Awkwardette's Ill-Advised Guides

Awkwardette’s Ill-Advised Guide to Getting it On: On The Pubic Record, Pt. 1: All the Hairy Ladies

I get anxious about going on dates for a few different reasons. Am I going to say the wrong thing? Am I not showing enough cleave? Most importantly: what the fuck do I do with my pubic hairs?

Admittedly, my goal on dates is less finding a soul mate and more getting laid these days. And as we’ve established, I aim to please to a point where it’s pathological.

I think my obsession with pubic hair began when I started dating the biggest asshole I ever dated when I was 17. He was hypercritical about my pubes and suggested that I allow him to shave mine off. In fact, most women I’ve spoken to initially removed their hair at all at request of a partner. For some of us, the idea that our pubic hair is gross doesn’t occur to us until someone tells us so.

The ultimate accessory for the razor-nicked labia.

You can’t predict what kind of pubic hair a guy or a lady will enjoy. I have less experience with women, so I can’t speak to that (please share in the comments if you can), but I’ve found that older guys care much less (and are more likely to enjoy straight up bush), while younger guys prefer no hair. I think we can chalk this up to the fact that guys in their late 30s were probably were more likely to sneak a Hustler or Playboy that actually featured pubic hair during their formative years, whereas guys under 30 probably have been raised on the infantalization of women in porn and are more likely to prefer that. But based on my conversations, this can vary wildly, so that theory can pretty much be thrown out the door.

The real trends I think can be seen based on sexual orientation and gender more so than age. The cis-gender straight men I spoke to, generally, have pretty specific ideas on how they’d like their ladies to be gardened. Personally, I found a lot of these standards kind of impossible to live up to. Not too shaved, because it makes them feel like creeps, but not too hairy, because they don’t want to have to brush you out of their teeth the next day. Most of them seemed totally aware of how pornography and popular media has shaped their ideas and thoughts on pubes, and yet still held these standards without much of a challenge.

Sasha Grey: Pubic Hair and Existentialism Enthusiast

Part of me is still even critical of the “I was brainwashed by porn” excuse in terms of policing vag hair. Sasha Grey, one of the most well-known and celebrated (NSFW) porn actresses of our time, is a proud proponent of bush. I’ve seen a decent selection of her work (mostly the scenes with James Deen as her co-star – did GOOD scoop Persephone? I digress). Her pubic hair seems to be well groomed and abundant. About a year ago, after her appearance on HBO’s Entourage, young men took to Twitter outraged at Sasha Grey’s audacity to not shave for them. The Portland Mercury reported on her Twitter response, which I found admirable and confusing all at the same time:

A lot of bush comments after tonight’s #Entourage episode. If you’re curious…that’s what a grown woman looks like. Besides, I shave where it counts, I’m happy to contribute to making it ok again:) All “fashions” have their cycles!

I’m not sure where it counts either, but more power to her.

That’s not to say all hope is lost on men into ladies – I spoke to a few guys who have been actively working to overcome standards on pubic hair. AW had particularly interesting commentary on the trend of bare pussy.

AW is obviously not up-to-date on how creepy modern-day merkins are.

I will never understand the fashion trend of shaved pussy. And that’s all it is, fashion. During the Victorian era, prostitutes would have to shave to avoid lice, but they’d need to wear pubic wigs called merkins since the lack of hair made clients wary, probably of fucking a little girl. And really, that should make men wary too. Men’ve been too uncritical in their pornography consumption, and eventually begin to expect the same theatrics in their own sex lives. And women’ve internalized this”¦ The connection between an uncritical consumption of pornography and sexual fashion trends [have] really became apparent to me.

Another guy, AC (guys with names that start with A seem to like pussy hair, y’all, just sayin’), thought in a similar vein: “I think it’s because of the idealization of the Barbie Doll as a female ideal. No smells, no hair, no menstruation. They want to fuck women but don’t want them to be the natural women they are.” AC, however, is queer identified, which I think is important to note.

Wait, my vagina isn't supposed to be a hard piece of plastic?

