Fire down below!
November 15, 2008 6:58 PM   Subscribe

I am a girl with incredibly sensitive skin. Help me stay free of rashes AND hair "down there"... or convince me it's not worth it (men, please reply).

I've tried waxing. I've tried shaving. Epilator? Check. It doesn't seem to matter what method I use, I ALWAYS get a rash.

Sure, it looks good for about a day, or even a week. But my skin is insanely sensitive, and I inevitably get a horrible, painful, scary-looking rash, especially along the edges where my groin and my legs meet. These rashes last 3-7 days.

I have had two long-term relationships where the guy didn't care down about having hair down there, so cool, I trimmed it. I'm single. Every time I am single, I feel OBLIGATED to be hair-free. So I try, but no method seems to work AND be non-irritating.

So far I have tried all of the following:

1. Using a new razor and sensitive skin foam after a bath
2. Professional waxing
3. Home waxing
4. Plucking all the hair with a rounded set of tweezers to avoid wax irritation
5. Nair (dear god never again lol)
6. Electric razor
7. Tend Skin and variations of that stuff
8. Clear deodorant
9. Only wearing skirts/dresses, no tight pants
10. Only shaving in the direction the hair grows
11. Epilator (yes really)
12. Exfoliating the area by every means possible

I feel like I want to have sex in the future, hence the grooming. But I can't always predict when sex will happen! So, guys... if you were going to have sex with a girl and there was some razor burn, primarily obviously on the... um... edges, how grossed out would you be? What if the girl had an STD test and showed you she was disease free, would that reassure you? Is a little hair better than no hair at all and a few red bumps? Ugh I feel so undignified even asking this. Help.

This is embarassing as hell. Throwaway account: embarassingashell at gmail.
posted by anonymous to Grab Bag (76 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Is a little hair better than no hair at all and a few red bumps?

In my opinion, yes, particularly if the red bumps would make you feel and act insecure or self-conscious. I am a 23-year-old male.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:13 PM on November 15, 2008


I am a man who enjoys finding that region hairless... but trimmed very very short with scissors or an electric trimmer is also fine. In fact, VERY short (like felt) is in some ways even nicer than shaved.

(And before I get shouted down: yes, it's a two-way street. I'm not a hypocrite on this one.)

I imagine scissors would not ever irritate you since you're never really touching the skin. If you have trouble doing this very well yourself (I cannot imagine), you could get help from an esthetician in a spa or a (very!) close friend.

As for the opinion part: If I discovered up-close razor burn, I'd probably think it was endearing that she tried so hard right before our date. I might even consider it a compliment. :)
posted by rokusan at 7:14 PM on November 15, 2008


Why do you feel obligated to shave? Are you somehow led to believe that the vast majority of men are averse to some natural hair? I don't think this is true. Are you so worried about the possibility of any man not liking hair that you feel it necessary to shave as a precautionary measure? I'm kinda dumbfounded by your assumption that you need to be shaved while you're dating around.

I'm just one guy, but I prefer hair over shaved, and I'm guessing that most of my male friends would respond similarly. This of course has a lot to do with the type of people I befriend. If a guy sees you naked for the first time and freaks out over you having some natural pubic hair, he's not necessarily a superficial idiot, but I'm having trouble thinking of what else he might be. If you've been seeing someone for a while and they bring up shaving, explain to the why it is so difficult for you and see where that conversation goes.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 7:14 PM on November 15, 2008 [11 favorites]


19 year old male living in college dorm.

Informal survey says: Chill out about hair. Men happy (desperate) to get laid.
posted by phrontist at 7:15 PM on November 15, 2008 [15 favorites]


My guy opinion? Hair is sexy. Routine shaving is weird and gross. It can be nice as a change of pace and all, but the hair is there for a reason. I wouldn't necessarily call the bare look prepubescent but it robs the area of much of its personality.

I think the only women I've seen who don't get at least a couple of ingrown hairs from shaving are in pornography. As in not real life.
posted by bunnytricks at 7:16 PM on November 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I wouldn't bother. I think it's just a fad anyway. If you get to the point with a girl when this becomes apparent, and it's a dealbreaker, there's something really really wrong with you.

As you pointed out, not everybody cares. Some people even prefer girls with hair.
posted by kpmcguire at 7:17 PM on November 15, 2008


I prefer hairless but a short trim is fine. As long as I don't have to deal with a hair jungle down there.
posted by puke & cry at 7:22 PM on November 15, 2008


nthing everyone else who said don't shave it... that look and (feel) has never done it for me at all...
posted by Chairboy at 7:23 PM on November 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


What if the girl had an STD test and showed you she was disease free, would that reassure you? Is a little hair better than no hair at all and a few red bumps?

I'm a girl, so you might not care about my opinion, but I react similarly to shaving. For about a year in college, I felt totally pressured to do so (mostly because my female friends convinced me I was weird for not shaving . . . thanks, guys!) and sex itself was often uncomfortable because I'd be so irritated. You know, physically. Eventually, I gave up on it, except for "special occasions." Each time I shave, I swear I'm never going to do it again. It's so miserable feeling!

Sex feels better when your skin isn't puffy and bumpy and rashy. I say, go for sex that feels good for you. Additional data point: while my SO prefers the look of shaved, he minds picking out hairs less than getting "beard burn" during oral. Can't say that I blame him.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:26 PM on November 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


As a girl with the same problem DO NOT exfoliate. Contrary to the advice in women's mags etc this only tends to make things worse as you are irritating already irritated skin.

