The Bald Truth: The Promise and Peril of the Brazilian Wax

I'm a Brazilian wax slut. It's my favorite combination of masochism and vanity rolled into a strange, semi-anonymous experience in which I legally pay someone to touch my genitals. I've gotten waxed all over the Bay Area, from Berkeley to the inner Sunset, in the fanciest downtown spas and the shadiest hole-in-the-wall salons.

I shell out between $40 and $75 for each Brazilian wax I get. They hurt. Sometimes they only cause a little bit of discomfort, and sometimes horrific pain, depending on the skill of the aesthetician. But anyone who tells you that a Brazilian wax doesn't hurt is lying to you.

Some studies show that, on average, we women devote $10,000 and 72 days during our lifetimes to removing body hair. Personally, I probably spend about $1,500 a year on shaving supplies and waxing treatments.

As I am an adult model, hair removal is part of my job. With porn more frequently shot in high-definition, there is pressure on porn performers to keep our genitals hairless and camera-ready. But even when I'm not performing for sites that prefer groomed genitalia, I like the way my body looks and feels post-wax — that is, after the initial swelling goes down.

Waxing can also lead to ingrown hairs and skin trauma. I've had more than hair ripped off during a Brazilian wax before and, as a result, my scene partner has to gracefully cover skin abrasions with his hands during our performance.

A new report released by JAMA Dermatology warns that sex with a fresh Brazilian may be more than just uncomfortable. The report states, “Waxing causes deficits in the mucocutaneous barrier that may be sufficient for viral entry and transmission, potentially increasing the risk of acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs).”

With all the time, money, and now health risk associated with hair removal, I can't help but wonder what life would be like if I didn't have to do it. For a glimpse at hairy life, I turned to fellow performer Nikki Silver.

Silver has never liked removing her body hair. Instead of continuing to fight the fuzz battle, she let it grow. She taught herself how to shoot photos and video, launched a successful modeling career, and founded her own website:, a porn site devoted to “real California hairy girls.”

Silver originally hails from the East Coast, where she started modeling in New Jersey at 18. At first, she removed her body hair because she assumed that she needed to maintain a mostly hairless body in order to work in the adult industry. But as soon as she stumbled across a porn site that catered to people who liked body hair, she never looked back. Silver worked the hairy girl circuit for years as a model, cam girl, and eventually a videographer.

Naughty Natural launched in 2012 and has been well received by fans and peers, even garnering a nod from the Feminist Porn Awards in April.

I've known local models who have taken breaks from the hairless look to shoot for Silver's site, and I've considered doing the same thing myself. But the sad reality is that years of waxing combined with my American Indian genes make it almost impossible for me to grow out my pubic hair enough to please the average hairy girl porn consumer. I once applied to a porn site similar to Silver's that catered to viewers who like hairy models — but it rejected me.

Hairy girl fetishists can be particular — the length, fullness, color, and texture of the hair matter, and some people (namely, me) simply don't have what it takes to make it as a hairy girl in the porn industry.

Since growing it out isn't really an option, I remain caught up in the hair removal game. But thankfully, the JAMA Dermatology study reassured me that waxing itself isn't boosting my risk of STIs — it's more time management. Researchers recommend that those who wax “should be informed of this possible risk and perhaps be advised to abstain from sexual activity for a certain period of time after waxing.”

So if your job, your partner, or your preferences demand you stay bare down there, just make sure you don't schedule a date directly after your Brazilian.

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