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On shaving rash vs crotch hair

Summer’s come around, eventually. Time for us to run to the park to play cricket badly, burn things on barbecues while sipping lukewarm Fosters, and – if you’re me – growl with resentment at the fact that you have to show people your shaving rash if you want to go swimming.

I shave my crotch sometimes. Not all the time – in fact, one might say I’m reasonably lax about the removal of body hair. Ultimately, shaving things takes time and effort that I’d rather spend on having fun. However, I don’t mind the occasional shave because I like it when people come all over my cunt, and I get to rub it in. I’m gross like that.

So I have no problem with shaving, or hair removal, if it’s something people want to do. What pisses me off, though, are situations where I feel uncomfortable if I don’t. Situations in which I feel singularly incapable of channeling all of the angry liberal feminist rage I feel most of the time, and simply end up looking wistfully at my crotch and wondering why I give such a massive and disproportionate shit about how it looks. In this case, the thing that has made me angry is the prospect of swimming in the sea.

Caught between a rock and a hairy place

I understand that aesthetically some people prefer smooth thighs and a bald crotch, with no pubic hairs poking out of the sides of a swimming costume, but unfortunately for me (and, I suspect, a hell of a lot of other women too) this isn’t actually an option.

The choice for me is between a hairy crotch or an ugly shaving rash, ingrowing hairs, and a desire to scratch myself that’s likely to get me arrested in public places.

When I’ve confessed this to people before, their response has usually been ‘well, why don’t you wax?’ Great thinking, kids, but unfortunately waxing makes no discernible difference to whether my cunt turns bright red and causes me immeasurable discomfort for a week. What’s more, it hurts like… well… like a sadist ripping hairs out of your pudenda.

I got my crotch waxed once, so I know what it feels like. Anyone who suggests that I do this, in the same casual tone as they would if they were recommending a certain film, needs a quick, sharp lesson in empathy. Because my God, people, it hurts. A lot.

When I regaled my Mum with the horrible tale of my inaugural cunt-waxing, she summed up pretty much how I felt about the matter.

“I had it done once,” she said “and it hurt, but only slightly more than childbirth.”

I would probably have been less upset by the pain if it turned out there was a ‘gain’ from it afterwards, but unfortunately the very next day I was nursing bright red patches and itching again, still unable to wear a bikini in case people on the beach thought I was contagious.

How do you solve a problem like a hairy crotch?

I challenged myself to write this entry without recourse to my usual rage-fuelled bile-spitting about society’s expectations of presentation and body. Not because it’s unimportant (it’s very important) but simply because I recognise that no amount of raging and ranting and writing empowering blogs on the internet can magically stop someone being bothered about crotch hair.

If someone gives you an odd look when you stand on the beach, straggling pubes waving in the breeze, your discomfort won’t be lessened any by knowing that I wrote a feminist blog about it the week before. Knowing that I shouldn’t care about this stuff – that I’m intrinsically happy in my worth as a human being whether my crotch is bald or not – doesn’t make the slightest difference to my irrational, emotional insecurity about it.

When we arrive in Utopia, no one will ever have to worry about whether they have crotch hair, or a shaving rash, moles in unusual places or stretchmarks or cellulite or any of the other things that cause us to panic. We’ll all be far too busy swimming to give even the smallest flying fuck about anyone’s perceived imperfections.

But right now that’s not helpful or comforting. Right now I’m preparing for a holiday, staring mournfully at a bikini and dreading the moment I have to show it – and whatever state my crotch is in – to the world.

There’s no conclusion to this that’s in any way satisfying. In the short term I’m buying shorts. Long shorts. Swimming shorts. The really baggy ones that go down to my knees. Twinned with a bikini top and an angry stare, they should get me through this summer, at least.

And in the longer term, well. There’ll be more angry blog posts and rants about what is not wrong with you and why no one should feel compelled to shave their body hair. And I’ll keep my fingers crossed that we reach our Utopia before summer 2014, when this whole charade begins again.

44 Comments

  • This is why I like swimming costumes with skirts like the ones http://www.forluna.co.uk/ do. Gets around the whole problem fairly neatly.

    Though I do actually go swimming with hairy legs and underarms a proportion of the time these days.

    • Girl on the net says:

      I really *really* want one of those now! Although I suspect that there’ll still be a bit of rash showing, people will be too busy admiring just how awesomely retro I am. Thank you for posting the link!

      • Sarah says:

        I got a gorgeous one last year – from M&S! Yes, that’s right.

