I used to spend a lot of time on naturist forums and message boards, hoping to find a few like-minded humans (largely a fail), learn about some new naked places I hadn’t found on my own (often a hit!), and get a pulse on how naturism was playing on the fringes of mainstream media. But anyone who has spent any significant time in such elusive corners of the world wide web has probably shared my dismay at the number of threads that have been hijacked by one of two following topics: “Erections” and “Pubic Hair.”
Now five years into my blog, I’ve been quite intentional about avoiding both topics, as it seems to me there were plenty of people on those boards to pontificate on those matters. I’ve been cornered a couple times on the erection topic by goofy reporters who have found my blog and have literally interviewed me to ask how one goes about applying sunscreen… down there… without… you know…
“Ugh! Don’t be a jerk!” Just go to a real naturist place and see what its really all about! Non-starter!
But I have to admit, the pubic hair thing remains an intriguing topic even after all this time. (Remember, my wife and I have been naturists for over thirty years.) It sort of hit home when we encouraged a young colleague to visit Therme Erding – a mega spa near Munich that attracts a LOT of 20/30-somethings. Our friend wrote to my wife after the first day there asking whether “women are expected to be hairless, or is that just a cultural norm in Germany?”
My wife wrote back, “Do what you want. Nobody cares!”
Some weeks later, we were at Erding, and by golly, nearly all the women were hairless! And half of the men – at least in the pubic region – were shaven as well. Since then, we’ve been to naturist places in Montenegro, Spain, and France, and I would have to say that those statistics are near consistent, regardless of age bracket.
In the too much information department, we are typically not hairless, but coiffed… one might say. Let’s face it, if you’re naked around other people a good bit of the time, you become aware of the fact that your pubes are similar to other hair-related bodily accents; the hair on your head, facial hair, even eyebrows, for god’s sake! There’s a whole separate post to be written about the discretion one employs when catching a glance of another’s pubic region, but to be sure, if someone has a stylish blunt cut on their head, and a seemingly unkept expanse of hairiness between their legs, people are gonna notice – at least in this day and age. Just like that guy in the restaurant the other night with giant bushy caterpillars growing over the top of his eyelids! “Dude! Time to have a heart-to-heart with your barber.”
Before going any farther, let’s reiterate the ideal that most avid naturists agree that social nudity is about body acceptance, and the last thing this should invoke is additional paranoia about what people are thinking about your pubic hair, as I truly believe that in the last place, nobody really cares– any more than they care about the woman who died her hair bright Orangutan Orange, to which one might respond, “Well! That’s a choice.” (If you’ve not traveled much in Europe by the way, this is a fairly common sighting!)
But the psychology of it all becomes a good bit more complicated in the years that followed the Make love, not war era of the Sexual Revolution. Later, this became all but regulated by the porn industry when somebody in the back streets of Hollywood decided that all porn stars should look like pre-pubescent teenagers. Regardless of what you think of porn, I’ve always thought that tenant to be – at least – a bit creepy, but if you read any mainstream magazine like Vogue or Elle, they will tell you straight out how to manage your body hair to keep up with the latest trends, and don’t seem to blush when they identify those trends are set by the pornography industry.
SIDEBAR: You might want to take a look at this most excellent article in The Guardian – where I lifted the cover photo, btw – where the author talks about the intimate decisions related to managing one’s pubes.
For readers younger than myself, you probably can’t recall an era when there wasn’t a proliferation of sex manuals in print along with online advice for maximizing intimate pleasure. And god help you if you go on a date that leads to a home run, only to find your new friend is horrified by your hygienic decisions! (See related post: The Stigma of Social Nudity in the Era of Casual Sex.) So, there are plenty of reasons why one might choose to wax this, shave that, or trim the other, but when it comes the being stylish in naturist circles, I’m going to preach it again. NOBODY CARES!!!
Once more, TMI… but this summer my wife and I went the full monty before departing for naturist Europe this summer. Call us old fashioned, but I think we both still have issues with the pre-pubescent thing, and we both prefer some flavor of neatly manicured accentuation – though such decisions are not easily reversed overnight. I personally much prefer the “punctuation” of a neatly trimmed pubic region – on a male or a female – but can also appreciate the “naked all over” effect one might enjoy whether lying in the sun, or in more personal situations. But for those of you who might be lying awake the night before your first naturist foray wondering “what will the other naked people think?” I would advise, “WHY ON EARTH DO YOU CARE?” In the past week, I’ve seen a woman with a really full bush, and a man with a crazy thick beard. Neither elicited a response beyond, “Huh. Interesting!”