Have you tried depilatory creams? Stinky and messy but you may fine one formulation that works and doesn't irritate your skin. Lasts as long as shaving.

Also try an over-the-counter low steroid cream for the rash - not good for long-term use but they can help in the short-term.
posted by jasperella at 7:27 PM on November 15, 2008


So, guys... if you were going to have sex with a girl and there was some razor burn, primarily obviously on the... um... edges, how grossed out would you be?

To be perfectly honest and please don't take this personally, I'd wonder why she'd put herself through such pain for such a trifling reason and wonder if this was a signal that she had issues and I should run like hell.

But then again, I keep a constant 5 o'clock shadow because I get razor bumps easy, so actually being cleanshaved makes no damn sense for me personally. Were I to date someone who didn't like beards or shadow, we wouldn't date long, if at all, because there's no way in hell I'm making myself uncomfortable in that manner for someone else. Ain't worse it. I figured this out after a nasty chemical burn on my face from a special shaving cream designed to prevent razor bumps. Fuck that, it's just now worth it, you know?

Who gives a shit what he likes, it's affecting YOU. I have no idea why you feel obligated to shave when you aren't dating, it just sounds weird and strange. Knock it off, you're sexy enough without it.

What if the girl had an STD test and showed you she was disease free, would that reassure you?

At this point in the relationship, you and the potential guy should have talked, you would have brought this up, the guy, if he was decent, would said "whatever makes you truly comfortable and isn't painful," you'd stop putting yourself through misery and things would be good.

Is a little hair better than no hair at all and a few red bumps?

a little hair is better. Any guy who complains about hair should be told to either "STFU and the get out" or "Whatever, just get to work."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:30 PM on November 15, 2008 [9 favorites]


You're hardly obligated to keep the floors waxed, and I say that as someone who somewhat strongly prefers it. If you actually like things that way, well, keep experimenting and you'll either find a solution or be forced to give it up. But don't torture your ladybits because of a false sense of obligation!

So, how grossed out would I be? Well, not at all, really. Razor burn looks a little scary, but it's just razor burn. My primary concern would be that it's a source of discomfort. Most distracting would be worrying about what I would or wouldn't get to do with you because it might hurt or irritate, because as the hypothetical sex partner I want you to enjoy what we're doing. A lot. If the razor burn gets in the way of that at all, the razor burn's got to go!

"Is a little hair better than no hair at all and a few red bumps?"

That's a subjective call and you're going to see a diverse set of answers. In my opinion, I'd rather a few red bumps if and only if said red bumps weren't irritated or sensitive. And as you say, it is. What I get to actually do with a partner is vastly more important than their preference in floor care regime.

As for getting the result you want -- assuming it's actually what you want and not something you're feeling socially compelled to do -- I've had pretty good luck with something called Magic Shaving Powder. Comes in an old-fashioned can with a pry lid.
posted by majick at 7:30 PM on November 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do you moisturize down there? After I shave I use Neutrogena Body Oil (similar to baby oil) and massage it into the shaved area. That keeps my bumps at bay.

(But maybe you're implying that, duh, your skin is so sensitive that of COURSE you've tried that and you still get a rash, in which case, sorry. :) )
posted by iguanapolitico at 7:37 PM on November 15, 2008


~ My guy opinion? Hair is sexy. Routine shaving is weird and gross. It can be nice as a change of pace and all, but the hair is there for a reason. I wouldn't necessarily call the bare look prepubescent but it robs the area of much of its personality.

This, exactly. It isn't the sort of thing where I might stop seeing a girl because she was shaven down there, but it wouldn't be in the plus category, either. If your only options are (1) a little stray hair or (2) irritation, I would aim for the former, personally, but if a third option to not shave or wax at all is available, I'd suggest that to any girl, especially one with an irritation problem.

Also, I know that some men would notice the lack of hair, coupled with the irritation, which suggests frequent hair removal, along with your quick access to recent, clean STD test results, and conclude that you are conclude that you may get around a lot.

I'm not getting all boy-zone, I don't care at all about the activity of your sex life. But that is a conclusion that some people would draw from that.

25, male
posted by paisley henosis at 7:40 PM on November 15, 2008 [1 favorite]



I feel like I want to have sex in the future, hence the grooming. But I can't always predict when sex will happen!


No man has ever stopped having sex because of hair and I doubt anyone gets dumped for this. This seems like a manufactured myth like "blondes have more fun." Not to mention, the subconscious message of being completely shaven is "Its like being with a prepubscent girl!" If trimming worked for your past boyfriends then it should work for your future ones. Dont be so obsessed with this.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:45 PM on November 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


You realise that you're talking about ways to "free" yourself of a totally normal, natural thing, at some risk, pain and discomfort, for an erstwhile male who does not even exist. That strikes me as desperately appeasing behaviour. You might want to think about that a bit because it reads as fairly disturbing.

Trying to guess what the next guy might like or prefer is like trying to guess if your next date will like sushi. He may. He may not. But if raw fish made you ill, don't you think the two of you could maybe find some other, compromise foods you were both happy with? Would you spend all the days between dates choking down wasabi?

