Is my, er, pubic hair style socially acceptable?
November 16, 2010 9:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm about to sleep with a new boy. Do I need to worry about my pubic hair situation? (NSFW probably)

I am a 20-something female soon to be sleeping with a 20-something male. I would like for him to take off my pants and not go "WTF is going on there?" I don't really know what is acceptable to the general male population since I've only slept with my one ex-boyfriend who preferred "natural" women to the point of saying it would be cute if I stopped shaving my armpits.

Judging from other posts I've read on MeFi, totally shaved is good but not necessary, and trimmed is also fine. What I have now is that I keep a full triangle bush up top (but I shave the bikini line) and I shave everything down below. This works for me because I feel weird without a bush and every time I've shaved or waxed the whole mons pubis bumpy disaster has ensued.

Is this is a totally weird mismatched style or is it pretty acceptable? Would it be better if I trimmed the bush really closely? I'm aware that this is a silly question but I am agonizing a lot!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (42 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This is a question akin to "I am dating a guy and want to know if guys prefer long hair or short hair?" You can get a lot of babble from every corner but, honestly, you have no way to predict this. As long as everything down there is hygienic, and he is a decent human being, you will be fine. Eventually, there is a time for conversations about landscaping; this is not it. What's important right now is for you to be comfortable.
posted by griphus at 9:07 AM on November 16, 2010 [8 favorites]

impossible to predict. every guy has different tastes. so long as you're not completely out of control down there, i think you'll be fine.. figure out personal preferences on both sides after seeing each others naughty bits a few more times.
posted by modernnomad at 9:07 AM on November 16, 2010

If it's comfortable for you, then it's acceptable.

If this new boy comments on it in anything other than a completely positive way, he is bad news.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:09 AM on November 16, 2010 [31 favorites]

I do something similar to what you do, so it's at least not totally weird! Thirding that you should do whatever makes you comfortable, and worry about his preferences later.
posted by apricot at 9:09 AM on November 16, 2010

The general rule of thumb is that while people may have preferences, usually first-pants-off time is not the time to express them or to do anything other than think "YAY PANTS OFF TIME!"

Your choices seem well within the range of normal options. Enjoy.
posted by jessamyn at 9:10 AM on November 16, 2010 [23 favorites]

Do what you feel comfortable about. Confident is sexy. Insecure is not. The rest is window dressing. IMHO. Besides, you have to live in your body, he just visits it.

As long as everything is clean, tidy and hygienic I'd say you're gold.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:12 AM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

1) There is no consensus. There is no such thing as "what men think" about anything, really.

2) Once you've slept together a few times you can ask him what he prefers. Until then, if he's into you, he'll probably stick around regardless of the hair situation — and if he bails out over the hair situation, he probably wasn't all that into you.

3) If you get in the habit of shaving before you sleep with a new guy, you raise the odds of winding up with someone who's all EW HAIR IS GROSS YOU NEED TO KEEP SHAVING ALL THE TIME. If you don't want to wind up with someone like that, don't get in the habit of shaving before you sleep with a guy.

(#3 generalizes really well, actually. If you hate X, don't pretend you like X to impress boys, or you'll end up stuck in a relationship with a boy who's really into X.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:12 AM on November 16, 2010 [11 favorites]

I don't know what my wife does down there. And frankly, I don't care. Her body, her choice. I'm just glad I get to share it with her.
posted by theichibun at 9:14 AM on November 16, 2010 [9 favorites]

Also, by the time he's getting your drawers down, no dude has the presence of mind for a "WTF is going on there?" for anything short of a penis. Y'all are going to be fine.
posted by griphus at 9:15 AM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

what is acceptable to the general male population

This is not an actual piece of information that exists.

so long as you're not completely out of control down there

"Completely out of control down there" is a provable though minority grooming preference. Completely depilated is hardly a universal preference. Not agonizing over this any more is the only rational choice. When I was a 20-something boy "soon to be sleeping with" was pretty much enough to cover all the bases in terms of what made me happy.
posted by nanojath at 9:16 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I often use that style myself. Moderately groomed bush is soft and pretty, and shaved labia enhance sensation and makes it less likely that stray hairs get into the guy's mouth.