        Personally, pubic waxing is the thing I feel most feminist anger about. It’s ridiculous. In my opinion, don’t buy the house if you don’t like the garden.

        I’m so fortunate that my husband likes pubic hair – and I’m lucky that it doesn’t travel down my thighs, although bikinis are out. In an ideal world, he’d want me to keep it longer but tidy up the edges. I’ve done it twice for him, in eight years. It doesn’t bother him and I’m not ripping my hair out or suffering ingrown hairs and an itchy nether region for no reason.

        • Girl on the net says:

          “Don’t buy the house if you don’t like the garden.” – That’s amazing =)

          I had a chat with a couple of friends about this the other day, and both of them said that they’re fans of waxing/shaving etc on the crotch, but mainly for personal comfort and sensation. I can see that, I think, although for me I don’t feel comfortable at all if I wax or shave completely. I think with most body stuff I basically think ‘do whatever makes you comfortable’, and my main issue is that this has become yet another way to police people’s bodies and act like natural things are wrong – mostly mainstream media, it has to be said, but there’s a big message there that says ‘your body is wrong, you need to shave (i.e. ‘correct’) it before you’ll be attractive.’

  • eep says:

    i totally agree. only waxed once, never again as it was totally uneven not to mention the pain. shaving does make me maddeningly itchy too. ive found my husband’s hair clippers are great to make it neat and tidy without any of the pain or itcy regrowth and as an added bonus the vibrating sensation aint all bad either!

  • Ha! You crack me up – every post. I can literally feel your pain here…I have the same terrible problem. And even though the solution I have settled on isn’t perfect, it does keep the rashing to a minimum and the hair decently under control. Plus, the boy-shorts swim suit and undies do a lovely job of hiding imperfections – be they hair or redness. And I totally agree with your mom on Brazilian waxing. E-gad that hurts like a son-of-a….

    • Girl on the net says:

      Delighted that I’m not the only one Brigit! And eep – I agree re: clippers. I can get things reasonably short with clippers, and it stops things getting too rashy. I also find it quite therapeutic to do – like pubic topiary.

  • Chaz says:

    I’m one of those lucky people who isn’t terribly hirsute, so waxing isn’t a painful ordeal. However, waxing my crotch results in folliculitis, which is painful and unsightly, so it’s not an option. I use electric hair trimmers with a guard and give myself a “number one all over”, as it’s known in the hairdressing game (only on my crotch, not my head). As long as you don’t wear a high leg butt-floss swimsuit, you should be fine. If you have hairy thighs, have you tried depilating cream, e.g. Veet? I can’t use it myself, as I have very sensitive skin, but it works well for some of my female friends. Or you could go with the swim shorts option. You don’t *have* to opt for the itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny bikini ;-)

    Whatever you opt for, have a smashing summer x

  • Marty21 says:

    As a child of the 70s when porn was , hairy, it does sadden me that the current trend is to be hairless, I find that very unsexy to be honest. Yet young blokes these days seem to have a major fear/complex about a hairy muff.

  • Isaac says:

    Just a passing observation – I don’t think I’ve ever met a woman who knows how to wield a razor correctly. Preparation and technique, as with most things in life, make a huge difference. If you can find a man who can teach you you’ll be amazed at the result.

    • JenClone says:

      Shaving your cunt is very different to shaving your face. And everyone is a bit different, some women don’t get a rash when they shave downstairs, some do because their skin is more sensitive or their hair is more coarse. And there don’t exist (to my knowledge) any cunt-friendly shaving creams and lotions that will help – every ladyshave product I have seen tells you specifically not to put it anywhere near your vulva. Different ballgame, my friend.

    • Korhomme (@Korhomme) says:

      I’d agree with this.

      Alternatively, have you tried an epilator, a machine that plucks hairs out by the root? You might need to persist with it.

      And, hairless isn’t new — the ancient Greeks used to do it.

    • Stephanie says:

      How come nobody bothers to teach us the difference yet expects us to innately know that we must uphold some ridiculous, pussy (so to speak), hairless standard?

  • Megan says:

    Haha, brilliant post!!
    I have just gone through a week of experimenting with shaving, waxing and finally hair removal cream (yeah, the pack wasn’t lying when it said not for use on genitals!!).
    Got any advice for a woman who can’t wait to show of her humongous ass, but is terribly embarrassed by her fanny area?

