Rosie Green: ‘Body hair, would you cross the bikini line?’

Frank revelations from our unmissable sex columnist, Rosie Green (@lifesrosie)

What are your thoughts on down-there hair? And do you think it affects the quality of the sex you have? This is something I’ve been mulling on of late. Because when you are considering entering a new relationship you are focused on presenting the best version of yourself, right?

Which for me means clothes without any visible food stains on them (base point) and a gym-honed, gently sun-kissed body which is generally smooth and hair free (work in progress).

Portrait: Louise Samuelsen.

When I first started dating after my marriage ended, part of my get-back-out-there action plan was to get to grips with down-there hair. I felt that it would symbolise a new regard for myself as a sexual being.

I decided to get it (mostly) lasered off. I had attempted to do this myself years previously with an at-home machine. (It was an early version of such things from Boots; I did the lasering while my young kids watched CBeebies.)

It involved me donning goggles and shouting ‘look away now’ as the machine flashed. (I feel my kids may have to go into therapy in later life.) A friend of mine did hers after consuming more than the recommended units of dry white wine. She said the result was ‘patchy’.

This time around I booked myself into the local clinic for a professional job. A lovely 20-something – with such thick false lashes I was surprised she could lift her lids – took me through the process. She started by talking about the number of sessions required and the pain situation and then said, with zero discomfort, ‘and do you want the labia done?’ I nearly spat out my free flat white.

Right there she exposed the generation gap around pubic hair thinking. Millennials get rid of theirs the same way we get rid of underarm hair.

Before my first sexual encounter post split I asked around my friendship group to ascertain what they had in the way of down-there hair. There was a big divide between the married and the non-marrieds. Of the latter group? It transpires they don’t have much. Even my best friend, who I can generally count on to be more prudish than me, told me that she had the entirety of her undercarriage done.

So when did being totally bare become the norm? Is it the norm? When I first started having waxes (Rackhams, Birmingham, if you please) you just hoicked up your knickers high till they looked like Pamela Anderson’s Baywatch swimsuit and asked them to do everything that sprouted out of either side.

A decade later and the Brazilian became the thing. I visited the originators, the J Sisters in New York, in the early noughties and it was like walking on to a labour ward – all partitioned off and women wailing in pain. A stern woman told me to take off my knickers (I mean!) and then at some point told me to turn over. When I looked at myself later I thought I looked a) wider of hip and b) like a child. My husband was nonplussed.

So does it make sex better? The case for: you feel tidy and in a curious way it dials down the body angst. Plus, you can see, and thus locate everything, and so can your partner.

The case against: is it not a bit porny? Does it look prepubescent in a slightly disconcerting way? Does it perpetuate unrealistic ideas of women’s bodies? Plus, dear god, it can be expensive. An all-off wax costs around £55 a pop. Which yearly equates to £660.

But you don’t want to scrimp on this.

Before my first sexual encounter post marriage, I went to a salon and got someone who may or may not have been on work experience. The whole thing took two hours! And there were welts. Which I think we can all agree are not sexy.

While my boundaries preclude me from saying my current down-there hair situ (I know, I do have some boundaries about sharing, who knew?), I have learnt that taking control makes me more confident.

Oh, and that you should never mix wine and hair removal…