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.
Haven’t read this yet but I just have to say THIS GRAPHIC wow
It made me think of a link that was shared in an Also.Also.Also. roundup (maybe?) awhile ago that was about a collection historical postage stamps featuring pubic hair 🤔
HERE IT IS!!
How did you know that I’ve been waiting for AS to ask about pubic hair again?!
I trim with scissors for practical reasons. (And I’m a bi, cis woman)
I think pubic hair is sexy so I used to leave mine untrimmed. But sometime in my 40s my pubic hair changed (I’m blaming peri menopause). It thinned out but also started growing much, much longer. Like 2 or 3 inches long. Which I thought was very cool until I started having some unpleasant matting situations, so now I trim along the outer labia with scissors.
things no one told us and at the time we were glad, but now we’re not…
Hah! Perfectly put. That’s pretty much exactly how I feel about every single part of peri menopause / menopause.
I cannot imagine my mother or aunts telling me about their thinning pubic hair (gah!) or their brain fog or night sweats etc. but some warning would have been nice.
im in my twenties and have had that length of hair since puberty! did not know it was unusual…
That’s so interesting! I actually have no idea if it’s usual or not – I just know that my pubic hair used to be shorter and now it’s longer.
Dude, why are you even asking people these questions. It’s weird.
This stuff should remain private.
I’m Autostraddle’s Sex & Dating Editor and the author of this article. I’m also a sex educator, and I believe that open conversations about human bodies are important for our overall well-being, especially in marginalized communities. Most humans have body hair, which includes pubic hair. It’s normal, and no one deserves to feel ashamed about having pubic hair, styling (or not styling) their pubic hair in a particular way or sharing their thoughts about body hair on a public platform.
The people who participated in these interviews did so with enthusiasm. In fact, when I was seeking interviewees for this article social media, I was receiving so many responses that I had to turn off my notifications for a while! These interviewees are invested in sharing their experiences with our readers, and they deserve to be celebrated. Please make sure you review our comment policy before sharing additional thoughts. Thanks!
I find it fascinating what the comment policy dictates what one should and should not say. It almost feels like a Mean Girls manifesto.
I don’t like arm pit and pubic hair on girls and that is just my personal taste. And that’s that.
The article is about what people prefer to do with their hair, not what you prefer in a partner. Also I thought you believed it should be private? Getting mixed messages here Lisa!
I never know what to say on here. Peeps running this website are so authoritarian on what they allow people to say or to write an article about, it gets pretty fucking confusing!
i think this piece will be useful to lots of folks. thanks for doing it for those who are hesitant to ask.
Love this article! I work at the front office of an obgyn and we are really open with discussing topics like this. Most of my coworkers (many of whom are queer, cis women) do a lot more hair removal than I– shaving or waxing bare or to a “landing strip,” while I (nonbinary, bi) just trim with scissors. It’s validating reading about other people’s lack of hair removal and the reasons behind it. Thank you for your piece!
Thanks for this article. I recently started doing trimming with a tool designed just for that purpose. It gives me a nice clean look and feel below that matches my short hair up top.
Somehow for years, I thought pubes were an ALL or NOTHING deal, and definitely not something to talk about. Turns out I was wrong on all counts.
(47, cis dyke)
I’m a redhead and in college. While all my friends either shave or trim, I’m the only one sporting a wild and free bush. When hooking up with guys, they love it, but they make waaay too big a deal out of it. When having sex with women, they rarely draw attention specifically to it. Like they still play with it (which I love), but it’s not a huge deal. Granted this is limited data, I think the guys I’ve been with treat my bush as exotic and rare or something (it is quite orange/red), while the ladies show a more subtle appreciation when going down on me.