Stubble Trouble 

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Dear Audrey,
I’m 61-years-old and probably one of your older readers. My girlfriend is 63. For us almost everything in the sack is going exceptionally well. Recently, though, my girlfriend mentioned something. Not long after I performed some man-scaping—mostly trimming—she said she was feeling abrasions around the outer edge of her vagina. Apparently a little stubble was rubbing her the wrong way.

However, I thought I’d managed to give myself a good close shave around the root of my dick, which should have headed off this problem. Unfortunately, her discomfort says I must be mistaken. Maybe this means there’s some grooming skills I don’t know about. Got any ideas?

I am giving you this advice under one condition: that you promise me that you will swiftly and permanently excise the word “man-scaping” from your vocabulary.

In regards to your stubble problem: yes! This is a problem! To be perfectly honest, I can’t imagine a shave close enough not to have this issue. Even a single day’s worth of growth, when we’re talking about hair as coarse as pubes, is going to cause irritation. Especially when you consider how very, very delicate and sensitive the skin of the labia is on the outside and most especially just inside.

Vulvas, though they are designed to take a beating in the childbirth sense, are actually not very durable at all. That is one of the reasons lube is so important—even the seemingly minor friction of a penis going in and out is enough to really tear the skin if not properly lubricated. And man, that hurts.

Stubble, even of the five o’clock dick-shadow variety, is not a good surface for a vagina. Consider the action of two crotches bumping up against each other during a vigorous round of penis-in-vagina sex. She may as well be grinding up on sandpaper. I know people who have gotten painful abrasions from men’s faces, even, and if you’re shaving your pubes as often as your face you must have some wicked razor burn.

(A tangent: we can probably go ahead and throw the concept of the “root” of a penis on the verboten pile with “man-scaping.” Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear that I imagine the dick as some kind of horrible, stunted tree with one of those little Harry Potter screeching mandrakes hidden beneath the skin, waiting to be pulled out if someone puts a little too much pepper on a handjob. Of all the impediments there are to enjoying sex, having your partner picturing tree monsters lurking in your gonads is one of the most easily avoidable.)

In any case, my friend, I don’t know if you’re going to want to hear this, but I speak the truth: if you want to do any penile or crotchular hair removal, you’re going to have to consider wax. I know pube waxing has a rep for being unbearably painful. That makes sense, I guess, if you’re extrapolating how much more it should hurt to rip hair out of your nethers than your eyebrows or wherever, but I personally haven’t found it to be that bad. Take an ibuprofen a half hour before your appointment and you should be fine. It is quite expensive, but it will last for a few weeks and the hair that grows back will be soft.

Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to DIY a wax. Trust me on this.



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