What's the deal with genital grooming for women? Are we supposed to be waxing/shaving down there? What if you haven't ever done that?
— Bush or Bare?
Your question may be about downstairs deforestation for women, BoB, but this is a question people of all genders have been asking themselves since the invention of the straight razor. Because of gendered advertising campaigns, women may feel particular pressure to be hair-free from the eyebrows down. And remember, advertising campaigns that shame men for not shaving their genitals aren't examples of gender equality—they're just proof that advertisers love making us feel bad, because bad feelings drive sales.
BoB, when it comes to your genitals, you're not "supposed" to be doing anything. Contrary to popular belief, pubic hair doesn't mean you're unhygienic, and being clean-shaven doesn't mean you're more deserving of sex or affection. Ultimately, your personal pube style comes down to three factors: comfort, convenience, and compatibility.
Comfort: What is the most comfortable thing for your body? There are three basic options: total removal, partial removal, or no removal. Some people love the silky-smooth sensation of freshly waxed or shaved skin. The skin of the labia and scrotum is very sensitive, and total or partial removal of hair can heighten that sensation. On the other hand, some people feel uncomfortable with completely bare genitals because it looks or feels "wrong" to them. Those people may choose to trim or shape their pubic hair using an electric shaver or grooming shears, or to go au naturel and skip grooming entirely.
Convenience: How much time and money are you willing to spend on grooming? Hair removal, especially in a sensitive area, can be a pain—literally. A Brazilian bikini wax, which removes all hair from the pubic region, costs around $45 and can be extremely painful, even when done professionally. However, Brazilian waxes are much more effective than other methods. Think about your grooming habits. Could you spend an extra 15 minutes shaving or trimming every two or three days? Do you have sensitive skin that needs special care? Are you comfortable with cheap razors or depilatory creams, or would you rather splurge on permanent laser hair removal? You know your body and your habits best, so go with your gut when picking a regimen.
Compatibility: If you're in a relationship, it's common courtesy to talk to your partner(s) about their body hair preferences. Say your partner really wants to try rimming, but feels hesitant because of some backdoor foliage. Or maybe your partner loves the look and feel of a shag carpet between the legs, and your shaving cream budget is stretched thin. At the end of the day, your body belongs to you, so you have the right to groom however you want. But if you're not particularly attached to your current style, why not try on a new look? Talk to your partner(s) about their practices and preferences—you may be surprised by their answers.
If you're just getting started, remember that it's just hair! It's (relatively) easy to get rid of and it always grows back. Take a week to experiment with a new style and see how it feels. Don't pigeonhole yourself into a style because it's what everyone "should" do.
And remember: Body care shouldn't be a source of shame, but another way to show your body love. If you have negative feeling about your current grooming routine, shake things up! Instead of swearing and slipping all over your shower, try a luxurious candlelit coconut oil bath the next time you shave (well, if you live in East Campus). If you get horrible razor burn, look up techniques and products to ease the process.
But honestly, BoB, it's really cold outside. Take a break from all the depilation and let your muffin have a little winter coat if you please.
Unsatisfied? Aching? Longing for more? Why don't you submit a question or topic suggestion to the Girl in 04C and see what she can do for you?