“Vulva bleaching? I never thought I’d say this but, boy, I miss the 80′s”

 

This comment was from Sarah on the post “Ladies Bleaching Private Parts…Men Are You Getting a Bad Rap?

All of this just seems crazy to me. I have no idea why women are doing these idiotic things to themselves. I remember “back in the day” (the 1980′s), we didn’t even trim our pubic hair. I mean, I went through high school, 4 years of college, grad school, and the rest of my 20′s being blissfully ignorant of the whole issue. And all I can say is that every single guy I slept with seemed absolutely thrilled to be anywhere in the vicinity of that part of my anatomy. I never got one complaint. I received, and gave, plenty of oral sex. It was all good.

Sometime in the 1990′s, I heard about women waxing their pubic hair and it sounded insane to me. I mean, ouch! Subsequently I learned that if I insist on keeping my gross, disgusting pubic hair, I’m now expected to at least keep it short and neat. Where did I learn that? Women’s magazines and the internet. My boyfriend has never mentioned it, but I trim it just in case he cares. I don’t like trimming it because the short hairs get pokey and itchy at times and I once got a nasty infection when I scraped myself with the plastic teeth on the trimmer. I got a huge boil that had to be drained. (Talk about gross.) But I’m supposed to trim, so I trim.

Then I heard about women getting labiaplasty and for the first time in my frickin life, I though, “Labia come in different sizes? Who knew? ” quickly followed by, “Oh my God, are mine too (gasp) BIG?” I’ve since learned (thanks Internet) that my labia are on the large size, giving me insecurities about a part of my body that I never, ever felt bad about before.

When I heard about anal bleaching I was like, “what? Who cares what your anus looks like?” Even if you are into anal sex, I mean, what guy is going to be peering around down there and critiquing the esthetic qualities of my anus? And would I want to be with an idiot like that?

Now, vulva bleaching? What next?

I never thought I’d say this but, boy, I miss the ’80′s.

photo: osseous / flickr

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Comments

  1. “Sometime in the 1990′s, I heard about women waxing their pubic hair and it sounded insane to me. I mean, ouch! Subsequently I learned that if I insist on keeping my gross, disgusting pubic hair, I’m now expected to at least keep it short and neat. Where did I learn that? Women’s magazines and the internet. ”

    Y’know, it occurs to me that this is what men have started getting “told” by pop culture for the last, I dunno, ten years or so. So, I have to wonder if in about ten or fifteen years men are going to start hearing about bleached dick heads or something

    • No, you will not hear about “bleached dick heads” because the majority (not all, but most) changes in sexual repertoire and aesthetics are the burden of women due to the consumerism of porn (mostly by males but also some females). because most (not all) of porn consumers are male and porn is fantasy, they don’t have to change one thing about themselves. however, the women in the porn are different than the women in real life, therefore women in real life have to change and adapt to keep up with porn and keep their men happy. BJs and anal sex was not in most couples’ repertoire until porn made it mainstream, same with hair removal in genitals for women, and now bleaching all over the genitals/anus. women are usually expected to adapt to what’s ‘hot’ in porn and men (for the most part) can keep being themselves. blech.

      • Well first, the idea that all of the harsher trends in women’s beauty come from porn is inaccurate. Perhaps the most mainstream porn does contribute, but women’s magazines such as Cosmo and Vogue contribute just as much, if not more, to those trends.

        “Because most (not all) of porn consumers are male and porn is fantasy, they don’t have to change one thing about themselves.”

        Well, except for their penis size, chest hair, musculature, etc…there is plenty in current beauty trends that prescribe huge changes to men’s bodies.

        • I think these trends did start in porn ; at least, I don’t know how an aesthetic standard for female genitals would have developed otherwise. However, most women are not directly influenced by porn but hear about these “standards” through women’s magazines, discussions with friends, and in some cases, pressure from men in their lives. The perception that there is an “ideal” size of labia, for example, is very new in our culture and I think porn images of women’s surgically altered genitals is promoting that idea. Women never used to see other women’s labia, unless they were lesbians. I never saw another woman’s genitals up close. But, again, that’s only where it starts. The idea then becomes entrenched in popular culture and is perpetuated by many different factors.

