No-shave November is known all over the country as the time when beards begin to grow, and female legs become fuzzy. As for the origins of this tradition, whose to say. Perhaps it comes from culture and society, from class struggles, or from raising cancer awareness.
While facial and leg hair begin to grow with abandon this month, one particular area of hair growth is not so easily embraced. Ads for bikinis, Victoria’s Secret catalogues and adult film stars seem to have us convinced that letting hair down there grow wild and free is a huge no-no. We seem to have convinced ourselves that it is unnatural and unsightly. Now we are in a month dedicated to letting it go wild, so why not extend the unshaved territory to include all body hair?
As teenagers, many of us began to discover adult film, photos and magazines, as well as sexual attraction. Adult media was probably the first thing to make us question what hair should stay and what should go in order to fit in with the grown-up world and impress our partners. Adult film stars have convinced many that the hair down there definitely has to go.
There is a reason that adult film stars don’t have hair: camera angles. If genitalia is not completely visible, it seems to be thought of as old-fashioned and much less titillating. Many adult film stars shaved it all off so that they can show it all off.
People shave various hair growths for multitudes of reasons but not shaving for a month can be beneficial as well. Some believe that pheromones in the hair can act as a kind of natural cologne or attractant for your mate. Avoiding razors and wax can save you from experiencing razor bumps, ingrown hairs and irritated skin.
The few times I have shaved myself bare, the growing out experience was uncomfortable and itchy. I was uncomfortable looking at myself in the mirror; I looked childlike. My labia are long and large, so unlike the people I watched on my computer in the dead of the night. I grew up being shamed when I dared explore my own body, the little bit of natural coverage I controlled was a comfort.
It has helped to become educated on the diversity of female bodies. Taking college sex education classes opened my eyes to a whole new world, a world where masturbation is embraced and encouraged, where sex is a good thing, where all bodies are welcome. I started experimenting with sex toys, which led to blogging. My Instagram page introduced me to the Vulva Gallery, where all vulvas are embraced and celebrated. I
began to feel like my body was normal. Just the other week, I realized I could touch myself in front of my partner for a minute or two without a blanket covering me.
While I am more confident in my body than I have ever been, I still keep the hair. My own comfort is more important to me than society’s ideals. Outside of personal comfort, I also love the feeling of excitement and expectation as my partner gently combs his fingers through my pubic hair as I anticipate his next move. I love my pubic hair, and I want others to know that it’s okay to keep it.
No-Shave November: will you grow it all out, or continue your hair care as usual? It’s an extremely personal decision, but whatever you ultimately decide, know that it’s up to you, not society, not your friends or partner. We all have our reasons for doing things our way.