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15 Australians tell us how they groom their pubic hair

WORDS BY KATE STREADER

“I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or because there’s a general shift, but I feel there’s more acceptance of body hair and different bodies in general.”

Pubic hair can be a contentious issue in the bedroom, especially if you’re a woman who dates men. In my experience, men tend to have a lot of opinions about how women groom themselves down there, usually while they’re rocking a full, unkempt mane.

In fact, the subject of body hair generally evokes a double standard in which leg, underarm, and pubic hair are seen as unhygienic or unattractive on women and the norm for men.


Interested to hear how others navigate the world? Head to our Life section.


Curious to see how other people feel about pubic hair and whether or not a partner’s attitude influences their grooming habits, we asked Fashion Journal readers to share how they prefer to keep their pubes and what factors are involved in that choice.

Alicia*, she/her, 23

I go through periods where I love having hair down there and feel so bare if I don’t. So I won’t have to shave or groom for quite a while. But I also randomly prefer to shave everything off – I love how smooth it feels, and sex honestly feels a lot better when I shave. I do sometimes have to shave it all off because of friction.

In the past (when I was much younger), my grooming habits were influenced by my partners’ attitudes toward pubic hair. However, my current partner couldn’t care less if I do or don’t have hair/how much hair I have. However, we both agree sex feels amazing when we are both shaved – it’s great when we time this perfectly.  

Fatima* she/her, 22

I shave most of the time. I think as a young woman participating in casual hook-up culture, there’s an internal pressure to look a certain way down there. Especially if I will be hooking up with someone I haven’t before – particularly with men. There’s pressure to look a certain way and meet expectations that men who sleep with women have about how we should look.

Selma*, she/her, 29

I very rarely shave my pubic hair. I got pregnant 18 months ago and stopped caring about it. I’ve tidied up a few times since then, but will probably never go bald again. It doesn’t feel right anymore.

I’ve had partners who hate pubic hair and others who don’t mind it. None that love it. My current partner has seen my body change in so many ways over the last 18 months with pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding and he knows that it doesn’t matter anymore. Sometimes if it’s a little overgrown we will make a joke about it, but he is fine with it – and so he should be.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or because there’s a general shift, but I feel there’s more acceptance of body hair and different bodies in general. And that makes me more confident in my choice.

Joanna*, she/her, 41

I very occasionally trim my pubic hair when it gets a bit matted. I used to wax it all off or shave the sides, but seriously, what for? It hurt and grew back ingrown. Shaving is worse and itches. I’m a full-grown woman and I have hair. That’s okay. When I was younger, my partners’ attitudes towards pubic hair shamed me into removing it.

One older man from an eastern European country was disappointed when he saw I had even trimmed it and said he was looking forward to my long and curlies, and that helped me realise it just doesn’t matter. Now I do what pleases me. Also, growing out of believing that sexual partners have any right to dictate their opinion about my body helped. I wish I understood this when I was younger, and that it was spoken about more. 

I also wish bathing suits and underwear companies offered options for women who keep their pubic hair but don’t want to show it. My pubic hair grows a bit on my legs. There’s a lot and it’s dark brown and I’m White. Just more cute options for bathers that don’t assume we all wax ourselves to oblivion would be helpful. I don’t feel we are culturally at a point where I would feel comfortable showing so much. I’d love to, but I don’t want that vulnerability every time I go for a swim.

Shelby*, she/her, 23

I had laser hair removal between the ages of 17 to 19 so I now don’t have pubic hair, aside from the odd strand which I just shave off. I kind of regret this decision – it was one I made while I was still in high school and had been insecure about having super thick, dark hair all over my body for years. I started shaving my legs at age 11 and the progression to lasering my public hair came with no further thought from me. 

At the time, I didn’t tell an adult about the decision because I knew they’d say to wait until I was older, which I now understand would’ve been a completely rational response. I know hair will eventually grow back as I age and hormones do their thing, but for now, I feel like a bad feminist and like I’ve missed out on something – it’s such a strange feeling.

I’ve had conversations with my partner about pubic hair; he prefers a natural look to hairless, which makes me wish I hadn’t paid so much for laser in my younger years.

Greta*, she/her, 24

I love grooming my pubic hair! I trim my pubes into a love heart or star or cute shape. I think of it almost the same as doing my nails or wearing nice undies. It makes me feel cute. My partner loves it, too – it’s a big turn-on for him. Even when I was single I would trim them. I definitely don’t do it just for him, but it is really fun now I have someone who gets just as excited as I do to see my new do.

For years I would do the full nakey shave until I read something that said, ‘Isn’t it weird we are making our vaginas look like they did as a child?’. After that, I began embracing cute pubes and just keeping them nice and tidy. That then turned into fun shapes.