          However , men also have their own issues with body image. Obviously men have to contend with socially constructed attitudes about the perfect penis size, they are shaving and waxing their bodies now, and eating disorders in men are apparently on the rise.

          • Pubic hair removal does not have its roots in pornography. Perhaps it has become more widespread as a result of porn, but women in France have been waxing themselves bare for hundreds of years. Such aesthetic standards can develop outside of a pornographic sphere.

            • I’m speaking of Americans, who as far as I know, have not been influenced a whole lot by French customs for or against pubic hair. I’m pretty certain mainstream Americans got the idea from porn in the last 15-20 years.

            • S_Morlowe says:

              Actually, in the past it was better to have pubic hair (at least not in art), because that meant you were clean. Prostitutes didn’t have hair because VD made it fall out. And most nude paintings and statues are without pubic hair because the lack of hair made it more about the art and less pornographic. Sure leg-shaving didn’t even start anywhere (mainstream, at least) until the early 1900s! If you look at old pornographic pictures, those women were hairy (and chubby) as feck.

              There’s definitely a double standard there when it comes to male and female grooming: I think it’s understood better that men don’t look like sports stars, while women are expected to look like models. Maybe this comes from women having more exposure to a range of male bodies? Ordinary men are often shirtless in everyday life, especially in summertime, and it’s fairly obvious that 99% don’t have pecs and a six-pack. But women are far more covered, and there’s far more shame for heavier women who wear skimpy clothing: I didn’t wear shorts between the ages of 12 and 19, because I was a US 12-14 and was too embarrassed, but my similarly-sized brother had no problem going shirtless. Maybe it’s similar when it comes to body hair?

      • @Maddy

        Right. That’s why “manscaping” and “metrosexuality” are totally not real things. Just because you don’t seem to notice these trends (I’m not surprised of course, most people don’t notice these things unless they’re aimed right at their faces.)

        If “anal sex and BJ’s” weren’t in a standard couples repetroire before porn. (which is only possibly true from a very western-centric viewpoint…. and I’m skeptical even then) Then neither was cunnilingus. (and while I’m at it, exactly when was this “before porn” era?)

        Oh and speaking as an uncircumcised male, don’t you dare tell me that women don’t have unreasonable expectations about how men’s bodies should look.

        • I’m personally with Foucault when it comes to this (or at least, I think it was Foucault)…he pretty much suggested that people never really stopped talking about sex and never really stopped having wide sexual experiences. The difference between more sexually repressive cultures (in the west) and more sexually free is where that discourse takes place. In Victorian England, for example, people were still talking about sex…a lot…it was just in the confines of a confessional. And there was still porn, it was just that people who looked at it were shamed. So it’s difficult to determine what a “standard” couple (if such a thing even exists) did in bed. Instead we’re left with what prescriptions society made for ‘standard’ couples.

          • K.Clarke says:

            Why is “the west” held out as traditionally sexually repressive? Against what alternative – the free flowing east? Gimme a break! Have any of you ever lived in an Middle Eastern or Asian country? We are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more sexually expressive and freer than they are.

  2. Rather not say says:

    Every once in a blue moon my wife and I (we’re 40+) will try and watch a porno and…um…how do I put this…men are apparently now expected to do this as well. (That is, if they expect to get a job in porn.) Although my wife insists my hairy, um, junk be left as is, I have to ask: when did women decide that pubic hair on men was unattractive?

    • After men decided it was unattractive on us. I think this trend was made popular by porn. While men are more culturally objectified for their looks in this day and age, it seems that women get more of the brunt of it.

  3. I find the whole idea of having to change one’s natural form, to “just be acceptable”, totally unnecessary and ridiculous.

    I mean, I get it if people are like, “Hey, you know whats fun and sexy? Shaved body parts.”

    But when people are like, “EW! GROSS! THE BODY GOD GAVE YOU EXACTLY HOW ITS MEANT TO BE! That’s Nasty!”…. it just doesn’t get recognized as any kind of logical sense in my mind.

    If I was with someone who shaved their body parts, I wouldn’t mind it if that’s just how they liked to be, it brought them joy to feel or see the smooth skin, made them feel sexier.

    But if I was with someone who HAD to shave, or they would find themselves unacceptable, shameful, repulsive, or gross – total turnoff. No thanks.