You should do what makes you comfortable - because it's your body and you have to live in it 24/7 - not subject yourself to a "horrible, painful, scary-looking rash" in the desperate hope it will please some guy. Clearly depilatories do not work for you and your skin. They should consequently and reasonably be taken off the menu. If trimmed is your personal next preference, than by all means, trim away. You can even use an electric razor for a DIY buzz cut.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:46 PM on November 15, 2008 [13 favorites]


I'm a married female in a non-sexual marriage, so take my advice with a huge grain of salt. If you have the money, or will at some point in the future, get laser hair removal (and not IPL, which is not a laser). I've had a series of 5 sessions on my legs with good success and only 1 on *that* area which does thin it out a bit....I'm sure 2 treatments would be even better results and then you could just trim the remainder hairs (which would be the least course to begin with) and I think that would be the best in both worlds.
posted by texas_blissful at 7:46 PM on November 15, 2008


This looks like a job for Logic!

Given: shaving causes irritation.

Assumptions: 1) There are three types of guys - those who prefer a clean undercarriage (a), those who prefer hair (b), and those who don't give a damn (c). 2)A man of category (a) would eventually develop a certain resentment if the expectation of hairlessness was broken.


Proof:

Shaving will please (a) and (c). Not shaving will please (b) and (c). Hence, not shaving will only displease (a). Keeping hairless will also displease you (d) due to irritation.

Further, assume that (a) will have a one night stand with you even if you are not hairless, as guys tend to want sex regardless.

If your aspirations are for more long term relationships, and if that hypothetical long term relationship is with a man of category (a), then that relationship would hinge on being clean shaven.

Keeping up a clean shaven undercarriage will eventually prove to be too discomforting for (d), and so any efforts to maintain hairlessness will end badly. Result: end of relationship due to assumption 2).

Male categories (b) and (c) are not affected by lack of hair removal.

Conclusions:

One night stands are not affected by hair volume. Longer term relationships may hinge on relative removal of hair, but if that's the case you probably don't want to be with that guy anyway, right?
posted by backseatpilot at 7:47 PM on November 15, 2008 [19 favorites]


Seconding laser - I'm surprised more people haven't brought it up yet, if you're really determined to find a "solution." I'm a loyal fan of waxing personally, and I'd rather save up enough to get laser treatments on my legs (where shaving annoys me the friggin' most). But the moment I'm financially able to and the moment I can bring myself to sit through the process, that'll be my choice. I've seen a single treatment go between $150-200 at several locations, so if you can save up that much every month, it'll make a huge difference. I've already had my underarms done and the results make me want to dance.

Take it under consideration!
posted by Bakuun at 8:00 PM on November 15, 2008


You realise that you're talking about ways to "free" yourself of a totally normal, natural thing, at some risk, pain and discomfort, for an erstwhile male who does not even exist. That strikes me as desperately appeasing behaviour. You might want to think about that a bit because it reads as fairly disturbing.

Word. This seems to be one of those things that women convince other women of for some reason. If YOU prefer being shaven (which seems unlikely, since it's causing you some major problems), then go for it, but if not, why are you doing it? Maybe it's because I'm an old married lady or something, but any guy who's going to base his decision on your net worth as a girlfriend/sex partner/whatever on whether or not you shave your bits is someone who is Not Worth Bothering With. It's one thing to do as part of midnight ramrod sexcapades fun in a relationship, but it's a bit disturbing that you think this is a requirement for dating.
posted by biscotti at 8:02 PM on November 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Just don't do anything permanent... like a laser treatment. My vote is for 'neatly trimmed'.

Us men here in the gay world went through the hell of plucked, shaved, and waxed through much of the 80's and 90's. Dude's were shaving EVERYTHING. Thankfully I was never a fan of it, and ever better hair is now back 'in'. The straight world is going through the same thing now - everyone thinking they need to look prepubescent. Gross.

What's wrong with some trimmed hair? It's just naturally YOU after all. Embrace and cultivate thy inner hirsuteness.
posted by matty at 8:11 PM on November 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you have dark hair and light skin, laser might be an option.

My doctor for tattoo removal also does laser hair removal and I had him do a test patch on my chest (I am Caucasian with pale skin and medium brown hair) and it had astonishingly good results. Hair gone. Irritation for several hours, on the level of a sun burn. And the hair has not recurred.

It can be spendy, but I think it is worth it long-run (though ask me in 3 years how it is going from then on, everyone else I've met in his office gives him rave reviews).

Also as a male, I appreciate furlessness, but furry girls have an allure of heir own- I dated a stereotypically French girl and found her furry legs, armpits, etc sexy.
posted by stewiethegreat at 8:14 PM on November 15, 2008


Generally speaking, and purely anecdotally, those men like myself who prefer less hair do so for two reasons: 1) it doesn't look like an unkempt jungle, and 2) it provides easier access and a more pleasurable oral experience - for the giver.

If you're experiencing so many issues going bare, just keep things nice and trim (and clean).
posted by whycurious at 8:17 PM on November 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Every time I am single, I feel OBLIGATED to be hair-free


um, what? I don't know who convinced you that single girls must be bare down there. You said yourself due to your skin sensitivity it is a seriously unpleasant job for you with pain that persists for a days and days. EACH TIME! Why you continue to choose to do it even though you clearly kinda hate it is kinda nuts. Honey... liberate yourself from this belief that to have sex you have to be bare. I fully support trimming, but going through pain to make yourself totally bare (which I think makes girls look like preteens for the record) when it isn't necessary is insanity. In a non-patronizing way, I am curious as to your age. This belief and reddiness to do something pointedly unpleasant that leaves you uncomfortable and rashy for days and days every month or so seems out of touch.

