This actually goes along with my Girly Stuff question but really needs its own space.
I have just recently decided to try not shaving my underarms (going 'european', how exotic! ;p ) or my, erm ... nether regions.
Have any of you ladies tried this or been doing it all along? How has the itch/smell factor been - especially if you are no soap/ no 'poo?
Note: I will continue to shave my legs. I just can't get past the squick factor on that one - hypocritcal, I know! But people actually SEE my legs and I just can't bear not shaving them ("half way" she says rebelliously!) ;)
I find myself obsessed with what my husband thinks (although he has assured me that he couldn't care less). Guys, what's your take on it? Can you stand some natural fuzz? Or is it common in your culture and so you think it hilarious that I'm fretting about it?
I really do feel better not shaving. It's like since I stopped using shampoo and deodorant, I noticed that my hair looks better and I have LESS of a smell. It just seems more, well, natural.
I'd love to hear everyone's feedback, opinions, and experiences!
EDITED TO ADD: I just wanted to say that you guys totally RAWKED these answers! I have really enjoyed reading all the responses and (wildy varying) points of view. Thank you all SO much and keep those opinions coming!
I quit shaving regularly when I was 19 years old (I had been shaving since age 10). Since then, I have had various habits, usually along the lines of not shaving anything. Occasionally I will trim the nether regions, and in the summer I shave my legs more often than in the winter (which is usually never.) My hair is NOT blonde or unnoticeable, and even the lowest part of my belly is hairy.
Most of the people I've had sex with (which is a fair number), don't give a flying rat's ass about whether my legs or pits are hairy. And frankly, if they do care, they probably wouldn't like me anyway. And yes, I'm usually considered sexy as hell.
My current lover, in fact, LOVES that I don't shave, and is disappointed when I do. And he's 24, so apparently younger guys can get on board, too.
Some things I've learned: you actually feel sweat less with hair in your pits. Instead of it just running down your body or arms, it has a chance to evaporate, which is lovely and helps you stay dry. Secondly - armpit hair tends to get softer as it gets longer. My pits are more comfortable with hair than without.
As far as legs - I live in an arid climate, so not shaving in the winter helps my skin a lot. And I choose to shave when I feel like it.
And for the nether regions - this is just a matter of hygiene, really. If you're worried (especially when it comes to being intimate with your man), you can always just wash up with a damp wash cloth before you jump into bed.
I've not used antiperspirant for a decade, and just recently gave up deodorant altogether. And I shaved my pits two days ago as an experiment in my smell. I must say that I notice no difference with or without hair, and I'm wetter without it. (Ew) I'm not following a paleo diet yet, but was a strict vegetarian for six years, with a highly vegetable based diet. I don't know what difference it will make from an odor perspective, since I really don't have anything noticeable now.
Finally, there are obviously varied opinions about what makes a woman sexy, but most of the men I know put more emphasis on whether woman is confident and happy with herself in determining her sexy factor, than simply conforming to some social norm that says women should remove hair that grows there, anyway. If your husband says he doesn't care, trust him. See what you like and figure out what has you feel sexy, healthy and happy.
As a guy the only hair i find to be a turnoff and deal breaker is the upper lip. All kinds of guys are going to say all kinds of things as if they are 'law'. The reality is, that everyone's taste is different. The fact that you are posting this here, means alot of paleo guys into thinking about things differently would probably be more accepting or not really care as much (if they don't they might be hypocrits).
I have had girlfriends with pit hair and without. I really don't care. They usually get self conscious and shave it off at some point after I've grown to like it. If you are self conscious about it.. but want to try arm pit hair but keep it 'manageable'. Get a buzz cutter, pick a number 2,3,or 4 clip, and run it through. You'll have hair but it won't be all squirrely. You could also try it in the winter, it's less stigma/sweaty.. I find it usually fascinating, because to me it says a woman is comfortable enough with her self.
Leg hair, well - I think this depends on the type of hair you have. Some women are really lucky - they have wispy hair.. it's barely if at all noticeable. Others well.. they have shag carpets. I can say that I don't find lower leg hair to be really very attractive, upper leg hair it more manageable, but most of my gf's are/have been blond so if they have hair it's hardly noticeable. I guess I'm not as into leg hair in general, but I knew one gorgeous girl who never shaved.. but she didn't have to (see whispy bits above). As to nether regions, well this is where some of the blondes aren't so blonde. I personally don't really care about this, either. It doesn't hurt to keep things trimmed a bit - b/c no one likes to get a curly stuck between their teeth. I know TMI.
In the end you should try them all and see what you are comfortable with and what works best for you. It sounds like you don't have to really care about what any of us dudes think anyway and have found a comfort zone. I find the whole paleo/primal hacks to be a fun adventure and trying new things to be enlightening.
Honest man answer: unshaved legs - not nice. Pits - not nice either but better than hairy legs. Nether regions - mostly indifferent. I imagine you'll get really different answers from different people on all three, especially in Europe and Asia
It also depends on age. Younger guys have been more influenced by the porn aesthetic of hairlessness and are used to their women getting Brazilians and such. Older men, say 40 and up, grew up in the "full bush" era of the 70s and have a more relaxed attitude about body hair on women. Many find it sexy. Also, hippie guys of all ages tend to prefer more body hair on women.
Another honest man answer: There are two aspects (at least!) to this; the visual aesthetic and the tactile aesthetic.
Visually, hair on women - head, body, pits, legs, etc. - has a lot of cultural load. In Southern California - the only sub-culture I have a lot of experience with - lots of hair on the head and no hair anywhere else is the apparent ideal. Personally, though, hair on women - head, body, pits, legs, etc. - is a neutral issue for me. Either way is fine and this clearly falls into the "woman's body, woman's choice" category. (Though I do have a problem with our culture sexualizing the pre-pubescent body form.)
On the tactile front, hair has so many textures - even on the same body! - that it seems a shame not to enjoy them. The big down-side to shaving, though, is stubble - very unpleasant to interact with! While shaving is a personal choice so is touching (or not) stubbly skin.
the decision if to shave or not I base on what is comfortable to me, not if it's paleo or not... I have very sensitive skin, and most of the hair removal techniques are very irritating to my skin. The only thing I can use is electric shaver... which takes like half an hour to finish. I mostly trim my pits, sometimes I shave if there is a special occasion, many times I just leave it. I do not have a partner now, so it's only me and myself to consider. I also have very, very fair hair color, which is an important factor as well. as to legs - in the winter I don't shave. In the summer more often, but only if I know I would show (I wear mostly long pants all the time) them to the general public... I prefer the not-so-comfortable look than itchy, painfully red skin... neither looks that sexy anyway ;-)
oh, and I am European... and a lesbian... ;-) not sure which one influences my decisions more! :D
My hair on my legs is just so fine that I could never get it all with a razor anyway! I'm allergic to most waxes and depilatories are baaad for my skin and body!! But again, it's so fine and light (the hair) that people hardly ever notice it. So I shave my legs probably once a month or so. And I've been following that schedule for so long that my hair grows slowly and is still quite fine. My husband doesn't care... so he says. ;)
As for my pits, it's kinda the same deal. I shave it when it gets too long or when I have a 'thing' to go to and I'm going sleeveless. I haven't noticed an increase in smell (except from ketosis).
I think that if you can trust your husband... then you can trust your husband! If he says it's okay then it'd better darn well be okay! I pushed my husband to tell me the truth about what he prefers and I'm honest with him about what I'm willing to do. So we compromise! That's marriage.
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