  4. Tell guys they should be lucky they’re even getting anywhere near it.

    (but keep the trimming policy: it helps us appreciate its full beauty…)

    ;)

    • This may come across a bit snarky in part because of my reaction to your recent post about small breasted women. But here it goes:

      First, how is it any better to say “keep it trimmed?” It’s the exact same thing as saying “bleach it.” It’s totally fine for you to have a preference for trimmed pubic hair (keep in mind I know men and women who prefer completely un-groomed pubic hair). But to tell women – hey keep it trimmed – is just as problematic as any other prescriptions about appearance aimed at women (or men).

      Second…the “tell them they’re lucky” just perpetuates the ideas that women actually don’t like sex and that a woman ‘gives’ away sex as a prize. As if, what, my vagina is some prized possession I can give away? No, I don’t think so. Plus…it suggests that all men are just after a good time.

      • <>

        Well, to begin, of course, it’s your body, do whatever you want with it. But “bleach it” to me means “physically alter its natural state” where as “keep it trimmed” means (to me) “help reveal and celebrate its natural state.” (I realize it’s not keeping the natural state of said hair, but I mean it’s revealing the natural state of the equipment itself.) I think of it as no different than a man shaving his beard to better reveal the natural shape of his face. And yes, sure, some women prefer beards, and some men prefer full foliage down there. But aside from subjective visual appeal, a lot of us men feel we’re much better able to pleasure you without the extra shrubbery, just as women often prefer to kiss a man without facial hair. (And many women say sex is much more stimulating without the hair down there, so it can be seen as something that benefits you immensely, too, not just your partner. Whereas bleaching is probably just exclusively for your partner, not much practical/ sexual benefit to you.)

        <>

        I just mean a man has no right to simply expect it. It’s a privilege for someone to be intimate with your body, not a right. But why wouldn’t you think of your body, or just the opportunity to be physically romantic with you, as rare, that it’s not to be tossed out simply to anyone who merely thinks they deserve it? This is not meant just for women, it’s for all of us. You should think of yourself as lucky to be near anyone else’s netherlands, too, and appreciate it respectfully. Sex is a two-way street, giving and receiving, I’ve got a lot to give, so I expect a lot, and I’d expect anyone else to feel the same. And I’ll hold out until I feel it’s someone I really want to share myself with, and who will put the experience on the right level.

        • Except, Mark, the “natural state” of “the equipment,” so to speak, is to be covered by hair. Prefer whatever you prefer…but bleaching is not somehow more unnatural that trimming. Also, although some women do say that they have better sex while shaved/trimmed…not all women do. And actually, some women have better sex with pubic hair. So there are women out there who trim their pubic hair, not for themselves, but only for their partners. And again, that’s fine…my problem with what you said was that it was prescriptive. You were telling women – hey us men want you to trim your hair…which is a generalization and a prescription.

          As for the ‘lucky’ comment…again I don’t think that’s a good way to look at sex. Yeah, obviously no one has a right to have sex with someone…it’s your body and you have control over it. But to say that you should be ‘lucky to be near anyone else’s netherlands,’ treats nudity and sex as some sort of gift or sacred thing. And again, your personal preference of viewing it that way is fine…but your comment was again prescriptive. You were telling other men that they should feel lucky for having sex in the first place. Which, just sort of plays into the stereotype that all men are just trying to get into a woman’s pants…and also plays into the stereotype that sex is something a woman gives a man. Even if you say that you view it the same way for both genders…it’s still playing into the idea that sex is a gift.

          • Katherine says:

            You’re kinda crazy if you think trimming your pubes and bleaching your vulva are equal levels of unnatural. Damn.

        • Just so we’re sure to make this point null and void: “(And many women say sex is much more stimulating without the hair down there, so it can be seen as something that benefits you immensely, too, not just your partner. Whereas bleaching is probably just exclusively for your partner, not much practical/ sexual benefit to you.)”

          While the anecdotes of the “many women” you’ve read about or talked to claim to feel more without hair, and the marketing websites trying to sell shaving products specifically for this purpose always seem to claim increased sensitivity, I’ll say that for me, shaving decreases sensitivity. The same goes for two out of three other people I’ve talked to about this particular issue. I’ve heard different reasons for both: the man I talked to about shaving his penis claimed that the absence of hair meant that he could actually touch his skin, like the difference between touching the top of his head and his neck, while I heard from a past partner that each hair is attached to a nerve of some kind, and when you shave any pubic touching no longer really stimulates those nerves.