I had someone pressure me into a full brazilian once. ONCE. It did not feel good, it did not look pretty. Keep up doing what you like doing, and odds are, any decent guy will either agree that your choices are awesome or else he will gracefully adapt and accept.
posted by rosebuddy at 9:17 AM on November 16, 2010

If he likes you then the answer to your question is "he likes the kind that you have."
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 9:18 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

If he's going to sleep with you, he's going to sleep with you regardless of your pubic hair preferences. He may or may not express his own preference at some point in time, but if he likes you enough this will not get in the way of sleeping with you. Also, despite all the talking people seem to do about pubic hair, some guys just don't even notice. Or care.
posted by asciident at 9:19 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Once you've slept together a few times you can ask him what he prefers.

Hell, you could have do something radical and discuss it beforehand. Mind you, that involves talking and communication, which are two strange things to do in a sexual relationship :).

Honestly, this sounds like a minor deal, but the larger issue, IMO, is that you're uncomfortable, nervous or not confident and this is just a manifestation of that. If that's the case, just go with what you are comfortable with. It's your body, you have to live with and be at peace with it, so your preference should take priority, you know? Any guy who gives you crap about you choose to do with your pubic hair isn't a guy with keeping around.

Finally, even if there is general census, this individual guy may not agree with that consensus. So even if you did follow advice of internet strangers that said "RAINBOW ZEBRA STRIPES ARE DA BOMB, OH YES" well, that still leaves you and him alone in a room and him being slightly disappointed. Meanwhile the internet is off dealing with something and not giving your pubic hair a single thought and where does that leave you? Still uncomfortable and agonizing over that.

Be you. Do what's right for you. Be comfortable with you and your decisions. Sure, if you want to experiment and/or accommodate a request from a guy, go for it, if you choose to and are comfortable doing so. But always remember that it's your choice and your body and you have to live with it, so you might as well be comfortable with it, you know?
posted by nomadicink at 9:34 AM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

The only acceptable way to groom your business for a first date is exactly how you like it. Find the intersection of comfort, convenience and aesthetics that feels good, doesn't take too long to maintain, and lets you look in the mirror and say "damn, I look fine," and leave it at that.

When a member of "the general [straight] male population" takes a lady's pants off, he wants to see a sexy, confident lady with her pants off. So... do what you need to do to feel sexy and confident with your pants off. Et voilà.
posted by Zozo at 9:52 AM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

One guy's opinion: Hair or no hair, I'm happy to be getting some. This beggar can't be a chooser.

If things progress beyond the first several times, I'd like to think there'd be some reasonable landscaping: a bush is fine, a massive untamed rainforest is an issue.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:54 AM on November 16, 2010

I know everyone always answers these questions with "it shouldn't matter" and "do what you like", but I understand where you are coming from. In my opinion (as a 30-something year old married female that dated a lot in my 20s), I think what you have going on is a fair average. A trimmed bush above along with shaved down below is/was pretty standard amongst women I know and is not likely to seem strange or outlandish to most men. And yes, of course, he could have very different tastes, but I think you can go into the event feeling like your pubic hair is probably unremarkable, which is what I think most of us strive for in situations like this.
posted by tryniti at 10:01 AM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

Guy here.

The sexy part comes from knowing the girl is thinking about sex. On her own. With no one else around. She's not frigid, she's not ignorant, I didn't trick her into anything. She's smart and wants this as much as I do. Rowr.

By all means, groom. But leave evidence of grooming. As in, "Hey, she did something." It kinda doesn't really matter what. Just that something is going on.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:06 AM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

I have *never* heard a friend say "oh man, she had a crazy bush. I dumped her." I tend to have decent friends, though.

Honestly, though most men probably prefer less hair in the action parts than nature gave you, they worry about it less than most women think they do. A *lot* less.
posted by pjaust at 10:09 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you're worried about grooming, here's my advice.

1) Run your fingers through the bush. Is it tangled/knotted/matted?
2) If no, you're fine.
3) If yes, wash it thoroughly and consider trimming the length a little.
4) Wait for his eyes to bug out of his head... a girl he likes is naked in front of him!
5) Profit!
posted by Night_owl at 10:13 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you want oral sex then I think it is polite to at least keep things trimmed. Gagging on hair while going down on a woman is a pretty big turn off. Also, a ton of hair makes it difficult to locate and lock onto the "sensitive areas" that are typically stimulated by hand during foreplay.

That said, I will caution you against too much preparation. During the course of my life I have formulated a theorem regarding ones chances of getting laid, and I have found that your chances of getting laid relate to the amount of time you spend grooming yourself for sex by an inverse square law. That is, the more you trim, shower, smell nice and expect sex, the probability of you actually getting laid decreases with the square of the amount of time it takes you to do these things. This value is of course, normalized by gender as well.
posted by I_am_jesus at 10:19 AM on November 16, 2010 [4 favorites]

As I've said in other threads on this same topic, lots of women do lots of different things with their pubic hair, and I like all of them.

