To shave or not to shave


Dear Dr. G,

I am somewhat surprise it is reaching the end of November, and we still have not read any articles about Movember November from  you?

Obviously, in previous years, you have been a strong advocate for Men’s Health in the month of November. I also understand you have been actively participating in the movement to grow facial hair, and saving it for the penultimate shave at the end of the month, in the spirit of Men’s Health!

On this occasion, I would like to pick your brain;  I hope you can address my queries about pubic hair instead!

Since my teenage years, I have been shaving my pubic hair for hygiene purposes. In fact, I actually thought everyone does it!

When I started becoming sexually active, I was horrified my partner is “au naturel” and perplexed that she is not keen on shaving down below at all.

On the contrary, she does not reckon that there are health benefits to shaving, and she actually believes keeping the pubic hair in men is quite sexy!

As usual, I am turning to you and putting  you on the spot. Can you please tell me what is the evolutionary purpose of pubic hair?

Is there any health benefit in shaving pubic hair? Have I been wrong all my life and assuming everyone does it? Otherwise, is there any harm?

So, to shave or not to shave, that is the question that I hope you can resolve.

I wish you happy (Facial) Shaving in the month of Movember November!

Regards

Joe

 

Pubic hair is the bodily hair that emerges around the genitalia during adolescence which grows well into adulthood. As the levels of androgen and estrogen increases during puberty, the fine vellus hair during childhood becomes coarser and longer. Although many would regard pubic hair as a useless nuisance in awkward places, some scientists believe the evolutionary role of pubic hair is to provide a cushion against friction during sex by protecting the skin around the genitals  from  abrasion and bacterial infections.

Similarly, some cultures regard pubic hair to be erotic and expect the hair to be covered to prevent sexual arousal. In other cultures, the sight of pubic hair is considered vulgar and embarrassing, especially in women. Therefore, it is the norm for many women to have their pubic hair shaved, trimmed and styled to avoid being visible in the name of personal hygiene. Increasingly, men are also following suit!

Evidence of pubic hair removal in ancient India is thought to date back to 3000BCE. In some Middle Eastern Societies, the removal of pubic hair for personal hygiene to combat pubic lice is practiced.

In modern days, the time and money spent by both genders to abolish hair from the genitals is phenomenal. The multi-million genital hair removal industry is booming. Although most of the time, the shaving of the genital hair is “harmless” and straightforward, individuals with sensitive skin may irritate and inflame the shaved hair follicles, resulting in regular skin infections! In fact, some clinicians even suggest that the frequent removal of pubic hair is associated with higher risks of herpes, syphilis and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

 

The famous writer Khalil Gibran once said: “And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair!”

Indeed, in the spirit of Movember November, many of us try out the opportunity to go au naturel, shape and style the hair to our liking (I am sure some do it both waist up and waist down). When Dr. G is put on the spot on the question of “To shave or not to shave” his response is simply: “When you give a chance for the wind to play with your growing hair, you might be delighted to forget earthy rough of bareness!” On that note, Happy Movember November to you too!

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