An interesting corollary arose last evening as we were sitting at dinner – most of us naked – at a boutique naturist hotel on Mallorca. The crowd, mainly European, started to grill us as the only Americans at the table, about the naturist places near Palm Springs until one brave soul came right out with it! [Insert snarky British accent here] “What’s the deal with all the people with fake boobs at those places in Palm Springs?”
Different body part, but same question, really. Being a male (who is not fond on breast augmentation, I might add,) I can only surmise that women augment their breasts to look better when covered with fabric, and I’m going to go out on a limb that most people choose to manage their pubic region to feel better when intimate with a partner, or perhaps to attend to the whims of even a would-be partner. Maybe it’s a fashion statement when nude, maybe not. But so are tattoos, and nipple piercings, and hair coloring, and mascara, and facial hair. When you realize that being naked with other people is pretty much exactly like being clothed with other people, you come to realize that nobody really cares about your pubes any more than they care about your eyebrows, and even if they do – WHY DO YOU CARE? You’re a naturist who’s come to terms with your body! YAY for YOU!
No wonder I’ve never met a psychologist who doesn’t complain about having more clients than s/he can possibly handle. We humans really do a number on ourselves.
NEWS FLASH: PUBIC HAIR MAKING A COMEBACK?
Shortly after writing this post, we continued on to spend two weeks at naturist resort La Jenny in the South of France; a place with loads of families with an age distribution and demographic that you might experience at Disney World. The big news? At least half of the women in the 20/30-something age range had at least some pubic hair, in every configuration you might imagine. Some were shaven. Some were clean. And the ratio of pubic hair on men was hirer that recently noticed as well?
What does it all mean? It might mean that pubic hair is becoming fashionable again, or maybe it simply means… NOBODY CARES! 🙂
Interestingly, back in the eighties or nineties or so, the full shave was often linked to swingers. They were probably the first to jump on the trend initiated by the porn industry. That might be a reason why many naturists decided not to shave, so they wouldn’t be linked to that.
And of course they blamed the whole body confidence thing. When you’re okay with how you look (like naturists are supposed to be), then why would you shave your pubic hair?
One day someone must have replied (or so we like to imagine): “Alright, then why do you shave your legs and your armpits and why do you go to the hairdresser?
If genitals are just as normal as any other body part, then why would it be weird to shave them when it’s okay to cut your hair?”
Europeans these days really got over this and the full shave is indeed popular here. As Europeans we can also tell you that this isn’t just among naturists. But we do see a counter move from the younger generations. Many teenagers or early twenty somethings seem to prefer the “bush” again. Maybe Miley Cyrus has something to do with that?
Hahaha!!! Something to love about Miley Cyrus!!!! And yes, I DO believe that “hair accents” are coming back into vogue. 🙂
Well said, good read, I like natural down to earth body hair as God intended it to be. But who am I. Do what ever floats your boat❤️
Thanks! And thanks for following my blog! 🙂
I guess I would only add that as one gets older we get rather more grey hair everywhere, so I just trim/shave it neatly, for my own body image really. Once you start though, you have to continue!
Truth! Not too mention the changes to … ahem… bodily proportions, where a bit of careful trimming can help minimize the psychological damage! 😂
We lost all of our body hair over hundreds of thousands or even a million years except for our heads armpits and genital areas. Probably a reason for that. Think about it.
I think pubic hair is meant as a signal of sexual readiness. It’s also a pheromone dissemination area. Personally, I like that little accent from an aesthetic POV as well. But in porn it obscures the “target area”. Penises look longer without it and sometimes vulvas are hardly visible.
There is also the aesthetic that body hair is somehow animal and crude.
Pubic hair does reduce the sensations in the genital area. Removing pubic hair exposes nerves to direct stimulation that really aren’t used to being stimulated so strongly.
You are advertising. We all know that shaving is for either fashion or sensuous reasons. When you see a shaven body, a judgment is made. It used to be that being unshaven was so universal that no judgment could be attached, but now being “natural” brings a judgment itself. And there is the implicit little boy/girl appearance.
Ironically, removing a signal of sexual availability becomes an erotic enhancer.
Wow! Great analysis!!
It’s all about personal choice and we both love being smooth. Plus we also enjoy seeing other smoothies as well but make no judgements on those who remain natural.
So there it is!!! 😀
Dan it makes one wonder why this subject and the erection issue keep coming up over and over. One would think we have surely moved past these things by now.
Yup. Agreed. Though I have some
young naturist friends who are trying to figure the whole thing out. That’s what inspired the post. And indeed, research shows… NOBODY CARES! 😀
I go to cypress cove a nude resort in Florida at least one time a week 98 percent of the people are smooth to me it just looks cleaner and neater
We definitely agree with that sentiment as well !!