Pamela*, she/her, 33

I shave, but usually before a date or wearing swimwear due to societal expectations. Outside of that, I just trim occasionally because shaving reacts badly with my skin. I have been body-shamed by men I have slept with about my pubic hair, including being told that pubic hair is not their preference and they will not go down on me (even if I have reciprocated).

Even at 33, I feel insecure about my pubic hair. I get anxious before sleeping with someone new in case they shame me or my pubic hair isn’t to their taste. The feminist in me says, ‘Fuck it and fuck them’, but the shame is still there. I also have mixed feelings about shaving – I have nicked myself before and literally a day after shaving, I have shaving rash and ingrown hairs which also makes me feel insecure. It feels like you can’t win.

Lily*, she/her, 22

I lasered my bikini line and trim the rest. I feel prettier if things are tidy, but don’t like the look of bare skin. When I’ve dated non-men, I’ve been more liberal with my pubic hair. When I’ve dated cis men in the past, I’ve always felt pressured to shave and groom more than I really want to. My current partner doesn’t really shave and is very pro me doing what I want, so I feel super comfy now. 

Barbara*, she/her, 26

I shave because I find it looks neater down there when I tend to it. I have really dark, thick hair down there and it makes oral sex more enjoyable when it is groomed. I have recently let it grow due to not having the time or energy to shave the area and I don’t mind having some hair down there, but the unruliness of it is uncomfortable and itchy.

I think my own opinion of how a partner may perceive my pubic area has previously influenced my grooming habits, rather than their actual attitude toward pubic hair. Growing up in the late nineties/early 2000s really influenced my idea of femininity. As I am getting older and more comfortable with myself, I think my ideas are evolving, including in relation to pubic hair grooming.

Gina*, she/her, 20

I groom my pubic hair to an extent. I leave a small area at the top and down the lips. None of my partners has ever expressed an opinion about my bush and if they did it would be a major red flag.

I know that it’s quite popular to have it completely bald, but I find it extremely uncomfortable and I don’t like how it looks on me, so I keep some hair there. I recently bought an at-home laser device (TikTok made me buy it) and I am pleasantly surprised and so, so impressed with how well it works!

Michaela*, she/her, 24

I don’t take it all off but I do shave some completely off and leave a triangle. I don’t take it all off because I don’t like looking prepubescent. I don’t like the idea that that plays into an infantile fetish. However, even feeling ‘not ready’ without having groomed does show that I still have taken on some of the pressures that play into that. 

A lot of the time you hear about men who won’t go down on you without it being groomed – not taken completely off but controlled. Most of the pressure to take it all off came more from other girls in high school saying it was ‘gross’ to have hair. My boyfriend at the time actually didn’t care either way. 

Billie*, she/her, 25

I get a monthly wax. It honestly makes me feel better, especially when I have my period. I know it doesn’t actually make a single difference to how clean I am down there, but I personally feel neater and sexier with a wax.

When I was younger I had a boyfriend who wouldn’t give me oral if I wasn’t smooth-skinned, and maybe that has affected my current attitude towards my pubic hair. My current boyfriend could not care less, he’s happy to dive in no matter what state I’m in. We love that for me.

Paloma*, she/her, 29

I shave, it’s just easier. I don’t have a lot of hair so it’s convenient. Partners often comment if the hair is too long, which makes me self-conscious. I wish I could wax but I can’t wait long enough for it to be the right length. I have considered laser but it’s too expensive and I don’t want to make the commitment to the no-hair life.

Hannah*, she/her, 25

I shave my pubic hair because I personally just like the look better. It makes me feel sexier and more feminine. As much as I decide to shave because I like how it looks and feels more, a part of me can definitely see that my opinions on pubic hair and shaving are highly likely derived from what we get fed in the media and pop culture.

If it had been more normalised to keep your natural pubic hair, maybe I would feel differently. Regardless, I still make the decision to shave. 

Selina*, she/her, 32

I usually clipper so the hair is shorter, regardless of whether I’m sleeping with anyone. When it’s long it feels bulky and annoys me. If I’m expecting to sleep with someone, I will shave the hair that grows outside the bikini line – down my legs a bit and also my bum crack. To be honest, I don’t even know if most women have hair there.

I also shave if I’m going swimming, so I can’t go swimming two days in a row because my skin gets irritated which is a real bummer in hot weather. I guess I shave to what I consider a ‘normal’ amount/placement of hair. I wish I didn’t care, but I do. The only feedback I’ve gotten is from a partner who commented that sometimes the hair feels spikey when going down on me after I clipped, so I would either not cut it so short or not clip too soon before I saw them. 

*Names have been changed

For more on attitudes towards pubic hair, head here

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