cancer, had chemotherapy, which caused every hair on my body (including the hair in my nostrils) to fall out; radiation therapy, which has resulted in permanent hair loss from my left underarm; and surgery, which might have resulted in having a breast removed. Within 3-4 weeks after my cancer diagnosis, and not knowing if my impending surgery would result in the loss of part of my breast, the whole thing, or both of them, and newly bald from head to toe, I questioned my value as a woman, my sexiness, and my beauty. I remember one brave night when I stripped naked and stood in front of a full-length mirror, forcing myself to look at every inch of my body, and wondering what I would look like if saving my life meant that I’d no longer have breasts. Sick, bald, and naked, it was the first time that I actually saw myself as a truly beautiful woman, both inside and out. At that moment, I no longer felt terrified that my partner of 10 years might be repulsed by my postsurgery body. And no longer was it a priority to try to make myself look like photoshopped, airbrushed magazine women.

    When chemotherapy ended, within a couple of weeks, I saw the return of hair on my body. I had eyelashes and eyebrows again, hair on my arms and legs, on my head, and my pubic hair returned. I welcomed each and every new hair, as if it were the return of an old friend, and I vowed to completely discontinue the practice of removing any of it. That’s right. I don’t even shave my legs or underarm anymore. I love my natural appearance, and anyone who loves me will also love it. If not, they are welcome to find someone who is more suitable for their taste.

    But to each his/her own. If you or any other adult woman has the desire to look like a prepubescent female, that’s your business. But in all honesty, your attempt to pass the practice off as a spiritual experience reflects the ignorance you have of your own body, as illustrated by the simple fact that you don’t even know what a vagina is.

    • esf says:

      Hi Beth,
      Thanks for sharing your story with me. I deeply appreciate your wisdom and your experience. We possibly have a lot in common, you and I. I as well do not shave my armpits or legs. I also have a mother with 2 types of cancer, so I can relate to and deeply respect your challenging healing journey. I wish you continued health and vitality.

      This essay was a comedic look at a truly harrowing/hilarious experience for me. It was me shining a light on a dark place, which I find healing and useful. I would say writing satirically about painful things is part of my "spiritual practice." I also used the comparison of ripping hair out ones vulva (good point) and following a spiritual path as a commentary on how seriously I can sometimes take myself and my beliefs. Anyhoo, I just wanted to clarify my tone, because I care and I don't want miscommunications.

      All the best and continued health to you,


    • Helen says:

      Regardless of what way you took this article, I think your opening paragraph is so condescending and patronising, it put me off reading the rest of your response. Bravo that you know the difference between a vulva and a vagina, however I think we could all grasp the point of where the waxing was taking place without your spewed diatribe on the the difference. Take a chill pill.

  13. elizabethn says:

    Hmmm…I don’t know anyone who’s done a Brazilian or considers the natural growth of pubic hair grotesque, so I wonder where you live and who you spend time with. It also seems unnatural to me for a mature woman to have a hairless vulva, but I guess it’s soft and cleaner during one’s period.

    I also don’t understand why you would not shave your legs or armpits but then do a Brazilian. Is there a reason for that? Overall, I find it hard to reconcile the persona in the article with what your bio says about you – yogis that I’ve met tend to embrace themselves as they are. But to each his own…maybe there are more yogis than I know who want a bare vulva. ;o

    • Louise Brooks says:

      Elizabethn: Although I'm in my late 40s, I can assure you that young people (especially teens and twenty-somethings) find pubic hair disgusting. Why you ask? Well, the prevalence of internet porn means that generation has daily access to it and sees nothing but hairless vulva (and oftentimes hairless male genitalia too). Young men "expect" their girlfriends to be hairfree and young women have been socialized by porn to comply. This is a generation that looks back at old Playboy and Penthouse porn and says "ugh" when pubic hair is shown.

      • elizanor says:

        Well, I do believe you. I have never heard that sentiment from anyone, but to be fair, I live in Berkeley. But even so, body hair is embraced and if a nuisance to some, it's rarely repulsive among my acquaintances by any stretch (but maybe among the teenagers I teach). All my partners (I'm over 40) have loved my unshaven, lightly trimmed puss. 🙂 womanly, I think. Bring on the pregnant hippie bush, I say!

