Shaved or Unshaved: How do you like it?

A black and white photo of African woman with bushy pubic hair
Photo by Billy Hani

By Billy Hani

Does a shaved or unshaved vagina affect sexual pleasure? Yes? No? Maybe?

I talked to a couple of vagina ‘havers’ and vagina lovers to see how they felt about it.

As a vagina lover and haver, myself, I have never felt like it makes a difference. If I am dating someone who loves hair, I might keep it, if not I might shave it. But I have never felt like having hair on my vagina, or my lover’s vagina affects the sex that we have, or my attraction to them. I keep saying that I am not a picky eater and I will eat everything that is served, and I mean it. Shaved or not, I will have it, as long as it is consensual and the person enthusiastically wants to be intimate with me in that way.

So what makes a shaved vagina different from an unshaved one? Why would someone opt for one instead of the other?

Vagina ‘havers’ (who might not necessarily be having sex with other vagina havers):

Most of the ‘havers’ I talked to love shaving, or waxing their vaginas, primarily for hygiene and secondly for aesthetics. Apparently the strip shaving looks very beautiful (I had to Google that and I agree), but also all sorts of vaginas look beautiful for me so do not just take my word for it, go find out for yourself.

‘I shave often because when it gets hot and sweaty and I have hair it starts to itch, and that is quite uncomfortable for me’. 

(Look nobody wants to walk around with an itchy vagina so anything to keep that at bay is always an option to consider). And Kampala is hot you guys, so yeah. 

I am totally behind the shaving for hygiene but also wonder what/who informs hygiene? Isn’t the hair there to trap ‘stuff’ that would make the hair unhygienic? That is a discussion for another day.

One of the interviewees said they would rather wax, despite it being painful to them, because of razor bumps and how ‘unsightly’ they look (and I quote ‘looks like a mural road’). They initially tried the remedies to prevent the bumps after shaving such as bio-oil et cetera, and nothing worked. So waxing it is.

Would you ask your partner to shave you?

  1. ‘No. Too shy to ask’
  2. ‘I would ask just for fun but never really get through it’
  3. ‘Absolutely! I find it intimate.’
  4. ‘I would ask, but I’m afraid they would cut me with the razor unless they are using shaving cream’

Vagina lovers (aka me and some straight men):

Me: First of all, yes? Have you seen body hair? There is something about a woman having body hair that intrigues and excites me. The chin hair, the arms, the armpits, the legs, the things…the vagina!!!! Like yes baby girl, can I, may I? (And not in a fetishisation way). I love body hair on women. I think women who choose to deliberately not shave their body hair, despite the patriarchy likening beauty to smooth skin, are powerful. And a hell lotta beautiful. As someone who has kept body hair, I know it is a constant negotiation between ‘conventional’ beauty, attractiveness and defiance. I mean, let’s be honest, body hair is attractive. But, apparently, it is only attractive in men (absurd if you ask me). 

I love the hair, the parting of the labia, and finding the clitoris in between the hair forest. Hell, I love the little hairs in my teeth after an enjoyable session of cunnilingus (I have been waiting all my life to use this word). Would I ask a partner to shave their vagina before we have sex, both oral and non-oral? No. Would I eat them out? Absolutely. Would I shave them if they asked me to? Hell yes.

For me, the hair does not take away the passion in the experience of being with a woman with an unshaved vagina. I want the decision to be with her on that, and not out of an obligation that she either has to shave to make me enjoy the sex, or she has to keep the bush to satisfy a particular fetish. 

WJ: “Unshaved vagina turns me on. I find it attractive and I would always discourage them from shaving it.” (Boy, yes!) “I like the mystery of the hair; it looks interesting to me. It looks magnetic and draws me in. I also like the feeling of the hair when it touches my body. The hair makes sex much more fun for me, and I quite enjoy it.” 

EA: “I do not like unshaved vagina. I love seeing the labia and it is more visible on a shaven vagina. Labias are beautiful and I do not think they should be concealed under the hair. So yes, a shaved one for me please. Can I have sex with someone who has not shaved? Yes. I just won’t enjoy it as much. I will possibly not go for more rounds if it is unshaven.”

Would you ask to shave your (sex) partner’s vagina?

“Hell no!”

“No, I think that is offensive to ask.”

“Nah, I eat what is served, gratefully.”

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