Friday, January 14, 2011

Open Forum Friday: To Shave or Not to Shave?

I’ve been hooking up online since my college years in the early-to-mid nineteen-eighties, when I used the school’s mainframe mail system to make advances to guys. I was on the so-archaic-it-hurts Prodigy network when it was first released, surfing its message boards with a 1200-baud modem (and scoring anonymous dick the afternoon I made my account). I cruised through AOL and eWorld and local freenets and dial-in bulletin boards until the advent of the world-wide web. Then lived through gay.com during its heyday and its myriad successors since.

And I still think I’ve never seen a stranger fad than the no-baldies craze of the early nineties.

Oh, fads in looks come and go. But during my America Online days, back around 1993 or so, the in-look for men involved hair. Lots of hair. Guys wanted other guys with big, lush, New Kids on the Block ‘dos. Do you have all your hair? would be the most common question I’d get then. These days, it’s an odd enough question that one would suspect the person asking it of being some kind of fetishist—but no, back then it was common enough that it would be asked with all the usual interrogatory questions. Age? Weight? Location? You got all your hair?

The question was one of those that would make me shake my head and mentally classify the guy asking it as an assmunch of the highest degree—the kind of man who was looking for the most spurious of reasons not to meet people, whether it was scaling in a pound over his absolute weight limit, or being 37 in a room full of under-twenties, or having skin that was too dark or a forehead that was too high.

And then all of a sudden that criterion vanished. Movie stars started to crop their hair very, very close, or shave their heads altogether. The shaved head became macho, sexy, accepted. By the late nineties, I never heard anyone asking about hair again.

Atop one’s head, anyway. Over the last few years I’ve seen a lot of men commenting about each other’s pubes online. And it ain’t always pretty.

The push for manscaping has swung from one extreme to the other in my lifetime. In the nineteen-seventies and eighties, I never heard of anyone taking a razor to their pubes. It simply wasn’t done, not even by the most depraved of sex hounds—in my parts of the country, at least. It wasn’t until the nineties that it even occurred to me that such a thing could be done, and it wasn’t until the first decade of the new millennium that I was trimming myself regularly.

Part of the change, of course, I think can be attributed to porn. Cheap, easily-distributed porn that could be viewed at home, whether on a VHS machine or a DVD player or on the net, made a lot of things more popular, and manscaping was one of them. Trimmed sacs show up more cleanly on camera; it’s easier to see how big a dick is when it isn’t surrounded by a thick thatch. I think trimming reached a critical mass in the public consciousness in the Queer Eye days, when a squadron of gay guys would tell their straighter brethren that cleaning up body hair was perfectly acceptable.

Now it seems that a shorn crotch is de rigueur in certain circles; I’ve read cries of disgust online when guys present photos of a perfectly normal bush, almost as if someone had pooped on their Papis.. To listen to this crowd, you’d think man’s natural state was to look like a bunch of prepubescent boys, and any hirsute display is some kind of throwback to abnormality, if not to Neanderthal man.

I’m curious about what my readers think and do with their body hair. Do you trim? Leave it natural? Or do something in between? And what do you use to do it?

I tend to fall in the latter camp. I often like the feel of my nuts when they’re smooth; I like to keep my bush present, but trimmed low. In the past I’ve used a regular razor to keep everything in check. Once (and never again, after a light burn that left me walking bow-legged for four days) I used a chemical exfoliant. But these days I have an electric body hair trimmer that’s easy to use and keep clean, and which denudes my sac without nicks or abrasions.

I think my dick looks better in photographs when I’ve trimmed the pubes down some—but I have no desire whatsoever to eradicate them altogether.

Let me know what you do in the comments—and more importantly, what you prefer on another guy. Does body hair make as much of a difference to you as it seems to for so many?

48 comments:

  1. Ah, one of my favorite topics...

    I too have seen the evolution of styles, and remember when shaved sacs first made their appearance in mid-80's porn, through to the hairless look that's popular today. Personally I would much rather enjoy a man with all of whatever hair his genetics provide him. I've played with guys who are shaved/trimmed to one degree or another and don't mind it. The only exception I can recall in the recent period is one guy who is very slim, shaved as hairless as a 10-year-old, and was way too into a highly verbal fantasy of being that child while riding my dick. Next time (if there is one) I'll gag him and shut him up, 'cause he was a sweet fuck but for all the yammering.

