We asked three of our male contributors to get bikini waxes and write about it — and they actually did. Here’s the backstoryhere’s Eric’s story; and here’s Kevin’s story. You can watch Walker tell his story (and go through the procedure!) in the safe-for-work video above; plus, check out his must-read tips below.  

3 Things to Know Before You Go

1. Don’t shave. My waxer, Enrique, explained to me that long hair is much easier to extract, thus making the experience more painless for the waxee.

2. Try to keep things casual with your waxer. Enrique was a real pro and conversed with me throughout the procedure, limiting the number of tangible silences in which my mind tended to wander from our repartee and instead preoccupy itself with the physical intimacy (and attendant awkwardness) involved.

3. If one of the red-flags holding you back from a manscaping trial is your fear of the NARB (No Apparent Reason Boner), you should know you’re not alone. Enrique estimated that half of his first-time clients succumb to an erection at some point, and that the majority who do never come back for a second session (I was not among them, thank you very much). As a waxer, this is simply a feature of his job description, and he ignores it, going about his work as any professional would. But should this be weighing heavily on you, you might consider “taking a load off” before your appointment.

3 Common Myths About Bikini Waxing

1. “It’s painful.” While I wouldn’t go so far as to label the experience a “pleasant” one, the pain factor is certainly overstated in common parlance. Imagine ripping a band-aid off repeatedly — it’s really no worse. If you’re using the “KELLY CLARKSON!” scene from 40 Year Old Virgin as your main point of reference, you’ve been seriously deceived. Enrique told me that among his clients, the chest rates as the most painful surface for waxing, with the loins considerably further down the list in terms of discomfort.

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2. “It’s for chicks.” Obviously one of the primary reasons many women opt for a bikini wax is implicit in the name of the process (they’d rather not have bits of unsightly pubic hair peeking out from the lines of their beachwear). But wedded with that incentive is pressure from their male significant others, who as a collective entity seem to prefer a waxed pubic region for it’s sexually preferential properties.

I have heard many a male acquaintance voice, for example, an aversion to performing oral sex on girls whose grooming habits tend more toward the “natural.” In the spirit of the double standard — one of the great pillars of American society — these same men believe they owe no such depilatory reciprocation to their partners. Note to the fellows: women will probably be more apt (dare I say eager?) to go down on you if they don’t run the risk of inadvertently flossing while they’re at it.

3. “I’m not comfortable with anyone other than myself, my girlfriend, or my doctor handling the family jewels.” I’d be lying if I told you this wasn’t my number one fear prior to the appointment. Subjecting yourself to a bout of manscaping is a daunting social experiment; you don’t know how your body and mind will respond to the more invasive aspects of the procedure until it’s immediately at hand (pun intended). But you can largely defuse this perceived tension by keeping things loose: e.g. talk, make jokes, and do your best to forget about on the empirical facts at play. Yes, someone is coating your private parts with hot wax, and yes, skin-to-skin contact is constant and, shall we say, immodest. But that does not mean you need to be fraught with anxiety at the sexual implications of the experience: remember, you’re in a professional environment, receiving a service from someone who treats it as such.

5 Downsides to Waxing Your Man Parts

1. The itch. Oh, the itch. It’s so … persistent. I’d rate the level of annoyance as commensurate to having pool-water in your ear, or perhaps a J. Biebs tune stuck in your head. In public, I am at constant war with my hands — my objective being to keep them out of my pants, theirs to burrow past my beltline and stay there forever. And what’s more: the itching won’t totally subside for another two to three weeks, when the hair achieves a post-bristly stage of growth. Then again, frequent shaving of the region will cause you much of the same (Enrique indicated that shaving actually irritates the skin more than waxing). So if bald is the look you want, you’re going to have to accept this rather peevish side effect.

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2. The cost. Maintaining a waxing regimen is not the cheapest habit in the world. For a well-reputed salon, you’ll probably be footing a bill somewhere in the $50 to $100 range, with prices varying according to the comprehensiveness of the procedure you choose.

3. Little red bumps. Your skin probably won’t agree with waxing the first time around. You should expect redness, slight inflammation, and an ingrown hair or two in the days following the procedure. Be sure to purchase some bacitracin (Neosporin or similar) and ingrown hair treatment (your spa of choice will carry one) to ensure a swift recovery.

4. It’s so … naked. Maybe you like this look. Maybe your girlfriend likes this look. Personally, I find it the sight of a bare male crotch to be comical. There’s something eerily pre-pubescent about the guy who stares back at me in the mirror now. My happy trail leads to a dead end. It’s effectively become a happy plank. And I’m not even hairy. A more hirsute man than myself would look downright ridiculous with a barren groin but woolly legs and chest — as if he’d developed a balding pattern that originated just north of his unit but was now threatening to annex the abdominal and upper thigh regions.

5. The humidity. I guess I’ve always underestimated the moisture-wicking properties of my man-tuft. While it’s nice to have a playful breeze follow me everywhere I go, I live in New York, not Scotland. As the mercury rises, so too does the collection of dew in the seat of my shorts.

3 Things You’ll Like About Your New Haircut

1. It looks bigger. At least that’s what they say. I suppose it’s true. But what does this fact represent other than a remedy to your own insecurity? Are you hoping to impress your peers in the communal shower at the YMCA? For functional purposes, your member is going to be the same as it ever was. Except with regard to …

2. … Oral sex. The consensus that I’ve gathered is that most girls prefer NOT to pick hair out of their teeth post-hookup. Surprising, I know. Now, do you need to go full Brazilian to achieve this effect? Probably not. But should your girl request it, and you can afford the procedure, I don’t see why you wouldn’t do something that’s going to be mutually beneficial to you and yours.

3. The hot wax. It feels nice. At least until that telltale velcro swish hits your ears and you remember that someone is tearing sheets of hair from your pubis.

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4 Rules for Maintaining and Caring For Your New “Patch” Job

1. No sex for you! Until at least two days after the procedure. Your skin is going to be very irritable after its first experience with depilation, and a first-degree friction burn is certain to exacerbate its fragile state.

2. Cold showers. Hot water will not agree with your hyper-sensitive skin until it’s had a day or two to recover.

3. Invest in some topicals. Your waxer will probably give you specific instructions for post-wax care and direct you to some products that will aid in this process (for me, this entailed bacitracin or a similar antibiotic ointment for two days, followed by an anti-ingrown-hair treatment as needed). Be sure you heed his/her advice if you plan on showing off your new look any time soon.

4. Let the hair grow back out for 4-6 weeks before a follow-up visit. So you’re sold on the new look? Patience, young Jedi. Your hair needs to fill back in before a second treatment, both to let the skin recover and to ensure that the hair extricates cleanly next time.