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  Glabrousness (from Latin glaber = bald, hairless) is the technical term for an anatomically abnormal lack of hair or down. This may be due to a physical condition, such as alopecia universalis, which causes hair to fall out and/or prevents its growth. More commonly, glabrousness is a result of culturally-motivated hair removal by depilation (surface removal by shaving or dissolving) or epilation (removal of the entire hair, such as waxing or plucking).

In botany and mycology, glabrous is an adjective used to describe a morphological feature as smooth, glossy, having no hair or bristles or glaucousness (see also indumentum). Tactile sensitivity is greatest on glabrous skin


Aesthetic removal and fashion

Although the appearance of secondary hair on parts of the body is a sign of puberty, in Western cultures it is socially accepted, often encouraged, for women to remove body hair (as hairlessness is considered feminine and often youthful). Commonly depilated areas are the underarms, face, arms and legs; pubic hair may be partially or entirely removed, and at times individuals even depilate areas which are typically left alone, such as the forearms. Conversely, people who oppose the social concepts behind these practices will forego them, whether for personal satisfaction or to make a public statement. In recent years, bodily depilation has increased in popularity among Western males.[citation needed]

As with any cosmetic practice, the particulars of hair removal have changed over the years. Male hair removal is a less constant practice, usually due to trends that alternately promote either the smooth, hairless aesthetic or the hairy, natural one. Western female depilation has waxed and waned throughout history and has been significantly influenced by the evolution of clothing in the past century. Leg and underarm shaving became popular again in Western Society with the advent of off-the-shoulder dresses, higher hemlines and transparent stockings. The reduction of the minimum acceptable standards for bodily coverage over the years has resulted in the exposure of more flesh, giving rise to even more extensive hair removal.[1]

At present, this has resulted in the Brazilian waxing trend, a term used to describe the partial or full removal of pubic hair, as the thongs worn on Brazilian beaches are too small to conceal very much of it. Indeed, a culture is now emerging around "intimate shaving" and other hair-removal options geared specifically around the pubic area. What was once kept a personal secret is now discussed more openly, though still in carefully non-explicit language, in magazines and on television.

Religion, subculture, and other influences

In ancient Egypt, depilation was commonly practiced to prevent infestation by lice. Typically, tweezers were used to pluck out individual hairs. In both Ancient Greece and Rome, the removal of body and pubic hair was common with both men and women, especially in artistic depictions of male and female nudity.[citation needed]

Most Muslims believe that the Sunnah directs all adults to remove pubic hair, including that in the armpits and pubic area, as a hygienic measure. In Islam, removing unwanted hair from the body is an act of fitrah. Referring to this, the Prophet is reported to have said “The fitrah is five things: circumcision, trimming the mustache, cutting the nails, plucking the armpit hairs and shaving the pubic hairs” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Baptized Sikhs, however, are specifically instructed never to cut, shave, or otherwise remove any hair on their bodies; this is a major tenet of the Sikh faith.

In Japan, it is commonplace for women to shave their underarm hair, but not to shave or even trim their pubic hair beyond the requirements of swimwear, etc[citation needed]. The culture of public baths (onsen or sentō) could discourage anyone so inclined, since shaved pubic hair has long been recognized as a sign of extreme sexuality[citation needed]. The fact that Japanese pornography laws originally banned the display of pubic hair per se also indicates that pubic hair is appreciated as an erotic feature in Japanese culture[citation needed]. Traditionally, erotic display in Japan has concentrated more on suggestive concealment rather than nudity which may still be considered commonplace.[citation needed]

In the clothes free movement, the term "smoothie" is often used to describe an acomoclitic individual. In the past, such open displays were frowned upon and in some cases, members of clothes-free clubs were actually forbidden to remove their pubic hair: violators could face exclusion from the club. Others have grouped together and formed societies of their own. Depilation has become popular over the past 30 years with smoothies becoming a major percentage at many nudist venues.[2]

Athletes may depilate as an enhancement to their abilities. For example, male and female competitive swimmers often remove their body hair and pubic hair in order to help streamline their bodies.


To some, hairlessness is aesthetically pleasing and arousing. Such people claim that it enhances sexual activity in ways such as providing a change in sensation and facilitating the performance of oral sex. Many people say that the pleasurable feelings during sex are much more intense when the pubic hair has been shaved leading to stronger orgasms. At times, pubic shaving is explored as a related erotic activity. Individuals less familiar with the practice of pubic hair removal may be taken aback. Additionally, preferring hairlessness is not always a fetish, in either the traditional or the colloquial sense of the word. Paraphilias for glabrousness and depilation exist, but only in a minority of individuals; partially or completely depilated genitalia have become so commonplace in mainstream Western pornography that it is no longer considered a "fetish", leading to the growth of hirsutism porn as a separate niche, although such porn rarely features people with actual hirsutism or abnormal hair growth.

Glabrous skin

On the human body, glabrous skin is skin that is hairless. It is found on fingers, palmar surfaces of hands, soles of feet, lips, and penes.

Tinea corporis is a mycosis that targets glaborous skin. [3]

There are four main types of mechanoreceptors in the glabrous skin of humans; Pacinian corpuscles, Meissner's corpuscles, Merkel's discs, and Ruffini corpuscles.

See also

  • Haircut fetishism
  • Merkin, a "pubic wig"


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Glabrousness". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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