birth of venus
Sex

Do People Still Care About Pubes? An Investigation

We asked people with a range of sexual preferences to reflect on the social standing of pubic hair.
April 10, 2017, 1:00am

I've always believed that men find women's pubes disgusting. That having a clean, shaven or waxed pussy is what men prefer. But fuck, shaving is terrible. You have a shave and it looks nice for literally half a day, tops. Not even a full 24 hours goes by before you've got those uncomfortable, ugly spikes and red inflamed skin that looks like the inside of a dragonfruit. And sure you can avoid all this with waxing. Your pristine, pube-less genital area will look great, but at what cost? I got a wax one time and it literally hurt more than getting a tattoo.

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So is all this pain and inflammation mandatory? This isn't the mid-2000s. Surely the Sex and the City-fuelled Brazilian trend has run its natural course. To find out I asked both men and women to gauge the public standing of pubic hair. I also wanted to know if sexual orientation changes perceptions, so I asked some friends in the LGBT community.

Gabby, Cis Female, Likes Guys

VICE: So Gabby, what do you do with your pubes?
Gabby: Personally, I just get the bikini waxed, and then just shave the rest. I don't shave all the time though because I usually can't be fucked. I usually shave the main bit when it's way too long, or if Gabby is gonna get lucky. Which has been a bit lately so I've kind of shaved it pretty often as of late!

Do you wax for yourself or to get lucky?
I wax for myself.

And what about guys—do you ever expect them to have a shave?
Nah, I don't expect it at all and they never really do.

Dylan, Cis Male, Likes Guys

Would you prefer your guys to be groomed, shaven, or au naturale?
Definitely groomed. Just tidy, like a great Aussie backyard. The garden down under needs tending to every once in a while. But obviously it comes down to personal preference.

Have you ever had anyone grossed out by your pubic hair?
Yes, I had a guy once not want to hook up based on the fact that I had pubic hair. He asked me to shave and I refused. So he said, "Okay, don't worry about it then." I decided his satisfaction was not worth the itch and burn of shaved privates.

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Wait, so you went to hook up, he noticed you had pubes, and then asked you to shave?
No we met on Grindr and then asked me when we started messaged on WhatsApp.

He sounds like an asshole.
Yep.

Illustrations by Ben Thomson

Ezra, Trans Male

Hey Ezra, as how do you feel pubes are thought about in your community? Are they embraced?
I feel like they're definitely embraced! I've found the trans community is so accepting of being yourself, pubes and all, definitely more so than cis/straight people. I would hope that most people who will take one look and get scared off, but I suppose that's just them being intimidated by someone's confidence in their own body. I don't think being trans changes the way pubes are appreciated as all. At the end of the day, it's just hair!

Has your view on pubes changed since you were a teenager?
My views have definitely changed. The general vibe I had as a teenager was pubes equals bad. A lot of my friends were teenage boys who'd never actually seen another person naked—outside of the internet—before so they expected this pristine shaven look 24/7. Otherwise you were some sort of animal. I've grown up now though and I realise that's all bullshit and you can do whatever you want. It doesn't matter. I didn't come out as a man until my late teens. My body was always seen as "female" and so I conformed to the ridiculous expectations of women. It took me a long time to learn, but I think it definitely had a lot to do with educating myself on feminism. That and making more friends within the LGBT community.

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Why do you think this obsession with pubic hair exists? Are men driving it, or are women?
To be honest, I don't really think there's as much of an obsession with it now. But what's left of it is, for sure, lead by men. For some reason men have a weird fascination with what other people do with their bodies.

Mitch, Cis Male, Like Girls

Hey Mitch, what do you think about women having pubes?
There's nothing wrong with a bit of texture.

So you wouldn't expect women to need to do anything to their carpet?
Well, I don't want anything caught in my teeth. I prefer groomed, but one time I shaved my girlfriends pubes just for fun.

Levi, Cis Male, Likes Guys

Levi, do you think there is an expectation in the gay community to shave?
Man-scaping is the standard. I don't know many people who shave it all off. There a lot of unrealistic body expectations but pubes just isn't one of them. I think it's more of a vagina-related issue. You'd be best to speak with some lesbians.

Ida, Cis Female, Likes Girls

Hi Ida, do you personally shave or wax?
I shave but less during the winter time.

Do you do it for yourself? Or do you think you do it because when you're with other women they would like you to be shaven?
Well when I was younger I shaved because I thought it was perceived as disgusting to have hair but now I'm doing it for myself. But I think a lot of women feel influenced by the media and commercials and this patriarchal society we are in to be "feminine," which would mean to be hairless down there.

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So when you go down on a woman it never bothers you what's going on down there?
I think I prefer if it's shaved but not to have everything gone.

So well groomed?
Exactly.

Tom, Cis Male, Likes Girls

What do you think about girls having pubes Tom?
I don't really give a shit because, at the end of the day, I never shave my pubes. I've never shaved in my life, so I don't see why other people should have to do it—unless it gets to the point where it's overflowing and going totally mental. If you shave off everything, what's a man getting out of that? They literally want a woman's pussy to look like a child, like they're underage. Do you want it feel like you're a paedophile? That just doesn't make sense.

Tayla, Cis Female, Straight

As a straight woman Tayla, do you ever feel inclined to shave for men?
Yeah I guess it depends on who the guy is, but with first impressions and all that I reckon I'd definitely want to shave or wax to feel comfortable and confident.

What would you prefer the expectation to be? It seems you would shave to give off a great first impression.
Yeah I reckon guys shouldn't even care about that. It's just hair. We all have it, and they know it grows there. If I'm not shaved and I end up sleeping with someone I guess I don't really care too much it's their problem if they have an issue. Power to the pubes!