Queer folks I spoke to generally had an attitude that was somewhere more along the lines of “What people do with their vagina is their own business, and I am just happy I get to see it.” Amanda put it succinctly when she said, “It only makes me sad when women feel like they have to shave or wax or be hairless. As I say, the only thing I have to do is stay Black and die.” My guess is that queer-identified folks have a better understanding of body and sexual policing and how harmful that can be – empathy breeds acceptance.

So with that, I’m gonna run down our different pubic hair options, and weigh the pros and cons for myself. If this interests you, I highly recommend you check out The Frisky Feminist’s take on this subject from a few months back, The Hair Affair. It shares a ton of awesome tips and information about pubic hair removal. Please share your own methods, and bonus points for sharing your own neuroticisms about it as well.

Au Naturale

I don’t do this. I know plenty of friends that do, and their rationale is, “I don’t give a shit.” I admire this. I know some girls who will straight up wear a bikini, lay out on the beach with their bikini lines half way down their thighs, and they seriously couldn’t be bothered about it because they really just went out to sunbathe. These women give me hope.

A bikini line that doesn't give a shit.

I don’t do this for a few reasons. My pubic hair, after years of shaving most of it off, is now sort of sparse. It’s my own fault for that reason, but even if it weren’t, I think I’d still avoid this, because I tend to find this, for myself, unsanitary. I also have a piercing, and when I don’t at least trim, it gets tugged at in the most inopportune moments like when I’m sitting in a lecture or meeting a significant other’s parents.

The most significant reason I don’t do this though is I fear judgment. I am spineless. Will someone see my full bush and read it as “I don’t take care of myself”? One guy I spoke to pretty much confirmed this fear when he said, “If it is kept neat, however, I lead myself to believe that the rest of her body, inside and out, is in working condition. If she takes the time to trim/shave/ whatever, she probably also brushes her teeth and washes her hair, regularly, right?” Not necessarily, in both directions.

I have been experimenting with this more because I think I am being just too hard on myself. As my friend D said to me, “If a full bush is good enough for a damn supermodel, it’s good enough for me.”


This is probably the most controversial of all pube-removing methods. The internet is out on whether this is good practice or not. There’s a real cost-benefit analysis that needs to be done before one shaves, and if you’ve never done it before, it’s difficult to know how your skin will react to it. Some people experience bad breakouts and in-grown hairs, while people like myself have been doing this for so long, a little aloe vera gel will prevent most unsightly problems. Bikini Zone gel is also really helpful, and helps with itching because of the ingredient lidocane, but I try to purchase all-natural, organic products these days (oh, the irony).

One thing that no aloe vera gel in the world can prevent? The dreaded vag stubble. D says, “I have dark brown hair, so really any shaving doesn’t really work ’cause it’s like a damn five o’clock shadow the next day. Plus you get bumps and all that shit, ingrown hairs, none of that is cute.” I have a similar problem. During a recent hook-up, I realized I started stubbling a mere three hours after I shaved.

Another confusing factor of the shaving method is how exactly do we shave? I don’t exactly have the kind of funds to buy myself a new Gilette Venus every time I need hair removal, but using a dull blade (and let’s face it, after one use on this Italian lady, they’re all dull) seems dangerous, and it just doesn’t get the job done properly.

Other folks swear by electrical razors. A former roommate purchased the Seiko Cleancut and reported pretty decent results from that. She was a full bush shaver.


I have never had a Brazilian. The thought of it makes me nauseous for a number of reasons. First, fucking ouch, right? D said, “I don’t care what anyone else says about it; it doesn’t get less painful the more you go [get it done]. Maybe slightly, but really, you’re still ripping hair out of very sensitive areas, which is not fun.”

The pain is really only part of it though (and anyone who has ever accidentally nicked themselves while shaving knows what I mean). What I can’t get over is having someone all up in my vag who doesn’t hold a medical degree. I think gynecologists need to start offering this service. Nothing against cosmetologists, but a med degree beats out a cosmetology license every time. Doctors are held to a standard of confidentiality and ethics, and I’m not so sure that is the case with cosmetologists (feel free to correct me if this is not the case; and almost all cosmetologists I know are amazing, stand-up people, but I’ve had some bad haircuts so I can’t imagine a bad Brazilian).

Not my ideal way to spend an afternoon.

