Is body hair a major turn off?
October 14, 2004 10:11 AM   Subscribe

Body hair: how much of a turn-off (or perhaps turn-on) is copious body hair? I'm a straight, hairy, man and am really interested in what straight women think but feel free to chime in if you are otherwise oriented or gendered.
posted by anonymous to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (29 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

I prefer just chest hair, as opposed hairy backs & knuckles. That said, it doesn't really matter to me how much or little hair there is if I like the guy. I just don't see the hair after awhile.
posted by Juicylicious at 10:25 AM on October 14, 2004

Robin Williams seems to be the point where being hairy is a turn-off for a lot of my lady friends. I think it's the back that's the turn-off... the lustrous carpet of hair covering his back.
posted by picea at 10:26 AM on October 14, 2004

You say that now, but when the long nuclear winter comes, I know who's genes you'll be after!
(Why do so many of my relationship plans hinge on the coming nuclear winter? Why?)
posted by Capn at 10:34 AM on October 14, 2004 [5 favorites]

One of my best friends is really hairy (not sure where he'd fall on the Robin-Williams-Hairyness-Scale). He has consistently seen more action than just about anyone I know. He's neither rich, nor particularly handsome, but is a helluva good guy. I don't know what that means, except to say that obviously his copious body hair hasn't hurt his cause any.
posted by maniactown at 10:38 AM on October 14, 2004

In theory and in pornography, I find anything besides chest hair to be a turn-off (this includes beards and mustaches.) In practice, however, if I'm genuinely attracted to a guy, it doesn't matter if he's smooth or full of pelty goodness.
posted by headspace at 10:39 AM on October 14, 2004

It all depends on the woman, my friend. Some women LOVE hairy guys, some want their men smooth as a baby's bottom. Find yourself a woman who doesn't mind or even likes it or you will be forced to shave your body for eternity.
posted by aacheson at 10:40 AM on October 14, 2004

I like hairy guys much more than I like guys who won't take off their shirts at the beach because they're hairy. It's all about the attitude. I find totally hairless guys a bit odd, like being with someone who is still a teenager. In my own mind, hairy says "adult." My own personal preference is at least hairy forearms, a full beard [or beard potential] and chest hair. Hairy backs are an either-or for me, don't love 'em, don't hate em. Having ears and a nose that aren't too hairy is a plus, as well as just generally a good grooming tip. Basically it's like lack of hair, not a dealbreaker either way. I've dated bald and balding guys who are just fine, but I don't like the guys who are uptight about losing their hair to the point where it becomes this strange taboo topic with them. I'm not sure if there's a straight equivalent to bear culture however, anyone?
posted by jessamyn at 10:46 AM on October 14, 2004

posted by baylink at 10:48 AM on October 14, 2004

That said, it doesn't really matter to me how much or little hair there is if I like the guy. I just don't see the hair after awhile.

Exactly. And what headspace said as well. From an aesthetic point of view, divorced from real individuals, one might have a preference one way or the other, but if you're talking about a specific person, if you're into them, then you're into them regardless of how much/little hair they have, and where. Sure, everyone has ideals, but anyone worth your time won't care about that (or will eventually mention it if it's an issue) - no sane person would write someone off simply because of body hair.

Superficially speaking, from my point of view, it really depends on the person. On some guys, body hair is really sexy (Jude Law), on some guys it's neither a plus nor a minus (Andy Garcia has a naturally REALLY hairy back, which is hairy enough to be a bit scary, but which doesn't detract from his appeal), and on some guys it's a detraction (Robin Williams makes me think that the crap-flinging and chest-beating is mere moments away, but come to think of it, that's only somewhat because of his hairiness).
posted by biscotti at 11:15 AM on October 14, 2004

As so many other posters have said, the body hair love or hate is very subjective. It depends on a variety of factors - the taste of the woman in question, the man in question, the particular hair in question, the nature of the woman's feelings for the man... as with any other physical feature.

I do have a hideous memory of one night I spent with a very hairy man. Everything was covered in hair. EVERYTHING. His nipples looked like little pink mushrooms on a jungle floor. It was like grappling with a bearskin rug. But then that's me. I have a definite preference for men with little to no body hair. I was also really not at all attracted to this man, and the body hair was only one factor contributing to my non-enjoyment of the event.