    I tried shaving once when I was considering testosterone replacement. I didn't want to deal with the pain of injections, or the peak-and-trough swings that method entails. At the time the only other option was a patch which had to be applied to the shaved scrotum, so I decided to see what that would be like. I hated it, especially the growing-out part. I waited until gel formulations were available to finally begin testosterone replacement.

    While I agree that shaved/trimmed pubes can enhance the impression of size, I've always been quite proud of my red hair. Its contribution to my vanity is greater than whatever perceived size increase might be. One guy I was playing with frequently a while back really wanted me to trim, so I did. Seemed more bother than it was worth, so I stopped. (He became more bother than the sex was worth, not all that long after...)

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  2. Steve in VancouverJanuary 14, 2011 at 8:49 AM

    Hey Rob
    We are both the same age so have both seen the progression of body hair. I hated the trend to fully shave the body as I personally prefer a more natural look. I am pretty hairless naturally, but I do keep it trimmed and neat. A simple little clip now and then seems to work. I have noticed as I have aged, that hair grows in odd places and odd ways, so I rid myself of that. In potential partners, I have no preference as I like men in all forms. If you are so hairy that it is difficult to see the goods, I think a trim is in order but never a shave. Some of my favourite porn is from the late seventies and early eighties, regardless of age of actors. They were natural and not over developed and never looked like they were underaged.
    Love the blog and love the Spencer stories especially.
    Keep it up.

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  3. Very interesting, RedPhillip!

    Usually I find that guys who require a specific thing to have sex, whether it be shaving or a particular brand of roleplay or an outfit to be worn, are usually too high-maintenance to see more than a handful of times.

    And for the record, I like your red pubes, too.

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  4. Steve,

    Thanks for chipping in, my friend. Your hair philosophy sounds about the same as mine. I do what I do with the hair on my head—give it a trim once in a while to keep it looking neat, with a little extra fuss for a special occasion.

    Thanks for reading!

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  5. I can't stand totally shaved men. I like them to look like men. It's a turn off. If they are trimmed a bit I don't mind. Totally smooth makes me cringe.

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  6. It is funny how we approach hair on our bodies as we grow older. I remember the summer before 7th grade, I was almost 13 years old and was very worried that I did not have enough hair down there. I even tried my mom’s eyelash bush on the dozen hairs I had but washed it off. Later I found out in the boys locker room that I was not alone in my nearly hairlessness and that we were sure all different in the hair department.
    Like you in the 90’s when I got regular access to porn I discovered the shaved crotch. I have never shaved it off but I do trim it. I trim my own hair and use the same clippers to trim my pits a bit and my pubes down. I also remove the four or five hairs that grow around my nipples cause they just look silly. It’s all a matter of look I guess but I can also say that trimming helps keep it more comfortable when it’s hot out.

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  7. I shave my nuts with a razor and trim my bush very low with a clipper. Once in a while, i trim my body hair too. I love my men trimmed so you can see what the package looks like and also, less hair in the mouth.

    Yves

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  8. If I am attracted to a man whether smooth or furry I want him exactly the way. He is naturally. I recall rimming this hondeaf guy in DC once who had the thickest dark hair at his hole, it felt like a challenge to get in there. He took out his hearing aids (he was young, don't go there) and moaned so loudly, I couldn't help but enjoy myself. Hairless balls are easy to roll in your mouth. It's all good!! Myself, I trim if I am in training and wear trikits otherwise it's all me man.

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  9. I guess I'm one of those guys who just doesn't notice unless something stands out in a weird way. For example, if I'm sucking a guys dick, and the razor stubble on his cock starts hurting my lips, then I'm not a fan of the razor. I do love body hair, but I wouldn't reject someone because of their lack of it or their decision to shave it. I love the taste and smell of a furry asshole (especially after I've fucked it), and a furry hole can push me closer to orgasm faster if I can feel the hairs on my shaft. But I love the look and feel of a hairless hole also.

    As I've gotten older, I've noticed hair growing in places I'd rather not have it, so in those cases, I periodically remove it. Every once in a while, I decide to shave my nuts or my asshole, but it's not a regular thing. I usually keep all my body hair trimmed, but only because the gray hairs I have grow so fast and long, they become overwhelming. And my head has been shaved ever since my mid-twenties.

    Most guys I've met who go "EWWWWW!" when confronted with what they consider unseemly hair growth, are probably guys I would generally avoid. I prefer my sex partners on the adventuresome side. Sexual connection for me is SO much more about personality and energy. While physicality certainly plays a role in that, hair patterns rarely do.

