By Lisabet Sarai

Like most of you, I read quite a lot of
erotica. I’ve noticed an increasing focus on the supposed sexual
appeal of a depilated pussy. And I have to say, I deplore this trend.

Half a dozen years ago, one would only
occasionally encounter a shaved or waxed pubis in an erotic story. A
bare beaver was unusual and thus transgressive. An author could use
this to signal that the character was into age play, or a submissive
forced to shave by her Dom, or a wild sensualist seeking the
increased sensitivity that supposedly results from the removal of
pubic hair. The average woman had pubic hair – thus the woman
sporting a naked mons was by definition unusual.

These days, every woman and her sister
seems to wax. The practice (in erotic fiction at least) has become as
accepted – almost as expected – as shaving one’s underarms.
Waxing has found its way into romance and chick lit, another female
ritual akin to shopping or getting a manicure. As a result, a bared
mound has completely lost its value as an indication of erotic
preferences. At the same time, more and more authors seem to imply
that hairlessness is a desirable, sexy state – that in fact a woman
who doesn’t shave or at least trim her pubes is in some sense

Sorry, but I don’t buy this. Pubic hair
(as well as underarm hair) has an erotic function. It survived the
onslaught of evolution because it enhances arousal. The hair
surrounding the genital area captures and holds a rich melange of
scents that help attract a mate. Olfactory stimuli play a huge role
in triggering sexual response, and eliminating the hair reduces the
potency of those stimuli.

Of course, a hairless pubic area
introduces new textures and sensations for both partners. I suppose
that it might amplify sexual intensity as some women report. I must
say that the only time I’ve had ever had a shaved pubis – in
preparation for a gynecological procedure – I found the experience
uncomfortable and unpleasant. There’s nothing arousing or enjoyable
about itchy, unsightly stubble!

I believe that the increasing emphasis
on hairlessness derives at least partially from an attempt to
distance ourselves from our animal natures. Sex is messy, smelly,
sometimes rough, sometimes awkward, and I think society would like to
forget or deny that. The feminine ideal is porcelain smooth,
flawless, poised and cool. How often do you see fashion models – or
porn queens for that matter – sweaty and disheveled, the way people
really are when they’re fucking?

I’m sure this is partly the result of
my age and experience, but to me, a woman without pubic hair looks
unnatural and unappealing. In my stories, I frequently mention the
luxurious tangles that shield my heroine’s sex from her partners’
view. Those partners love to burrow into that damp, fragrant thicket,
breathing in the intoxicating scent of an aroused woman. You’ll find
my characters enjoying the ripe musk lingering in the bush of
their male companions, too. I’ve written a handful of tales in which
a character has a bare pubis, but there’s always a narrative
justification for this choice. In both fiction and the real world, I
prefer lovers who are comfortable with their bodies, men and women
who aren’t ashamed to recognize that we’re slightly less horny
cousins of the sexually voracious bonobos.

“It’s just a fad,” I’m sure some
readers will counter. “Eventually the pendulum will swing the other
way.” Perhaps they’re right. Recently, though, I read that men have
hopped on the depilation bandwagon as well. The New York Times
reports that salons offering Brazilians for guys are doing a booming
business, at least in urban areas. I found this article made me feel
vaguely queasy, especially when one stylist commented, “It’s about
maintaining yourself and keeping things clean.”

“Maintaining yourself”! Like a car
or some other mechanism. Please! But this view seems to be popular.
Alas, you’ll rarely find a hairy romance hero. Check out the covers
from your favorite erotic romance publisher, and you’ll find a high
proportion feature well-muscled men with chests as smooth as a baby’s

Perhaps these images attract women
because they’ve known hairy men who did not, in fact, give much
attention to hygiene. I’ll admit that hair intensifies unpleasant as
well as pleasant smells, but a shower will handle this problem at
least as well as waxing.

It’s come to the point that women who
retain their pubic hair have become exotic fetish objects. Check out
any vendor
of adult films
and you’ll find titles like “Horny Hairy Girls”,
“Pubic Hair for Sale”, and “That Teen’s Got a Bushy Pussy”.

I suppose I’m just a product of my
times, my aesthetic and sexual preferences determined by my history.
I grew up in the sixties and seventies, when abundant hair was a
symbol of freedom. Younger readers won’t necessarily have these

I still find it depressing, though,
that women will spend their hard-earned cash and endure considerable
pain to conform to this twisted notion of attractiveness.

My depilation blues even inspired a
story. “Shorn”, in Lustfully Ever After: Fairytale Erotic
, (edited by Kristina Wright), is a re-telling of
Rapunzel. In my version of the tale, the princess is imprisoned in
an inaccessible tower not to protect her from ravishers but to punish
her for being unwilling to cut her hair – or shave her pubis. If
you’re curious, you can read a brief excerpt here.

So what do you think? Am I being silly?
Or does the current obsession with eliminating the hirsute go beyond
the question of fashion to have negative implications for our