It’s not just a selfish type of hesitation either – it also comes from a place of real empathy. I wouldn’t wish having to be elbow deep in vaginas all day on anyone unless they were making serious bank. I mean, I just recently started getting pedicures, and it took some serious soul searching/privilege checking to even allow myself to do that. My white guilt was off the charts when each and every time it’s a woman of color scrubbing my feet. That’s another article entirely, but let’s just say I don’t think there’s a tip large enough for me to feel okay about having a Russian immigrant rip out my pubic hair for me.  It’s totally respectable work, don’t get me wrong; I just can’t wrap my mind around it.


So, I’m probably never going to let the bush do its own thing–I think I’ll always be trimming or sculpting in some way. I’m a fan of my current routine – just trimming the fupa (or mons pubis for you scientific-y folks) and shaving the labia. I think it’s about finding what works for me, even though that sounds obvious. What can I do that is comfortable for me, that isn’t painful, that feels good even? I think it’s a part of my greater mission in learning to not give a fuck.

How do you all remove your pubic hair, if at all? Why do you remove it? How much do you consider your sexual partners when making grooming decisions? What makes you feel good?

This is part one of a three-part series: Next week, read all about men’s pubes, and the week after that, we’ll discuss butt hair. Let me know your thoughts on these topics in the comments (or drop me a line on Tumblr or @ me on Twitter), and I may end up quoting you! Stay tuned!

By awkwardette

Michelle M. aka awkwardette is a multi-disciplinarian. She moonlights as an activist while earning her big bucks making the internet easier to use. She also writes about pop music on and aspires to be Amelia Fletcher when she grows up. She prefers listening to The Jesus and Mary Chain when doin' it.

35 replies on “Awkwardette’s Ill-Advised Guide to Getting it On: On The Pubic Record, Pt. 1: All the Hairy Ladies”

I’m a bit late to the party, but I started shaving because my ex forced me into it. He actually told me that he was “disappointed” when we first hooked up and he saw that I had a bush. He also said it made me look like I was in my 40s (?!) and refused to go down on me. Eventually I grew to enjoy the feeling of bare skin, so now I shave every so often but not constantly. I usually use a razor with three or more blades, a shitload of shaving cream and put a lot of aloe vera or lotion on when I’m finished to reduce the amount of razor burn I get. My current boyfriend doesn’t give a shit about my pubic hair, and he’ll gladly go down on me no matter what state it’s in, which I’m grateful for because my ex really hurt me with his comments.

Ok, I must be weird, because I swear by my Venus. That and sufficient soap suds generally get me through my shaving just fine, and yes, with the guy I trim far more down there than I used to. Every once in a while there’s an ingrown hair or zit, but I’ve been shaving my legs fairly regularly ever since I’ve had leg hair, so they’re used to it. (This does not mean they can handle being shaved daily, especially the sensitive skin! Down time between shaves is completely necessary.)

TMI time!

First, less hair means he’s more likely to do oral, of which I am always in favor.

Two, less itchy stuff. I keep it trimmed, not shaved… soon after learning about shaving my legs, I shaved all my pubes to see what it was like. The itching when they grew back made me swear to never do it again. I’ll trim, that’s it. and yes, using his beard clippers on ’em before the shower works wonders.

Only recently did I begin shaving my labia, mostly because it means he doesn’t get chafed when we get in on in certain positions.

Back to the choice of razor:

I can get away with at least a month on one Venus cartridge, mostly because I take good care of them so they last longer. Regularly rinse and wipe them off, get all those little hairs out, let it dry completely between showers, you know. I don’t want to have to pay for more of those expensive disposable things than I have to.
Did try the Schick Intuition (it was on sale, venus went missing) and it works well, but for me the lotiony stuff goes away far too quickly. It’s great while it lasts though.

and just to be clear, I’m of mostly German descent and brown-haired with nice dark pubes. After three days the stubble becomes uncomfortable when I’m naked, so I tend to shave two to three times a week.


For all you ladies of Greek/Mediterranean descent, I salute you. I’m engaged to a Jewish man;  he’s not a bear, but there’s lots of curly dark hair around. Yikes.