And as was mentioned above, if he is a decent guy, then all he will be thinking is "YAY PANTS OFF TIME" the first time you guys get together. The time to talk about preferences involving such things (and if you're willing to acquiesce to any of these) comes later in the relationship.

Have fun!
posted by King Bee at 10:20 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I have *never* heard a friend say "oh man, she had a crazy bush. I dumped her."

I have. Well, never solely because of this. But to buttress my answer above, my friend's issue was that it was yet another sign that the woman was un-sexy in her own head. She's not confident, she doesn't think she's sexy, she's not making an effort, etc., etc.

It's like ... imagine I brought a girl over to my apartment. If she's expecting a palace, she's crazy. But she should expect to see that I made an effort and, say, had some clean towels and managed to keep the dirty laundry actually in the hamper. You know. I'm not an overgrown teenager that's going to do other things that overgrown teenagers do. Like cheat, not call back, etc.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:23 AM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

Well i like being licked, so I trim my triangular bush pretty well and shave the labia to accomdate a wide, wandering tongue. I shave or pluck the bikini line (pluck is for somer precision - i go to the beach every day) and just trim the bush so that it's not tangly. I once tried to shave the bush because Playboy or something and it got all gross and itchy untill it grew back.

Any guy who gives you shit about how you style your cooch is a dick, the one exception being if he politely asks you to controll things a little more so he can give better mouth.
posted by WeekendJen at 10:35 AM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

What Narrative Priorities said. That being said, a small trim does make performing oral sex easier.
posted by Silvertree at 10:45 AM on November 16, 2010

Response by poster: Generic 20-Something Male will probably prefer some form of shaving/trimming/waxing, especially in the most pertinent areas. In my experiences preferences for the triangle (whether full, trimmed, triangle, strip, bare) vary wildly. You will probably cover the most bases by keeping the currently shaved areas shaved and trimming/grooming the full area. The most interactive areas will be bare, there won't be super-long hair anywhere, but there'll be enough hair to remind yourself that you're not a 10-year-old girl.
posted by Anonymous at 10:46 AM on November 16, 2010

I really love how "you go girl" metafilter is, but I'm going to actually answer your question because you obviously asked it because you want an answer.

From what I've observed of all my sexy, sexy friends, the vast majority of the girls I know opt for less hair or generally no hair when they are testing the waters with a guy. However, a lot more guys than Cosmo would tell you either don't care or prefer a more natural, but not totally natural, look. And even though I find this kind of funny, there really seems to be a difference of opinion depending on the social group the individual associates with. The hipster, alternative, etc guys seem to be down with a lot more hair than say the metrosexual crowd.

If you want to play it safe I don't think you can go wrong shaving, but at the same time, as long as your well groomed, and as long as he's not an asshole, he probably won't care much. I've only heard of one or two guys ever really freaking out about a girls shaving habits. One guy was a total asshole and the other, well both actually, were sort of crazy neat freaks who took about 45 minutes to do their own hair and apartments were monuments to their OCD.

And on a side note, I find this way more disturbing that just an "eww I don't like hair" reaction from a guy.

my friend's issue was that it was yet another sign that the woman was un-sexy in her own head.

Way to pathologize a grooming choice. Going natural is not evidence of a woman's lack of sexual self esteem.
posted by whoaali at 10:47 AM on November 16, 2010 [6 favorites]

What I have now is that I keep a full triangle bush up top (but I shave the bikini line) and I shave everything down below.

I find this hot and convenient.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:51 AM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

Mod note: dear well-meaning people. While I am not surprised that a woman asking about pubic hair grooming has caused people to start calling each other morons, it stops NOW. Please take all other non-answers directly to email or MetaTalk, thanks.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:02 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'd keep it as you usually do until you're exclusively dating someone. And then, if you think it might be an issue, say something casual about it. Not simpering like, "is there any way I can modify my body hair to please you?" but more jokey/confident. Maybe something like "I'm happy with what I already do, but you'd tell me if there was an issue, right?"