  14. karlsaliter says:

    It was well done Emelia, and the comedy was not lost on me. Perhaps we should put in a satire banner for the irony impaired. "For that kind of trip you must respect the guru." slayed me.
    Just posted to Elephant Spirituality on Facebook.

  15. Sarah says:

    i would be lying if i said i didn't laugh hysterically for about a minute straight during and after i read this article. fantastic.

    • I would be lying if I said I thought those who took it seriously were witty and intelligent. Like Karl says, we need a banner warning the Irony Impaired that what they're about to read might not be technically serious…..

  16. Meralo says:

    Wow, there are some seriously uptight people here and I wonder why this attitude is so prevalent amongst people who claim to be spiritual.

    I do a brazilian wax on a monthly basis. It never was anything I wanted to do, but at age 36 and pursuing an active lifestyle I found the tedium of trimming my pubic hair a little too much. And I also found that no matter how much I trimmed it, it still got caught in my panties and was dreadfully uncomfortable!

    So I took myself off for a wax…for ME! Not for anyone else, and I'll keep doing it (yes, that's a pointed comment for the judgemental lot on this post). The upshoot of my experience is that I'm more comfortable during my sport, I'm cleaner and I feel more hygeinic too…and the sex is AMAZING! Yes, it did a lot for my sex life and that was the biggest surprise of all.

    So think what you want, keep walking around with that carrot up your butt and that sourpuss attitude (BTW, it is far healthier to be loving and accepting and not so aggressive), I WILL continue to do my monthly wax

    Great post, thanks for the laugh!

  17. Flor says:

    As a 50ish, longtime non-shaver, sometimes recently, a summer shaver and ardent admirer of all things Betty Friedan, etc, I'd like to say that pleasing oneself is inherently a feminist ideal. I imagine that women do this for all sorts of reasons, but high on the list would be pleasure. Years ago, I shaved my head and found it to be one of the most incredibly and unexpectedly pleasurable experiences–just taking a shower, or sticking my head out a car window in the breeze was a positively amazing sensory overload. Well, the old Brazilian does the same thing. If you enjoy sex, this is just something you could try for fun. The skin to skin contact is beyond belief happy making. So, don't be so harsh, there's not much natural about many things we do in life–I say, focus on your own pleasure–try it, you might just find YOU really, really like it!

  18. chiara ghiron says:

    The irony was certainly lost on me, I admit.

    But let’s assume that the author was truly being ironic and did not resort to irony as an excuse after being rightfully reprimanded by people who have had enough of this world who turns women into prepubescent bodies to satisfy the subliminal pedophilia of some men. Let’s assume that this was indeed meant as a critique of the times we live in, where women feel compelled to remove secondary sexual characteristics and conform with abstruse theories of increased hygiene.

    Then congratulations to a writer who embraced ‘method acting’ so strongly to want to experience this grotesque practice personally, to be able to share her experiences with us. Now we know what it encompasses and can continue to steer clear from it based on common sense.

    Thanks for immolating for us.

  19. Hmmm how about: elephant journal: closed captioned for the irony impaired! haha!

    See–the point is that anything that's intense makes us feel deep things. and it's funny. (and getting waxed is kind of fun in a weird way). Hope this is helpful for the irony-challenged. If you don't like it, there are plenty of other things to read on here that you might enjoy.

  20. Ryan says:

    @ Brenda: WOW! Are you ever an angry little person!! Hahaha your comments made my day! Please please tell me where else I can find some more of your postings! You and a few others here sure made this out to be a lot more then it really was. *Dont even know what a vagina is* My guess is you have seen your fair share.. Lol

  21. ValCarruthers says:

    Bravo, Emelia! Posted to Popular Lately-Spirituality homepage.

  22. Helen says:

    I'd rather give birth to twins again. Seriously. You've put me off for life! ;O)

    • elizanor says:

      Agreed, childbirth is preferable, cuz you don't have to keep going back to do it again, at least not without getting a really nice present.

  23. Eeeeee! Man, the guy would have to be sooo worth it for my pussy to go through this hell. I like these female-centered articles. No boys! Yay. 🙂

  24. Sharon Kuchar says:

    Ah, thank you for your honesty, humor, and humility.

  25. Dace says:

    Very funny description. Some people take it too seriously.