I’ve found that women who are skeptical of the arguable “necessity” of diligent pube maintenance generally are not very hairy themselves and have no concept of how incredibly hairy other women can be (sort of like women with naturally great skin who claim that all us Accutane types need to do is splash with warm water…because it’s what they do!).  This stuff is often very hormonally influenced: if you have more hair follicles spouting there, you’re going to sweat more.  Your skin is more prone to acne/ingrown hairs/ingrown hairs that look like acne.  The hair grows to a length that causes noticeable bulging in underwear.  It adds to the period mess.  I really resent that women who don’t have a lot of hair have turned it into a matter of pleasing men for those of us who happen to be hairy.

I started shaving out of curiosity, for the most part.  For about a decade I barely touched my pubic hair, partly at the insistence of my mother that nobody needed to shave above the knees.  I built up to it with trimming with a pair of hair scissors (they’re sharper and move more easily than shears) and then finally decided to just shave.  I decided on the styling of a small landing strip and keeping the hair around my labia, which I trim short.

I started shaving out of curiosity but kept doing it for a few reasons.  The first is that it made my underwear fit better.  I’m at a point where I can’t afford to buy new underwear that’s a size bigger and without my (albeit impressive) bush it helped lay the underwear flatter and gave me more room.  Another reason is that since my hair grows so long it would get caught between my labia and rub like sandpaper, or sometimes sneak out past my underwear and get caught in the seams of my jeans (always while walking, where it got tugged on every step I took).  Lastly between sweat, discharge and sometimes blood I found the hair would just get nasty despite cleaning every time I got in the shower.  I sweat more without as much hair, but it’s easier to clean now.

Honestly, if my hair were a make-it-or-break-it things with someone we aren’t meant to be together, even for a one night thing.  As long as I keep myself clean there shouldn’t be a problem, but then again, I didn’t shave in above my knees for the first five years of my life because of my mother, so who am I to talk?

I’m lucky enough that I can shave and have never had ingrown hairs or razor burn, at least in my pubic area.  If I shave my armpits it burns and itches like crazy, so I just trim there now.  I know of a few people who like those sideburn trimmer thingys, the little electric shavers that look like a cross between a comb and a toothbrush, although they recommend to get the ones marketed for males because they’re cheaper for the same thing, just different colors.

great article! I typically use a beard trimmer on the labia and ‘sideburns’ to keep the edges nice and trim…  I suspect the difference could be an age thing. I remember getting really self conscious not long ago in a hot tub full o lezzies (I’m a queer girl btw) b/c I was the ONLY person with any kind of pubes. So, for a little bit, I started trimming back drastically. Until I met my current lady love who let it be known (she’s 39, I’m 34) that she likes a full bush. I’m not super into the whole jungle, so I still keep it clean down below, but I’ve grown back my little fur merkin. :) I actually feel weird when theres NO hair or almost none, cuz I’m shaped in such a way that you can then see my junk if I’m nude. I like to be naked, but If we ain’t intimate, you ain’t seeing my junk. So, yeah, I typically trim back the stuff I don’t want, and then use a razor on those parts once the hair is pretty minimal…saves wear and tear on my lady gilette :)

Generally, I don’t give a shit. That bikini line picture looks very similar to what’s going on in my pants right now.


When I’m dating someone, I trim it up a little. I don’t expect the men or women I interact with, sexually, to do anything about their pubes except keep growin’ ’em… but if they feel like it, that’s cool too.

If I’m going swimming, I’ll put the bikini on and shave off what’s visible. Sometimes. Most of the time, I’m not even thinking about a few hairs poking out until I get to the pool. Then sometimes, I’ll catch a glimpse of my pubes, and go, “Ah, shit. Oh well.”

Shaving my vag gives me nasty-ass ingrown hairs that turn into the most uncomfortable cystic crotch-pimples you can imagine. Fuck all that.

Anyway, this article was rad, and it cracked me up!

I have very sensitive skin and the rash/ingrown hairs/evilness resulting from shaving and waxing will never be worth the one or two days of perfect smoothness. I had a Brazilian this summer because I was curious and wondered how bad it really was (a bit of a masochist, this one). It was BAD. Never again, as someone else said. It was great for two days and then the regrowth began and I am only just recently free and clear of persistent ingrown hairs.

I’m a trimmer for life now :)

For a long time I was very much influenced by what my partner(s) liked, but I have gotten to the point where I like what I like and I’m not making those kinds of sacrifices anymore.

