This No Shave November and beyond…
In preparation for going to third-base with her camp boyfriend, 13-year-old Nora Schwartz shaved her pubic hair. No one told her to do it, but it just felt right.
“Shaving does make me feel good,” said Schwartz, now a senior at Indiana University. “But I didn’t decide that, someone else did.”
Pubic hair — once a ’70s female porn star staple — has become increasingly tabú and more unfashionable than crocs. Despite the inconvenience of grooming, Schwartz is among a whopping 84% of women who report shaving their pubes, according to a study published in the JAMA Dermatology journal. Here are three reasons why you should put the razor down and let the carpet match the drapes.
1. Shaving doesn’t make you “cleaner.”
Somewhere between the dissolve of the iconic bush and present day, pubic hair was stigmatized as unclean. 59% of participants in the aforementioned study reported shaving for hygienic purposes — but who said pubes are dirty?
Dr. Debby Herbenick, a sex educator at IU, believes that when porn ushered in the crazy of bare genitals, it unintentionally correlated shaving with cleanliness. In reality, shaving can lead to painful ingrown hairs and leave people with vaginas more susceptible to contracting STIs.
“Celebrity discussion from women like Gwyneth Paltrow and characters in Sex and the City created this idea that more people were removing their hair,” Herbenick said. “But fads disappear and things go back and forth all the time.”
2. It’s expensive.
Women love DIY projects, so it’s no surprise that 94% of women in the JAMA study reported performing their own grooming; which is great, because replenishing stockpiles of razors isn’t costly — until you do the math and calculate a lifetime’s expense.
The average woman shaves 12 times a month and spends roughly $16 on shaving products, according to a survey conducted by the American Laser Centers. That’s about $192 yearly, and $10,000 over a lifetime. Imagine the shoes you could buy with those savings (or the causes you could support!).
3. Does your partner even like it?
Many women believe their partner prefers a clean, shaven look, according to a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. Schwartz admits that she shaves because she wants to maximize her attractiveness and “get the best sexual response from the dude.”
But after seven years of actively grooming her pubic hair, she realized that the men she went out with never complemented her on the bare look.
“A common misconception is that all guys mind pubic hair,” said Josh Liss, an IU alumni. “But it’s a nice surprise when I see a girl who hasn’t shaved.”
Shaving for male preference is common within the heterosexual hook-up culture because the woman doesn’t know what her partner wants, according to Herbenick.
“The gamble you take is, ‘I feel more of them prefer hair free than not, so I’m gonna go hair free,’” Herbenick said. “But many people find out when they’re in a long-term relationship that most people just don’t care.”
Ladies — skip the chore and let the hedges grow wild. You can use that extra time in the shower for something else. ?
No Shave November is a movement to promote cancer awareness and prevention education. To participate and support the cause, please check out No-Shave November and get involved!
Header image edited by Marcy Gooberman