    Then again - I'm incredibly generous sexually (read: slutty), so you may want to disregard everything I said above. ;-)

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  10. Trim is in.
    I shave the balls and cock and keep the bush trim to about 1/2 inch of hair. If my new gym is any indication, lots of men are doing it, young jock straight types included. The full bush you see on some older guys but lots of those over 40 men are trimming too. They cannot all be gay or bi. There is a line one crosses that gets stares - shaving down the pubes to look like a 4 day beard growth is a give away that you are looking to have that cock stand out and want to look like a 12 year old just getting body hair - and that says you are gay. And then there is the all tan except a teenie bikini line, totally shaved muscle guy who talks a little too loudly about his girlfriend. Yeh, body builders who compete are known to shave all and tan like this, but this guy is saying, come on guys, get me into sex with you.

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  11. I love the feel of smooth balls and the look of a close trimmed bush. I do believe gromming is equally important to both straight and gays. Gals like their studs looking manly-neatly trimmed up top and down below. I like my studs the same.

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  12. I prefer smooth balls and hole. But I do like a hairy bush. When the bush grows onto the shaft and out of the side of his speedo, I think it needs to be trimmed. I don't understand a total shave of the bush though.

    Mr. Steed64 - I regularly use Men's Nair to remove the hair from my balls and ass. It works for me but I have friends who have gotten burned too.

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  13. I would add, that my preference is for me. I love the feeling of my smooth hole getting eaten and fucked. Same with my balls. It's fun to feel the balls when they are smooth.

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  14. I'm a hairy guy but trim my body hair using an electric trimmer to keep it looking neat, this includes my pubic bush. I shave my scrotal sac as I like it licked.

    As for my crack, I trim the hair with round ended scissors. When I was younger I did shave my hole a couple of times, but hated the itching when the stubble grew out.

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  15. I'm a hairy man. I use an electric trimmer, but tend to trim more in the summer. I like to keep my balls shaved though, personally they are more sensitive without the hair.

    I like all kinds of men, smooth, some hair, hairy, really it is a guys personality. It's always a huge turn off when a guy tells me to trim. I find that it is the naturally smooth guys who make those comments.

    Lately I am finding men who tell me not to trim at all, let it grow. I like that.

    New here posting, though I have followed your blog for sometime. You are a very talented writer. Thanks.

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  16. I have been shaving my balls since 1987. It started with just cleaning up the hairs on the shaft. That quickly progressed to shaving my balls and then my hole. A few years ago, I started shaving my back hair.

    For about the last year, I've been trimming my chest hair as well. One day I realized that my chest hair was the second-longest hair on my body. Why is this longer than the hair on my head? So I trimmed it. I had been trimming my pubes, but after doing the chest, I started trimming them closer.

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  17. I'm a take-it-as-it-comes kind of guy. (Wholesome Pig's body-hair philosophy closely matches my own.) It doesn't make much difference to me; I can enjoy a smooth body and a furry one. But there is something about a nice hair pattern on a man's chest and torso that can make me twitch. (Y'know those feather-like swirls of hair that seem to brush toward the center line then plunge sexily into a goody-trail...?) Smooth balls do roll agreeably on the tongue—but I also like tugging ass-hairs with my teeth and getting a furry hole slurpily wet. A wild bush can be primal and "manly"; a well-groomed trim inviting and confident, unless it gets too self-conscious in its execution. (What's with those Hitler-mustache patches and pubic topiaries?)

    I trim my pubes and shave my balls because I like the way it looks and feels. My hole remains furry because the b/f likes it that way. We had a fuck-buddy who had sort of a pubic hair fetish and liked to trim then shave us completely. The process itself was kind of hot because he was so into it and meticulous about it; I didn't mind the look or the raised eyebrows in the gym shower after the fact—but I hated the prickly grow-back. And the sex was outstanding—but I've veered into the realm of TMI!

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  18. I'm a big fan of trimmed, but present. I totally agree that it makes a man look like a man to have pubes, and that pubes trimmed well just looks like he cares about how he looks. Certainly not a criteria, or deal breaker. Besides, I think that burying my nose in some hot guy's bush is a turn on.

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  19. I love the way a man smells with a nice bush brushing my nose! Not a fan of the totally shaved look. For myself, I trim my pubs, chest & shave my balls complete. I follow all shaving up with thick non-greasy lotion for a smooth touch.