Get a full body wax if you want, or just weed out selected areas, or just groom the hair a little, or don't bother doing anything at all, just as you please. But whatever you do, walk proud, and take the attitude of "love me, love whatever hair I do or don't have".
posted by orange swan at 11:43 AM on October 14, 2004

My immediate aesthetic preference is non-hairy, but it's not a dealbreaker. There are so many things that are so much more important... If I were attracted to Mr. Hairy guy, and fell in love with him because of his intellligence and humor and kindness, then I would end up adoring his hairy back or knuckles, or whatever. But, yes, Mr. Hairy guy might have to work a wee bit harder to get my focus in the first place.

When all you have to go on is physical parameters, the whole picture is pretty lean. I'm also a girl very unlikely to be attracted to the incredibly handsome man, until he somehow manages to prove that he is not an egotisical, spoiled snot - so obviously, like a lot of people, I start out working from stereotypes. I actually ended up falling in love with a handsome guy, but he could just as easily have been a hairy handsome guy, or a hairy but not handsome guy - the point is that I generally avoided him in the beginning, because of some predetermined idea I had, and after getting to know him, that idea lost all meaning.

As long as there is anything at all to cause some attraction in the beginning, a woman's idea of desirability regarding specific physical characteristics may change. The one who ends up loving you may be someone who always fantasized about a hairy guy, or one who ends up being surprised because she didn't expect to fall in love with (and adore the hairiness of) such a hairy guy.
posted by taz at 12:31 PM on October 14, 2004

orange swan, you funny funny thing.

Purely personal, purely aesthetic? I love smooth surfaces on myself and others. Anything that makes accessing the skin easier is a good thing. A tongue full of hair is just no fun. I am also against facial hair in all its manifestations except eyebrows -- clean, well-shaped eyebrows.

If you are hairy and trimmed, that's okay too. I find collar tufts of hair unappealing, whether growing down from the head or up from the back, or both. An untrimmed beard or mustache makes a face look unclean to me.

However, I could fall in love with Cousin It if he made me laugh and had the qualities I value (and if he smelled right to me -- I find that's the only visceral aesthetic deal-breaker in my book). Really, I've dated some Grendels in my day and at times found them far sexier and loveable than some of my more conventionally gorgeous choices. So, what all the other women whose posts generally form my personal uh-huh choir here say: It All Depends.
posted by melissa may at 12:37 PM on October 14, 2004

The older I get, the less I care. Funny how that works.
posted by padraigin at 12:41 PM on October 14, 2004

When I’m hooking-up with a guy (me = straight woman), it's very challenging and exasperating to fool around with someone who’s hirsute, because you just can't get close enough to the actual skin. It's just not as sensual to me. The hair is like a buffer almost, physical and mental, that is difficult to get around. It's detrimental to tactile arousal for me. I also think taste is a very important aspect of hooking-up, and it’s impossible to get one’s tongue around all that hair. So for a woman who is a ‘licker’, hairy guys are somewhat of a compromise. Also, women are limited by abundant body hair because you can only focus on the areas that aren't covered in the bush, which quickly leads to boredom/uncreative play.

Besides, on some hairy guys, the hair on their extremities is like pubic hair, which is just gross. Would you want to lick someone who's covered in pubes? It’s also rather unromantic to stop playing every 5 minutes, so you can clear out a curly pube stuck in your throat. When it comes down to really hairy guys, I'd rather lick my cat.
posted by naxosaxur at 12:50 PM on October 14, 2004

Alec Baldwin is very, very hairy.
posted by matteo at 12:52 PM on October 14, 2004

Alec Baldwin Had His Back Waxed
20 June 2000 (WENN)
Alec Baldwin admits he has to do some trimming to remain hair free. The actor and husband of Kim Basinger has regular pedicures and manicures and waxes every now and again. He says, "I trim my body hair. I trim it with an electric razor. I'm not that hairy on my back. But I admit I've had it waxed. I hated it, waxing is just repulsive."
posted by matteo at 12:54 PM on October 14, 2004

The only thing worse than back hair = back hair razor stubble.
posted by naxosaxur at 12:57 PM on October 14, 2004

I don't care if a guy is hairy or smooth, but any guy who is obsessed with himself to the extent that he goes in for regular waxing treatments at the spa doesn't appeal to me at all.
posted by bonheur at 1:36 PM on October 14, 2004

I have to come clean on this. I hate body hair, I hate facial hair. Some guys (Tom Selleck comes to mind) look better with mustaches, but I'm glad I don't have to kiss them.

