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Is it permitted for a male nowadays to shave his pubic hair for non-medical reasons? Perhaps this question could be phrased a different way: Assuming that the market for male-specific shaving products that are designed for body hair is an indication that it is currently normal for (non-Jewish) men to shave their body hair, would this in turn permit a Jew to shave his body hair since it has become a norm?

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The Shulchan Aruch in the beginning of YD 182 says:

א.המעביר שער בית השחי ובית הערוה אפילו במספרים כעין תער היו מכין אותו מכת מרדות בד"א במקום שאין מעבירין אותו אלא נשים כדי שלא יתקן עצמו תיקון נשים אבל במקום שמעבירין אותו גם האנשים אם העביר אין מכין אותו: {הגה: ואפילו לכתחילה שרי (ר"ן פ"ב דעבודת כוכבים) רק החברים נמנעים בכ"מ (שם ובב"י בשם נ"י)

My rough translation: One who shaves his armpits or pubic area, even using scissors in a similar manner to a razor (i.e. Cutting the hair short); they would lash him "rabbinic lashes". When is this said? In a place where only women shave (those areas) so that they shouldn't practice a women's practice, but in a place where men do also, we don't lash him. Rema says: And it is even permitted. Only Rabbis withhold (from this practice) in all places

Additionally, see prisha who states explicitly that a when a practice becomes normal for Gentile and irreligious males, it becomes permitted for Jewish males.

As far as prevalence of this practice, a Cosmopolitan article says that 95% of men "manscape". If so, the practice is, in my opinion, certainly permitted.

As always, be sure to ask your LOR, as awkward as that may be.

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    And 99.9% of women wear pants. – Double AA Apr 3 '14 at 3:27
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    @DoubleAA That's reb Obadiah's argument. But the minchas Yitzchok says that even woman who wear pants do it to be like men, so it doesn't count. Seems like a weak argument to me nowadays, but he said it about 50 years ago... – Ish Ploni ViKohen Apr 3 '14 at 6:52
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    And 99.8% of women wear pants for non-gender related reasons. – Double AA Apr 3 '14 at 14:48
  • @doubleaa definitely now, but was that true in the 50s? – Ish Ploni ViKohen Apr 3 '14 at 22:35
  • I don't know, and I'm not really sure why I should care? – Double AA Apr 3 '14 at 22:46
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According to the Ben Ish Hai Rav Pealim section 4 Sod Yesharim question 5 one is allowed to trim pubic hair (and really any hair) as long as it is done in a way where the root of the hair remains. This is even permissible according to Kabbalah.

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According to Rambam in הלכות עבודה זרה פרק יב,י

העברת השיער משאר הגוף, כגון בית השחי ובית הערווה--אינו אסור מן התורה, אלא מדברי סופרים; והמעבירו, מכין אותו מכת מרדות. במה דברים אמורים, במקום שאין מעבירין אותו אלא נשים--כדי שלא יתקן עצמו תיקון נשים; אבל במקום שמעבירין השיער האנשים--אם העביר, אין מכין אותו. ומותר להעביר שיער שאר אברים במספריים, בכל מקום.

Removal of hair from the rest of the body, such as from the armpit or crotch -- it is not forbidden by the Torah, but instead by Rabbinic legislation; and one who does so is beaten a beating of rebelliousness. In what way is this understood, in a place where only women remove such hair -- so that he will not fix himself up in the way of women; but in a place where men remove such hair -- if he will remove, he is not beaten. And it is permissible to remove hair from the rest of the body with scissors in every locality.

There seems to be two legitimate possible ways to read this:

  1. It's still forbidden even when it's the local custom, but it's not punishable.
  2. It's completely permissible where it's the local custom.

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