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hmm, it’s tricky, but I’d say have a look through all the different swimsuits available – there are bloody *loads* (as I’ve just been discovering) – including dresses. With a swimming dress you can keep the fanny area covered, then keep bending down to pick up shells off the beach to show off your spectacular backside =)

  • Waxing hurts less and less and your skin reacts to it less and less each time. But the key is to keep doing it consistently once a month and never shave in between.

    And there’s always laser hair removal if you want a permanent solution :)

    • Girl on the net says:

      Ah, see I’ve been lasered (not there – elsewhere) and it was by no means permanent. If it were I’d probably consider doing it again, but for me it just didn’t work.

      And thank you for the waxing advice! I probably won’t take it, I’m afraid, as it seems like far too much commitment and cash for me, but it may well work for others who struggle with waxing pain!

      • Sarah says:

        What about a no no? My mum swears by it (too much information) although since chemo she’s lost all her body hair. Every cloud and all that.

        • Girl on the net says:

          Interesting – I’ve never heard of it before but just Googled it. I can’t quite work out what it does – is it like a home laser thing? It looks like it burns the hair in some way, but even from their FAQs I can’t quite figure it out. I have a friend who used one of the home laser (or IPL?) things from Boots, and she said it worked quite well for her, although it was incredibly pricey – about £300 at the time I think.

  • Kirst says:

    Depilatory cream? There are some specifically for “the bikini line” as they so coyly call it.

    • Stephanie says:

      I’ve never tried it, but I’ve thought about it. Is it safe? They always warn you to not use depilatory cream (for the legs) on the “bikini line”. But isn’t it the same stuff?

      • Sarah says:

        You can get special sensitive stuff for down there – I wouldn’t recommend the full bald eagle, but for bikini line it’s fine. However, if you get shaving rash, you’ll get ingrown hairs from this too. You can buy creams that reduce ingrown hair – like those expensive facial exfoliating creams that use fruit acids to dissolve dead skin, which does improve ingrown hairs. I used to buy some made my immac, not sure if Veet still make it (since my other half doesn’t care, I haven’t touched my pubic hair in years now).

  • Juniper3 says:

    I’ve found waxing very much depends on the skill of the wax-er. If you find a good one its less painful (good wrist action)

  • M_E says:

    Did your waxer use hot wax or strip wax? If strip – removed using paper strips – you need to find someone who uses hot, peelable wax. Much, much, much less painful.

    Take it from a man who gets his bits waxed.

    • Sarah says:

      That’s very true – much less painful. However, I’m mentally scarred after an eyebrow wax of this type – I basically had a bright red strip across my face for a week. I don’t fancy that down below.

      Back in my uni days, I had a lot of “honeymoon” waxes (bikini line and the bum area, for thong wearing). The back hurt like buggery (pun intended), even though my hair apparently comes out more easily than some other people’s. I don’t ever want to have to go back to waxing.

  • Cindy says:

    I must be the luckiest gal alive. My boyfriend loves body hair (he lives in a climate where folks laser year round and he finds it off putting for reasons that are not appropriate here). Let us just say he wants to be with an adult woman. He wants to know her as she really is. I stopped shaving my armpits a few months ago for him and yes, I must explain to many why I prefer this, but I now only shave my legs daily (I am hairy for a female!) and the freedom is amazing. Men are spoiled, ill informed, and have expectations that just do not align with reality, much like the air brushed anorexic model pictures. (I can say this- I was anorexic for 20 years…awful). Grow up, men.
    You are unaware of the pain we endure for your pleasure, and a shaved man???? Where did the “man” part go? Down the drain with the shaving cream. Sad. I am hairy. My man is hairy. Our sexual relationship is beyond good. The best part? It is real…no false waxing, shaving, plumping, fixing, airbrushing, or pain. Just us, lights on, toys, and honest, “clean” fun!

    • Stephanie says:

      “Men are spoiled, ill informed, and have expectations that just do not align with reality, much like the air brushed anorexic model pictures. (I can say this- I was anorexic for 20 years…awful). Grow up, men.”

      You…are…awesome! (hugs – I know how hard having an eating disorder can be)

    • Sarah says:

      I applaud you. As someone who has struggled with eating disorders and my body image, I know how difficult it is to get to the point where you feel free. I hate my body, with a passion. I hate being naked when I’m alone, even when washing – I can’t look at it.

      However, during a big recent heart to heart with my husband about our sex life, he managed to convince me that he finds my body really sexy and that it is his ideal. He explained about my hourglass shape, the fact that my tits move (a lot), the way I look down below with proper hair. I didn’t quite believe him initially, but then I stopped cringing and paying attention to his facial expressions when he’s looking at me. Whenever I get naked and we are on a bed, the first thing he does is push me on my back and stare at my cunt – I really looked at his face for the first time, rather than getting bashful, and I can see how much he loves it.