I have pretty much been shaving it off since puberty, and here is why:

1. Comfort. When I have pubes, they are itchy and uncomfortable.

2. Smell. When I have pubes, my cooter smells kinda bad, and I don’t like that.

I began shaving long before any guy had access to the goods, and I didn’t grow up seeing Playboy or being exposed to the idea that hair is ugly/bad. I just began growing it at age 11, and realized pretty much right away that pubes just ain’t my cuppa.

Same here! I just found it itchy, and I didn’t like that my vaginal secretions would get clumped up in the hair and dry (yes, I shower regularly and wipe properly; I am just a juicy lady, always have been). Also, I like how it feels when I masturbate when I’m hairless. My hairless vulva is all about me. If the dude likes it, that’s fine, but I do it for me.

I just went and checked Babeland (I was looking to see if they had something for anal hair a la Selena’s comment because I know I’ve seen stuff for it somewhere) and found that the people who make Sliquid lube? Make a shaving lotion!

If you’re looking for the closest, smoothest shave possible—no matter which body part you want to shave—look no further than Sliquid Smooth! The mango and shea butter help your razor glide freely across your skin, while the green tea extract softens the hair and moisturizes the skin. Perfect for any hair and skin type, and great for sensitive folks. Available unscented, or scented with subtle essential oil fragrances Honeydew Cucumber or Grapefruit Thyme. Glycerin- and paraben-free; vegan and not tested on animals.

Reviews range from okay if mildly creepy (Really, you’re going to mention accidentally full mooning your class in your review???) to decent to the point. Two people, both with sensitive skin, got two different results, though…

On Amazon, searching for “Anal Hair” brought up the Zombie Survival guide, which is hilarious, and now I’m curious about this Cleancut ES412 Personal Shaver thing that also came up. Other things that came up include Ointments that are supposed to numb you, but that sounds a little dangerous if you are shaving- maybe for waxing? 0_0

all the yes’s to this article. I cannot wait for the next two.

First off, I would just like to say that at the tender age of 26, I never thought my first grey hairs would be pubic. After years of keeping it nice and tight (much like a golf course) I decided to let it go buck wild to see what would happen. Grey happened. Greek genes happened. Now I just keep it at a minimum, a trim every now and then and maintenance if needed. Usually that comes as a surprise in the shower when I look down and think HOLY SHIT, IT TIMES TO SHAVE.

A few years ago, I dyed my pubes – hot pink and blue. I added sparkles. It was one of the happiest times in my life but it also gave my pubes a weird texture. Nonetheless, if you are ever looking for a fun habit, hot pink pubes with glitter will make you feel amazing.

I’m interested in getting vajazzled as a social experiment and writing about it for here. Something about a crystal butterfly on my tiddly bits for show seems awesome and yet, something about having a crystal butterfly on my tiddly bits when Im trying to get it on seems horrendous.


Hey, I’ll join your experiment but I was thinking of getting inappropriate things vajazzeled on me like hot dogs or perhaps advertising for an online casino.

I’m glad to hear that dying your pubes was a positive experience for you. I saw dye at Ricky’s a few years ago, and I have to admit the concept really went over my head, but I can see how it would be totally fun. What did you use for sparkles? I’d be afraid about glitter getting in my actual vagina and that just sounds terrible.

oh my god can we do a duo piece on vajazzling.

I used clear glitter mascara – they used to sell it at rickys and sallie mae but I havent seen it in a while, so they may have pulled it. either way, my pubes looked like pixie farts.

the one downfall of dyeing my pubes was the bleach process – if you have ever bleached your hair, may i just say thats its 2x as uncomfortable down below.

On a separate vajazzling note, I have a pipe dream of opening a vajazzling salon strictly for drag queens (however, no one gets turned away because vajazzling can be for everyone). It would be called Disco Ballz.

I think it would be amazing.

This thread is filled with so much win, I don’t even know where to start!

1. Dyed pubes!


Shit, I wish I had learned about this at a younger age, and many sexual partners ago. I had purple hair for a year and a half, and IF ONLY THE CARPETS MATCHED THE DRAPES.


3 & 4:  Hot dogs & interweb ads on the pubis.

