For Sexual Health, Does Pubic Hair Matter?

When it comes to pubic hair, there is no right way. Some people go full bush while others prefer to keep it tidy. Some banish it altogether. Luckily for us, what we do with our pubic hair is largely a matter of preference. And whether you opt to shave or to abstain, what you do with your pubic hair isn’t likely the first thing that comes up when you’re chatting with your friends. But maybe it’s time to start talking about it. When it comes to sexual health, the presence of pubic hair may be more important than you realize.

While some people feel that shaving the hair in their nether regions is more hygienic, science states otherwise. Yes, shaving can discourage and has greatly reduced pubic lice. But shaving and waxing can cause serious irritation and injury to the sensitive skin down there. In fact, shaving and waxing cause micro abrasions in the skin, making it significantly more susceptible to infections. This is especially true since you’ve removed your delicate skin’s only protective barrier—your pubic hair.

According to a recent study published in BMJ, grooming your pubic hair in any significant and regular manner may increase your likelihood of contracting sexually transmitted infections, or STIs. Out of more than 7,500 participants in the survey (ages 18-65), 74 percent of them reported some sort of pubic grooming practice (66 percent of men and 84 percent of women admitted to grooming in some way on a regular basis). According to the self-reported STI data, pubic hair grooming of any sort was associated with increased likelihood of STIs.

Of course, take these finding with a grain of salt. Those who groomed also reported having sex more often, so it is possible that the increase of STIs is simply due to an increase in sexual activity, and pubic grooming is simply a byproduct of a sexually active lifestyle. Whether trimming/shaping your hair puts you at greater risk for STIs is totally still up for debate. But going completely hairless? Not so much. You are leaving your pubic area grossly under-protected and infection prone, and you may actually be doing some skin damage. So, if you’re not a professional swimsuit model or a Radio City Rockette, consider avoiding the full wax.

What are the other pros of letting your pubic hair do its thing? Well, it can help to reduce chaffing, especially for women who spend a lot of time on bikes. More importantly, it can help to reduce chaffing during sex. And no one enjoys razor bumps or that few-days-post-shave itchiness. The downside? When it comes to sexual activity, no one likes a mouthful of public hair, but a little light trimming can solve that.

A little grooming isn’t going to put you at major risk for STIs, but don’t feel pressured to take it overboard. Above all, it’s important to do what makes you feel good. Trim it, let it fly, you do you. But, if you care about what science has to say, perhaps you should think twice about stripping it off altogether.

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103 comments

Marion Friedl
Marion Friedl5 hours ago

@Francesca Ashmore, I never had any hair under my arms either and also don´t know why, my sister has some there, and my brother too...

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Marion Friedl
Marion Friedl5 hours ago

I never shave that region, but I also don´s shave or wax my legs or arms where I only have very few and fine blonde hair, or also not below the arms where I don´t have any hair and never had any, but the pubic hair´s important if you´re sweating, and besides that I couldn´t get used to a "naked" look there, I´m 46 now and won´t start shaving that region anymore...

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Morgan Idso
Morgan Idso5 hours ago

I shave because I find pubic hair annoying. I am not trying to look pre-pubescent but free from spider legs ;)

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Eric Lees
Eric Lees11 hours ago

Makes sense, there is a reason why us evolved animals still have hair down there. :) Do whatever feels best for you.

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Francesca Ashmore
Francesca Ashmore16 hours ago

I don't seem to grow any under-arm hair - don't know why...

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Marianne C
Marianne C18 hours ago

Something is just WRONG when grown women are expected to look like per-pubescent girls. Either the woman has a problem, or the men she dates do.

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Anna B
Anna B.2 days ago

I had laser treatment and I'm delighted, the effect is I don't have rashes, "bumps", and post-razor scars went away. In my case waxing and razors gave terrible resoults like point inflammations, i don't reccomend it, and think that this article told the truth about it.

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen2 days ago

Thank you

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen2 days ago

Thank you

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Shane Kennedy
Shane Kennedy3 days ago

Ladies shaving was prompted by Wilkinson Sword in order to sell more razor blades.

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