          So the operative words in your sentence are “can be seen” and “many,” because “many” is not “most,” and “can be” is not “will.” In a climate where all advice for women primarily represents the benefits of shaving, I think it’s also fair to chime in with a different perspective.

  5. ….And if someone NEEDED me to shave or they would find me unacceptable, less nice, or gross – I have better things to do.

  6. +1!
    One of my schoolmates was admonished for not trimming her pubic hair in preparation for swim class, because the men were uncomfortable with seeing hair in that vicinity even though she was wearing a reasonably modest swimsuit. She obediently did so, but I was totally outraged.

  7. Frankly, I wish all women looked more natural. Shaving is ridiculous unless you’re trying to appeal to a pedophile.
    Here, let Sophia Loren show you what sexy is:
    http://theniftyfifties.tumblr.com/post/18308733174/

    • “Shaving is ridiculous unless you’re trying to appeal to a pedophile.”

      I prefer women who aren’t completely hairless, too…but that doesn’t mean I think that shaving = appealing to a pedo. That’s a pretty big generalisation.

      • That was meant to be an over-broad generalization. I just don’t understand the appeal. To me it does look like a sad attempt to reclaim a look of pre-pubescence.

        Sure, some women are genuinely sexy shaven, but it makes me wonder why they’d want to look like either a pornstar or a child. Hair is a part of the private sexiness that varies so widely between all women, and when it’s all shaven, part of the femininity, the womanliness, is gone along with it.

        But that’s my preference I guess. If you click on that image of Sophia Loren you’ll see I’m comfortable being in the minority.

        • Berkeley says:

          I actually began shaving at about age 13, when I realized my pubic hair was beginning to grow in, and I have never stopped. Now I actually have had it all removed via laser. There has never been a day in my life where I have had pubic hair, because I think it is repulsive (I’m sure it’s possible to keep it squeaky clean, but I wasn’t about to contend with rinsing chunky period blood out of it). I briefly dated a guy who said he “preferred the natural look” because I looked “pre-pubescent,” and I quickly ended that relationship. It’s like running into the problem of insulting skinny girls when trying to compliment big ones by saying “real women have curves.” It’s great that you prefer pubic hair, but I have despised mine since before I had any desire to appeal to men, and I certainly lacked the wherewithal to think “I would like to appeal to a pedophile” when I was 13. Like skinny women aren’t “fake,” women who remove their pubic hair do not do so to look like jail bait (or at least the overwhelming majority don’t). In conclusion, generalizations are dangerous.

          • I don’t have any issue with your choice to remove your pubic hair but I do take exception to the word “repulsive ” since you are basically calling other people repulsive for not wanting to remove their pubic hair. I also think it’s sad that so many people (you are not alone in this) think that a natural feature of our genitals is repulsive. First pubic hair is repulsive, then labia are too large, then the color is a problem, and I even saw an ad for pubic area liposuction, to remove the fat pad that protects our pubic bone during sex (but some women dislike because it looks fat, I guess).

            For the record, I’m also opposed to male circumcision.

            • Berkeley says:

              “Repulsive” is probably too strong of a word, but the essence of what I was getting at is that I think it is appropriate to dislike something on aesthetic grounds, but it is inappropriate to assume that all people are doing something with the same negative motive in mind (like removing pubic hair to appeal to a pedophile). I also prefer circumcision on aesthetic grounds. And I do not think that the “naturalness” of something makes it any less unattractive or undesirable. Nor do I think that I have to embrace every aspect of my “natural” body to be a good woman, even if it involves something as “sacred” as my genitalia. For a period of time, I got terrible hormonal acne while PMSing, and I began taking a pill that completely eradicates it. Of course, the acne is a “natural feature” of my body and a natural bi-product of PMS, but I think it is unsightly and so I choose to eliminate it through medicine. I guess in general I think personal opinions as to what is physically attractive are less harmful than generalized assumptions as to why certain people choose to do certain things.