Also, backseatpilot made a lovely little equation to help you in your decision. :)

Double Also, if a guy demanded that you shave and wouldn't be with you if you didn't... uncool. That guy is a dick and he can take his hairless fetish (which is what it would be) elsewhere.
posted by gwenlister at 8:20 PM on November 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


frankly, your better off staying away from people who demanded you shave down there. People who try to make others fit their idea of a perfect mate are usually not good long-term mates. A one-night stand isn't going to complain and run away, so I wouldn't worry about them either.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:35 PM on November 15, 2008


Have you tried sugaring? Very similar to waxing so it may not be good for your sensitive skin, but the formula is different and more natural. I've had good success with it in the bikini area (and in the past, I've had horrible irritation/ingrown hairs with waxing, so I refuse to wax anymore). And man, I'd be all over the laser option if I had the money right now.

I also nth what everyone else has said about keeping the area the way you want it and the way you're happiest. I really think most dudes couldn't care less about how things look down there and frankly, you shouldn't care all that much if they do.
posted by pised at 8:39 PM on November 15, 2008


Every time I am single, I feel OBLIGATED to be hair-free.

And if you aren't, what's going to happen?
posted by grouse at 8:44 PM on November 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


You are wrong about what men want, and you're wrong about what's necessary to get sex.

I say this out of love and concern, because I have gone through the same sorts of thought patterns: stopit. Life and dating isn't about making yourself worthy of some random dude's sexual interest. It's about finding someone who's a good match for you, given who you are. That holds as true not just for long term relationships, but also for drunken one-night stands. (Albeit, the standards and requirements are lower for the latter..)

You don't expect a guy to perfectly fit your conception of masculine beauty, do you? You don't refuse to have sex with someone if, halfway through the act, you realize he has pubic hair, do you? Don't expect guys to be that shallow, and don't think it's your job to live up to the standards of those few guys who might be that shallow.

You're getting a good chorus of people telling you that you shouldn't feel obligated to do anything to yourself you don't want to do just for sex. Listen.
posted by Ms. Saint at 9:08 PM on November 15, 2008 [3 favorites]


Every time I am single, I feel OBLIGATED to be hair-free.

That seems strange to me, as a man, but maybe I'm just insulated from these sorts of pressures in the same way I don't have to worry about push-up bras. I'm not single any more, but I can remember vividly how exciting it is, the first time undressing with a new person and seeing what they look like under their clothes. Hair/not-hair is part of that enticing mystery, and I would be sorry to see it turn into a sort of homogeneity.

Have you experimented with what someone suggested above -- using a trimmer to cut the hair short, but not to the skin? Depending on how stiff and prickly your hair is, try cutting to 1/8 to 1/2 an inch in the areas you are wanting gone. That will let you give the "well-tended" appearance that you seem to be wanting, without the irritation that shaving gets you.

I think the laser suggestions are a bit premature, since you've had some long-term relationships where the guys liked hair -- they might have been quite dismayed to find you'd permanently made yourself hairless.

And, have you tried a new brand of clothes detergent? Is there any chance that your irritated skin in the folds between your legs and crotch is getting a rash from this? It's a long-shot, but really cheap and easy to test.

Speaking only for myself, I would far and away prefer hair (or trimmed hair) to razor burn, especially if by "razor burn" you mean a painful-looking eczema-style rash. Not sexy. (And if some dude gives you a hard time about your pubic hair, I think that it's fair game to laugh at his small package and kick his ass to the curb. Life is too short for that kind of silliness.)
posted by Forktine at 9:11 PM on November 15, 2008


I would think about it this way:

Would you stop immediately upon taking a man's pants off because of the size of his penis? Whether or not someone has a preference, once they're there to see it, there's really no going back. So what's the big deal?
posted by sunshinesky at 9:16 PM on November 15, 2008


Perhaps I'm too old at 38, but in my experience being "hair free" is something that women do occasionally, perhaps as a treat for a favoured partner, except in porn, which I can tell you has very little to teach you about normal sexuality, bodies, etc. I can see the discomfort of depilation being something you tolerate as a favour for someone you cherish, but seems weird as something you do speculatively for some slob whose only criterion for sexiness is hairlessness.

I do remember seeing a rash (you should pardon the expression) of mainstream media articles in the early 2000s about brazilians, which were moving from being a novelty in Anglophone culture into something ordinary people might do - in retrospect this was simply another marketing/advertorial attempt to persuade women readers that "everyone's doing it". In fact, I rather doubt that they were then, or that they are now.

Personally, neatly trimmed is far sexier than bare and bumpy.

Finally, assuming there was attraction before you got naked, then if you have had a shower in the last 24 hours, cleaned your teeth today, and you don't have obvious disfiguring skin conditions, that will get you 95% of the hetero male population. The other 5% are going to be trouble if you pander to them anyway.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:16 PM on November 15, 2008


Let me keep this short. I like hair. Trim or bushy. I don't like bumps. Red bumps say "run away!".
posted by orthogonality at 9:16 PM on November 15, 2008


You know, I'm trying to imagine this chap. Having been favoured by Ms Anonymous, he surveys her furry charms and recoils. "Eww! I can't put my penis in there", he cries, before yanking his pants back on and running out of the room.

Who wants that guy?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:25 PM on November 15, 2008


Just keep it trimmed, and fuck the dudes who get freaked out.

That said, I have heard the CleanCut is the gold standard of trimmers/shavers for the hair down there, so if you're willing to pony up the cash you may get a better result than with what you currently have. Liberal use of baby powder also tends to prevent rashes/irritation.
posted by schroedinger at 10:04 PM on November 15, 2008


Hairless? I'd hit it. Hair? I'd hit it.

