In recent years, men have been consumed with the "to shave or not to shave" dilemma. While some prefer to leave their nether regions au naturel, others favor feeling the family jewels bald eagle style. But whether you're new to the thought of manscaping or a seasoned pro, deciding to "trim down there" has pros and cons. At stake are issues ranging from health and hygiene to personal preference and sexual sensitivity. Grab a drink and get comfortable as we take a deep dive into the advantages and drawbacks of shaving your pubic hair.
The History Of Male Grooming
Pubic hair grooming has been practiced for ages in many cultures for religious, sanitary, and aesthetic purposes. Before offering sacrifices to the gods, ancient Egyptian priests would shave their entire bodies every other day. The Kama Sutra recommended that males shave their privates once every five days and remove all body hair from the roots once every ten days. And since the seventh century, Muslims have been encouraged to regularly remove their pubic and underarm hair for cleanliness reasons.
But in Western culture, pubic hair grooming was once seen as strange or unusual, and Westerners didn't start associating a lack of body hair with more refined ideas of culture until Charles Darwin's Descent of Man came out in 1871. And pubic hair grooming emerged as a matter of taste after the advent of electrolysis in 1875 and the introduction of safety razors in 1901.
Around the 1990s, a new age began in which nudist communities celebrated being completely hairless. In 1991, the first "Smoothie" nudist club opened in the United Kingdom, and in 1993, a similar club opened in the Netherlands. Janea Padilha first introduced the Brazilian wax in 1987 at her J Sisters salon in New York City. She gave a client's husband the treatment, and by 2007 "bro-zilians" were so popular at the salon that even Christopher Hitchens had one for a Vanity Fair feature.
Laser hair removal and electrolysis have become increasingly mainstream in recent years, and some men prefer that approach. However, after countless generations of various grooming techniques, the most popular methods of pubic hair removal for men today are shaving with a razor, trimming with clippers or scissors, applying hair removal creams, and waxing.
The Pros Of Shaving "Down There"
When it comes to pubic hair, there are certainly pros and cons to consider. But let's focus on the positives for now. Check out these popular benefits to taking a little off the top (or the bottom, or the sides, or... you get the point):
- Improved Hygiene: Without all that hair down there, keeping the area clean and free of sweat and bacteria is easier, which helps prevent unpleasant odors. The risk of ingrown hairs, skin irritation, and infections caused by hair tugging or rubbing against clothing is also decreased by regularly shaving or clipping pubic hair.
- Feeling Clean & Fresh: A thick bush can trap heat and moisture, leading to discomfort and infection if you lead an active lifestyle or live in a hot climate. Shaving your pubic region helps men feel clean and fresh.
- Aesthetics: A well-groomed pubic area can visually appeal to both partners and the man himself. It can also make sexual activities more enjoyable, if you catch my drift. And for those who subscribe to the idea that size matters, less hair in that area can give the impression that the length and width of certain objects in the mirror appear larger.
- Reduced Friction: When there's less hair rubbing against the skin, there's less chance of chafing or irritation during physical activity!
- Increased Sensitivity: Some men report that removing the hair down there can make the area more sensitive to touch, which can enhance sexual experiences. Hair that gets in the way of nerve endings can dull sensation, compromising feelings of touch and stimulation in the genital area. Additionally, the removal of pubic hair exposes more of the sensitive skin at the base of the penis and the scrotum.
- Personal Preference: Ultimately, deciding whether to shave one's pubic hair is a personal decision. Some men simply prefer how it looks and feels, while others are content leaving things as they are.
The Dark Side Of Manscaping
While trimming the hedges can have some benefits, it's also important to consider the potential pitfalls. Here are a few cons of shaving your pubic hair that might make you think twice:
- Ingrown Hairs: Shaving any portion of the body, including the pubic area, can lead to uncomfortable, unattractive, and slow-to-heal ingrown hairs. The skin at the pubic area is thinner and more easily irritated than the skin anywhere else on the body, and an infection can develop if the hair is trimmed too short or grows back into the skin at an awkward angle. Ingrown hairs are more common in the pubic region because the hair there is rougher and thicker. While some men shave their pubes without any issues, others choose a method of hair removal that is less prone to create ingrown hairs, such as trimming or waxing.
