Eleven years ago, I ignored my friends, said farewell to the idea of having a high school boyfriend and shocked my grandmother when I stopped shaving my legs.
I haven’t shaved them since.
Four years ago, to the disgust of my younger brother, I stopped shaving my armpits. And two years after that, I finally worked up the courage to let my bikini area be free as well.
What did I discover after I threw away my razors (besides no more razor burn) and started braving the world with my natural body?
I started doing things for myself.
It occurred to me when I was 13 that I had no idea why I was shaving my legs. I stopped, then quickly got bashed at school by my friends and boyfriends. It was too much for a young insecure teenager to take, and so I started again. It wasn’t until I was 15, nearly two years later, that I stopped for good.
When I stopped shaving my legs, I started doing what I wanted, I thought with my own mind and I realized that as women, we’re expected to be hairless and perfect.
I wasn’t. We’re not. So I embraced it.
And so I started enjoying my life more and doing what made me happy, not other people. As my armpit hair grew, I found that I loved it. I even got some inner arm tattoos and had two different men brave my hairy pits to ink me there. Besides being called disgusting by my brother, no one ever said anything. And now, I have the grace not care what they think even if they did.
I started having better orgasms.
Once I stopped worrying about having razor burn down there or declining sexy time because I wasn’t properly shaved, I started enjoying being intimate with my partner much more, especially during oral sex. Not worrying about being totally shaved or having a perfect bikini line allowed me to relax, have fun and increase my pleasure. In the past two years since I stopped shaving my vag, I’ve had some out-of-this-world orgasms!
I fell in love with my body.
I don’t know any woman who is totally comfortable with her body, and this saddens me. I used to include myself in this category. I hated my too-large breasts, my lips weren’t full enough, and my stomach was too flabby. We women know what it’s like to feel like we’re less than perfect, especially with our skewed representation in the media.
When I stopped shaving, I learned to embrace my body, and I I fell in love with it. My body is gorgeous. I found that I loved all parts of it, from my curly pubic hair to my flat, straight armpit hair to my golden, soft leg hair. My body is my body, and I am so thankful to have it. It’s an amazing organism that serves me well. Thank you, body!
I stopped using sh*tty products.
Ladies, those hair removal products we use are filled with parabens, artificial fragrances and other weird chemicals that get absorbed into our bloodstream and move straight to our liver. Even that fluffy shaving cream we use is pretty freakin’ gross. When I stopped shaving, I said goodbye to animal-tested products, weird chemicals and red irritated skin. My skin is now smooth and gorgeous, and I don’t support animal testing anymore.
I started having more fun.
When I used to shave, I was anxious about being invited to go swimming (and had to do a last-minute shaving session once I was), always trying to make time to shave my legs in the evenings and getting razor burn in my pits. Not fun—not to mention embarrassing.
When I stopped shaving, I stopped worrying about it completely. No longer did my shower routine take forever (which meant I saved water). No longer did I have nerve-wracking sexy time because I worried he would see my less-than-perfect vag. No longer did I pull out a long-sleeve shirt when it was 75 degrees out because I forgot to shave my pits.
I started enjoying my life and stopped worrying about how I looked, what other people would think, what I was supposed to do or what society told me was beautiful. I know what’s beautiful. I get to see and feel and experience beauty every day because I’m a woman who has embraced my own body, hair and all.
Our bodies are amazing. Let’s show them some love!
Author: Jenn Ryan
Volunteer Editor: Keeley Milne; Editor: Nicole Cameron