Bare Before God - Shaving and the Bible
Your body is the Lord's temple, and to respect that, Christians should always be conscientious about personal grooming. But what about the intimate areas of our bodies?
Spare the Razor?
Many women already wax or trim their bikini line, but question whether they can or should remove more pubic hair than that. Fortunately, we can look to the Bible for guidance:
For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. (1Co 11:6)The point of bikini waxing is to remove hair that is not concealed by a swimsuit or panties, and this is appropriate for public or semi-public situations like swimming pools and fitting rooms. But if you anticipate revealing more of your intimate parts - that is, if someone (like your husband) is going to see you uncovered (i.e., without underwear) -- your genital area should be shaved or at least trimmed closely.
Here's another biblical passage that addresses the issue of women shaving in the context of intimate relations: "Then you grew up, became tall and reached the age for fine ornaments; your breasts were formed and your hair had grown. Yet you were naked and bare." (Eze 16:7)
The speaker is praising the attributes of a young woman who is ready to take a husband: as she has come of age into womanhood, she has developed shapely breasts and pubic hair. But in the next verse, she is described as naked and bare. Why would she be described as both naked and bare? Because naked means without clothes, while bare means without body hair. This wording indicates she has had her body hair, including her pubic hair, shaved off.
In some cases, it's clear that the Lord has not only looked favorably on pubic shaving, but actually imposed it on His people:
...therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and Jehovah will lay bare their secret parts. (Isa 3:17)So far, we've only discussed female shaving, but males were not exempt. In Jer. 49:10, we read: "But I have made Esau bare, I have uncovered his secret places..."
Shaving for Closeness
Going completely bare is a way of being more fully naked before God and before your spouse. By shaving, you are lifting the veil of pubic hair that comes between your spouse and you, and in complete trust revealing the divine creation of your genitals to your spouse's loving eyes and touch.
Shaving can also enhance the sensuality of lovemaking for both the husband and wife. Freshly shaved areas are very sensitive, and allow more skin contact and sensation. Many couples enjoy the feeling of skin-on-skin during intercourse and find it makes them feel closer.
There's nothing abnormal or strange about the appeal of this. So wives, if your husband requests that you shave your pubic hair, don't assume this is a sign that he has some weird kink or fetish. He just wants to appreciate and admire your feminine gifts more fully.
A Clean Shave
As an added benefit for intimacy, pubic hair removal is also conducive to better genital hygiene. In the Old Testament, this was part of a purification ritual: "Have them shave their entire body and wash their clothing. Then they will be ceremonially clean." (Num 8:7)
Even if you bathe daily, body hair still captures and holds odors, which can be distracting or unpleasant during lovemaking and especially oral sex. Shaving the pubic hair or keeping it trimmed short minimizes this and keeps you fresh for intimate moments, which your spouse will appreciate.
Shaving can also be a way for a newly married woman to show her commitment to her new husband:
"And suppose you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you are attracted to her and want to marry her. If this happens, you may take her to your home, where she must shave her hair, cut her fingernails, and change all her clothes." (Deut 21:11-13)
A freshly shaved pubic area can represent a fresh start in intimacy. Couples at any stage in their marriage can take advantage of this as a new beginning.
The Trouble With Stubble
Is there any treatment of pubic hair that is wrong? Definitely. One thing about which there can be no debate is the evil of stubble:
"All that do wickedly shall be stubble." (Mal 4:1)
"And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble." (Ex 15:7)
We know that God doesn't like it when we do things halfway. "So because thou art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth." (Rev 3:16) So if you're going to shave, shave. If you're going to go natural, go natural. But avoid stubble. It is unsightly, itchy, and uncomfortable for both you and your spouse.
Believe and Be Shaved
The Bible acknowledges that we all have individual variations in genetic makeup and appearance when it comes to the distribution of body hair, and therefore have different needs when it comes to intimate grooming: "And Jacob said to Rebekah, his mother, But Esau my brother is covered with hair, while I am smooth." (Gen 27:11)
In keeping with maintaining a neat appearance and good hygiene habits, and out of consideration for their spouses, it seems appropriate for both Christian men and women to either shave or neatly trim their pubic hair if they desire.
Keeping this area well groomed is another way that husbands and wives can look and feel their best for each other. And by going completely hairless, they can experience an even closer degree of intimacy, with nothing to come between them as they become one flesh. If you and your spouse enjoy the look and feel of going bare, there's no need to feel a spiritual conflict.