Personally, I think pubic grooming is entirely your own business unless it gets in the way of sex or becomes unpleasant/inconvenient for your partner. To the extent that it's an aesthetic issue, it's YOUR body, not your partner's.
posted by Sara C. at 11:04 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

As many are stating, preferences on this vary widely. I will mention, though, that 'confidence is sexiest and everything else is secondary' is itself a preference that varies. I do, in fact, know people who have strong preferences one way or another on this topic and trying to establish if someone is shallow, worthwhile, confident, pathological, or whatever based on his or her feelings about this topic is itself a value judgment that not all may share. Sexual preferences and whatnot are a funny thing. As with most topics, MeFites are a fairly narrowly defined bunch in terms of their views about these things but it must be acknowledged that a much wider range of opinions exist outside of the site.
posted by proj at 11:42 AM on November 16, 2010

The general rule of thumb is that while people may have preferences, usually first-pants-off time is not the time to express them or to do anything other than think "YAY PANTS OFF TIME!"

Couldn't agree more. If you get into a situation where the pants are coming off with regularity, that's when you enquire about grooming preferences. For now - WHEEEEEEEE NO PANTS!
posted by sonika at 12:01 PM on November 16, 2010

How about this. Just ask him what he wants. Any guy who is worth it will not mind answering the question.

I am a guy and i would not mind answering that question. Any guy that even remotely thinks you should not ask is not worth it.
posted by majortom1981 at 12:02 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

you maintain your bush the way my husband requests that i do. i've also seen positive reaction to that style choice in other places. hell, one of the more misogynistic, asshole pornographers out there, seymore butts, on his reality show had a girl working for him with that style and he liked it very much. bush on top, trimmed bikini line, and bare (or trimmed) down below is the best of all worlds to me.

i agree with the consensus - make it so you're comfortable and feeling sexy. if he prefers something a little different you can discuss that later.
posted by nadawi at 12:08 PM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Funny, I feel exactly the opposite of majortom1981 - If he's dissatisfied with the way things are, but STILL needs to be asked about what he would prefer, he's not worth it. Either he's fine with what you're already doing, or he'll speak up. If not, I smell mommy issues.
posted by Sara C. at 12:09 PM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

Sounds good to me. In fact, it leaves nothing to be desired.
posted by Netzapper at 1:04 PM on November 16, 2010

Nthing the others that say just ask. A lot of dudes don't really have preferences as to this kind of thing but a few REALLY do. So, some days before the sexings go down, ASK.
posted by SkylitDrawl at 1:49 PM on November 16, 2010

Seconding nomadicink....

Since it is obviously concerning you, why not discuss it as part of the other date prep things you are doing... "so, I am getting ready for the date. Do you like perfume? Make-up? Any, um, hair grooming preferences you have?" And if you don't like their answers to those questions, disregard them, or not.

As part of negotiation you it would be wise to discuss other topics around risk, play styles, and the like. Make this part of that wider discussion.
posted by gregglind at 6:58 PM on November 16, 2010

The general rule of thumb is that while people may have preferences, usually first-pants-off time is not the time to express them or to do anything other than think "YAY PANTS OFF TIME!"

This nails it perfectly, in my experience and from how my friends talk about it. (I mean, when we had our first date, my now-wife had just that day experimented with what turned out to be a most unfortunate shaving experiment. She looked down there like a demented muppet who had been assaulted by a hedgeclipper. I couldn't stop myself from cracking up, but the hair disaster was not in any way a downer on the sex front.)

I don't know what my wife does down there.

Honestly, this is kind of a bizarre statement to me. How could you not know, assuming that you are having sex or at least changing clothes in the same room once in a while? So I think the OP should expect the guy to notice what she does, whether or not he has a strong preference or is comfortable stating that preference.
posted by Forktine at 7:42 PM on November 16, 2010

If your relationship is at the point where fucking is involved, it should really be at the point where you're comfortable asking "what works for you?".

P.S. - Porn notwithstanding, totally shaving strikes many of us as sorta...dunno...peado. Go for neat and attended to and you partner will just be happy to touch it.
posted by kjs3 at 8:47 PM on November 16, 2010

It's like doing your head hair: there are probably several hairdos that nicely complement your head shape/face shape/body shape/hair growth pattern/hair type, and many more that just don't work well for you -- or are ok, but you're just not comfortable with that look.

Apparently, if you shave your bush, you get bumpy skin that isn't the best look, and one that you're self-conscious about, so don't do that. Shaving below the bush is something that makes you feel sleeker, so do do that.
posted by orthogonality at 9:22 PM on November 16, 2010

This is the style that I personally have settled on after trying several. Never heard any complaints!
posted by MsMolly at 8:28 AM on November 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

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