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Should You Get a Brazilian Wax?

Let's Tackle that Hairy Question: Are Brazilian Waxes Necessary?

Do you really need a Brazilian wax these days? That's the question a woman posed to the Times of London, after a new beau was "shocked" by her presence of pubic hair. In her letter, she says, "I don’t think that a permanent tan and Brazilian wax should be dealbreakers in a relationship. Or am I just hopelessly outdated?"

Long story short, advice columnist Suzi Godson tells the woman to let 'er rip. "Grooming down there is now considered to be normal, on a par with manicures, blow-drying, and eyebrow waxing," she says. "There is something hugely irritating about being forced to conform to an aesthetic ideal instigated and perpetuated by the porn industry, but, like keeping one’s armpits and legs smooth, it is now expected."

Oh brother. You already know that I hate, hate, hate the whole "wax, or else you are gross and undesirable!" standpoint, but I wanted to get a professional opinion on the matter. So I turned to sex educator Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., MPH, author of Because It Feels Good. Her advice is about 10 times better than Godson's, so read more.

After reading the original question in the advice column, here's what Herbenick had to say:

While it's true that many men in their 20s are accustomed to seeing women with bare vulvas — not just in porn, but among their same-aged partners — it's not true that all women wax, shave, or laser their way out of their pubic hair. In our research studies, we've found considerable numbers of women of all ages who leave at least a little amount of pubic hair — and yes, some women and men still choose to go natural.

I would advise this particular woman — and any woman or man who isn't sure what to do with their pubic hair — to do only what they feel comfortable or sexy doing. If she goes bare but hates it or feels like a child or a porn star (and not in a good way), or if she is kowtowing to her partner's preferences, then she's unlikely to feel hot, sexy, or desirable as she is. No one wants to feel desirable only under certain circumstances. Yes, she may find that she wants to readjust some of her dating or sexual techniques that have gotten rusty in the years she was out of the dating pool, but she should never do anything that makes her feel uncomfortable, powerless, or anything other than awesome.

At the end of the day, it's just pubic hair. It shouldn't be a dealbreaker. If it is, either he has very rigid guidelines/interests or it's a sign of his inexperience (which developmentally one should expect at 27 — it's not his fault, he's just relatively new to a game she's been in long enough to know that Pubic Hair Style Does Not Great Sex Make).

So there you have it. Wax if you want to, don't wax if you don't — it's your call. For more advice and information from Debby Herbenick, visit My Sex Professor.


