While 62 percent of women in the United States remove their pubic hair, the practice is seemingly less common for men. In this week's Sex Talk Realness, Cosmopolitan.com spoke with four men about why they prefer to be hairless.
How old are you?
Man A: Twenty-three.
Man B: Twenty-nine.
Man C: Twenty-one.
Man D: Thirty-one.
Do you prefer waxing or shaving?
Man A: I've never waxed. Shaving is all I have ever known.
Man B: Shaving.
Man C: Never waxed, never will. I'm a wimp.
Man D: Insofar as I've never tried waxing, I guess I prefer shaving. I've honestly never felt the need to try waxing.
What prompted you to first remove your pubic hair?
Man A: I was a teenager and I just hated how it felt to have it. It's similar to the feeling of your fingernails being too long, or having an itch on your face and not scratching it. When I decided to do away with it, I immediately felt less anxious.
Man B: A combination of wanting to look like the men in the adult films I've been watching and wanting my penis to appear larger.
Man C: I am of below average length down there and realized I had pubes longer than my member. That was upsetting. I tried to trim them and it was probably similar to every time a 7-year-old girl tries to cut her bangs herself. I trimmed them so short and uneven that I had to just shave them off completely.
Man D: My first college girlfriend told me she wanted me to shave them. I didn't see any reason not to.
[pullquote align="C"]It makes you feel more like Ken, even if you don't have the sports car or the dream house.[/pullquote]
Why do you like removing your pubic hair?
Man A: I can't say I have ever noticed that it looks "bigger" when I shave, but there is definitely something very aesthetically pleasing about how everything looks right after a few days of skin irritation and redness, an unwanted side effect that never truly gets better. It makes you feel more like Ken, even if you don't have the sports car or the dream house.
Man B: Besides the optical illusion of making my penis look larger, I enjoy oral sex quite a bit, and I want to make sure my partner enjoys it as well instead of battling through a forest of pubes that could get stuck in his or her teeth. Also, I live in the South, where it's regularly triple digits, and while yes, there's air conditioning everywhere, it helps to have little to no hair. I should mention that I go all in. I also shave my ass. Oddly enough, I don't shave my armpits.
Man C: Honestly, I don't like the way it looks at all. I look like a child, given my size. But I think it keeps me from sweating as much down there and that's really the only reason I keep doing it.
Man D: I shave my pubes for aesthetic reasons. I've got very little body hair, so a big hairy mass of pubes just doesn't look good. I also enjoy the feeling of the smooth skin. When I first started shaving, I was also super sensitive after I shaved, though that's lost its novelty over the last decade.
[pullquote align="C"]Honestly, I don't like the way it looks at all. I look like a child, given my size.[/pullquote]
What's the best reaction you've ever gotten when someone saw your lack of pubes for the first time?
Man A: The best reaction I ever received was when a girl in college pumped her fist and grunted, "Yesssssssssss!" when she saw my grooming situation.
Man B: "OMG, it's soooooo smooth."
Man C: No one has ever actually seen me with or without pubes.
Man D: I honestly don't think I've ever gotten a reaction to it.
[pullquote align="C"]At least among my social circle, the biggest pressure I see along those lines is a spirit of fairness — if men want their partners to shave, they should do so as well.[/pullquote]
Do you feel like there's any pressure for men to keep their pubic hair a certain way?
Man A: I think there is a societal expectation that masculine men should not be mindful of such things, which does everyone a disservice. There is a lot of fun to be had in being a bit more meticulous about one's pubic hair, not only for their partners, but for themselves!
Man B: Not in the slightest. I feel there's more pressure on women. I actually wish men cared more. I'm bi, pretty much 50-50 into men and women, and I can't recall ever being grossed out by a woman's pubic situation.
Man C: No, I don't think there is at all. I think the only societal pressure I feel at all with regard to my body is related to penis size.
Man D: At least among my social circle, the biggest pressure I see along those lines is a spirit of fairness — if men want their partners to shave, they should do so as well.
Do any of your guy friends know your grooming preferences? What do they think?
Man A: They know, if only because I'm a bit of a show-off and I insist on wearing only the tiniest 1950s dad swimsuits in the summer that make it clear to all the extent to which you groom. All my male friends are unkempt lumberjacks in comparison, so I think it just confuses them.
Man B: The guys in the locker room do, and no one has brought it up.
Man C: My brother knows which of my two razors not to borrow, if that counts. I don't know his opinion on the actual practice.
Man D: It hasn't come up much with my adult friends, but when I was younger, many of my male friends also shaved.
[pullquote align="C"]As it was once bluntly put to me, my shaving made sex between me and my partner 'look like Fidel Castro smoking a cigar.'[/pullquote]
How does removing your pubic hair affect your sex life?
Man A: It makes you have to be more mindful of how your partner may feel and how they groom their pubic hair. Some girls have been stoked that they aren't the only one in the relationship who feels compelled to remove their hair, while it has made others more self-conscious about their au naturel look. As it was once bluntly put to me, my shaving made sex between me and my partner "look like Fidel Castro smoking a cigar." I guess like everything else in a sexual relationship, communication and trust are important, even when considering something like pubic hair.
Man B: It doesn't. When my hair gets long enough, and we all have our definition of long, I just shave again. The girl I'm currently dating thinks it's actually kind of weird I want her to grow her pubes out whilst I regularly trim mine, but I guess human sexuality is just hard to explain.
Man C: I am a virgin and I'm certain I'd still be a virgin with the pubes.
Man D: It hasn't been true of all my partners, but I've had several who made it very clear that oral sex would stop as soon as the shaving did.