Do you ever stop mid-trim and wonder, “What are other queer people doing with their pubic hair these days?” I do, and since I happen to have a job where I regularly talk to people about their genitals, I asked around.
I should acknowledge that this isn’t the first time that Autostraddle has been curious about queer carpets. In 2018, we conducted a “Lesbian and Queer Stereotypes Survey,” in which 12.3k survey respondents offered their thoughts on body hair among other topics. Participants shared which type(s) of body hair they remove (38% said they remove some or all pubic hair), but after reading through these results, I was left with a lingering question:
Why do queer and trans people choose to style (or not style) their pubic hair the way they do?
This month I spoke to dozens of queer women, trans folks and non-binary folks about the reasoning behind their particular pubic hair style. As someone who’s been looking at naked queers for well over a decade, I was expecting a wide range of responses (I’ve encountered more than one person who opted for a full shave so they could show off the tattoo on their pubic mound). But it turns out that the queer and trans people I interviewed are pretty utilitarian when it comes to crotch maintenance — the vast majority of interviewees said that the way they style their pubic hair serves a practical purpose. Here are some of their answers.
After each answer, I’ve included any identifying information that the interviewee wanted to share.
I Wear My Pubic Hair This Way for Comfort
“I’m a fat person, so admittedly, I feel like my relationship with pubic hair is a bit like shouting, ‘how ya doin down there’ into a hallway where I can’t see the end, so I don’t ‘style’ so much as I do maintenance because if it gets really long, I’ve noticed it aggravates my skin a lot, especially in the summer.” — an anonymous queer, gender non-conforming woman
“I’m autistic and struggle with vestibular dysfunction, which means I have a hard time balancing. Trying to bend over for a long time to shave or wax or pluck body hair is basically impossible. I just use Nair’s Sensitive/Bikini cream, which is just as unpleasant as everyone always says it is. It has a strong smell, it sometimes burns even when you follow the directions and afterwards, I have to wear a skirt and ditch underwear for a few days to let my skin air out. I wouldn’t bother at all (the pubic hair on my outer labia is the only hair removal I do), except that I really hate having hair there. It pokes and chafes and gets caught on sex toys.” — Betty Butch, a queer, non-binary person
“I like to keep the hair trimmed so it doesn’t itch, but not too short because then it becomes itchy when it grows back in.” — Lizzy Benway, a lesbian/queer cisgender woman
“I used to use a cream-based hair remover like Nair, but my skin got very irritated! So now I just let the full bush grow and it’s much better.” — an anonymous femme, Black, queer lesbian
I Temporarily Wore My Pubic Hair This Way for Surgery Prep
“I’m a trans non-binary person, and when I had vaginoplasty a few years ago, I had to completely Veet everything smooth. The Veet was super painful, but after recovering from surgery, I had super short, stubbly pubes. Since then, I’ve kept them pretty closely trimmed with a little clipper from the drug store.” — Charlotte
I Wear My Pubic Hair This Way for Better Sex
“I find body hair sexy how it grows naturally, so when styling or removing pubes, I only really care about trimming the hair around the labia to an even length, which opens my vulva so that fewer pubes touch the face of my partner while they perform oral sex.” — an anonymous lesbian
“It’s easier for a partner to get in there for oral sex, more manageable so I don’t have to tuck it down into my underwear and doesn’t get vaginal discharge stuck in it.” — an anonymous white, bisexual cisgender woman
I Wear My Pubic Hair This Way for Money
“I also do sex work, so sometimes folks pay me to grow my bush out more and leave it untrimmed, and I will gladly oblige them for $$.” — Carly S.
I Wear My Pubic Hair This Way for Easy Maintenance
“If I remove hair, it’s just a scissor trim. No shaving. I like to keep things unruly. I mostly style this way out of laziness, and also, I love the look of a full bush. Anything else doesn’t feel like me. Some of my pubic hair is starting to turn grey, and I am very excited about this development. Can’t wait for a salt and pepper bush!” — Hadley, a queer, genderqueer person
“There’s no wrong way to have a body, and this includes what we do with the hair that grows on it. It doesn’t bother me or any of my partners at all, plus I never have to worry about all the maintenance or irritation!” — an anonymous fat, queer trans man of color
I Wear My Pubic Hair This Way To Prevent Dysphoria
“I don’t like to be completely bare because I want to look like an adult, and having some hair helps with my gender identity.” — an anonymous bisexual, non-binary person
Here’s some great news — you can style or not style your pubic hair however you like! For any reason! Grow a full bush, go bare, trim it, dye it hot pink, put some strands in a locket for a lover — the choice is yours. Feel free to share how you wear your pubic hair and why in the comments.