Straight Talk: Daughter is shaving pubic hair; what does it mean?

By: Lauren Forcella
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Dear Straight Talk: I don’t know who to talk to. I walked in on my daughter (17), undressing, and couldn’t help but see that she shaves her pubic hair. I didn’t say a thing and decided to write you instead. Are all the girls her age doing this? Or is this a sign that my daughter is promiscuous? ~ “Helen,” Monterey

Taylor, 15, Santa Rosa: Most people I know shave or wax. It is normal and starts as early as eighth grade. I wouldn’t judge anyone for it.

Katie, 18, Auburn: This is so normal it’s not funny. It’s a hygiene thing – plus, who wants a hair line near your bikini? My mom knows I shave/wax. I didn’t hide it and she didn’t say anything. Grooming yourself doesn’t mean you’re promiscuous; that’s just silly.

Jayne, 21, Sacramento: Shaving or waxing doesn’t necessarily mean anything. I’ve been shaving since I was 14 just to be more hygienic. I’m a virgin and plan to be until I get married.

Brennan, 19, Sonora: Just about every girl I know does it – and if they haven’t done it before freshmen year of high school, they will. It’s hard to wear a bikini otherwise, as they just get smaller and smaller. I wouldn’t be worried about it.

Molly, 20, Berkeley: Having a fully or mostly shaved pubic region is very common in youth culture today. Because of the vast popularity of pornography in the younger generations, the norm has changed and there is tremendous peer pressure to be shaven. You might talk to her about it, but be open to the idea that fashions change and shaving doesn’t mean what it used to. 

Dear Helen: Leave it to youth to shock their elders. The Boomers shocked their elders, too – by not shaving at all. That was sometimes confused with “free love,” too. Payback time!

The panel is adamant regarding its innocence. And it is just hair, which will grow back. Nonetheless, Molly is correct that the fashion originated from the pornography industry, where pubic hair has become enemy No. 1. Sadly, most boys today watch pornography – starting long before sexual activity with actual girls – and what they see becomes imprinted as their standard for sexual attractiveness. 

To bust a myth, body hair keeps skin more hygienic, not less. Spongy pubic hair additionally protects against skin abrasions, which can become infected easily in the humid genital environment. Waxing and shaving introduces hundreds of microscopic wounds. Not surprisingly, staph, ab-scesses and herpes infections are on the rise. 

You get the “cool” award for not acting shocked. Without judging her (love the soldier, hate the war), extol to your daughter the medical benefits of pubic hair. 

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More from Lauren Forcella

Today’s sex education classes and home sex talks need to include the subject of shaving/waxing so that young girls (and boys) know where the trend originated and that there are significant health problems associated with it – in essence, that it’s a dumb trend. The home sex talk should start much younger than in pre-Internet times, as almost all kids (age 5-11) have at least some exposure to hard-core pornography – with many having lots of exposure. It’s best to protect pre-pubescent kids from unattended Internet use entirely, as pornography is, by far, the biggest presence there.