100% agree. We see that too with some of the young newbies at the resort, basically things left unspoken get quickly sorted out.
Yeah… but without shaving and erections, most nudist/naturist fora would lose half their content. From a personal perspective, neither of these interest me.
As far as my pubes go, I’ve never been fond of them. Only during the first year or two that I had hair down there I let it grow uninhibited.
After that came the slight then heavy trimming, which inevitably ended in fully shaven pubes. And that was roughly 30 to 25 years ago. Well before the mainstream man would think of doing that.
It had something sexual (back then but that’s ancient history), however that has never been the main reason for grooming. Hairs just bug me, especially when wet. I mean, if I had to choose between cleaning a drain full of hair, or having a tarantula on my hand, I’d take the latter in a heartbeat.
Still that does not mean that I impose on others (including my wife) that they too should be hairless.
Because like you said once or twice, I don’t care what the others do, as long as they let me be me also! 🙂
A very well written article, keep up the down to earth good work, Cheers, Steve.
As a competitive cyclist, I have shaved pubes for a few years because pubic hair tends to get caught and pulled in my cycling shorts. Shaving lets me be cooler while riding in said shorts.
That said, I find it interesting that one of the common observations against pubic shaving is that it gives the shaver a “prepubescent” look. Can’t that same thing be said for shaving of any body part that naturally acquires hair during puberty?– the face for men, armpits and legs for women? Why is shaving of one area thought to be unnatural while shaving of another is normal?
Fair enough… and good question!
What a thoughtful posting, Dan. Thank you. Yes this is a loaded subject. I’ve been on the “groom and shave” side for quite a few years – first because I thought it looked nicer (influenced in part by the porn I watched) and second because I’ve aged and the hair that I have has disappeared from the top of my head and gone other places – from ears to butt to upper arms – places I never had any. Guys who combed a few strands of hair from one side of their heads to the other or forgot to deal with nose and ear hair drove me crazy and it took just one hilarious chat with a lady friend to learn that she disliked exploring through the underbrush down there (not mine). And why is it not uncommon to shift from light brown to almost black hair with aging? So now I have very short hair on top and very clipped hair or no hair (via waxing) everywhere else. I’m in pretty good shape for being in my seventies and staying relatively hairless gives me a more positive body image. Recently I took up yoga again and do two classes a week naked. There’s a wide range of ages, body types and grooming on display but when you get going it makes no impact – we are who we are. Now I’m off to the naturist beach.
Great response! And naked yoga!! You’re my hero! 😃
One of the signs of old age is losing hair where you want it and growing it where you don’t.
An interesting post, as ever, and I really think that although there may be some sexual side to all this, because we are, after all, pretty sexual animals, for genuine naturists it is simply a case of how neat and trim you want to look.
I have three more observations which, from my point of view, key to this question.
Firstly, one of the reasons I trim my pubic hair is that, in common with the hair on my head, it is going grey, and, down there, every third hair being grey just looks untidy. I have reached an age when I don’t really care, much, what people think about me, whether naked or not, but nobody wants to look like a slob if they aren’t one.
Secondly, few discussions on this subject seem to address the trouble involved in shaving a man’s genitals. It’s awkward, dangerous and can take a long time. You really have to want to be smooth to keep putting yourself through that.
Thirdly, speaking as somebody with more than the average amount of body hair, especially on my legs and arms, if I was to completely shave off my pubic hair but leave the rest, it would look really odd. And it would probably take me all day to achieve complete smoothness all over (and only last a few hours), so it’s not a realistic option.
By the way, I used to be embarrassed about being hairy, and while you might think that going naked made it worse, in fact it helped to cure me of unnecessary self-consciousness (some people are born hairy; get over it!).
So the answer, for me, is to trim, every couple of weeks. I recently bought an electric shaver with an attachment that allows a trim of 3mm, which is just right, and saves the stress of a blade.
Just gonna say…
Almost every response has made an inference as to why the isn’t really a topic, and why should anybody care. BUT… this post has received more hits and more responses than 95% of my posts.
I just think that’s interesting. 🙂
First off, Body Hair Migration And Management Thereof could easily be a whole blog unto itself. genetics play a huge role. The branch of the family tree I take after has the trait of EXTREMELY premature grey/white hair coupled with a complete lack of baldness. G’pa and his brother passed on at 100 and 97 respectively with full heads of hair.
I think a lot of the pubic hair issue is age-related. Among men my age almost all of us trim/clip everything from the eyebrows down but few of us wax or shave anything. The goal is not to reduce body hair, but simply to avoid looking unkempt. for many of us, if we let body hair grow wild, we do not wind up with a forest, but rather acres of scraggly undergrowth…. hence trimming and clipping.
