Introduction. Hair is a distinguishing feature of mammals, though the persistence of visible head, axillary, and pubic hair remains anthropologically unclear. Humans throughout the ages have modified their head and body hair, but aesthetic removal of pubic hair has become the “the ultimate barometer of how fashionable you really are” in the 21st century. The aim of the article is to examine the trends in pubic hair removal and its impact on health and sexuality.
Methods. A literature search was performed, with a further search performed using an Internet-based search engine. For discussion, the results have been classified into the topics of “Development and anthropology,”“Cultural and artistic significance,”“Medical implications,”“Psychological and sexual significance and popular culture,”“Impact of body hair loss on sexuality” and “Style and terminology.”
Results. Pubic hair removal has been common since the ancient times. Pubic hair was rarely depicted in artistic representations of the nude until the late 19th century. It is postulated that the current trend of pubic hair removal may be related to the increased accessibility of Internet-based pornography. Anecdotally, pubic hair removal may carry benefits regarding increased sexual sensation and satisfaction though there is no quantative research in this field. There is a recognized morbidity to pubic hair removal, and also a lack of standardization of terms for styles adopted. We propose a definitive grading system for male and female body hair based on the widely used Tumor Node Metastasis staging system.
Conclusions. Pubic hair removal appears to be an important aspect of expressing one's sexuality and participation in sexual activity. This practice has an interesting psychosexual basis which, to date, has not yet been fully explored in sexual medicine. Ramsey S, Sweeney C, Fraser M, and Oades G. Pubic hair and sexuality: A review. J Sex Med 2009;6:2102–2110.