The first time I saw L’Origine du Monde by Gustave Courbet, I was shocked by it. Up to that point I’d never seen pubic hair depicted like that in classical painting. At that time, I was a French language student in Paris and it was during a trip to the Musee d’Orsay that Courbet’s work in particular inspired my imagination. I’d studied Fine Arts and classical nudes had become a real fascination of mine; representations of Venus were a particular favourite. When I stood in front of L’Origine du Monde, and contemplated it further, I was struck by how much its portrayal of ‘intimate topiary’ contrasted with the complete lack of ‘lady-gardens’ seen in contemporary porn.

l'origine du monde

In recent years, the accepted trends in pubic hair styling have changed a lot. At first, bushes were merely trimmed to keep them under control. Then the ‘landing-strip’ was in vogue, followed by the smaller ‘London Underground Ticket’ and the even smaller ‘Paris Metro’ version. There was only one place left to go and total hair removal became chic. Now, however, because of the ‘Hipster” trend, bushes are back, sometimes in a big way.

waxing evolution

Like a lot of ‘pro-hair’ people, I always thought that total hair removal would be an attempt to look like a girl when I was a grown woman. That was what I thought right up until I tried it for myself. I hadn’t planned to ‘go smooth’ when I went for my usual bikini-line wax.

It was a Friday and I arrived at my regular salon imagining that the same girl would be doing me as usual. It turned out to be a different one this time, however. I’m usually pretty uncomfortable when I get waxed at the best of times and I like to imagine that the young lady doing the waxing wants, like me, to get the process over and done with as soon as possible.

But this time, it turned out, would be a lot different.The new girl was much friendlier than my regular one. As she applied the wax, she rubbed her breasts against my knees. And she was such a perfectionist that she stroked my skin over and over, much more than I was anticipating. I can only guess that she did it for her own quality control purposes. I was thrilled, of course, because I knew that this would be the best waxing that I’d ever had. This wasn’t just down to her thoroughness, either. It was an incredibly horny session as well. I had no doubt that her obvious enthusiasm would guarantee a high quality result.

When she’d given me the service that I’d asked for (a London Underground ticket), she said: “You know, men think that the less hair there is the better… if you want, I can carry on waxing.” I couldn’t reject her kind offer, so I nodded. The removal continued until I was left with no hair at all. It didn’t hurt as much as I’d expected. I imagined that was because I was, quite literally, in the hands of an expert.

After I’d got dressed and paid, I left the beauty salon in a hurry. I needed to see my boyfriend so I could tell him all about the experience. Above all, I wanted to show him that I was travelling without my usual London Underground ticket. I could never have predicted his reaction. He was absolutely ecstatic and, after a whole weekend of having him go down on me, so was I. And that wasn’t just foreplay either; it was the main event.

For men, giving cunnilingus to a woman with plentiful pubic hair usually means finding small stray whiskers in unusual places afterwards. They normally head straight to the hairless areas first: the labia minora and clitoris.The area around ​​the labia is also very sensitive and it rarely gets the attention, and stimulation, that it deserves. The new enthusiasm towards my smoothness demonstrated my boyfriend wasn’t the only advantage of the full waxing. Suddenly, wearing sheer panties became a more sensual experience for me.

And cycling? Well, that’s another story.

A male friend of mine who is extremely hairy, told me recently that he had his whole body waxed. Like me, the fabric of his clothes rubbed and chafed his naked skin in a way that he hadn’t felt for years.

It’s clear that the removal of intimate hair is a very personal thing and everyone has their own preferences when it comes to their bodies and other people’s. Today, when I see a reproduction of L’Origine du Monde, I realize how much my opinion about pubic hair has changed over the years. But now, I have to admit that having a complete absence of pubic hair makes you much more aware of your own wonderful womanly parts.

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Translation of ‘Las delicias de la depilación‘, published in El País.

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