As a twenty five year old American female, I am acutely aware of the hullabaloo surrounding hoo-has. With summer upon us, and many talking of bald, even decorated vaginas, it’s easy to forget that some people don’t go in for any of it. And, as it so happens, “some people” is a group that includes yours truly. I’m not a smelly hippie, or a raver, or, God forbid, one of those burning man people. But I’ve never removed my pubic hair since first it sprouted, and, despite what the media would have you believe, you don’t have to either, if you don’t want.

That’s right, never. Other girls my age receive this information with shocked stares, followed by the inevitable, “but you trim, right?” Nope! I’ve tried trimming the ol’ soup strainer (if vaginas ate soup) exactly twice, once in high school and once in college, and both times yielded the same result: a crotch so itchy I couldn’t concentrate in class. Unwilling to sacrifice my academic performance for a cute haircut downstairs, and a fan of neither the look nor the discomfort of shaving/waxing, I made a deal with my special lady: I’d leave her hair alone if she promised not to get itchy. It’s been smooth sailing ever since.

I guess I should back up a bit. The first woman I saw naked was my mother. A free-spirited child of the sixties, she was, of course, all natural. The books they showed us in school about what would soon happen to our bodies confirmed it: sprouting hair in exciting new places was part of growing up. I remember taking gang showers at Girl Scout camp, admiring the full, luxurious bushes of the older girls and thinking, someday I, too, will have a bush of my very own. You can only imagine my excitement when this came to pass. It was like a de facto bat mitzvah for me. Mazel tov! Today I am a woman!

Even once I’d entered the wonderful world of boy-girl touching, it never occurred to me to shave it. What practical purpose would it serve? I realize not everyone has this luxury, but my bush fit nicely within the confines of my swimsuit. It wasn’t until I got to college that I found out many girls were taking theirs off completely, and many guys claimed to prefer, nay, require it of their lovers before they would deign to put their mouths down there. “Pubic hair is gross!” folks would say, or, “I don’t know how you could be so inconsiderate.” I shrugged it off. If I was going to take personal grooming advice from anyone, it certainly wasn’t an 18-year-old freshman from Long Island with a Dave Matthews Band poster on his wall who’d probably never even eaten a pussy properly.

And yet, as I got older, the pressure grew. Curiously enough, I found most of it came from my fellow women. Despite their unlikelihood of ever coming into contact with my pudenda, they felt a need to preach what they saw as the only hygienic and sightly option in a world where one must be as flawless as possible in order to land one of those increasingly slippery men. Was I that out of touch with the rest of humanity? Was my college-era boyfriend just being polite, secretly scorning the onerous task of cunnilingus each and every time he performed it on me, even going so far as to fake smile afterwards?

Possibly! However, an unscientific survey of my friends and acquaintances says most men (and a few women) don’t much care how hairy their partners are. Furthermore, most downplay the hair-in-teeth factor (hair doesn’t grow on clits, right?) with a few outliers who hate getting hair or any kind anywhere near their mouths (but they are neurotic in other ways, too, so they don’t count). So why do so many young people think it’s bald or GTFO?

A common explanation among a certain brand of feminist is to blame it all on porn, with its buffed Barbie dolls and oh-so-realistic sex acts. I don’t blame porn. I blame stupid people who think real life is supposed to be just like porn. I am, in fact, in porn (albeit of the softcore, “pin-up” variety), and have never had any real problems. For every ignorant comment someone leaves, there are five more telling me how neat it is to see a lady with bush. There’s even a whole group just for members and Suicidegirls to talk about how much they love hirsute women. The reasons they cite for liking bush vary; most find it womanly, fragrant, animalistic, or otherwise erotic. My bush-liking roommate calls it “classic.” Personally, I appreciate it aesthetically; the way that little dark patch breaks up a bland expanse of skin, providing visual variation and signifying super fun times in the vicinity.

It’s also worth noting that one of today’s most popular porn stars, Sasha Grey, is frequently seen sporting a somewhat furry muff in her movies, and I wouldn’t be surprised if others began to follow suit. Porn giveth pubes, and porn taketh pubes away. And then it giveth again.

So, in conclusion: you can do whatever you like with your hair down there, but you shouldn’t do it out of some wrongheaded belief that it’s mandatory. It’s not! If a partner asks you to change it up, hear them out, but keep in mind that at the end of the day, it’s your vagina, and as a guest in there, they should respect that.