Crude, but clear.

M/24/CA
posted by zhivota at 10:43 PM on November 15, 2008


I really think the message you're looking to get across to a potential partner (and, speaking as a guy here, what's actually impressive) is that you've gone to a certain amount of effort to groom yourself and prepare yourself, for lack of a better phrase, which all sort of translates into a confirmation that you want sex.

You can communicate that just as effectively by trimming as by shaving, I think. With the exception of the minority of men that have a particular fetish/desire for absolute clean-shavenness down there, it'll be much the same thing. (And as this thread so far demonstrates, there are probably at least a few guys who would be slightly off-put by that, so it's a wash anyway.)

But all of this is small beans compared to what makes you comfortable and confident — that has a far greater effect on 'sexiness' than anything you're going to do physically.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:51 PM on November 15, 2008


I like a clean workspace as much as the next guy but you need to seriously reconsider some priorities. Don't cause yourself great amounts of pain and grief for nothing. Keep it trim and enjoy yourself.
Any douche that demands a girl shaves doesn't deserve you or anyone for that matter.

Being a guy with a permanent cashmere sweater on, I can really relate to hair issues. I have had my back waxed a few times and yes it does hurt like a mofo but I luckily have never had any issues (well other than it takes about 1.5 weeks to start again, ohh and the itching).

Trim is the way. Leave the hairless p*ss for porn stars or special occasions. ;)
posted by boomcha76 at 10:57 PM on November 15, 2008


44yo male here.

Hairless smooth skin down there OK.
Stubbly skin (that was hairless yesterday) unpleasant to smooch.
Long PH gets in the way - of oral visits, and the general nice view.
Moderate to short trims are best, as long as the hair isn't short enough to qualify as stubble.

Red bumpy skin with impacted hairs = NOT SEXY!
posted by IAmBroom at 11:15 PM on November 15, 2008


Just a good trim is fine. Hairless looks... like a little girl. Weird.
posted by number9dream at 12:04 AM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Only a crazy man is going to run screaming from the bed if he finds you have some hair down there. I mean, really, think this through. You meet a guy, he likes you, you end up liking each other enough to get naked together and then he decides sex is a no-go based on a little hair that nearly everyone has?

Sheer craziness, and you should consider yourself lucky that you learned of his craziness early on in the relationship.
posted by chiababe at 2:04 AM on November 16, 2008


Only a crazy man is going to run screaming from the bed if he finds you have some hair down there.

that's what I thought, too. then I saw the biggest, baddest, thickest beaver I have ever seen. that lady practically had hair up to her belly button. a bald man could have been very happy with that mop. ouff.

so this vote is for some gardening. I don't think people care all that much if you keep it short or have it chopped off altogether but just don't let it grow unchecked for ages. that's just scary.

have you tried men's razors btw? I notice the kinds of things you non-boys shave your legs with are incredibly shitty. it's as if the manufactors give you the worst blades they have, put them into some white and pink shell and think you won't notice. I'd try that, some nivea sensitive shaving gel and some after shave balsam (try also nivea, that stuff works for my head pretty well).
posted by krautland at 5:11 AM on November 16, 2008


I would really say you ask yourself why you think you should be bare. As a guy who has been with a couple girls, it is kinda hot when that first time you slide off the panties and there's very short or trimmed or even bareness, it kind of says "ohh she was thinking ahead about this!" or "she's a lady on the street...", or whatever. It's also not necessary. If you think that you need to be some legs-behind-the-head-bleached-butthole-pornstar for the guy, then...fail. Rethink that.

I've been with a couple girls who hadn't ever shaves besides their bikini line, but as someone who enjoys very, very much going down on a pretty lady, I asked them to trim up the bottom part by the labia---don't care about the mons so much. They all did, then were all kind of amazed by how much different both oral and traditional sex felt. Even moreso when I returned the favor in kind by a little trim as well. They also then both experimented with removing more hair from the mons area, and both decided they preferred it very short or shaven. One said that she just felt sexy all the time, knowing she had a secret that people couldn't guess and that kind of drove me wild. The other one just feels cleaner that way for some reason, but says that she really really likes the way her underwear feel when she's shaven versus bushy. They also both became sexy-underwear freaks sometime in there.

Don't really know, I'm sure it's some kind of male-enforced-porno-backed horrible thing that's been done to women, but that being said I much prefer it. At least down below. Spitting your pubes out at 2am, not so hot. Smooth thighs and girly bits all over my face? Yes please, sign me up.

For you I think I would recommend scissors or beard trimming electrics (the ones that look like head razors, not face razors, the little tiny ones.) and focus on being shorter versus balder.

Also, triangles? Hot hot hot.
posted by TomMelee at 6:11 AM on November 16, 2008


As a lady who once shaved "the area" in a manic fit and then had to let it grow out due to sensitive skin like yours, and then mid-growth started dating someone - guys really don't mind the middle ground. There was no point post-coitus where my area was evaluated in terms of proper grooming and maintenance. It was clean, the sex was good, and I was free of itching.

krautland mentions men's razors: I haven't gone that far, but I do use men's shaving cream for grooming the area. I started this when I ran out of my own one day and just used 'moonMan's instead and I've found that it actually works better. And doesn't smell like potpourri just exploded on my cooch. I do keep the area trimmed in your typical "landing strip" configuration and it passes inspection just fine.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:13 AM on November 16, 2008


razor burn - yuck.
hairless - eh, okay.
hair - yummy.
lots of hair - yummy yummy.

that's what I thought, too. then I saw the biggest, baddest, thickest beaver I have ever seen. that lady practically had hair up to her belly button. a bald man could have been very happy with that mop. ouff.

