Manscapers Mow More Hair, Even Down There

More men are eagerly shaving and waxing their bodies to impress women.

December 9, 2009, 4:03 PM

Dec. 10, 2009— -- Ben, a 6-foot 4-inch, dark-haired, blue-eyed New Yorker, is not a bodybuilder, model or porn star.

But the 33-year-old never misses his monthly appointment at Manhattan's Townhouse Spa for grooming -- not just a manicure and a shave, but a $150 back waxing.

"It doesn't hurt that much and the girls appreciate it," said Ben, who makes infomericals for a living and was shy about going public with his last name.

Nowadays, trimming or eliminating unsightly body hair is as "important to guys" as women, he told

"It's like when you're in a bar and you see a girl with terrible nails and cuticles," said Ben.

"It's a turn off. And, I'm sure the girls feel the same way, especially in the summer at the Hamptons when I walk around with my shirt off. I don't need to have that back hair on display."

Ben is one of many American men who have embraced manscaping -- shaving or waxing the heavily forested parts of their bodies. He won't go near the "nether regions," but many men do.

Hair anywhere except on the head seems to be verboten these days, and the modern male will take the razor where few man have ever gone before.

A 2005 study published in the journal Sex Roles found that 63.6 percent of 118 men at the University of South Florida said they trimmed or removed body hair to be hygenic and attractive.

At Townhouse Spa, the number of male clients -- most of them in their 30s, 40s and 50s -- has more than doubled in the last year, according to owner Jamie Ahn.

"It has a lot to do with machismo," she said. "After the media and magazines said back hair is not sexy."

In the poor economy, women's grooming has dropped off but male business has only increased, according to Ahn.

"We do have a high gay clientele, but we are starting to see a lot more straight men who want pampering," she told "We have a lot of bankers and hedge fund guys who think grooming is as important as their work."

Ahn sees an average of 10 men a day who need their eyebrows, back or shoulders, and sometimes their undercarriage, waxed.

Manscaping: 'Keeping it Tidy'

"It's really about keeping it tidy, and men are less embarrassed about it," she said of genital waxing. "We just clean it up."

As a cultural phenomenon, manscaping is relatively recent. Sometime in 2003, the popular TV series "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" launched a new breed of man -- the metrosexual. Since then, meticulous grooming has taken on a new dimension.

Research by shaving company Gillette found that about one in three men shave hair under their arms or on their backs, chests or groin, according to its communications director, Mike Norton.

Gillette has capitalized on the phenomenon in a video, "Go Further With the World of Body Shaving." When it launched last May, the video drew 2.4 million views on YouTube.

"Guys wanted affirmation that the behavior is common and masculine and there are benefits to doing it," said Norton. "Second, they want to know how to do it correctly and comfortably."

In the video series, viewers can click on body part of a hairless model for a narrated demonstration.

For the underarms, "An empty stable smells better than a full one."

And the chest, "Sweaters are meant to be bought, not grown."

Even down under, "Wherever there's no underbrush, the tree looks taller."

Norelco also markets a foil body grooming shaver -- specifically designed for your manscaping needs -- without the use of traditional razors. They even instruct men on how to avoid injury.

The manscaping craze is being driven largely by women.

"Excess body hair, for me personally, is a big turn off," said Karina Jimenez, a 21-year-old from San Antonio, Texas.

"The natural look is honestly OK. I mean, of course if you like the person for who they are, it doesn't matter what they look like," she told "But sometimes a little manscaping couldn't hurt."

"The tailored look is attractive because it's clean, and let's face it, most men are dirty," said Jimenez.

Manscaping Shows He Cares

Manscaping also commands her partner's respect, according to 23-year-old Courtney LeJeune.

"I don't expect or necessarily want a perfectly hairless man," she told "But just like, I would trim my eyebrows. I also expect and appreciate the guy I am with to put forth that kind of effort. It shows he takes care of himself and he cares how he looks."

Melanie Diaz, 21, of Eagle Pass, Texas, said even though women should like men for "who they are," a little manscaping on a hairy chest or back "wouldn't hurt to help it out a bit."

"We women do it by shaving our legs and so men can, too," she told

Just recently Cosmopolitan magazine, which targets women aged 18 to 34, ran a column advising young women how to persuade their boyfriends to depiate.

These women are influenced largely by watching baby-chested men on television and in the movies, according to the magazine's executive editor Nicole Beland.

"I think it's more prevalent now in part because we are seeing more of men's bodies that we used to," she told "In the new Twilight movie, 'New Moon,' there are a number of men with their shirts off and jeans low on their hips. Men are more self-conscious about that part of their body."

Manscaping is bigger than fashion, according to Beland, as men are beginning to be treated more like "sex objects."

"It's an ongoing misconception that women are not as visual as men and that they are not as turned on visually as men," she said. "This has been disproved.

"Women do react very strongly to sexual images. And when a woman sees her partner's body looking groomed and cared for, it has a direct effect on her arousal."

As for Ben, he confesses that his scorecard didn't get any longer after the waxing, but his girlfriends aren't complaining and he feels good about himself.

And he gets glowing reports from the staff at Townhouse Spa who oversee his monthly manscape.

"Ben is very masculine," said Ahn. "He's very handsome and popular with the ladies."

ABCNews On Campus reporters Loren Grush and Xorje Olivares of University of Texas contributed to this report.

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