Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s new advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.
This week… what do you do when your dude wants you to shave your pubes, but you’re not game anymore? Have your own questions? Email [email protected]
Dear Scary Mommy,
Can you help me settle a marital dispute? Halfway through my pregnancy with my third child, I stopped shaving my pubic hair. I’ve enjoyed not having ingrown hairs, irritated skin, and keeping up with the maintenance, so I’ve kept my pubic hair and do not wish to resume removal. In fact, I like having my bush back. My husband recently confessed that he doesn’t find it attractive and asked that I go back to shaving it all off. When I refused to agree to that, he went further saying that it looked “gross” and that I should “care more about what he likes.’” He has been pestering me about it daily, making snide remarks, etc. Now I’m thinking about shaving because the criticism and taunts are hurting my feelings and making me resent him. What do you think?
Oh, I will tell you what I think.
Keep the pubes, ditch the dude. Seriously.
This problem goes so far beyond your choice to not shave your pubic area. He feels a level of entitlement to your body that is not healthy or acceptable, and I can’t imagine the emotional/verbal abuse and manipulation you hint at (taunts, criticism, snide remarks) are isolated to only this topic. So, first I want to tell you that if you feel like you can’t be your true self, if you feel your relationship is impacting your mental health, if you feel unsafe in ANY way, then you should seek outside help/support to figure out the next best steps for yourself and your children. You deserve to feel happy, safe, secure and respected in your relationships, especially your intimate relationships. And most especially when there are children in the home, watching and absorbing all of this.
Now, back to the pubes:
There’s never been a stronger case for “my body, my choice.” You want to have pubic hair. That’s it. The end.
You get to decide whether you remove your own body hair or not. You don’t even owe your spouse an explanation as to why you are making that choice. If you asked his opinion, it’s okay for him to be honest and give you his preference, but what is NOT okay is issuing demands and ultimatums when you have made yourself clear. He’s violating your personal boundaries and agency. And YES, in a committed relationship, you are still allowed autonomy over your own body, even if your spouse would prefer something else. You are not your husband’s property.
The fact that he’s doubled down on this and is further harassing you has me concerned, as detailed above. Of course you’re upset your feelings are hurt! That’s valid, and that’s how anyone would feel in these circumstances. I think you should you should open up to trusted family/friends or a qualified therapist about this. You deserve to be treated better than this. Keep reminding yourself of that, please.
It it safe to have a “come to Jesus” talk with your husband about this? If you feel that it is, I would be very candid and start issuing demands of your own. Be clear about how he is making you feel, and that you want him to stop taunting/disrespecting you immediately. I would be firm in your stance that you will continue to exercise agency over your own body, which means that you are keeping your body hair because that’s what you want to do. I would let him know that he’s made his preference known, and there’s no need to continue to harass about it, and that it’s impacting how you feel about the health of your relationship.
He needs to dive into some reading on toxic masculinity immediately. He needs to do some self-improvement and introspection. He needs to stop harassing and bullying you. He needs to set a better example for your children starting now. If he doesn’t do these things, please (safely) remove yourself and your kids from this toxic environment.
Having body hair is okay. It’s a personal choice. This goes far beyond letting our spouse know what we like/prefer and has gone into unhealthy territory. Please stand by your personal wishes, and stay safe.
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