      Because I was feeling more free, he put me into a few positions that normally I would never do – I won’t go into details, because it’s pretty disgraceful, and rather embarrassing. Not only could I see how hard it was making him, but he also took some photos and then video (airplane mode is a wonderful thing – no NSA guys looking at my arsehole!). He made me look at them and I had to admit that it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Now I get myself into those positions, just t

    • Sarah says:

      I applaud you. As someone who has struggled with eating disorders and my body image, I know how difficult it is to get to the point where you feel free. I hate my body, with a passion. I hate being naked when I’m alone, even when washing – I can’t look at it.

      However, during a big recent heart to heart with my husband about our sex life, he managed to convince me that he finds my body really sexy and that it is his ideal. He explained about my hourglass shape, the fact that my tits move (a lot), the way I look down below with proper hair. I didn’t quite believe him initially, but then I stopped cringing and paying attention to his facial expressions when he’s looking at me. Whenever I get naked and we are on a bed, the first thing he does is push me on my back and stare at my cunt – I really looked at his face for the first time, rather than getting bashful, and I can see how much he loves it.

      Because I was feeling more free, he put me into a few positions that normally I would never do – I won’t go into details, because it’s pretty disgraceful, and rather embarrassing. Not only could I see how hard it was making him, but he also took some photos and then video (airplane mode is a wonderful thing – no NSA guys looking at my arsehole!). He made me look at them and I had to admit that it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Now I get myself into those positions, just to see the look on his face.

      Of course, after sex, I’m back to hating my body and being mortified about how I looked – but during it, I feel like the sexiest bitch ever. I think that’s why I’ve become such a sex addict recently – it’s because i feel so good about myself during it and I want more of that. I’m hoping eventually I’ll feel like a sex bomb all the time, and feel confident in every bit of myself, but this will do for now!

      (GOTN, sorry if my messages keep posting twice – it’s my stupid phone!)

      • Girl on the net says:

        Wow. I am jealous and also pretty in awe of your husband. This whole episode sounds incredibly horny, and what a phenomenal way to demonstrate just how hot he finds you. I think I’d struggle with confronting my body in lots of angles I’d never seen it in before, but I can totally see that one of the best ways to learn to appreciate yourself is to see yourself through someone else’s eyes.

        I’m always delighted when guys offer me genuine compliments, as often they’ll be for things I had never really considered before. While I’m worrying about how my stomach looks in a particular position, or about bumps and spots in various intimate places, he’ll say something like “you’ve got such a pretty cunt” or “look at the shape of your boob when you’re lying in that position – it’s like a perfect curve” – and there’s something really hot, and wonderful, in the sheer directness of it. It makes me appreciate things I would otherwise have overlooked.

        p.s. no worries about the double-posting – thank you for contributing so much!

  • Skoeman says:

    This is always a difficult one for me. Aesthetically, nothing pleases me more than a cunt with neat, nicely trimmed pubic hair. However, nothing feels better than a perfectly smooth one. There’s nothing for those beautiful cunt juices to get caught up in. Rather they end up spread all over the girl, your face, your cock, balls and belly. It’s just delightful.

  • I own a tankini with shorts. Actually more like hotpants than shorts…but it negates the need to bother with shaving *and* it shows off my booty/legs.
    So it’s kinda a win-win.

  • katie says:

    i have definitely felt your pain. it’s worth giving this stuff called tendskin a try next time you shave. it’s really cheap and comes in satisfyingly dull packaging which to me just made it seem less faddy somehow. you can buy it on amazon, probably lots of other places too.

    i only shave/wax occasionally, more because i’m lazy than because of ingrowns, plus my girlfriend and i are fans of each other in a furry state, but when i do i always get a few really nasty ones unless i use tendskin. you just wipe it on with cotton wool over the area that you’ve shaved or waxed a couple of times a day (or just whenever you can remember) and it magically stops them becoming ingrown.

    my friend who had such bad ingrowns that she had to have surgery on some recommended it to me and she’s never had a problem since.

    apologies if that sounds like some kind of shoddy marketing pitch!