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  20. Barbara Seville (hah!),

    I used to feel the same way, but there are some circumstances in which totally smooth will make my hard-on rage. As with everything, there are always exceptions.

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  21. Killertim,

    When I was a kid I always associated a hairy chest with virility; I was pretty disappointed when I realized I was never going to be one of those men with a furry chest, or even a ball of fuzz between my pecs. (I basically got a single hair that grows right over my sternum.)

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  22. Yves,

    I would be tempted to agree with you on the less hair in the mouth thing, but even with hairless guys I always seem to manage to get that one loose pube caught between my front teeth. What's up with that?

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  23. Loki,

    I think both extremes (and the in-betweens!) have their own pleasures, too!

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  24. Wholesome Pig,

    You're right. Guys who are going to be put off by something minor like hair are probably going to be too high-maintenance to deal with in the long run. Or hell, in the short run. Best to avoid them altogether.

    I like 'sexually generous'. I want it on my tombstone now.

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  25. Jaysonstreet,

    I need more people saying to me, "Come on guy, get me into sex with you." I like that. :-)

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  26. Anonymous,

    Everyone has his preferences--I'm not sure I agree with the thing about body hair grooming being as important to straight men as it is to gays, however. I know a LOT of gay guys who manscape. I know very few straight guys who have ever taking a pair of clippers or a razor to their body hair.

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  27. Sven,

    It was the men's Nair that burned me badly. I believe that it says you're not supposed to use it on your delicate regions, but I'd read enough reviews that said, "Oh, I did it and nothing happened. They're just being overcautious."

    But ouch. It was a painful four days.

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  28. HH,

    Good tip, with the round-ended scissors!

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  29. Hairymonkey,

    Thanks for your first-time comment. Breaking the ice wasn't so bad, was it?

    I've been noticing there's a little bit of a swing back to the natural look lately; I've met up with more guys in the last year who say they have an aversion to someone trimmed than I have in the whole previous decade. Like you, I take guys as they come, so to speak.

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  30. Cocksman,

    You're going to be taking full-body dips in that Men's Nair, next, aren't you? :-)

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  31. Throb,

    I have only been shaved a couple of times by another guy, and it was an entirely different context (I was more of a bottom at the time) and didn't have much choice in the matter. Since then, I haven't found anyone I'd trust to groom me, but I have kind of fantasized about a bottom guy taking great pleasure in shaving me down there.

    And since when has there ever been such a thing as TMI here?

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  32. Richard,

    As long as that bush is moderately clean (or dirty in a good way), I'm with you on that one.

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  33. BlkJack,

    That's a good tip about the lotion. A lot of the men I know who are heavily into shaving follow up with a powder, too.

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  34. "It's rare that an IP address is specific to a particular person."

    "You can expect your IP address to change each time you reconnect."

    "Currently, there is no way one can get the IP address of commentators for those using the Blogger commenting system."

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  35. pansexual hetero-leaning joyful slut here. i trims it down with clippers in the front, clip close the bush, shave the nutsack, and thin out the taint and ass hair in a casual way with the razor. or the clippers. or not at all. if you're licking my ass, shut up and eat hole. don't tell me your precious stupid opinions about my ass hair. or don't eat it. or shut up.

    love ya,

    nate

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  36. I like trimming down myself and occasionally shaving it all off. I LOVE when a guy, especially an older guy, wants to shave me smooth. For awhile I played around with this one guy -- an older daddy type, not too hairy, but he liked *me* smooth -- who got me into that. I love how it feels! Gets me so hard! As for other guys' junk, trimmed is cool and so is totally smooth. If there's no maintenance at all it just looks too messy, which is also how i feel about the hair on the top of a guy's head too. You gotta keep it neat!

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  37. i seem to have a different concern, even though i trim my pubes for "looking good" down there, i expect the bottom i am going to fuck to be completely smooth, waxed would be even better. I like a bottom to respect the top and do the effort to keep it that way. I guess it's a dominant issue for me. A way to say to the bottom that each morning when he looks at himself in a mirror, he will think about his top/ master...

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  38. My feeling is that you should look your best, whether clothed or naked, and so it means looking at the whole picture when it comes to hair styling.

    I've been sporting a buzz cut for years. For awhile, I shaved my chest but now I trim it. Trim my pits and pubes. Shave my shaft and scrotum. I trim the same mustache trimmer I use on my goatee, with the same blade guard. Shave with a mach3.