- Increased Risk Of Infection: Pubic skin is more sensitive and delicate than other parts of the body, making it more prone to infection after minor cuts and nicks sustained during shaving. Also, germs flourish in the pubic area because of the warm, damp conditions and many sweat glands. A superficial cut while shaving could lead to a bacterial infection.
- Itchy Regrowth: Hair trimmed too short can irritate the skin and create itching when it grows back. The pubic area is especially vulnerable because of the thinness and fragility of its skin. When the itchiness begins, the temptation to scratch your junk in public will be nearly impossible to resist. And let's face it; public ball-scratching is never a good look.
- Maintenance: Many men have shaved their privates in a moment of spontaneity, only to later learn it's not a one-and-done situation. To keep things smooth down there, you'll need to keep up with the maintenance. Because pubic hair is thicker and grows faster than hair in other parts of the body, maintaining a smooth pubic area after a shave can be a time-consuming chore. For those who may not be ready to, or able to, spend as much time or effort on maintenance, some men may choose to forego pubic hair removal altogether or switch to low-maintenance alternatives like waxing, laser hair removal, or electrolysis.
Personal Preference Matters
A recent study revealed that about half of all men choose to give their man garden a little landscaping, but it all comes down to personal preference. Just like choosing your fit for date night, deciding to drink brown or white liquor, or deciding whether to wear socks with slides, pubic hair grooming is a personal choice with no right or wrong answer. Whether you prefer a wild and untamed jungle or a clean and sleek landscape, the choice is yours. The important thing is to feel comfortable in your own body and do what makes you happy. After all, confidence is the sexiest trait of them all!
If you do decide to take the pubic hair-shaving plunge, or if you're simply not sure where to begin, consider the three most popular pubic hair design styles: the tighty-whitey takedown, the lion's mane, and the chic trim. These styles may go by different names, depending on whom you ask, but here are brief descriptions of what they most commonly entail:
- The Tighty-Whitey Takedown: This is the guy's equivalent to the female "bikini" pubic hair-shaving style. Want to give it a try? Simply shave all of the hair that can be seen poking out of your underwear!
- The Lion's Mane: Picture a lion. Now, picture a lion's mane. Now shave all the pubic hair from your balls and the base of your penis, leaving the hair above your pocket rocket alone. Not only will you now have a trouser snake that looks like a lion's mane, but your love stick will also look larger! Roar!
- The Chic Trim: If you prefer hair down there and don't want to shave entirely, but still want to keep your pubic hair to a minimum, this style is an excellent option. To achieve the "chic trim," simply cut or shave your pubes to a shorter length that is manageable and attractive to you (and anyone else with access).
If none of the above styles resonate with your loins, there are plenty of other ways to achieve your pubic hair preference. The "minimalistic style," for instance, involves shaving all of the hair above the penis while leaving the hair on the balls and base. This style is perfect for men who get queasy at the thought of putting anything sharp around the scrotum. Another style, the horizontal landing strip," involves shaving the hair above the pubic area, leaving the hair around the penis, and trimming the ball hair to produce a horizontal strip just above it.
For the bored or creative (or both), consider shaving shapes around your privates. You'll first need to shave your pubic hair short so the shape will be visible, then carefully shave the remaining hairs in the shape of a heart, arrow, someone's name, or whatever embodies the aesthetic of your Johnson!
If you're still not sure where you weigh in on whether or not to take the manscaping plunge, remember that many civilizations have engaged in pubic hair grooming for ages, with reasons ranging from religious to hygienic to simply cosmetic and aesthetic. While better hygiene, a sense of cleanliness and freshness, and greater sensitivity can be convincing benefits associated with shaving pubic hair, there are equally compelling reasons not to, including ingrown hairs, skin irritation, and infections. But the bottom line is that it's really all about personal preference. In the battle between bald vs. bushy (or somewhere in between), there is no right or wrong.