Men more than 10-15 years my senior seem to not even have the concept of managing body hair. Fully shaved/waxed pubes seems to have an upper limit 40-ish with increasing popularity as one moves down in age. Similarly, the association of shaved/waxed pubes & genitalia with prepubescence seems to have a lower age limit of 40 or so.
WHY is this even a topic? I think the largest single reason was stated above. when a person has neatly coiffed hair on the head but no sign of hair care anywhere else, the disparity draws attention, even if one dismisses it after noticing.
These are just my personal opinions and conclusions drawn from my own observations.
Here’s another interesting insight…
A couple of days ago a reporter from a local newspaper wanted to interview us at a naturist resort. On her way over she inquired about the nudity rules and we told her that of course it would be appreciated if she would follow the (un)dresscode. She agreed. But mostly because her family had been talking about giving naturism a try and this would be a good occasion for her to get a first impression.
Anyway, of the four women in our company she appeared to be the only one who wasn’t shaved or trimmed. One of her first questions was whether as a naturist you’re required to shave below. Of course we told her that it doesn’t matter at all and that this was just a coincidence.
Then she shared her opinion about shaving. In her eyes, it doesn’t have any added value at all for her and she believed that women only shave to please their partner. As a bit of a feminist, she didn’t really like that idea.
What have we learned about this?
1. Even though lots has been written about shaving in naturism before, there are still people who don’t know about it. So this blog post was definitely not a waste of time.
2. If she didn’t have the balls to ask about this, she would’ve left with the idea that all naturist women shave. Meaning that either she would shave against her will for her next visit to a naturist place or that there wouldn’t be a next one just because of that.
3. People have all different reasons for shaving or not shaving.
We keep learning every day 🙂
I prefer the hairless look but only because i dont like body hair. I’m a 54 year guy and shave my armpits too. For me its a hygene thing. I also have tattoos and a prince albert penis piercing and some UK sites wont allow me there. Now is this very narrow minded?
I never shaved down below but a very assertive lady friend said (a) I am the one who has to be intimate with that part of your body and so it is my choice. (b) I walk hand in hand with you on the nude beach and I care about your appearance there.
My conclusion is that a man can live with a grooming he would not have chosen, and I am now most comfortable with public display if pubes are short and the moving parts are as smooth as she requires. (She calls it the submissive male haircut)
I go to a nudist resort once a week 98 percent of people are shaved smooth to me it just looks neater and cleaner
I go to a nudist resort once a week 98 percent of people are shaved smooth to me it just looks neater and cleaner
I am a sexually active gay male and shave my pole, crack and sack, keeping the bush hair above my genitals, because it works better in gay sex. The vast majority of other sexually active gay men do something similar. Your piece lacked the perspective of gay male nudists.
Also unexplored is the idea that completely shaving the vulva exposes a woman’s labia. I have heard some express the belief that a woman is only nude when her labia is fully visible. Personally, I don’t care, but I understand some heterosexual boyfriends and husbands bully women into shaving their vulvas for their approval and support.
Indeed… that was a perspective that I had not considered.
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First of all: do what you like.
When I met my wife to be, she had no body hair at all, she liked it hat way. I adapted and bacem smooth in the pubic region and do not regret. Looks and feels nice. No doubt that in the naturist community including saunas that it is the most most common, but do what you feel good with.
A few years ago I was teaching in Holland for a semester and my class was a mixture of US students and European students (as usual most of the US students were female — that is a common situations for Studies Abroad programs.) On Thursday evenings the students congregated at one particular bar and on one evening I was there at a table with a group of US girls and European girls (about five of each kind). In the course of conversation I mentioned that I had spent the previous Saturday at Thermen Roosendaal (no longer open). One of the US girls said, rather concernedly “Don’t you have to be naked at saunas?” to which I replied, “Of course, it’s the health department requirement.” The US girls were horrified but the European girls affirmed that it was part of the culture. I then commented that I was a little surprised that all the ladies there (well over a hundred, ranging in age from early elementary to grandmothers) were shaved except for one elderly lady and one pierced and tattooed thirty something. The European girls nodded their heads and one of them offered the position that they shave their pubes as soon as the start shaving their legs. I thought the US girls were going to choke.
HAHAHA…OMG! That’s amazing!!
It is much more common now. At our resort probably 95% of the ladies are smooth or with strips.
Shaving pubes is a fashion. Like any other fashion, it comes and goes. I understand that the current fashion started with the porn industry as a way to display the vaginal opening.
