The Health Benefits of Bush

A gynecologist tells us the medical reasons for growing pubic hair.

PetraWhen I was undergoing laser hair removal treatments for my bikini area, I contemplated whether or not I should take it all off. “Keep it!” my mom said, “You’ll get sick.” (I’ve spent years without it, what’s a lifetime?) Then I worried that one day I would embark on a love affair with a silver fox who would be appalled by hairless vagina (I determined it wouldn’t be a deal breaker). Ultimately, I found the hair annoying, and I asked myself, “Am I ever going to look down there and wish I had more to work with?” Probably not, so I forged on. If only I waited. I would have seen things differently now that bush is back.

Pubic hair is a hot topic that is probably affecting your life in some way or another. Gynecologist and author Dr. Lauren Streicher has even dedicated a chapter of her new book to “vaginal vanity.” Love Sex Again will be published in April and aims to fix the issues sabotaging our sex lives. Pubic hair is obviously a part of the discussion. Dr. Streicher tells us that the number one reason for having pubic hair is the prevention of friction.

“When you have two bodies rubbing against each other, you can get a pretty nasty rug burn,” she explains.

The doctor went on to give us a brief, yet amazing lesson on the historical use for pubes. See, that bush you’ve been fighting actually keeps your squishy bits warm. People apparently appreciated that back in the day, when they were doing it in locations far colder than your 68-degree bedroom. Now? Not so much.

“People aren’t having sex in caves or out in the snow,” she says, “but the friction is still an issue. Pubic hair does have a purpose.”

So maybe you are willing to risk the rug burn, but what about the removal process itself?

“I can tell you stories all day,” Streicher says. “There is no end to the things that can happen when you are removing hair.”

Sadly, there was not enough time to hear all of these stories. I am sure there are some doozies. As far as general injuries go, she says the big thing with waxing is burns, and shaving or clipping the hair down there can lead to cuts. Both can send you to the ER. (Someone once told me that she was terrified her clit was ripped off after her first Brazilian wax. There was abnormal tearing and a panicked waxer. There only permanent damage was psychological. On the bright side, the wax was free.)

Streicher says skin infections aren’t a big issue, though can happen if you get an ingrown hair.

I felt compelled to ask Streicher about one sexual myth. Does the absence of pubic hair make you more susceptible to herpes or other STIs?  The good news is that she says there is no evidence of this. The bad news? Herpes is still highly contagious.

If you are confident in your ability to avoid injury and infection, consider these reasons for going au naturale:

Time
Grooming is work. It’s winter, so why not put your vagina in hibernation? Use your now ample free time to binge watch “Downton Abbey” on Netflix.

Cost
Waxing, electrolysis, laser hair removal, depilatories, and multi-blade razors all fight the war on hair. They are also super expensive. Don’t you just cringe when you have to pay $25 or more for a four-pack of razor blades? The hair grows back in like, 25 minutes. If you prefer waxing, laser hair removal or electrolysis, you may have a longer grow out time, but you are paying thousands of dollars for searing pain. I used to bite my hand during my laser hair removal sessions and that was after popping four Ibuprofen.

Saggy Labias
We can all thank Cameron Diaz and her new book for this one. In The Body Book Diaz is pro-bush for many reasons — one being our inevitably droopy vaginas.

“Let’s be honest: just like every other part of your body, your labia majora is not immune to gravity, she wrote. “Do you really want a hairless vagina for the rest of your life?”

Shit, I never thought of it that way! If you catch yourself in the mirror trying to see if one side of your labia is lower than the other, Diaz has gotten to you, too. This fear will also save you money in the long run because a larger bush will hide your labia, and thus your need for a labiaplasty will disappear as well.

It may be too late for me to have a bush that “sways like seaweed,” but hopefully that silver fox won’t mind.

Related Links:
Meet the Brains Behind That American Apparel Bush
From Lady Gaga to Solange, 5 Stars Who Are Pro Bush
Underarm Hair: Feminist, Fashionable, or Just a Bit Gross?
American Apparel Makes Pubic Hair The Focal Point Of New Ad

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