My guy is smooth chested but he does have a furry belly, which- go figure- I find enormously attractive. Also, hairy arms are not a complete turn-off. But back? Ugh! I would pay for the waxing myself.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:10 PM on October 14, 2004

(and I can't believe that I am actually going to answer this...) For me hair = testosterone, so I like it. A lot. A full beard and mustache is totally hot, and back hair is totallynot a problem. Oddly enough though, bald is not a problem, I guess I associate that with manliness as well.

There, I said it, right there on the internet for all the world to see...

Hairless guys are so Calvin Klein/Madison Avenue anyway.
posted by lilboo at 5:01 PM on October 14, 2004

Hairless guys are so Calvin Klein/Madison Avenue anyway.


Actually, I have a weird body hair configuration, fairly furry from the waist down, but except for the pits and a tuft on the sternum, hairless from the waist up, more or less.

Do you women really spend a lot of time thinking about this shit? And they say men are weird.
posted by jonmc at 5:08 PM on October 14, 2004

The weirdest hair configuration I ever saw was a guy I worled with on a temp job who had hair growing out of the bridge of his nose. It was just a few hairs and you could tell he was trying to keep it trimmed, but you couldn't help but notice.
posted by jonmc at 5:13 PM on October 14, 2004

I've got that, Jonmc. It's kind of like an uber unibrow.
posted by SpecialK at 6:03 PM on October 14, 2004

jonmc, men think about it as much or more regarding women they date. gay men too, some at least. i remember a plastic thread where someone said flat out they would never date a woman who didn't shave her pubes completely off. and he was being dead serious.

not to side track too much. just sayin'. men can get pretty damn vocal about body hair on their partners too.
posted by ifjuly at 6:38 PM on October 14, 2004

oh, and i agree with gravy--a happy trail on a man is hottness.

i'm not a fan of lots of back hair, but chest hair, happy trails/belly fuzz, and the rest can be extremely attractive. i even sometimes like hairy hands, ha. and five o'clock shadows can be yum. i like facial hair (beards mostly) but moustaches remain creepy to me.
posted by ifjuly at 6:40 PM on October 14, 2004 [1 favorite]

it definitely depends on all the particulars, but I still do think there's a reason the hairless body is the calvin klein model. Not everyone will prefer it, but I think on an aesthetic level, most will say it is more beautiful. For some, the idea of a man being "beautiful" as opposed to "manly" will be a turn-off, though.

Personally, I can only go as far as limited chest hair before it is a noticable down-side, but a down-side is certainly not a deal-breaker. Everyone has down-sides. And I did have a crush on a guy much more hairy that my ideal, without imagining that I would be compromising anything - perhaps after the initial honeymoon I would have noticed again, if anything had come of it, but perhaps the chemistry erases your preconfigured fantasies with a much more interesting reality.

five o-clock shadows, on the other hand, are hot. Basically, brad pitt is where I stand on this issue.
posted by mdn at 7:15 PM on October 14, 2004

I like body hair. It's like having a big, fuzzy bear to snuggle. The SO grows a beard once a year and beard time is happy time.

I find it very unattractive when hairy men shave or wax their bodies, or try and trim their chest hair. It just looks very contrived and bizarre. I like it when men just work with what they have. If a guy is hairy, he should be hairy. If he's not hairy, he should be not hairy.

I'm with Liboo, though. Back hair is okay, and I'm all right with bald, too. I actually find receding hairlines kind of hot.
posted by jennyb at 7:56 PM on October 14, 2004 [1 favorite]

I agree about the receding hairline, especially when the remaining hair is very close cropped. Very sexy. Weird huh? Men are so obsessed about balding, and yet some of us are turned on by it.

I personally don't like back hair or beards much but I'll go with those who said it really doesn't matter if you are into the guy.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:43 PM on October 14, 2004

on the internet no one knows you're a dog
posted by jfuller at 4:42 AM on October 15, 2004

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