          • That’s interesting that you didnt want it to ever grow in. I remember my own pubic hair first growing in. I was embarrassed about it and thought it was weird–we boys showered at the gym together and I thought the dark hair there made look even skinnier and weaker than I already did. I cut off those first hairs as well as my first chest hairs. For months actually. Then I decided it was part of puberty and accepted it. (and of course it’s different for guys to be clean shaven in the locker room as we get older.)

            But I do recall that awkwardness.

            • I always wanted pubic hair when I was a kid, because I wanted to be just like my mother. I guess it’s just different for everyone…which is sorta the point. :)

            • Berkeley says:

              Haha my mum was so upset when she realized I was stealing her razors to shave it off. Puberty can be an awkward time. I guess people react to it or adapt to it differently.

          • I started shaving at about the time I got pubic hair (around age 12 or so…long before I was sexually active, I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was 17). For me it is more an issue of comfort. I just hate the feel of hair on my body, it itches and drives me crazy. I also have somewhat obsessive hygiene issues, I cannot stand my skin feeling oily, sticky sweaty etc. (Around the same time that I started shaving I would also wash my face…sometimes seven times a day.) Anyway, I didn’t think there was anything weird about wanting to shave my pubic hair at first, I hadn’t thought of it as having a sexual significance. But then I heard other kids talking about girls who shaved and it was always in the context of those girls being bad and slutty. So being an insecure youngster I thought that meant I needed to stop shaving. I let it grow back in but eventually started shaving again, not liking the feel of hair. It was always something I was a bit insecure about, feeling like I didn’t look like everyone else and that there was something weird about being shaven. It wasn’t until I took a figure drawing class in college (other students being the models) that I realized that a lot of other girls shaved too and it was more acceptable than I had been lead to believe as a young teen. I’m in my mid 20s now and I’m still shaving though I’d like to get it removed permanently. I feel more confident about my body now and I’ve since been a nude model myself (something I could never have imagined my former more insecure self doing). I don’t feel like people should feel like they need to conform to any standard of beauty, be it hair or no hair. Furthermore, I think it should be recognized that people don’t always shave for the same reasons (I actually felt insecure about getting naked in front of my boyfriends for fear that they would think I looked weird) and some people have serious sensory issues that can make body hair a form of torture.

  8. Stranger says:

    I agree with TD! What’s with the sexiness / desirability / acceptableness of grown women being directly linked to how pre-pubescent they look???

    • And what’s with women who prefer men with pre-pubescent looking clean-shaven faces? It’s disgusting how many women have such pedophiliac tendencies!

      • Brilliant!

      • Stranger says:

        Hah! :)

      • Stranger says:

        I don’t think if a man walks around with a hairy face in any style he wants to wear it, that anyone would grimace at his beard or want him to shave it off or cover it up in order not to make people feel uncomfortable….

        • That’s because it’s just a face.

          People want to hide others’ pubic hair because it suggests sexual maturity, and is sexy. And that makes them uncomfortable, especially when they see it on someone they weren’t already thinking about sex with.

          • Does the presence of pubic hair make someone sexually mature and desirable? If you say yes, then you’re including pubescent children who have pubic hair, which makes you a pedophile (by the same kind of logic you’re applying to the prefer-bare crowd). Assuming you don’t lust after 12 yr. olds who happen to have pubic hair, you have some sense of who is sexually mature and desirable that does not depend on pubic hair per se, making your preferences in that regard one of aesthetic taste, not pedophiliac tendencies.

            • Katherine says:

              What’s wrong with you? This makes no sense. Maybe some people with public hair are 12 years old, but everyone (as far as I know) after puberty has pubic hair. So, pubic hair, as he said, SUGGESTS sexual maturity. And you go off on some crazy straw man argument as if he said “I want to fuck everything with pubic hair” or something.

      • Berkeley says:

        Agreed. A clean-shaven vag looks just that… clean. You know you don’t run the risk of running into any weird muck. And if there’s herpes or warts, you can see them and get out of there.

        • “And if there’s herpes or warts, you can see them and get out of there.”

          Unless she’s not got visible symptoms but is still contagious. Even with STIs that have visual symptoms, a lack of those visual symptoms doesn’t mean it’s safe to have sex without a barrier.

        • What a weird comment. What women are you having sex with that you have to worry about “muck”? Don’t women take daily showers where you live?

          • “Don’t women take daily showers where you live?”