By the late 80s the “Brazilian wax” hit the US salon scene. It got its name and its popularity because of the microscopic bikinis worn on Brazilian beaches. One could not wear such minuscule things without exposing pubic hair unless you depilated.
Bodybuilders shaved their body hair to show off their muscle lines better and actors did the same but it was not a universal practice, like today. Swimmers did it to move more smoothly in the water. Shaving below the waist was unheard of for guys and would have been considered a witches brew of perversion when I was a kid.
It was the late 90s when David Beckham first popularized “manscaping.” And at the same time, the “boy-zillian” started to become a thing.
In ancient times removal of body hair was a popular aesthetic. Lots of examples of this among Greek and Egyptians. The tools used then were rather crude compared to today’s fine razors, shavers, and waxing.
I have issues with saying it looks “clean” and “hygienic”. The corollary to this is that men who don’t shave/wax look “dirty” and “unhygienic”. That’s just how minds work.
There’s a definite distaste out there for “bears,” men who have copious amounts of hair on their chests and backs – even if there are a few who make it into a fetish. I am convinced the preference for no body hair at all is far from universal. The random assortment of nudies I see – which includes a lot of non-nudists – does not look like most people put great effort in trimming things back.
I found this interesting survey online:
84% of American women said they removed some of their pubic hair
62% said they removed it all.
69% of men trim their pubic hair
17% shave it all away.
35% of men care for their pubic hair weekly
42% do it monthly
Except that I do not see that many women who are completely smooth. More like 20%. So it may be that the survey is somehow skewed towards a particular demographic. Much less popular in the US than elsewhere, I imagine.
I’ve shaved myself a couple of times and had a wax job once. Sexual sensations were stronger but the stubble from the shaving was not worth any possible benefits. I did not think it looked any better. The time I waxed, I had it waxed into a heart and dyed red as a Valentine’s day surprise for my significant other. She was amused once I’d explain what it was supposed to be.
We both love it smooth !!
The intense interest this topic always bring up is fascinating. I’ve never understood why it would be polarizing. You’re smooth, I’m not, so who gives a crap?
I’ve seen the same fuss over being circumcised on a smaller scale. Same flap over genital jewelry. And some places sre still unhappy over gays or people of color.
Our propensity for dividing over trivialities is ridiculous.
I LOVE your comments. Always insightful and to the point.
I’d probably do a lot mote actual posts if I didn’t spend so much effort in making replies. 🙂
HAHAHA! Actually, there’s NOTHING more affirming to a blogger than a thoughtful reply! 🙂
Many gay bears with hairy chests and big beards shave their dick and balls to facilitate oral sex. Heterosexual bears may be indifferent to pubic hair but big gay males wish to eliminate any excuse for a rejection.
I haven’t seen this perspective yet in any replies. About 30-35 years ago I was dating a young woman who mentioned that she loved the feeling of skin against skin when being intimate with a man and offered to shave me completely from the armpits down to my ankles. After some hesitation by me and “bribery” by my intimate partner, I reluctantly caved to her whim. The process of her shaving me was, in the very least, a sensual experience I have never felt before. The end result, no nicks or cuts I might add, was satisfying. This ritual became a regular thing for us as I also found that the skin against skin sensation was truly an incredible feeling. Sadly, we broke up about a year later, still remain friends to this day. As my hair started to grow back, it felt very uncomfortable, so I took it upon myself to shave my body. To this day I keep my body cleanly shaved except for a mustache and the hair on my head. I like the feeling and have had 2 wives since then and a number of women in between and afterwards that were curious as to the reason for my “smooth” appearance. I told them all the reason and their reactions ranged anywhere from surprised to indifference. A few of the women were already cleanly shaved but, the few that weren’t agreed to allow me to shave them and they all loved the sensation. To me, it’s a personal preference that just became a habit and daily ritual. I have gotten to were I can shave entirely in about 15 minutes. I am now 63 years old and I feel younger and believe I look younger with the no hair look. So, what started as a sexual thing ended up being a personal preference for feel and looks. I now dislike the appearance of body hair on people, but to each their own, and I never judge anyone for their abundance or lack of hair.
Great story and a terrific outlook on this subject.
I had a girlfriend back at least 50 years ago who was shaved. I was surprised, and pleased. It wasn’t until much later I saw a shaved man. Being a nudist, I do it as a matter of convenience, as I don’t end up with so many wood shavings when working in the shop.
At our neighborhood pool and hot tub parties, I used to be the only one shaved. Everyone must have liked it, as the majority are smooth now. Most of these people are not dedicated full time nudists.
The only times I feel odd is if I get company, and have visible stubble. I find that to be embarrassing.