Sounds sexy to me. 38 male here.
posted by bradth27 at 6:16 AM on November 16, 2008


Yup, seconding IAmBroom's breakdown. Shortly trimmed has all the benefits of shaved (looks nicer, shows you put some effort into it, etc.) and none of the downsides (rash for you, stubble for your partner).

Take an electric razor or a pair of scissors to it and don't think yourself stupid.
posted by DLWM at 6:18 AM on November 16, 2008


Every time I am single, I feel OBLIGATED to be hair-free.

This is nuts. It seems apparent even from the comments here ("I like a clean workspace as much as the next guy," "I prefer hairless but a short trim is fine") that there is a fad these days for hairlessness, which seems bizarre to this baby-boomer (in my day, we liked hair), but it can't possibly be prevalent enough to justify such a sense of obligation (as is also apparent from this thread). Do what's right for you; trust me, you'll have a fine sex life, and you'll enjoy it more.
posted by languagehat at 6:51 AM on November 16, 2008


Even moreso when I returned the favor in kind by a little trim as well.

You know, very few men ever ask women about this, but I have to get my two cents in--having encountered bald packages, I felt it just kind of . . . silly looking, and it makes no difference to the sexual experience what-so-ever. At this point in my life and relationship, I can't even imagine my SO shaving his pubes. I like them, and it would be like he was desensualizing himself, for no apparent benefit.

It seems apparent even from the comments here ("I like a clean workspace as much as the next guy," "I prefer hairless but a short trim is fine") that there is a fad these days for hairlessness, which seems bizarre to this baby-boomer (in my day, we liked hair), but it can't possibly be prevalent enough to justify such a sense of obligation (as is also apparent from this thread).

It's funny, and I've found this true in real life as well--men who have a strong preference for hairless women are much more vocal and borderline cruel about it ("don't let it grow unchecked for ages. that's just scary"), even if they're in the minority. As reflected here, the vast majority of men don't seem to care at all--I hope the OP takes the majority opinion to heart.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:21 AM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


As reflected here, the vast majority of men don't seem to care at all

Word. If shaving makes it painful for her, that doesn't sound sexy at all.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:46 AM on November 16, 2008


Sounds sexy to me. 38 male here.

well, I'd say you may be in the minority if you like hair on your tongue.
posted by krautland at 8:04 AM on November 16, 2008


Any guy that decides not to have sex with you because you're not shaven, and is finding this out when your pants and underwear are already off, is not going to be worth it anyway.
posted by Benjy at 8:04 AM on November 16, 2008


well, I'd say you may be in the minority if you like hair on your tongue.

If you're getting hair on your tongue, you're doing it wrong.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:06 AM on November 16, 2008 [14 favorites]


The thing about laser is that you don't have to get -everything- removed. You could leave a very easily maintainable triangle, that will look great trimmed while making the more intimate areas freer for ah, access. Everyone makes the assumption that getting a laser treatment means you have to go bare everywhere.

Nuh-uh.
posted by Bakuun at 8:19 AM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Any reasonable guy when faced with the issue of his girlfriend/wife being painfully uncomfortable with shaving bumps and ingrown hairs or having a neatly trimmed pubic area, would prefer her to be comfortable.


Assuming you're not sporting a patch of pubic hair that is uncontainable by a pair of panties, no guy is going to notice or care.
posted by JFitzpatrick at 8:35 AM on November 16, 2008


well, I'd say you may be in the minority if you like hair on your tongue.

Sorry, but I started having sex in the 80's, where most women didn't shave. Pubic hair was not only normal, but actually considered attractive. I find it silly that women think they need to shave for a man to be willing to have sex with them - and I find it equally silly that a man would be put off by pubic hair.
posted by bradth27 at 8:41 AM on November 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


Pubic hair is just like a guy's facial hair or the hair on your head. That is to say, long and scraggly looks bad, shaved is acceptable but looks weird, and trimmed and well-groomed looks best.
posted by explosion at 8:42 AM on November 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


Liberal use of baby powder

Just make sure that if you use baby powder, you're using the corn starch kind, not the talcum powder kind. From this Daily Mail article:


"Women who use talcum powder every day to keep fresh are 40 percent more likely to develop ovarian cancer, according to alarming research.

Scientists fear powder particles applied to the private parts may travel to the ovaries and trigger a process of inflammation that allows cancer cells to flourish."


Not worth the risk.
posted by limeonaire at 9:33 AM on November 16, 2008


I find it equally silly that a man would be put off by pubic hair.

Sex is supposed to be fun. It's not a chore you do to "get it over with".

Quite frankly, when I slip off your Frankie B's and see a jungle I am going to think: "Uh, oh... she is probably not going be fun."

If I see you have made the effort, a few red bumps are not going to bother me and I will be more apt to let go of any inhibitions.


This is another one of the many subjects metafilter people frown on because it's not PC to say it's unattractive to have a bush. So don't let the prudes and geezers get you down. :)
posted by Zambrano at 9:35 AM on November 16, 2008


Sex is supposed to be fun. It's not a chore you do to "get it over with".