  26. Idas says:

    I don’t aim to be critical her, what a woman wants to do with her body is her business. Pierce your privates or tattoo your bits, whatever floats your boat.
    I felt compelled to make a point though.
    In my humble opinion, the popularity of Brazilian waxing has more to do with the rejection of natural age then the sexualisation of prepubescent genitals.
    Society at large is hyper-sexualized to such an extent that not just women have to be of porn-star “quality” bods and hair and sexy clothing; it's men as well.
    Sadly, too often, people evaluate how satisfied with themselves they are based on how “fuckable” they are. This used to be more about attitude, style and how sexy one was. Now so much effort and money is placed on what the porn and now celebrity culture has imbued into the picture so vividly as the mass-standard for “sexy”.

    • Idas says:

      So ultimately I think the wide-spread (no pun intended) popularity of full waxing is because of ageing denial.
      "Thanks" to rejuvenation technologies (botox, fillers and less invasive face-lifts) women (and many men) who reject their face ageing must now have the parts to match. I learned this when I was very young watching Sex and the City and Samantha ended up with an orange “bush”. I thought it was funny at the time. Now that I stare at my first grey eyebrow, I realize why they invented eyebrow tinting. I always thought it was for blondes who wanted darker eyebrows.
      Let’s face it, if it was possible to dye pubic hair safely, very few women would risk ingrown hair or worse caused by waxing delicate genital regions to this extreme.And just my health nut side thought: If drinking very warm to hot fluid and eating similar temp meals increases risk of esophageal cancer, what pray tell would cancer specialists think of spreading searing hot wax on the genital regions?
      Like I said, whatever floats your boat. But let’s call a spade a spade.

  27. UnWonderment says:

    Now how exactly would wax manscaping fit into that spiritual practice? Is there a teacher training for this practice?

  28. jon says:

    Every single time someone brings up this subject, there are two things that happen: someone condemns the practice as anti-woman and someone else brings up how hygienic it is to be bald. Always.

    It's absolutely absurd to take this that far. What hair removal is is one thing: fashion. It may be fashionable to be "natural", though the definition of that is extremely variable when someone depilates legs, underarms, a bit on the belly and the upper lip, while the pubes are sacred. It's fashion! You do it or you don't, and no one escapes the fact that having it or not having it is a choice.

    The hygiene argument is silly. Removing pubic hair doesn't make a dirty vulva hygienic any more than keeping it makes it dirty. The vagina generally works to clean itself quite well, whether hair is present near the opening or not. Yes, periods have blood. Hairy or not will not change that fact.

    As for the prepubescent look accusation, it's not. Fully-developed adult vulvas look like fully-developed adult vulvas whether they're hairy, lippy, compact, cute as a button, strong, tasty, sweet, bitter, wet, dry, big, small, shaved, topiaried, lasered, stubbly, or covered in whipped cream. Some look better with hair, some without, and some look good no matter what. It's fashion. And private. Or as private as desired.

    And as a man who has been waxed and is now mostly hairless "down there" from laser treatments, I laugh at the accusation that a man wouldn't do this. I have. And it's for me. Some women like it, some don't, just like all fashions. I choose not to have hair, and if you don't like it you can grow your own. But I resent the idea that there's a "right" way to have a body and like it. I'm trying to lose some weight, too. Does that mean I hate myself? No. I just want to improve some things.

    If anyone is a freak, it's those with piercings and tattoos. That's weird. And that's my bias. But it's fashion. Deal with it. I have.

  29. t alta says:

    This is great! I too have transformed this experience into meditation, and whereas I used to take four advil, drink three bloody marys and dread, I now have nothing but breathe on board with me for the ride, and I leave in a totally Zen state.

  30. Quite a experince. We can definately elivate a large amount of your pain by first offering you a numbing solution to use pre wax. Also all the yoga is not necessary, but holding your skin tight helps the hair remove nicely and with less pain. Also having strip wax and hard wax available helps to keep those very tender inner areas protected from harm. Anyone who wants to have a safe waxing experience can trust us.

  31. […] had a fellow writer leave me a (positive) comment yesterday, saying “Yeah, bitch!” and then disclaimed […]

  32. Eleanora says:

    Brazilian wax is very popular in South Beach. They say that it is a viable way for adelaide hair removal on the bikini lines for the summer outings.

  33. male waxing says:

    It was at this point that the alpha waves kicked in. I suppose I was transcending. I did not feel anymore pain. I got very sleepy, my thoughts stopped and I was awash with calm

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