Question:

Hi there. My wife and I were talking awhile back about sex in general. Both of us are Christians and while we were talking the topic of shaving came up. We were wondering is shaving of the pubic area unbiblical? We were unable to find any verses about it. Any help would be great. Thanks.


Answer:

When a direct act is not mentioned in the Bible, you should step back and ask yourself "Why would a person want to do this particular action?" The answer to that question will often lead to verses regarding the motivation.

There are a few verses dealing with shaving body hair in the Bible. A person who suffered a major skin disease, such as leprosy, if he recovers was to completely shave all his hair. "He who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and wash himself in water, that he may be clean. After that he shall come into the camp, and shall stay outside his tent seven days. But on the seventh day he shall shave all the hair off his head and his beard and his eyebrows-all his hair he shall shave off. He shall wash his clothes and wash his body in water, and he shall be clean" (Leviticus 14:8-9). This and several other required actions would lead a person to be pronounced clean once again. Scholars suppose that the requirement was to insure that the disease was completely gone and not hidden under any hair.

This same practice was done when a priest was dedicated to God. "Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purification on them, and let them shave all their body, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean" (Numbers 8:7). The implication is that no hair then could interfere with the washing.

In other cases, shaving body hair was considered an act of humiliation. "Therefore Hanun took David's servants, shaved them, and cut off their garments in the middle, at their buttocks, and sent them away" (I Chronicles 19:4). "In the same day the Lord will shave with a hired razor, with those from beyond the River, with the king of Assyria, the head and the hair of the legs, and will also remove the beard" (Isaiah 7:20). "They will shave themselves completely bald because of you, gird themselves with sackcloth, and weep for you with bitterness of heart and bitter wailing" (Ezekiel 27:31).

Today we practice localized shaving for sanitary reasons. Doctors will shave an area before surgery to keep hairs out of the wounds and to prevent infections. I suppose that if a person was plagued with lice, that a complete shaving of the body would help physically remove the critters, thus making the insecticide used more effective, but your question is dealing with shaving for a cosmetic reason.

A poor reason for cosmetic shaving of pubic hair is to create the illusion that a person is younger than they are. Since pubic hair marks a person's transition from childhood to adulthood, the lack of pubic hair would say that the person wishes to be seen as a child. If such is the motivation, I cannot see this as something healthy for a Christian to pursue. One, it is is a type of deception to others and yourself, but secondly, it promotes the idea of sexual exploitation of children. Children should not be seen as sex objects and a Christian should not be titillating his or her spouse with a child-like image for sexual play.

But not all cosmetic shaving of pubic hair is for wrongful reasons. I've run across some who simply prefer the feel of either shorter hairs or no hairs in the pubic area. Others see the lack of hair as being more clean. Both of these reasons would not involve sinful motivations.

I really enjoy your site. I think you are dead-on with your answers but not sure about your answer of the question on Jan 24th 2006: "Is shaving pubic hair wrong?" You said, "Since pubic hair marks a person's transition from childhood to adulthood, the lack of pubic hair would say that the person wishes to be seen as a child." Would this not be true of a mans face also?

I realize that you also said, "If such is the motivation, I cannot see this as something healthy for a Christian to pursue." However, I would think it would be quite limiting to be able to think of this as the only reason to shave. My wife and I have been married 18 years and this is our only marriage. I prefer that my wife completely shaves her pubic hair. You said "Why would a person want to do this particular action?" The answer to that question will often lead to verses regarding the motivation. I can tell you the reason why and it has nothing to do with "deception" or as you say "promotes the idea of sexual exploitation of children. Children should not be seen as sex objects and a Christian should not be titillating his or her spouse with a child-like image for sexual play". We both prefer the feeling of no hair on the genitals. my wife has shaved my scrotum for years. She prefers the feeling, it has nothing to do with "titillating....spouse with a child-like image."

I would appreciate your thoughts.

The shaving of facial hair is something that is publicly seen. Thus, it becomes a part of the person's style, just as different hair cuts give a person a particular look. I also know a number of men who grow beards in the fall, so that they have additional warmth for outdoor activities during the winter. But for the same reason, the beards are shaved off during the summer because it is cooler.

For that matter their legs for both looks and to make it easier to put on stockings.

The problem is in regards to the pubic areas, regions that are not seen by others except for marital partners. The reason I said "if" is because I could not think at the time of a reason to spend time and energy doing something that isn't typically seen. Since the original writing I happened across one comment where the person was sensitive to the movement of hairs, even in the pubic area, and so kept the area trimmed. I suspect that if the person had allowed the hairs to grow long, the person would have eventually had gotten used to the feel. Another person saw the lack of hair as being cleaner, and so preferred to keep the pubic hairs shaved. Both of these are adequate reasons that involve no sinful motives.

Because of this I've rewritten the answer to include the other reasons for doing so.