Every November all our dude friends start posting status updates on the growth of the beards and staches that they proudly embrace in honor of No Shave November/Movember/Noshember. They eschew grooming to raise awareness for causes such as men’s health needs and overall cancer research, but with particular focus on prostate cancer and testicular cancer. I myself stop shaving my own legs during the month of November, but that’s mostly because the Arctic temperatures of my gnarly apartment make any time spent outside of my footie pajamas physically painful. I’m not altruistic with my own body hair, unfortunately.
While other women may also be foregoing their usual grooming standards this month, there are many who fully embrace their full body hair all year long. Some have even made a career in the adult industry out of their all natural, albeit atypical, appearances. This niche in the industry is referred to as hirsute or hairy, and goes beyond just hairy vulvas. Hairy babes embrace their whole package, including their underarm, leg, and arm hair. However, hirsute models are typically only hired by fetish companies.
“I would definitely like to see that change. I think it’s a huge problem when people are reduced to fetishes,” says Harley Hex, a bisexual, non-binary, hairy babe. She works full time as a webcam model and part time as a porn performer. “I’ve had men ask me how I got the hair on my legs and armpits because they have never seen a woman with hair in those places before. While there are many people in my work and in my personal life who find my body hair very attractive, I’ve also had people react with shock and disgust, even when I was only growing out my pubic hair. I believe that more representation outside of niche fetish sites can help chance some of these views.”
“Honestly, I feel pretty fine about being a niche and not working with most other adult companies,” writes Nikki Silver, who is often referred to as the Queen of Hairy Porn. She is well known as the founder of NaughtyNatural.com. “…The majority of porn is not something I’m interested in being involved with anyway, so I don’t feel a loss at not being included… On a societal level, I do think it would be good for hairy women to be included in mainstream porn. It would help normalize that for young men and women looking to porn, to inform at least in part what they find attractive. Hopefully it would show young people that you can make lots of different choices about their bodies and they can all be sexy.”
When asked if their body hair has been an asset in the porn industry, nonbinary and queer performer Joey Minx responded, “Yes and no. I’ve been able to do a lot of shoots that are specifically hairy fetish sites. In a broader sense, it has severely limited the work I am able to get in the adult industry because they are looking for shaved models. I have done shaved shoots as well to make money.”
It’s the same old story, where bodies that don’t look a certain way are barred from opportunities, especially in the workplace. In this sense, the adult industry has the same symptoms of society and media at large, where the drive to make money results in the exclusion of diverse bodies from representation. “I also would like to see a more inclusive variety of presentations in the adult industry that are not used as sole marketing points for websites,” writes Joey Minx. “This could be including but not limited to body hair preference, genders, sizes, races, ethnicities, abilities, and the types of sex being featured between performers. Not just in porn, in all media. Representation is important.”
Harley Hex adds, “I know that if I shaved I would have more opportunities and would have access to a wider fan base. On the other hand, I would be losing something about myself that has set me apart from many other performers.”
So despite female hairiness being generally perceived in our society as being unorthodox, what drives hirsute performers to stay all natural?
For Nikki Silver, it wasn’t much of a decision to make. “I never adhered to that convention so defying it was not anomaly for me. As a young teenager I was more interested in my own body, those of my girlfriends, and generally exploring alternative communities and politics than I was in adhering to what I thought was ‘normal.’ In fact, I really despised what I saw as normal. I was very comfortable being confrontational.”
“I didn’t fully accept beauty norms and hence, wasn’t terribly affected by them. I think I was able to build up a pretty strong base of self confidence. My mom is also an amazing woman who only ever told me I was beautiful and admired my changing body through puberty, as well as supporting all my decisions like dyeing my hair green and not shaving my armpits.”
On the other hand, Harley found stopping shaving to be very stressful at first. “I stopped shaving a little over four years ago,” she says. “My hair is super thick and dark and grows in very quickly. Shaving has always been a pain, and one day I just thought about why I was doing it. I realized it wasn’t for me, it was for other people who expected me to do it. I challenged myself to grow my hair out to see what it looked and felt like and I just never went back.
Stopping was very stressful but I’m so happy I did. It took a few weeks of wearing jackets and long pants, but eventually I stopped feeling as worried about what other people would think or say and started focusing that energy on more important things in my life. Even if I never do go back to shaving again, I feel like I can more fully accept my body and don’t feel ashamed by the way my hair grows in anymore. That’s a really freeing feeling.”
Whether they always embraced their abundant body hair or learned to do so, these performers have found plenty to love about their lush all naturalness.
“I love how soft my hair feels under my fingers,” writes Harley. “I’ve grown to love how the thickness and fullness of my hair is something unique about my body. My partners love to way my hair feels and the way it makes me smell. I’ve been told I have a very distinct smell and I think my armpit hair makes that more noticeable.”
“I like how people smell and I like how I smell,” adds Nikki. “Not as in, I haven’t showered in weeks smell but just the natural way humans naturally smell. My partners appreciate this as well. I find shaving/trimming to be a laborious and painful process so there’s no part of me that wishes to do that. I think my partners also appreciate my lack of stubble and ingrown hairs. I literally never have ingrown hairs because my hairs have not been ‘cut’ by a razor or trimmer in 4+ years. I also like to run around outside naked and having pubic hair really does protect your genitalia, it’s there for a reason.”
For Joey Minx, it’s less about the aesthetics of being unshaven, “and more about doing what feels right to me with my own body, and not shaving is what I’m most comfortable with. My partners don’t care if I shave or not, as long as I’m comfortable in my own skin.”
In writing back and forth with these performers, a theme emerged that it all really just comes down to being healthy and happy with your own appearance, and that we should all work to support each others’ bodily choices. I think Joey said it best:
“There are a lot of standards that are considered normal in our society that are oppressive. Insinuating that a person is less attractive, worthy, or desirable because of having hair on certain parts of their body is not only one of these oppressive standards, it seems really ridiculous to me on an objective level. Not to say that if someone shaves they are perpetuating this standard or wrong in doing so–the whole point is people should be able to present their own bodies the way they want to, and still feel desirable, worthy, and comfortable in their own skin.”
And if anyone’s got a problem with it?
“I tell them their opinions of women’s bodies are irrelevant and misogyny is not a cute look.”