    I don't like hair in my mouth, so, if I get one, I need to interrupt what I'm doing to remove it. I tend to like guys with smooth shaft and balls, but not a requirement.

    The biggest turn-off for me is a mismatched appearance, such as shaved pubes but very hairy belly / chest. Some guys who shave their chests but have long pits and pubes look mismatched too. The other turn-off is a guy who already looks younger than his years, and then shaves everything such that he looks underage.

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  39. Nate,

    Right before the mouth connects with the hole is not the time to share opinions on grooming. On that I fully agree!

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  40. Jason,

    I've known a lot of older guys who like young men extremely smooth. And as an older guy myself, I appreciate a guy like you who actually enjoys taking the effort to make himself that way.

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  41. Anonymous,

    If you are that kind of dominant top, then the shaving issue becoming a mark of respect (and even self-respect) is completely understandable. It becomes one of those hallmarks of a relationship, and puts the bottom in a proper mindset even when (and maybe even especially when) you're apart.

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  42. Long-Time Reader,

    I don't mind young-looking guys shaving smooth and looking even younger—if I did, I'd be objecting to what the vast majority of the younger guys I fuck were doing with themselves. I do agree on the mismatched look, though. If a guy is hairy all over and then suddenly has a follicle-free zone in his midsection, it looks less like carefully grooming and more like some kind of fallout zone.

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  43. Shaving another guy, and being shaved by one, is something which will give me the most intense hardon of my life.

    The first time I was shaved by another man happened quite by accident. I was working for the federal government at the time and had been selected to attend a senior executive training course in Berkeley for a month. We had classes five day a week, but the weekends were ours.

    After the second week I was horny as hell and decided to do something daring: hire a lether man for an evening's entertainment. I found an ad for an interesting guy who lived in the Castro and arranged a couple hours with him.

    He had a fully equipped dungeon in the basement of his place and I decided I'd try out bottoming for once. (I am usually a total top). Well, things weren't really going too well and I was becoming bored. I started walking around the room and suddenly noticed these racks of spice jars with guy's names on them.

    I asked what was in them. "Pubic hair" my host said. Hmmm. "You shave guys and keep their hair?", I asked. "Yes", he replied. "Would you like to try it?"

    Well, I suddendly saw my cock starting to leak and figured why not.

    He had me stretch out on a table with a mirror above and strapped me down. Then he pulled out a straight razor and began to work his magic. And magic it was!!

    With the first swipe of the tool I sprang a rock-hard boner and began leaking precum from my uncut cock like crazy and I watched myself in the mirror.

    His technique was to shave dry. As he cut each patch he would remove the shorn hair and move it onto my belly until he had totally reconstructed my pubes a bit higher than they had been. When he had finished he suddenly took his hand and wiped all of the hair away. VOILA! I was bald as a baby. What fucking rush. My pubic region was totally soaked from my precum.

    He rubbed the precum over my body. Finally, he stuck a finger up my ass, gave me a prostate massage, and sucked me off to one of the most intense orgasms I had ever experienced up to that point in my life.

    I left his place rubber-legged and drove back over the bridge to Berkeley. For days thereafter I jerked off several times a day while revisiting the scene in my mind.

    When I returned to DC my lover was the first to be "paid forward" from what I had learned. :)

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  44. Rahinpa,

    That is a hot, hot story. It gave me wood. Thank you for sharing!

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  45. Manscaping the pubes makes any cock look a little bigger, and that is never a bad thing! :) I shave my balls often in the summer to keep them cooler and I love the feel of a tongue on them shen they are shaved! I shaved my pubes off once with a razor. It was SO fucking itchy and bumpy growing back in I swore I would NEVER do it again as long as I live. A guy I used to suck on at a gay clothign optional campground in PA (Hillside), has nuts so hairy, I felt liek I was flossign my teeth. That was a turn off. But the real bummer was that he NEVER got hard (or got off).

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  46. TJB,

    There is something about the feel of nuts when they've been shaved that I very much enjoy. I like the sensation of a tongue or a hand on them, too—and I am guilty of just reaching down and fingering mine, when they're freshly shorn.

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  47. The look has to be balanced. A hairy chest needs a full bush. A smooth chest matches up with trimmed pubes and shaved balls. I have so little body hair I shave it all off. I have a tattoo to replace the pubes, so I don't look too weird. In hot weather I shave everything--it keeps the armpits from stinking all day. I really enjoy the feel of a tongue on my smooth balls, hole and pits.

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