So much win. I can’t wait to see what y’all write together.

I love this article like peanut butter.

I’ve noticed, as I’ve gotten older, that pubes migrate back the older one gets. What starts as a furry mound and labia becomes a hairy taint ‘n’ asshole too. I’d like to stage an official protest with The Powers That Be about this development. There’s no good way to get rid of asshole hair at home, and that’s not something I’d ask my worst enemy to do for me.


First time I shaved had nothing to do with another person, and everything to do with myself.

[TMI this paragraph!!!] I’d read about it before, but once I started menstruating the difficulty of keeping everything feeling okay was HARD. Blood in pubes is really uncomfortable, especially in a super hairy girl. So I started shaving for that. I’ve since figured out how to NOT make my pubes a mess that time of the month, but for a while? Life. Saver. [end TMI!!!]

Now it really depends on my energy levels. I’m Autistic and live with Chronic pain as well, so I just usually don’t have the energy to deal with them.

Plus, I’m of Spanish descent so I share the hairiness all over thing. (I even inherited my mother’s “Hobbit Toes”- which I’ve caught my niece petting! Ew!) Add in sensitive skin, and it is a royal pain in the butt- and the wallet- to keep shaved. On the other hand, I haven’t tried electric. That looks intriguing!

first of all girl, TMI does not exist in my mind.

second of all, i completely forgot about trimming due to period mess. i tend to take that for granted since i use mirena iud and haven’t menstruated in some time. totally good point, and i forgot all about that.

My sister is on Mirena! She’s told me I should get it- I get passing out in showers, vomiting, painful, horrible sickness seeming periods- because of how helpful it’s been for her. But we live in rural PA and even our relatively (for locals) progressive OB/GYN won’t do it for women who haven’t had kids. :-/

I’ve had Morning Sickness look alike (ha, isn’t it supposed to prevent that?) on the pill, but then again I get Nausea all the time. My dream is to one day get on a BC that will get rid of the pesky “time of the month” or at least limit them.

/mildly OT

Yes – I have the copper IUD and its amazing. Turned my life around. There are some downfalls, but as far as my experience has gone, the positives outweigh them. I got mine at the BK PP and it was on sliding scale, so it was about 90$ for an initial visit – installation(is that the right terminology?) and a follow up. Three and a half years later, I’m happy as a clam with it. But as awkwardette says, they are really misunderstood. I blame the fact that while the pill, as great as it is ( and everyone should do whats best for them) is something you have to buy every month, thus – $$.

I feel you! That’s why I started grooming my pubes – that hair gets really long for me as well, and my period was extremely heavy for the first few years after it started, and I hated how everything got all tangled up and clumpy. I tried trimming and found it much more comfortable (also, cut down on the getting hair stuck on the adhesive from pads – ouch). It was about that age that I also started having a lot more healthy vaginal discharge, which also made the hair get all tangled up, so I started keeping the hair on my vulva trimmed pretty short all the time. It’s just much more comfortable, for me.

Thanks for the Frisky Feminist shout-out, awkwardette! :)

I am currently bald down there, not because my boyfriend is a weirdo, but just because it feels cleaner. I am thinking about following your routine though – as long as it’s tidy and trimmed, and the sides are shaved, I think I should be okay. But thinking about any kind of bush during our 119 degree summers makes me want to kill myself. I’m pretty active, and I already get crotch sweat. Blech.

Acquire nail scissors and some private time (mirror optional). Trim hair to personal taste.

Pros: no pain (unless your aim is terrible); no money needed; no regrowth, rash, or infection issues; no ‘White Guilt’.

Cons: um… getting rid of all the offcuts can sometimes be a hassle, but that’s what hoovers are for.

A lot of my friends are getting laser removal done for their bikini line. I have to say, I used to be a bit judgemental about why anyone would bother, but I’d mostly only seen my own vulva back then, and I keep my mouth shut now.

I do think a totally hairless adult vulva looks weird – but it’s not mine and as a straight woman I won’t be having sex with it, so, you know, not my business. I do wish people were more aware of the cultural pressures and fashions around pubic hair – as you mentioned, the current fashion for Brazilians or more being influenced by mainstream porn and implications that a woman who doesn’t remove her pubic hair is somehow unhygienic.

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