The Pubic Hair Debate: Bear or Bare?
I’m definitely one of those heterosexual women who prefer body hair on men.
I find it masculine and it often adds a nice tactile sensation when we are body to body in our birthday suits. But there is a fine line between a manscaped dude and a jungle of hair that requires petting, brushing, furrowing, itching, gagging on and shower drain cleaning.
Like the Buddha said, “Walk the middle way” (even when it comes to pubic hair styling).
Because pubic hair is a preference and not a state mandate, it does speak to our lifestyle and about who we are sexually, culturally and chronologically. For example, studies show that heterosexual women and men over 50 tend to be more on the furry side of the pubic hair debate. Although they haven’t gotten into the depth of hair celebration as much as the gay culture has with their Bear pageants!
But, hair free is where the trend and money is these days no matter how many articles or celebrities tell you pubic hair is making a comeback.
Hair-free has been on the rise since the bikini became popular in the 60s. It was one thing for a man to have hair peeking out of his crotch in a mankini bottom, quite another for it to be sprouting out of a woman’s bottoms. Thankfully, 1969 was just around the corner and the feminists were more than happy to preach and gain some momentum back to the au naturale look!
But, feminists weren’t the only ones preaching the freedom of genital hair styling. When Playboy and Larry Flynt started to expose even more of women’s private parts in their magazines, pubic hairstyle came under even more debate and scrutiny: hair or bare?
Since many considered these magazines to be “the word” on what was sexy and sexual for women, which of course translated into what was sexy and sexual for men, the au naturale look remained tucked away with the feminists, hippies and house wives.
Meanwhile, porn movies went from the stage and theaters to our living room televisions and finally our laptops where we got an even closer look at our private parts. Sex and the City really drove the hair free notion home internationally with the Brazilian styled wax job.
Even though the pubic hair preference debate became popular and publicized over recent decades, the ebb and flow of the downstairs hair style has been ongoing for centuries. Wealthy Romans preferred no hair and used pumice stones to remove it! But, during the 15th century having no hair was a sign you had been treated for syphilis or had pubic lice, so bare was definitely not a la mode. Introducing the pubic hair wig—or merkin. (And you thought that was just something American Apparel used on mannequins.)
If hygiene is a motivation to remove downstairs hair, think again. Studies show more health risks with removing it. Pubic hair acts as a protective barrier, not only to chaffing but also to potential STIs and bacterial infections.
Sexual expression, gender, sexual orientation, social conditioning, age and culture all play a role in the great pubic hair debate.
The choice is personal.
Just keep in mind procedures like laser hair removal are permanent. But if ever there is a change of heart from bare to bear, you could always consider hair transplant surgery down below. (Yes, it’s possible!)
James and Heather on the pubic hair debate:
Oil pulling 101:
Author: Heather Dawn
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: Helga Weber/ Flickr