For three consecutive years, I participated in my university's production of The Vagina Monologues. The piece I performed was entitled "Hair." The moral of this story? You have to love hair in order to love the vagina - you can't just pick the parts you want! For the first two years, I made the case for pubic hair while proudly sporting a nice little bush of my own. But that third year, while I praised the mighty pube at the top of my lungs, I was secretly rocking - and loving - a vulva as bald as Kojak.
Having grown up in Florida where being swimsuit-ready is a way of life, I had always been meticulous with the grooming of my bikini line. But after getting the sides waxed off at the spa, I always made sure to leave a nice, soft triangle of full-length fluff between my legs. I liked the feeling of that soft spot when I ran my hands over my body after a shower - so much better than the prickliness that comes with close-to-the-bod trimming. I also loved that I looked (and felt) so womanly - that patch distinguished my adult body from my pre-pubescent body. I thought that women who wanted to go completely bare were absolutely crazy. Who wants to look like a 10 year old again?
So why the 180 degree turn? Because a guy finally asked me, "Can I go down on you?"
I had never experienced cunnilingus before. To be honest, I'd never really had much interest in it. But when someone I really cared about presented me with the opportunity - and I finally felt ready to explore something so intimate - I realized that I was actually a bit self-conscious about my hair. Oh, I didn't care if he wanted to touch it or look at it, but I certainly didn't want him putting his face in it! Not because I feared he'd get a loose pube caught in his throat, or because I worried my hair would smell extra funky, or because I'd heard lots of guys don't like pubic hair nowadays. Frankly, I wasn't really worried about his preferences - I was thinking about mine. I've never liked kissing guys with facial hair - too scratchy! So I just figured: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
I booked my usual bikini wax, but went in this time with the option to go whole hog if a few things checked out. Nice, chatty aesthetician? Check. Sensitive-skin wax available? Check. No bubbling (and thus burning) wax? Check. No double dipping by the waxer? Check. All my questions answered? Check. With all my fears allayed, I just went for it right then and there.
I didn't have time to feel like a hypocrite in the moment, I was too busy thinking "Oh wow, that hot wax feels kinda, well, hot…in a good way" and "I wonder what his tongue will feel like down there?" and "Whoa! That didn't hurt NEARLY as much as I had imagined - it was even less painful than my bikini line! Who knew?" Any embarrassment I might have felt from a stranger poking around my most private parts was quelled by the fact that the gloved aesthetician explained to me that this was all in a day's work for her - right before she started talking with me about the complex issue of Israeli politics.
Despite all my pre-visit research, I'd somehow missed the part about the butt-crack. So I was a little confused when the waxer had me turn over and "hold one cheek to the side like this." But she did it so fast that I didn't have a chance to worry I might fart in her face.
All in all, the experience actually turned out to be quite positive.
Of course, up on stage, during The Vagina Monologues, my bare vulva and I felt like frauds. There I was telling the men and women in the audience that all ladies have hair and it's beautiful and sexy and hot. But I myself had waxed it all away because I thought oral sex would be more beautiful and sexy and hot without it.
And I must say: I was right, at least in some respects. I loved my bare, naked lady-parts, and not just because my first time with cunnilingus had turned out to be fantastic. Skinny-dipping became a brand new experience, since now I could feel an unusual and exciting coolness between my legs. Going to the bathroom made me giggle because it actually felt different (apparently hair gives you better aim!). And intercourse became a fun experiment in contrasts: I loved the difference between my soft smoothness verses his rough hairiness. So I kept splurging on those Brazillians every month.
Then, after half a year or so, I wanted my bush back. So I grew it back. And sex was brand new again. Without hair, I had come to appreciate soft touches, light vibrations, little breezes. With my hair grown back, I realized I liked things a little rougher, more pressure-based. Both were great, just different.
If I hadn't tried the Brazillian I never would have truly learned the importance of the monologue "Hair." Sure, hair is part of the vagina, but it's also a part of my body, and my experience of my body, and who I am - sometimes I want it there and sometimes I don't. The importance is all about choice - being able to enjoy my body any way that I want.
-- This article was written by a contributor friend of Em & Lo's who recently graduated college (and wishes to remain anonymous!)
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