Oh yes, I see your logic. Pubic Hair=boring sexual partner. It's all clear to me now. My god, the clues have been here the whole time, and I just never put it together.
posted by bradth27 at 9:40 AM on November 16, 2008 [3 favorites]


26 year old guy here...

Wow... Nthing the 'no big deal' approach. Shave, wax, whatever - for the most part we're usually just happy to get your pants off. I have yet to hear of or know any guy that gets the girl's pants, only to stop and say, 'you haven't SHAVED?' I don't know...' Do the porn stars do it? Yes - thus, perhaps, is why the men might associate a lack of hair with a certain sexual proclivity. Some may also get boob jobs among many other tweaks before they go on camera.

Do what works for you. That's about as simple as it gets :)
posted by chrisinseoul at 9:53 AM on November 16, 2008


Lady here. I, like you, am terribly prone to razor burn, and fortunately, I do not have a crazy, crazy growth of hair down there, so I just keep it trimmed very short. Any reasonable person realizes that is much hotter than crazy red, painful bumps. So anyway, every fella I have been with does not mind this at all. That is, all but one fella. He told me that we ladies are supposed to be bald down there, and actually told me "that's gotta go next time." Naturally, at the time, I was mortified, as I was only 20 or so, and his comment only made for the worst and most awkward sex I have ever had. I soon found out that he was a virgin, and his only prior experience with vaginas was from porn movies. Now, in my mind, I think that men who are concerned about such things haven't been around the block much. As you can see from this thread, most fellas seem to realize that pubes come in all styles, and they can work with it. And a lot guys I have been with actually dislike the waxed-bare look. I think that most guys know that women who are comfortable with the way they look, rather than those who spend too much time trying to look like some thing from a magazine, are more likely to be a good time. Unless I've just been fortunate.
posted by waywardgirl at 9:56 AM on November 16, 2008


So don't let the prudes and geezers get you down.

Riiight . . . because not caring about someone's pubes and just wanting to get down to the fucking is really prudish.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:22 AM on November 16, 2008 [6 favorites]


Middle-aged man here... it seems like such a ridiculously uncomfortable fad. It also seems sad that anybody who's skin just isn't suitable to shaving has to worry about it. I can understand doing anything once for novelty's sake but maintaining that style seems insane to me.
posted by bonobothegreat at 11:18 AM on November 16, 2008


Short trimmed is fine.
Razorburn and (ouch) stubble is less pleasant.
posted by HFSH at 11:47 AM on November 16, 2008


Get a beard trimmer (seriously). Short is great. Hairless is a little freaky to me, and kind of speaks of trying really hard. I find it creepy.
posted by sully75 at 1:31 PM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Another lady here. I started having sex in the 80s, when the word "Brazilian" almost always referred to people from Brazil. You are not obligated to keep yourself shaved. Anyone who tries to assert this obligation over you is someone you shouldn't be taking advice from.

The way it works is:

(you + comfortable with self) - dumb advice from Cosmo & other esteem-robbing mags = hot sex w/dude who likes you the way you are
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 1:47 PM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


previous discussion

When I was in college, I was sometimes an accidental uber feminist for being too lazy to shave my sensitive legs or pits. Back then the pressure to shave the pubes hadn't got going yet. I remember when I started seeing less and less hair on other girls at the gym though, and now it is pretty clear what the norm is, but my skin can't take it. I will trim sometimes or try to keep things neat but in the end, basically, I just go with, take it or leave it. Pubic hair doesn't seem gross to me. it helps to wick the moisture in that area for one thing - I imagine being totally bald down there would get annoying if you were working out or something... (same way if you shave your head, sweat runs into your face more, etc - which is probably why people who sweat more have more hair by nature)
posted by mdn at 2:16 PM on November 16, 2008


I imagine being totally bald down there would get annoying if you were working out or something... (same way if you shave your head, sweat runs into your face more, etc - which is probably why people who sweat more have more hair by nature)

It does, and it's gross.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:18 PM on November 16, 2008


I've known one guy who dumped a girl because she was all natural down there, but he was an asshole. Seriously, and I'm not simply saying because of this incident, I mean in general he was an asshole. I have to say he did still have sex with her, which I didn't understand if he was so horrified, but as I said he was an asshole and I don't really understand assholes anyway.

I'm actually been fairly shocked by just how many guys don't care, don't have a strong preference or actually like hair better. Like you, I was always under the impression that being shaven was more or less mandatory, but I think it's only mandatory for celebrities who go outside without any underwear on a regular basis. I think most people only care if it looks vaguely neat.

Also, I have heard that all professional waxers are very much not created equal, so it may be worth your while to try a few others, if you are still convinced it is necessary.
posted by whoaali at 2:39 PM on November 16, 2008


Can I just say, holy shit, you epilated pubic hair? Amen, sister, you have more guts than I.

That said, I regret it almost every time I shave. Razor burn haunts me for a week afterwards and I wonder what the heck I would do if I ever lived with someone and wanted to attempt sex nightly. Over the years, I've grown lax about my habits- I used to shave everything off until I learned that not everyone expects porn star lack of bush.

Now I trim very close up top, but I still generally get rid of everything labial. Do you get the rash there too, or no? I tend to just get it in the creases where my leg meets pubes, so I avoid shaving there.

If a dude is quality material, he probably will not make any fuss about your hair situation. Try a beard trimmer or an electric shaver and see how that goes. No stubbly growout either! Good luck and please, don't be uncomfortable for a potential hookup.
posted by rachaelfaith at 3:31 PM on November 16, 2008


If there is some dude who's a fucking wimp about having a piece of hair get in his mouth, I think it goes without saying that he does not get to shove his cock into anyone's throat, ever.

