You may have heard your girlfriends talking about it, or had it suggested at your day spa. We’re talking about going totally bare, which is a pubic fashion. Yes, styles in pubic hair, just like styles for the hair on your head, are subject to the whims of changing fashion. Depending on who is critiquing your pubic hair, your vag may not cut it.
If you’re a lady of a certain age, you may not give much thought to your pubic hair, other than to lament it going grey or getting patchy. Most women over 50 grew up in the years of the big pubic bush; neatly trimming it was all you had to do to be trendy. During the disco era and thong bathing suits and underwear, clothing fashion precipitated scores of women shaving or waxing their pubic hair into a style known as “the landing strip.” The “landing strip” gradually gave way to an even more radical trend known as The Brazilian. The J Sisters from Rio who opened their waxing salon in New York City -- Jocely, Jonice, Joyce, Janea, Juracy, Jussara, and Judseia Padilha –were permanently put on the map for their Take It All Off techniques, which Gwyneth Paltrow called “life-changing.”
Before you leap on the waxing table, know there is no medical or health advantage to removing all your pubic hair. The decision to go totally bare is entirely personal. Many women say they enjoy the silky smooth, baby soft results. Men of all ages expect it on the dating circuit. The trend is so ubiquitous you may be surprised to know that sporting substantial pubic hair puts you in a distinct minority. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
While totally bare down there is now a ‘normal’ look, many women of the boomer generation say it makes them nervous. It’s kind of a loaded political thing because it definitely brings up serious sexual politics. Older women who fought hard for women’s rights object to it because the style makes the vagina appear pre-pubescent, even juvenile.
Should you opt to give the totally bare look a shot, know that you have some choices. Shaving has to be done every day and leaves behind ingrown hairs and dark stubble. Waxing is the most common depilatory method, but not one easily attempted at home where it’s hard to get into all those nooks and crannies. At the salon, expect to remove your underwear and get on your hands and knees and open your legs wide for the aesthetician. Also expect a degree of pain. It’s a lot like having your upper lip or eyebrows waxed except the process goes on a bit longer. Results usually last a month to six weeks.
Laser hair removal is a pricey but permanent arrangement. Again, it’s not unlike having chin or upper lip hair removed by a laser. It hurts. There is a sting with every volt and jolt, and it can’t be done all at once. You’ll have to come back for several sessions. The results are permanent, which could be viewed as good and bad.
The good is you’ll never be bothered about your pubic hair again. Your pudenda will be as smooth and soft as an infant’s. The bad part is that one day the trend might change and pubic hair will be back in fashion. In that case you’ll have nothing to grow and will have to resort to a merkin. What’s a merkin, you say? It’s a pubic hair wig. They’ve been around since the 15th century. Back then vag wigs were used for health and sanitary reasons (to disguise the appearance of lice or venereal disease, actually). More recently Lady Gaga wore a blue merkin at the Much Music Awards, to match her head wig.
Eve Marx, who writes frequently about sex for Thirdage, is the author of eight books, including "The Goddess Orgasm."