The other day, I received this email: Prevalence, Methods, and Characteristics" after some noisy debate with my beloved on pubic hairstyle. I wanted to find some reliable data to back up my opinion that a trimmed and partially shaven vulva does not make her a pardon my french, actually a quote from her slut, but an enlightened, mainstream young woman.
I sent her the link immediately. God, Doctor, do you look hot! You definitely seem to be a trustworthy source when it comes to sexuality. In particular, women who sometimes removed all of their hair went "bare" tended to have higher scores even after controlling for things like younger age which are known to be linked to positive sexual function. However, this was a cross-sectional study which means that data were collected at one time point.
We cannot know what causes what. It may be, for example, that removing one's pubic hair does indeed help a woman learn to like her genitals more. Maybe we have such societal shame and disgust around women's body hair underarm and leg hair included that when we remove it, we like the parts better. And maybe in so doing, we end up being more open to sex - for example, more receptive to enjoying or receiving oral sex cunnilingus, for women.
But it's also possible that other things are at play. It may be that women who start out feeling more positively about their genitals who score higher on the FGSIS are more likely to take chances with their pubic hair.
Maybe they figure that whatever they do to their pubic hair - keep it, remove it, shave it into a pattern - their genitals will still look good. Or maybe they like their genitals so much that they want to show them off by removing more hair. And maybe women who score higher on the FSFI the sexual function measure are more open to suggestions from their partner or simply try more things with their body. Or maybe they are more into prepping their bodies for sex in any number of ways, such as showering before sex or dimming the lights.
Because we don't know what causes what, I am not willing to tell anyone to keep or remove or pattern their pubic hair for better genital self-image or better sex. In fact, I think there are many other ways for women to learn to love their bodies than by shaving their pubic hair I've written about several of these in Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva. By asking why she feels like that, they may have a conversation that helps them to learn new things about each other, about each other's sexual pasts, experiences and attidues, and anything that may be keeping them from connecting for pleasurable sex in the here and now.
He might also ask himself how such an issue - what this woman would do with her own body - would ever escalate into "noisy debate". Does he feel like his girlfriend should adjust her genitals for his sake? I would also encourage this man to ask himself why he wants her to shave her pubic hair so badly. Might he learn to love her vulva in whatever state she has it in?
Or, if he loves her vulva as-is but would find it easier to perform oral sex on her if she trimmed her hairs, he might find a gentle way to say that - to frame the idea around easier, pleasurable sex rather than anything negative about her body.
The couple might also want to talk about their sex lives more generally. A little pubic hair trimming is unlikely to radically shift their sexual lives. Follow her on Twitter mysexprofessor.