The point here is keeping your clit accessible, right? Is there fur covering your clit? Trim it away. This is a discretionary action, depending on how much you consider to be in the way, and so how much you trim is up to you. I've come around to the short clipper trim, because it's easy, painless and has a nicer texture than wild straggles. I also recommend a hand-weed in the shower. Just, you know, tug tug, scrub scrub. This helps make sure you're shedding in a controlled fashion. It's the hairs falling out that are the bigtime blecko, anyway.

Of course, ideal pubic hair maintenance requires that you give it one hundred strokes in front of the mirror every night. ;D
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 4:17 PM on November 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


Avoiding aesthetic concerns, I had trouble with sensitive skin and shaving (my face!) as well (red bumps, in-grown hairs etc).

My dermatologist recommended Aqua Glycolic facial cleanser and it really has made a difference.

The bottle says that it can be used for bikini shaving so that's an option I'm going to throw out there as well.
posted by stratastar at 5:25 PM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have the same situation in terms of sensitivity, and I've come to a happy understanding with a little electric trimmer and a short blade guard.

However, I'll say that you should probably develop thick skin (uh, metaphorically). Metafilter is being very you-go-girl about this, and of course I don't think women should ever be obligated to shave, but you really need to be aware that polling Metafilter is not the same as polling college/20-something guys. The norms are very different and the expectation is present in that culture in a way that it hasn't been in other demographics. You need to expect to face some occasional unpleasantness.
posted by booksandlibretti at 9:55 PM on November 16, 2008


As a 20-something guy, I'm really surprised to hear anyone claim that the norm is total hairlessness. It just isn't, in my experience.

You need to expect to face some occasional unpleasantness.

Like what?
posted by grouse at 10:07 PM on November 16, 2008 [2 favorites]


I forgot to mention that I live in New York City, which probably also makes a difference. I don't think 100% bare is an absolute, but from conversations as well as locker-room evidence, I doubt many of my peers have more than a landing strip.

Like what?

Disappointment. If the disappointed guy is a nice guy, it may just be a frowny face and a need for a confident it-is-what-it-is explanation. If the disappointed guy is an asshole, he may depart earlier than he'd originally planned, or he may grit his teeth and go through with it but disappear afterwards. The asshole scenario hasn't happened to me, but that's because my style is to wait awhile, which does a pretty good job of screening out jerks. It's happened to friends of mine.
posted by booksandlibretti at 10:22 PM on November 16, 2008


damn dirty ape: No man has ever stopped having sex because of hair

A female friend of mine recently went to bed with a man (who I should mention was 30 years old and American) she was very interested in. Once they had taken their clothes off and the man saw that my friend was untrimmed he freaked out, started spewing out some weird theory about how as humans have evolved they've become more and more hairless and that people are thus attracted to less hair. My friend, feeling utterly humiliated at this point, just put her clothes on and left. The point of this story is that some guys are microtarded douchetrucks. There's not much one can do about it so why bother living according to the dictates of society's collection of distended assholes, no matter how vocal they might be. Think of it as an early warning system. If whoever you're dating is so put off by body hair they're turned off they're probably bad news in all kinds of other ways.

Personally, speaking as a 27 year old northern European, I have never come across anyone whose hairiness disturbed me. I've been with women who didn't shave at all and others that liked to keep it very trim. I even once dated someone who wanted me to shave her pubic hair as foreplay. There is a lot of variation out there and unless you find yourself dating someone who's only had sex with one or two women he (or she) will have encountered differently styled muffs.

If I saw a few red bumps and wouldn't recognize them as razor burn I would ask what it was but razor burn is pretty recognizable.

Zambrano: Sex is supposed to be fun. It's not a chore you do to "get it over with".

Quite frankly, when I slip off your Frankie B's and see a jungle I am going to think: "Uh, oh... she is probably not going be fun."

If I see you have made the effort, a few red bumps are not going to bother me and I will be more apt to let go of any inhibitions.


This is another one of the many subjects metafilter people frown on because it's not PC to say it's unattractive to have a bush. So don't let the prudes and geezers get you down. :)


Christ almighty, where to begin...

Okay, let's begin here: If people think your opinions are boorish and idiotic it doesn't necessarily mean that they're "pc," it can also mean that you're being boorish and idiotic.

Just because you have strong sexual preferences doesn't mean that others will share your preferences. Having strong preference is just fine and dandy, but don't universalize them.

Sex was fun before women started shaving their body hair. The fun involved has nothing whatsoever to do with the shaving or not shaving. Shaving does not indicate anything about the personality beyond that she (or he) will spend some of her (or his) time on shaving.

No one but no one in this thread is saying that sex is a "chore."
posted by Kattullus at 11:22 PM on November 16, 2008 [5 favorites]


I wouldn't do anything that causes you that much discomfort. There is just no reason for it at all. So shave, don't shave. Trim, don't trim.

To add another male perspective, I prefer a woman to be trimmed, shaving is completely optional. But that is because I want to spend more time giving her pleasure and less time with hair in my mouth. But either way, nothing is a deal breaker. And above all I would want her to be comfortable. If she had razor burn I would be thinking "wow, I hope she is OK not GROSS." Any man worth a damn would show concern for you in my opinion.

Hope this helps. Don't be miserable for something that isn't that big of deal.
posted by Silvertree at 10:24 AM on November 17, 2008


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