Women And Pubic Hair: To Bare It All Or Not?

For the past five or ten years, there’s been endless speculation about what women do with their pubic hair. Well – some speculation. After all, Hollywood paparazzi have captured, on film, the sometimes groomed, sometimes not-so-groomed, vulvas of various stars who apparently don’t wear underwear when they go out, and do step out of cars with their legs spread open.

But for the rest of us, there’s been speculation. Some magazine articles have suggested that the vast majority of women in the United States go bare down there. Others have suggested that the once-popular Brazilian has been on its way out over the past few years due to expense and (let’s face it) occasional suffering at the hands of an overzealous aesthetician.

So what are women really doing down there? A couple of years ago, our research team at Indiana University asked 2,451 women to answer questions about their pubic hair practices. We found that pubic hair styles varied greatly among women of all ages.

Certainly, going bare was most common among the youngest women – those aged 18 to 24-years-old. But even among those college-aged women, only about one out of five women were typically hair-free over the past month (meaning they shaved or waxed in ways that meant they pretty much never had any hair). About another 30% of women in that age group removed all of their pubic hair occasionally, but not that often. And more than half typically kept at least some pubic hair.

Going bare became less and less common with each age group – only about 12% of 25 to 29-year-olds were typically hair-free. Women were more likely to go bare if they were younger, bisexual (rather than straight or lesbian) or not partnered. We didn’t ask, but I would guess that as women get comfortable in relationships, they feel more comfortable about various aspects of their bodies – including their pubic hair. Plus, if you’re with a woman regularly, you must know that even if she waxes all of her hair off, there has to be significant time for re-growth in order to get waxed again. As such, even women who wax have to have hair at least some of the time.

The bottom line is that women do all sorts of different things to their pubic hair and you should do only what feels right, comfortable and/or sexy and alluring to you. To learn more about pubic hair removal methods, sex and other fun stuff, check out my book, Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.

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About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

  • Eliza

    I’m surprised this was so common among bisexuals – as someone who identifies as a bi-dyke, meaning I am more attracted to women than men, I’ve always thought of shaving as a heteronormative aesthetic.