Join The Conversation
ktjohnston50 ktjohnston50 7 years
I've heard the good and bad stories about a brazilian wax -but, I think if you do your research before going into a salon (ex. looking on Yelp to see if the salon has a good staff & facilities), then it's much more likely you'll have a positive experience. And, as someone mentioned above, just prepare yourself for the pain - know that getting a wax for the first time may be a painful experience...but as time goes on, you'll get used to it. I go to a salon in Austin - - and am happy with my treatment every time.
soapybub soapybub 7 years
Personally, I don't mind the pain of a brazilian wax, or a bikini wax for that matter. But really, it's expensive and I just don't feel that 'super' when I have it done. The only reason why I wax EVER is if I'm going to be in a bikini. My skin is see-through white, and my hair is....well, not light. Even when I shave you can see it under the skin, and that just makes me feel unsexy and gross. So, if I'm going to be bikini-clad, I will wax the bikini line. Other than that, I like to keep it fairly natural. If a guy has an issue with that, then screw him (not sexually, of course...).
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I started shaving it all off when I was in my teens - well before any sexual activity. It was just a personal preference - I didn't like that it grows in as straight hair rather than the curls that I imagine most people have. My friends thought I was the freak for going bare but then they tried it and their boyfriends liked it so they all started it too. After years and years of constantly shaving it all off, I got curious as to what color the "carpet" would be - would it match my natural blonde hair or would it be like I hear so many blondes are - darker down there. So I grew it out so I could see for myself. My husband (then boyfriend) loved it when I grew out a little "test" landing strip. He prefers that I have some hair down there so I leave a little landing strip now just for him. Every now and then I get the urge to be completely bare and shave it all off. But man if you don't shave it off regularly - it itches to high heaven when it starts growing back in. I never felt comfortable having any hair down there until my husband let me know it's okay - it's not gross but something natural.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
I'm with biarose, I hate the prickly feeling. But I found that keeping it bare just works better for me. Not to mention how it feel when it grows back is enough to drive anyone to insanity!
EvieJ EvieJ 7 years
I've been completely bare and completely hairy - it's a personal preference to the WOMAN in a relationship, not the man. Well said VSugar! Personally, since I've had a baby girl, I can't stand the completely bare look. It just skeeves me - and my husband - out.
biarose biarose 7 years
I hate shaving and waxing down there because I get terrible in-growns and I hate it when it starts growing back and it's all prickly. I prefer to just trim a bit so it's not so unruly.
notinthemood notinthemood 7 years
I tend to get really bad ingrowns if I don't wax. I run a lot and I guess it's the friction with my legs/undies/shorts? So I prefer as bare as possible, but it's mostly utility for me. I get offended when men expect women to have modified their bodies in a certain way... how would they feel if we made a big fuss about being "cut" or not?
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 7 years
I've been at every level of the spectrum, too. These days, I'm waxed and neatly trimmed. For me, it's about grooming (aesthetics) and a necessity (I have a lot hair on my head, and trust me, I'm the same way down there. Sorry if that's TMI, but it's the truth).
Miss-Bree Miss-Bree 7 years
I've also gone every level in between. Frankly, i think it's a generational thing. As a current college student, I've always kept it uber trim down there just because, well, that's what I've always felt is expected and.... I'm used to it. Interestingly enough, my current boyfriend, who's 29, told me after we started dating that he'd never been with a girl whose consistently bare down there. Which, made me switch it up occasionally. Overall though, I keep it bare, just because that's what I'm used to. However, being a poor college student, i cant afford to consistanly wax, so i generally go for shaving...sometimes a little rough, but I've got it down to a science. I've always felt that good maintenance, in any capacity, is a necessity. I don't think, however that a girl needs to be completely bare. However it's maintained, as long as its not a forest, in my opinon, should be perfectly acceptable.
Advah Advah 7 years
Bella - thank you so much for that post. It's stupid but lately I started feeling a bit stupid when all of a sudden I realise almost every single one of my girl friends either go for Brazilian waxes or at least the strip. I always thought it was just a personal preference instead of a norm (I don't know, I just don't think about how it *should* look down there), and that thanks to my French/Spanish/Italian/Moroccan/Algerian genes I already had enough to deal with (cf legs, bikini, armpits, etc etc etc). But lately I started panicking - reading that makes me feel much better.
walla037 walla037 7 years
Why do women have to do all the work to our bodies, but men just have to shave their face (if they want)? That's ridiculous. Tell that man if he's so in to Brazilian waxes, he can go get himself waxed.
carmellamellow carmellamellow 7 years
I really think it's generational. I shave but have a landing strip. I feel a little more fresh and it's easier for my dude to ~*ahem*~ lick the lollipop. I'm 20. I didn't start shaving till I was maybe about 18, but always trimmed and kept it dainty up until then. I do remember getting some shit from other girls in high school who thought shaving was the ~ only ~ way to go, but I kindly told them to suck it. Sexuality is so much more than how we groom our pubic hair, and the fact that there is so much judgement about such a personal topic is ridiculous to me. Recently when I was changing in front of my mom, she saw my scantilly-clad hoohaw and was very surprised. She said things like "don't you feel a little too naked down there?" "should I do that too?" etc. etc. I assured her that men her age (she's single now and on the market) who were worth dating wouldn't care. But you shouldn't do anything just for a man anyhow!
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 7 years
AGREE with VSUGAR -- it should be a dealbreaker for YOU!!!!! what a small minded loser! be happy that he let you know early on what a jerk he is, you are better off without him!
bobbiboe bobbiboe 7 years
I always found it quite funny that a full wax job is called a brazilian, being a brazilian myself I know from experience that is NOT the norm there. Sure we do wax, what we having 100 degrees weather most of the year and amazing beaches but leaving a "landing strip" is more the norm. Actually my gynecologist in Rio has always warned me against a full wax, she claims women need a bit of a barrier in order to get some protection from bacteria and such. I live in US now, and sure I still wax once a month but I never go all bare!
Vsugar Vsugar 7 years
"I don’t think that a permanent tan and Brazilian wax should be dealbreakers in a relationship." I think it SHOULD be a dealbreaker - as in, if he actually expects it, DUMP HIS ASS!!!!!! Look, men like what they like - some men like women with big breasts - that doesn't mean there aren't men out there who prefer women with small breasts. If a man really REALLY prefers the brazilian wax, but it's just not your thing, then you probably aren't all that compatible in reality!! I had a boyfriend once who liked REALLY hairy women, and 1) I'm not really that hairy to begin with, and 2) I prefer to "groom" myself, at least a little. His incessant pleas for me to let myself turn into a hippie-earth-mother-yeti/goddess got REALLY annoying, and made me feel like there was something wrong with ME, but really we were just wrong for each other.
pink-elephant pink-elephant 7 years
great answer! It is sad to see that some women who may not feel comfortable going completely bare, now feel pressure to conform to wax/shave/laser just because it's "the norm."
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