Shaving pubic hair is a personal choice that many people ponder. On one hand, removing pubic hair can make you feel cleaner and more attractive. On the other hand, shaving comes with risks like ingrown hairs, razor burn, and skin infections. So should you take the razor to your pubic region or let your hair grow wild and free? Here is a comprehensive guide to the pros and cons of shaving pubic hair to help you decide what’s right for you.
Pros of shaving pubic hair
It can make you feel cleaner
One of the main reasons people shave their pubic hair is for hygiene purposes. Pubic hair can trap sweat, urine, and bacteria, causing unwanted odors in the genital area. Shaving removes the hair and allows better airflow, keeping things fresher down there. Many people feel cleaner without a dense patch of pubes.
It can be more visually appealing
Another common motivation for shaving is aesthetics. Many people find a smooth genital region more visually appealing than a bushy one. Since pubic hair grooming has become trendy, shaving can make you feel more attractive and confident. If you want your genitals to better match what is considered sexy in mainstream media, shaving is one way to achieve that.
It can increase sensation
Less hair means more sensitivity. For both men and women, shaving pubic hair can increase skin-to-skin contact during sex. More contact and less hair in the way can heighten sexual pleasure and sensations in the genital region.
It can minimize body odor
Pubic hair retains body odors like sweat. When you remove the hair, smells have less to cling to. Shaving can minimize unwanted scents in areas like the groin, labia, scrotum, and buttocks. This can make you feel fresher.
It can be more comfortable
For some people, thick pubic hair can cause overheating, chafing, itching, and discomfort. Removing the hair gets rid of this problem, allowing for a cooler and less irritated genital area. Less hair may also reduce friction during sex for greater comfort.
It can make clothes fit better
Pubic hair can sometimes peek out the sides of swimsuits and underwear. Shaving eliminates stray hairs for a smoother fit. Form-fitting clothes and lingerie may also look and feel better over hair-free genitals. This can increase confidence in how you present yourself.
It can improve oral sex
Oral sex can be more pleasant without getting long pubic hairs caught in your throat or mouth. For the receiver, the tongue and lips can glide smoothly over a shaved surface. This increased contact can enhance sensations.
It can be sexually exciting
Trying a new grooming style can be thrilling. Change sparks novelty, which can translate to sexual excitement. Some couples enjoy incorporating shaving into foreplay due to the vulnerability and sensuality of the experience. A smooth genital region can also indicate playfulness and daring.
It can make genitals more visible
Shaving gives you and your partner a better view of the genitals. With less hair in the way, you can see more detail and better navigate the sensitive areas. Increased visibility allows for more focused stimulation during foreplay and sex.
Cons of shaving pubic hair
It can cause ingrown hairs
Shaving pubic hair increases the risk of developing ingrown hairs. This happens when newly cut hairs curl back into the skin instead of growing straight out of the follicle. Ingrown hairs can become red, painful, and lead to infection. People with curly hair are more prone to this issue.
It can lead to bumps and irritation
Pubic skin is very sensitive. Shaving can cause nicks, bumps, and irritation like razor burn. This can be uncomfortable both physically and visually. The genital area is also prone to things like folliculitis, which causes small, itchy white bumps. Good shaving technique can minimize irritation, but not eliminate it.
It can increase risk of sexually transmitted infections
Pubic hair offers a protective barrier against skin-to-skin infections like HPV and herpes. Removing this natural buffer can theoretically increase vulnerability to contracting STIs through sex. However, research on whether shaving actually raises STI risk remains limited and unclear.
It can lead to skin abrasions
Dragging a blade across delicate pubic skin day after day can lead to micro-tears and abrasions. Small cuts provide openings where bacteria can enter and cause infection. This can diminish the protective function of the skin. Proper shaving preparation and technique reduces the likelihood of abrasions.
It requires frequent upkeep
Shaving pubic hair is a commitment. To stay smooth, you need to shave every couple days as hair starts regrowing. This involves time and maintenance using proper tools and products. Waxing and laser hair removal provide more permanent reduction but have higher upfront costs.
It can cause painful ingrown hairs
When pubic hair gets trapped beneath the skin instead of growing out, painful ingrown hairs result. Curly hair is especially prone to this. Ingrown hairs can become red, swollen, and lead to infection in the delicate pubic area. Proper shaving technique helps prevent ingrowns.
It can increase skin infections
Removing the protective barrier of pubic hair leaves bare skin vulnerable to contact infections. Bacteria from razors, poor hygiene, and sex partners might penetrate more easily, leading to folliculitis, cellulitis, and abscesses. However, good grooming hygiene minimizes infection risk.
It can cause ugly razor bumps
Shaving irritation leads to unsightly bumps on the pubic area. Razor bumps from ingrown hairs, rashes from shaving products, and pimples from clogged pores are common. Blemished skin might make you feel less attractive. Proper shaving methods reduce bumps.
