Women’s bodies are constantly policed and politicized. Just look at how we treat a female body hair. Women are constantly told to change/primp/shave/pluck/prep their vaginas (and entire bodies) in order to please their partners. The static state of the ungroomed pubic mound is considered unsavory, unclean, and dirty.
We'd like to challenge that societal expectation surrounding a person’s bodily maintenance. Women are conditioned to have so many insecurities when it comes to their bodies—it's high time we begin to delegitimize the porn ideal, especially when it comes to one's body hair.
But what if your partner one day mentions that they prefer your hair down there to be one way or another? Perhaps they love a full bush and you like to be clean-shaven. Perhaps it's the other side of the coin and they ask you to stay groomed and smooth.
So, the million-dollar question is: Should you shave/wax for your partner (or not shave/wax) if you’re in a long-term relationship? Here's how we look at it.
Body hair is natural and serves a purpose
Pubic hair actually serves an evolutionary and biological purpose. It didn’t get there on accident; it acts as a barrier to protect the vagina from harmful bacteria, which can cause bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections.
Pubic hair adds as a friction guard, shielding the tender labia from bumps and irritation. Additionally, studies have found that the removal of pubic hair can actually increase your likeliness of contracting STIs by 80%.
So, if you enjoy having a bush or landing strip, there are scientific reasons to back up your preference. That being said, when you’re in a long term relationship, the STI factor is off the table (assuming you’re in a traditional monogamous relationship) so, it’s really up to you.
In a word, waxing ain’t cheap
Full Brazilian waxes have essentially become the standard among modern women. Many men prefer it because it’s what they see in porn; however, it gives them unrealistic ideals of what a vulva is supposed to look like. According to a study, 62% of women report waxing off all their pubic hair to please a partner.
This is where the problem arises. You shouldn’t be doing anything for the sole purpose of pleasing your partner. Obviously, there are some requests that are totally reasonable, and we know relationships are all about compromise. But when you think about it, waxing isn’t particularly reasonable. Why? Because they are expensive as hell, not to mention the serious pain women are asked to endure.
“Waxing is expensive, time-consuming, and painful, shaving leads to razor burn, and I am in a long-term relationship," Hayley MacMillen writes in an article for Refinery29. "That doesn’t mean that my partner has stopped finding hairlessness sexy, it's just that I can ignore this fact without fear of turning him off, because he knows what to expect.”
That's not to say that some women do endure the wax because they actually prefer being bare. “I wax it all off, but that’s because I enjoy the way it looks," says Marie, 24. “Sure, I’ve gotten compliments on it, but if I didn’t want to be hairless, I’d have a bush and call it a day.”
Unrealistic expectations will do you in
When it comes to long-term relationships, you have to keep expectations realistic in all matters. Is it fine for your partner to request that you keep a neat crotchal region? Trim the pubes? Go for the full-on wax.
In a word: no. Unless you are ok with it. Your body, your choice.
And partners–remember what you are asking of her. Unless she is down to go to a waxing salon monthly and shell out her hard-earned cash to have hairs forcibly ripped from her most sensitive area or get uncomfortable razor bumps and ingrown hairs, then you should probably just accept the bush and move on.
And ladies—remember: pain and discomfort are not something you should endure to provide a pleasing aesthetic for your boo. That’s straight up silliness.
A good partner isn’t going to fault you for pubes
The bottom line: Anyone who makes you feel insecure about your body is not worth your energy. A good, understanding partner is not going to shame you for having hair down there.
“If someone had the audacity to comment on my pubic hair when I’m about to have sex with them, I wouldn’t have sex with them. That’s super rude,” my friend Sarah* told me over brunch (yes, we talked about pubes at brunch, don’t you?).
Being in a long-term relationship means loving a person’s body the way it is and respecting them enough to let them groom it in way that makes them feel comfortable. If you enjoy waxing, awesome. If you prefer shaving, get it girl. If you don’t, you do you.