When I told people I was growing my pubes for charity, most
people quivered and went, "Ugh that's gross". When I told them I
don't normally have any pubes, the rest declared, "Ugh, that's
gross, it's like a child". I may as well have told them that I'd
discovered a penchant for fisting! But why do we have such strong
reactions to our short and curlies?
For me, deciding not to have pubes at the age of 22 was part
practicality (I could never get the straight line of a Brazilian
and my hair was too thin to make a nice triangle) and part
over-compensating for sexual difficulties. I had a sexual
dysfunction called vaginismus, meaning that I could not be
penetrated with fingers, vibes, tampons - anything. To my troubled
mind, having no pubes made me seem less prudish.
So last autumn, when my partner and I drunkenly discussed a pubic
alternative to the moustache-growing Movember, I giggled, "I'll
call it Muffember," and promptly posted my plan on Facebook before
passing out. I awoke with a hangover and a sense of foreboding.
Logging on to Facebook I found 20 comments applauding my bravery.
There was no going back. I was going to grow pubes in order to
raise money for Ovarian Cancer Action. I felt excited and a little
sick - and it wasn't just due to the wine!
Shedio a 29-year-old production worker says, "As a lesbian it's
easy to be influenced by the people you sleep with as there can be
an element of comparison that doesn't exist between straight
couples. I don't really like it when girls shave everything".
Preferring a bare beaver, 26-year-old student S Hall says: "It
didn't occur to me until I was at least 24 that not shaving was an
option. I just assumed everybody did and everybody preferred that.
Even though I resent the amount of time grooming takes, I still
can't get over the impression that shaved is the ideal in other
This perceived pressure to groom is relatively new. Indeed, most
people from my parents' generation, who were young women in the
70s, would never have thought to shave. At this time, porn was in
its golden era and you could go to the cinema to watch the like of
The Devil in Miss Jones and Deep Throat, where lots of sexy,
real-boobed women proudly spread their legs to show thick, thatched
bushes. Plus, in 1972, Alex Comfort published his seminal sex guide
The Joy of Sex, featuring illustrations of hairy men and women
happily doing it alongside advice to brush and comb each other's
Read the rest in the April issue of DIVA.
ILLUSTRATION: Emma Cattell