Those that groom their pubic hair have a higher self-reported history of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), according to researchers from California.
The study examined the grooming practices of both men and women and found that those who groom (either by shaving, waxing, or cutting with scissors) had a higher incidence of contracting STI’s than those that do not. The association was stronger for “extreme groomers” than those who groomed less frequently.
A proposed explanation for the results is that shaving, the most common hair removal method, introduces small tears on the skin at the shaving site, making the groomer more susceptible to cutaneous STI’s like herpes, human papilloma virus (HPV), and syphilis. Those that groom also anticipated more sexual activity—and had more sexual partners—than those that don’t groom as often. Frequent sexual activity with multiple partners increases the likelihood of contracting an STI. The study did not account for the riskiness of the respondents’ sexual practices, which could provide further insight into the association between pubic hair maintenance and STI transmission.
The results are found in the scientific journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, available online December 8, 2016.
Osterberg, C. et al. Correlation between pubic hair grooming and STI’s: results from a nationally representative probability sample. Sex Transm Infect 2016; 0:1-5