It can create a stubbly feel
As pubic hair starts regrowing after shaving, it creates stubble. This prickly feeling can be uncomfortable. It might also irritate skin and be unpleasant during sex. Waxing causes less stubble compared to shaving.
It can increase friction during sex
Contrary to popular belief, shaving does not always reduce friction during sex. Stubble from regrowing hairs can scrape and cause irritation. A healthy amount of pubic hair actually provides padding to cushion friction. Too much or too little can increase discomfort.
It can cause cuts and bleeding
Shaving with poor technique and dull razors often results in nicks and cuts. Pubic skin is thin and delicate. Even minor cuts in this region tend to bleed more than other areas due to circulation. Cuts also raise infection risk. Proper tools and preparation reduce accidental shaving wounds.
It can appear less natural
Some people find a fully shaved pubic region to look prepubescent or unnatural. Hair down there serves biological purposes, so removing it entirely has an artificial look. Personal or cultural preferences influence social norms about pubic hair.
It can increase costs
Maintaining a hair-free pubic area has financial costs. Quality shaving supplies like razors, gels, and skin products add up. Waxing kits have high upfront costs. Laser hair removal requires ongoing treatments at $200-$400 per session. These costs might not make shaving worth it for some budgets.
How to shave pubic hair safely
If you do choose to groom your pubic hair, shaving safely reduces the risks:
Use a new, sharp razor
Dull razors snag and tug hair, causing cuts. Always start with a fresh, high-quality razor. Replace disposable razors after 2-3 uses.
Trim hair first
Trim lengthy hairs to about 1/4 inch before shaving. This prevents clogs and uneven shaving. Use small grooming scissors or an electric trimmer.
Exfoliate before and after
Sloughing off dead skin prevents ingrown hairs. Use a scrub or loofah to gently exfoliate before and after shaving.
Use shaving gel or cream
Lather the area well before shaving. Shaving products lubricate to prevent tugging, irritation, and cuts.
Shave in the shower
Soften hairs and open pores with warm water. Shower steam helps relax the skin as well. Always shave on clean, damp skin.
Shave in the direction of hair growth
Shaving against the grain causes more irritation. Go with the grain to minimize ingrown hairs.
Rinse after each swipe
Prevent clogged razors by rinsing after each pass over the skin. Change stroke direction each time.
Moisturize after shaving
Soothe freshly shaved skin with coconut oil, aloe, lotion, or moisturizing cream. This prevents itchiness as hair starts growing back.
Avoid super tight clothes after
Let vulva skin breathe by wearing loose cotton underwear after shaving. This prevents irritation and infections.
Watch for signs of infection
Seek medical care if you experience excessive redness, swelling, oozing, foul odor, warmth, or fever. These are signs of infection.
Other pubic hair grooming options
Besides shaving, alternatives like waxing, depilatories, trimming, and laser hair removal remove or reduce pubic hair:
Waxing kits and salons remove hair from the roots for smoother results lasting 3-6 weeks. Wax doesn’t cut skin like razors. But ripping hair out can be painful. Waxing often causes ingrown hairs as well. Costs range from $10 to $50 per session.
Chemical hair removers dissolve hair above the skin. Depilatories like Nair are cheaper than waxing with similar smoothness lasting a few days. But they can irritate sensitive pubic skin. Precautions must be taken to avoid chemical burns.
Using scissors or electric trimmers keeps pubic hair short for a groomed look. This avoids total hair removal. Quick daily trimming maintains length with lower irritation than shaving. Specialized bikini trimmers cost $10 to $50.
Laser hair removal
Lasers target the hair follicle to disable regrowth permanently after about 6-12 sessions. Each session costs $150 to $400 for the pubic area. While permanent, treatments are painful. The high costs don’t make sense for some budgets.
Factors that influence your decision
Deciding whether to shave comes down to personal preference based on various factors:
If you have sex partners, their pubic hair preferences might influence your grooming choices. Decide together on styles you both find appealing.
Skin and hair type
Those prone to ingrown hairs and razor bumps might want to avoid shaving. Try waxing or trimming instead. People with very curly or coarse hair are more susceptible to shaving irritation.
Frequent shaving adds up in razors and creams. Waxing, laser removal, and depilatories have higher upfront costs. Choose the most affordable long-term option for your budget.
Upkeep and effort
Shaving requires frequent maintenance as hair regrows. This means daily effort. Waxing and depilatories last longer but involve appointments. Decide your willingness to put in required work.
Do you prefer tiny swimsuits and underwear where pubic hair might peek out? Shaving provides a smoother fit. Or do you mainly wear looser bottoms where hair doesn’t show?
Maximum bare skin increases sensation but also irritation. Some hair might cushion friction better during sex. Decide your priorities for touch sensitivity vs comfort.
Shaving pubic hair is ultimately a personal choice. There are pros and cons to hair removal in the genital region. It comes down to your preferences, priorities, and individual factors. If you do shave, proper tools and techniques reduce the risks. But leaving your pubic hair natural is perfectly hygienic as well. Do what makes you feel most sexy and confident.