    • Girl on the net says:

      Not a shoddy marketing pitch at all – if you’ve used it and it worked for you then I’m definitely willing to give it a go! Thank you for the tip =)

  • Erika says:

    Of all the things to come out of lurker mode for…

    I know this pain. And not shaving is definitely not an option, as “pubic” doesn’t really explain the enthusiastic sprawl of hair inching its way down my thighs and up my lower stomach. I started using “Hovan’s Medi Cream / Bikini Saver” the first time I waxed, and discovered that it works amazingly on razor rash too (because dammit, I’m not made of bikini waxing money, and most of the time it’s the blade for me). It even has the added bonus of smelling rather nice, but light.

    Just had to share because I really do sympathize and this absolutely works for me. :)

  • Crystal says:

    Why does no in real life seem to understand that such a situation can exist? No matter what choice I made, something looked off. I had pale white skin and black, coarse Italian hair with 3 hairs to a follicle growing on my crotch and legs. When I shaved, I had a rash AND you could still see the black hair through my vaguely transparent pale skin so it still looked like a 5 o’clock shadow. Plus I got ingrown hairs so bad they caused massive bruising. I could explain all of that to boyfriends and family and they still didn’t understand why I always wore pants.

    Which is all why I got laser hair removal. I’m not recommending it, but it solved my problems. It was that or my sanity. Thousands of dollars.

  • Craig says:

    Love this blog. So much of the time it is assumed that all women should shave bare and it is gross not to. Porn has led fashion that way. I’m my experience, reality is that more women still have pubic hair than have none, whether they have a triangle or something small like a landing strip.

    It makes me angry that women feel so pressured. Pubic hair is natural and a sign of womanhood. I prefer a woman with pubic hair. If a girl wants to leave it natural, nothing wrong with a bit escaping from nicks or bikini. If she’s not comfortable with that, a little trim should keep her modest. And no girl should feel she should have to endure the discomfort of a shaving rash if she doesn’t want to. Most reasonable people would agree.

    A lot of younger people don’t realise that shaving bare only became really fashionable in the last 10-15 years. The fashion is already moderating and will pass. Good luck to any girl who wants to shave bare, but don’t make girls feel pressured or expected to do it.

    And I for one salute your furry pussy!

  • Stephanie says:

    I generally have to go fuzzy-legged because of my cerebral palsy (razors and shitty balance = the bathroom looks like a crime scene).

    Crotch shaving? I tried it once. (Cerebral palsy in my case involves spasticity of the hips, and sometimes uncontrollable muscle spasms. I’ll just let that set of variables sink in for a moment.)

    Why do people do this to themselves? How does looking prepubescent make one look sexier, or better? Why don’t guys have to shave?

    On the other hand, being a curvaceous gal, some part of me wants a bikini because they’re easier to get into.

  • Stephanie says:

    I love that I married a guy who doesn’t care that I’m furry. <3

    • Sarah says:

      Amen to that! If I got rid of mine, he’d be livid.

      The only thing that would make him more angry would be me getting a pair of fake tits.

      Definitely a keeper!

  • sc11 says:

    I have NEVER been able to find anything that helped me with my razor burn rash in said cunt area…its always been a huge embarrassment issue for me…BUT I’m finally rash free. I swear its a miracle. Grandpa’s Thylox Sulfur soap for acne! I found it at the herb shop & OMG I almost cried tears of joy. Two washes & I was almost porn star pussy pretty. Seriously happier than a kid on Christmas morning at Disney world. I have lupus & a myriad of health issues & sensitivities…so everything tore my cunt area up horribly. Even the products that were labeled for sensitive skin. I thought I was just doomed until three days ago. I CANT STOP LOOKING AT IT IN THE MIRROR! I MIGHT EVEN TAKE PICTURES OF IT BC I’M BEYOND HAPPY. I can finally shove my lovers face into my cunt without the lights off! Cheers!!!! Xo

  • Ame says:

    I do not like the pain of waxing, but I get the gain not having itchy sandpaper crotch, so I put myself through it as frequently as I can make myself. Things I’ve found helpful:
    1. Lycon wax: This only work well on short hair, as I found out recently when re-trying it for the second time. It also takes much longer than normal waxing, so that’s also a factor, my god it felt like eternity. However, my skin was much MUCH happier afterwards (the waxer used a tiny bit of normal wax in one area for comparison and it itched like hell)
    2. Witchhazel tonic: Found in healthfood and vegan shops. Often alcohol-based. Really seems to help with the itching and in-grown hairs. (Thank you to the kind Redditor that gave me this tip)

    However, I also go through phases where I can’t work up the energy to go through the pain of waxing. I’m considering buying a non-natural colour to dye my pubes. Somehow it doesn’t seem like it would be so bad if they were pink or blue or something?

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