            That’s a bit rude, there. I was with you until you said this. Let’s keep in mind there are people from all over the world here.

            • I didn’t mean to sound like I was referring to people in other countries not taking showers. I thought the person who posted was a guy (did not look closely at the name) complaining about mucky women. Apologies.

          • Berkeley says:

            I’m a woman.

            And living in Manhattan, I take daily showers. I was just distressed when I first started getting pubic hair, as my period blood would frequently get caught up in it and drive me crazy. Combine this with the “muck” that generally comes with yeast infections, sexual arousal, etc. A shower would definitely help, but I would certainly need more than a “daily” shower in those situations. Of course, I started removing my pubic hair almost immediately after it grew in, so perhaps there are methods for combating these problems that I never learned.

            • Well, a bit of trimming makes period blood, etc a non-issue. But hey, to each their own. If you like being shaved, then be shaved. Your original comments were just quite judgemental about women who weren’t shaved.

            • I apologize for that. I’ve had people throw the “oh you want to look pre-pubescent” or “you want to attract pedophiles” comments at me before, so I’ve become defensive. In the future I will explain myself better and not be disrespectful to women who have made different choices.

            • Generally, soap and water in the shower work fine! For quickly freshening up, Tucks wipes or other products of that variety are quite handy. Things really aren’t as gross down there as you imagine.

            • Sexual arousal causes “muck”?

              There seems to be a lot going on behind this comment. Weird.

        • You can get viruses without visible signs, fyi. “clean” doesn’t mean disease free.

        • That’s one of the worst defenses I’ve ever heard for preferring the hairless or groomed look, combining insult with ignorance. It would fit right in in YouTube comments.

        • Berkeley said: “Agreed. A clean-shaven vag looks just that… clean. You know you don’t run the risk of running into any weird muck. And if there’s herpes or warts, you can see them and get out of there.”

          This is what I find a little bothersome. The idea that a woman is “dirty” to begin with. All these things are done to make women seem “clean”. Shaving our privates, bleaching our bits…the core message is women are dirty unless they conform to these ideals.

          Circumcision is also an interesting comparison. I think it’s key to remember that most circumcisions are preformed on babies with a base theory in health related issues. I understand there is a debate whether it’s really beneficial or not. But a lot of the ideals that are imparted on women are done, not out of health, but of current accepted ideals about what women’s bodies should look like. And these tend to be more invasive and more volumnous then what men are accepted to do..such as manscaping. While women are pitted up against breast implants, anal bleaching, waxed bits..and the list goes on.

          • This is an extreme example but I’ve read that female genital mutilation in Africa is often justified by the people in those cultures on grounds of aesthetics and cleanliness. They believe that the protruding features of women’s genitals (clitoris and labia) are disgusting and ugly and must be removed for that reason. I had to see American culture heading in that direction. In America, circumcision is also justified on aesthetic and cleanliness grounds (you often hear people claim that an uncircumcised penis is harder to clean, disgusting or “looks weird”).

            • *hate to see American culture heading in that direction, I mean

            • I think the issue goes deeper then just a matter of hygiene when it comes to removing girl’s/women’s vulvas. I could be wrong, but I don’t think male circumcision removes the pleasure a man gets from his penis. It may decrease some nerve endings but most men don’t appear to have that be an issue as they mature considering that many men are circumcised and a lot of the American male sexuality seems fully in tact. When you remove a girls/woman’s vulva, you take away her pleasure completely. In general, I think they hold the belief that “women-are-evil-dirty” creatures, so they do these ridiculous procedures to control their “evil and dirty” sexuality. Perhaps male circumcision is done for the same reason. I’m not sure. I do know that circumcision has a heavy history in religion. I believe it’s in the Bible God says that males are suppose to be circumcised. I don’t believe there is the same thing regarding women in the Bible and and God telling women to get circumcised.

              I don’t speak of the Bible in this case to say that this is the “right” way. I just think the history of male circumcision is slightly different then the history of female circumcision..from the little bit I know of it. I’m not totally qualified to talk about all the different aspects of the issue though. I also don’t really know what I think regarding circumcision of men. I’m not sure if it’s the right thing to do or not.

