Okay, I admit right off the bat that this post is a little bit tongue-in-cheek. The cheek on your face, Jeez! :-) But it is an interesting discussion. The first article below, by a doctor on a medical blog, addresses actual health risks of shaving down.
The second, from Scientific American, repeats a lot of speculation, some that supports my own instincts about infantilizing objects of sexual desire. (BTW, for those who want justification for shaving down, you can find some of that, too.)
The third, from a Columbia U blog, just reinforces the idea that pubes promote sexual stimulation via pheromones. (Wasn't there a gay cologne a few years ago that was supposed to have pheromones as a base? Or maybe you were supposed to rub it into your pubes, I forget.)
There are more articles, and at the end of the day it looks to me as if there are more reasons to leave natural alone than to mess with it. I close with observations from that well known sexologist, Dr. Scooter...
"I think the shave it for your partner argument is way off target, like the reason married straight guys don't get blow jobs from their wives is because they have a manly set of pubes. I'm not turned off by the stray pussy hair as much as the over ripened vulva, just as most women would be more turned off by the smegma of an uncut penis (which some gay men seem to like) than p-floss. But the shaft hair as an irritant? I've never experienced that, nor have any of my male or female partners. Maybe it's because I constantly precum so there isn't the friction factor. If that’s your problem, use more lube! As for the idea that there’s more sensation on a shaved penis, the hair follicles on my dick serve as extra sensors that add to my pleasure."
That kid is so great!
# # #
The war on pubic hair must end
EMILY GIBSON, MD | CONDITIONS | APRIL 29, 2011
I must have missed the declaration of war on pubic hair.
It must have happened sometime in the last decade because the amount of time, energy, money and emotion both genders spend on abolishing every hair from their genitals is astronomical. The genital hair removal industry, including medical professionals who advertise their specialty services to those seeking the “clean and bare” look, is exponentially growing.
But why pick on the lowly pubic hair? A few sociological theories suggest it has to do with cultural trends spawned by bikinis and thongs, certain hairless actors and actresses, a desire to return to childhood, a misguided attempt at hygiene or being more attractive to a partner. Surely human beings are not so naïve as to be susceptible to fashion trends and biases.
It is a sadly misconceived war. Long ago surgeons figured out that shaving a body part prior to surgery actually increased rather than decreased surgical site infections. No matter what expensive and complex weapons are used—razor blades, electric shavers, tweezers, waxing, depilatories, electrolysis—hair, like crab grass, always grows back and eventually wins. In the mean time, the skin suffers the effects of the scorched battlefield.
Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles left behind, leaving microscopic open wounds. Rather than suffering a comparison to a bristle brush, frequent hair removal is necessary to stay smooth, causing regular irritation of the shaved or waxed area. When that irritation is combined with the warm moist environment of the genitals, it becomes a happy culture media for some of the nastiest of bacterial pathogens, namely group A streptococcus, staphylococcus aureus and its recently mutated cousin methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA). There is an increase in staph boils and abscesses, necessitating incisions to drain the infection, resulting in scarring that can be significant. It is not at all unusual to find pustules and other hair follicle inflammation papules on shaved genitals.
Additionally, I’ve seen cellulitis (soft tissue bacterial infection without abscess) of the scrotum, labia and penis from spread of bacteria from shaving or from sexual contact with strep or staph bacteria from a partner’s skin.
Some clinicians are finding that freshly shaved pubic areas and genitals are also more vulnerable to herpes infections due to the microscopic wounds being exposed to virus carried by mouth or genitals. It follows that there may be vulnerability to spread of other STIs as well.
Pubic hair does have a purpose, providing cushion against friction that can cause skin abrasion and injury, protection from bacteria and other unwanted pathogens, and is the visible result of long awaited adolescent hormones, certainly nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.
It is time to declare a truce in the war on pubic hair, and allow it to stay right where it belongs. We owe it to our patients to encourage them to let it be.
# # #
A bushel of facts about the uniqueness of human pubic hair
By Jesse Bering | March 1, 2010
Robin Weiss , a researcher from University College London’s Division of Infection and Immunology, speculates that one of the main reasons that human beings uniquely evolved a “thick bush of wiry hair” around their genital regions is its visual signaling of sexual maturation. (It also likely serves as a primitive odor trap and aids in the wafting of human pheromones.) So pubic hair acts as a sort of blinking marquee, indicating for prospective sexual partners that mating with that individual could be potentially a fruitful exercise in genetic perpetuity. Weiss believes that the advertisement of our fecundity suggests that pubic hair would have arisen only after we became “naked apes,” causing it to stand out so vividly against the backdrop of an otherwise hairless body.
Irrespective of sexual orientation or gender, the investigators discovered that the primary motivation for pubic hair depilation is related to concerns with one’s appearance (in contrast to health-related motivations). And for young women, at least, the removal of pubic hair is significantly correlated with having a sexual partner, something that Tiggemann and Hodgson find more than a little troubling:
The complete removal of pubic hair is also removing a key marker of adult female sexuality. The result is a prepubescent-like body that is highly sexualized. Thus it is another practice that may contribute to the increasing objectification and sexualization of young girls.
Pubic hair trends do make one wonder about unspoken human sexual proclivities. It is tempting to speculate, as my friend and fellow evolutionary psychologist Gordon Gallup reminded me recently, that those who prefer their sexual partners to be bare down there might actually be latent pedophiles.
# # #
What’s the point of pubic hair?
GO ASK ALICE / COLUMBIA.EDU
There are a number of theories on why pubic hair exists, but no definitive answer. However, most sources agree that pubic hair relates to pheromones — scents that the body produces that can be sexually stimulating to others.
Believe it or not, humans have the same number of hair follicles as apes, except our body hair is generally very fine or barely visible in comparison. Yet pubic and underarm hair tends to be more visible and coarse. It is believed that the tufts of hair around the genitals, as well as under the arms, release pheromones, which may act as erotic aids.
For some people, scents from these areas are noticeable and consciously increase sexual arousal. For others, pheromones might not be obvious but may be detected subconsciously.
# # #