              I do think we, American culture, is already headed in that direction. Waxing your pubs, anal beaching, labia surgery and even breast implants that have the very real possibility of decreasing a woman’s physical pleasure so she can simply “looks” better for the physical pleasure of others are all rooted in the idea that what women look like is much more important then how women experience sex. Unfortunately, these trends show us that many women are willing to trade in the possibility of decreased pleasure their natural bodies bring them, or buy into ideas about what makes them “worth” (think “clean”) enough for male affection, to fit a standard. And it tells us that perhaps a lot of men are happy to see women go through these hoops to fit into a conceptualized view of sexuality that they are introduced to through visual media.

              Which gets me thinking about how men can be equally excited by a woman experience a real orgasm or a woman just faking and pretending she is experiencing a real orgasm. How the mirage of women is confusing to both genders. There is no way he knows if a woman puts on a show about what feels good or doesn’t. If a woman is moaning like a pornstar but feels much less in her breasts after getting implants, he wouldn’t know.

            • Hello Erin. :) Few points:

              Firstly, with regards to bleaching, waxing, trimming, etc…some women actually report having increased pleasure after doing these things. So it can go either way. Also, there is a huge difference between bleaching, waxing, whatever and FGC…they aren’t even close to the same.

              With regards to FGC – there are all sorts of different types of FGC. Some are more drastic than others. Some do result in decreased pleasure, and in fact for some that’s the whole point. However, that’s not always the cultural justification for FGC. For MGC (i.e. circumcision), some men also report that they have decreased sensitivity due to circumcision. And other men report no problems at all. And although MGC is not performed in the U.S. today with the purpose of decreasing sex drive, that was one of the justifications for it back in the early 1900s…I think it was early 1900s…I don’t have an exact citation for that. My point is that both are equally problematic and both equally violate a person’s bodily autonomy.

              “There is no way he knows if a woman puts on a show about what feels good or doesn’t. If a woman is moaning like a pornstar but feels much less in her breasts after getting implants, he wouldn’t know.”

              Well, a woman’s orgasm isn’t quite as invisible as you might think…particularly if you’re with a woman who you know well.

            • HeatherN, what is the ratio of women that have reported increased pleasure vs women that have reported decreased pleasure?

              Clearly FGC is more extreme but the concept of why women are expected to do all these things to their body to be acceptable enough to sleep with is the same if you ask me. And I actually think I’ve made some really good connections between the conceptualizing of women as a visual pleasure source over a woman actually having real pleasure.

              I am not convinced that MGC is the same as FGC but it’s a long debated point so I doubt we will clear it up here.

              Oh and yes, a woman’s orgasm can be quiet invisible which is why faking it has become a well known “trick”. Although I am not sure why you felt the need to lecture me on a woman’s orgasm. I am a woman after all aren’t I?

            • My current BF educated me about the circumcision debate, which honestly was not on my radar. Apparently it was promoted in the U.S. in the 19th century as a way to prevent masturbation (I don’t think it worked to well!) There are many nerves in the foreskin that are removed by cicumcision. Also, apparently the tip of the penis becomes less sensitive without being covered by the foreskin. I realize its a controversial issue, but what convinced me is the human rights aspect of surgically altering a baby boy’s genitals when he can’t even consent, for no valid medical reason. I know there are religious reasons for cicumcision but the majority of baby boys in the U.S. are not circumcised for religious reasons. The cleanliness argument doesn’t hold up because human males had foreskins for millions of years without undue problems. Keeping it sufficiently clean is apparently no more difficult than any other part of your body. Circumcision is essentially a fashion in the U.S. based on ideas that the penis in its natural state is ugly and dirty. I find that sad, same as I feel sad about women who think their ladybits are dirty and ugly.

              And you are right, FGM in Africa has many justifications, including sexual, but I have read there are aesthetic reasons given as well.

            • Circumcision is as old as Bibilcal times. Considering the fact that the US has a long history of religious up-bringing, I’m not sure you could really say that the majority of Baby boys aren’t infact circumcised for religious reasons.

              Further, there are a lot of things a baby can’t consent too but that still need to be done to ensure his heath. Shots for one, or basically any prodcedure that needs to be done to a baby. Although I am not saying that makes circumcision right, just that if we are going to argue that since the baby can’t consent, it’s wrong, then that means you can’t do anything to a baby medically, even to help it, because it can’t consent.

            • …when it comes to removing girl’s/women’s vulvas.

              Just to clarify, FGM does not remove women’s vulvas. “Vulva” encompasses pretty much all the external parts in that area, not just the parts FGM cuts out, so while it certainly damages the vulva, it does not remove it any more than male circumcision is a removal of the penis. I’m not defending the practice, just hoping to clarify some anatomical vocabulary.

              In reply to earlier points in this branch of the discussion tree, I don’t think “clean-shaven” is a direct synonym for “clean”. Despite the commenter that made me facepalm with his explanation involving herpes and warts, I assure you that many men like the “clean-shaven” look for many reasons having nothing to do with an unshaven vulva looking “unclean”.

            • From what I read, it could be completely removed or partially removed. So the “vulva” could be completely removed.

              I would disagree with the idea that “clean shaven” doesn’t infact have something to do with the idea of “clean”. I have heard lots of women and men both tal kabout how it’s just “cleaner” that way. Although that’s not really true since pubic hair helps to protect the vagina actually. It retains the moisture better and can keep the vagain clean from infection. Which I guess is why we have it in the first place. I do think there is a cultural idea that women are “dirty” so women need to groom and shave to extreme measures and with popular trends in “bleaching”, it’s only becoming more obvious just how much the culture desires women to be “clean” at any cost.

            • Erin, I’d say you either misunderstood, or were misinformed, because saying that FGM sometimes removes the vulva is like saying circumcision sometimes removes the whole penis, testicles and scrotum. What I think you probably have read about are varying degrees of how much of the clitoris or inner labia are removed. I heartily agree it’s mutilation in any case, and the more that’s removed, the worse the mutilation, but removing the entire vulva is about as anatomically possible as “removing the vagina”. Which is to say, it isn’t, unless the word itself is misused.

              Your elaboration of what “clean-shaven” means to you only establishes that for you, it’s a direct synonym for “clean” which implies the vulva and/or vagina are dirty things. That does not contradict my point at all, which is that many men don’t interpret the word “clean-shaven” that way at all. I know, because I’m one of them. Does your understanding and aesthetic response to a “clean-shaven man” entail a belief that men’s faces are inherently disgusting? There’s nothing you can say about culture thinking women are dirty or “unclean” that’s going to persuade me that I only enjoy “clean-shaven” vulvas because deep down, I think they’re dirty and gross. If you think vulvas are beautiful and natural, then you’re in agreement with me, so we differ only in how wide the range is that we have an aesthetic appreciation for.

  9. Did anyone mention (I read and read and read but didn’t see it) that in the 90′s, porn made a big turn toward the whole “young” culture? Up until the mid-90′s, porn was porn and people were happy enough with anyone nude. Softcore stuff focused on – dare I say – the acting and the performative sex act. Sometime in there – I’d guess when hardcore started to show on those adult cable channels – the industry started driving down the age of the then-mainstream stars, and at the same time, started to feature more of that gonzo-style stuff. Then, by the time the internet hit en force, the idea came along that porn wasn’t supposed to be telling a story, but showcasing some possibly-real situation – you know, totally BELIEVABLE stuff like a van full of guys picks up a hitchhiker and she somehow can’t WAIT to screw them all.

    Anywhoo, that’s my guess as to this whole hairless thing. I’m a man and I keep trimmed only because I also trim my beard and the clippers are already out. It doesn’t matter to me what my wife does. We’re married, I love her no matter what our stupid bits look like.

    • I always thought the obession with “young” and “youth” in porn was not totally healthy myself Zach. Also the fact that it seems like there isn’t a big demand to actually see women enjoy themselves so much as there is to see women verbally and physically abused as she moans in pleasure about how much she loves her own abuse.

  10. First of all, strange discussion, secondly, as long as you are doing it for yourself, hey, bleach, shave, trim or laser to your hearts content. It’s difficult to know, though, in this age of insane media pressure, just how much of an idea is truely your own, and how much has been pounded into your head by social/media pressures. Most of us like to think we are above such influences, but if we are truly honest with ourselves, we are not. The need to fit in to perceived social norms is just too great.

  11. Circumcised Sex vs Natural Sex says:

    Regarding male circumcision and how it affects sex for both men and women see here

    http://www.sexasnatureintendedit.com

    !!!!!!!!!!!!1

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