Before you take the razor down there, read this new insight published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections: Removing your pubic hair puts you at a greater risk of contracting herpes, syphilis, human papillomavirus, and more.
In the study, researchers surveyed 7,580 respondents ages 18-65 about their sexual history and grooming habits; more specifically, they were asked how many sexual partners they've had, if they've ever had an STI, and if they shave, wax, or trim their pubic hair.
The research team found 84 percent of women and 66 percent of men had shaved or waxed their pubic hair. Of these groomers, 17 percent fell into the "extreme" group (those who removed all of their pubic hair more than 11 times per year with electric and non-electric razors, scissors, wax, or electrolysis) and 22 percent were categorized as "high-frequency groomers" (those who trim daily or weekly with electric and non-electric razors, scissors); though, researchers note, 10 percent of extreme groomers were also high-frequency shavers and trimmers. Here's where it gets hairy.
- Overall, 13 percent of participants (943 men and women) reported a history of STI(s)—11 percent of which were men, 15 women
- A greater proportion of groomers reported ever contracting an STI in their lifetime than non-groomers (14 percent and 8 percent, respectively)
- Radical groomers were also more likely to report a history of "cutaneous STIs" when compared with non-groomers (7 percent and 2 percent, respectively)—like herpes, HPV, and syphilis
- Groomers were more likely to report a history of "secretory STIs" compared with non-groomers—like chlamydia and HIV, but not gonorrhoea.
- As you'd expect, lice were more likely to be reported by "non-extreme groomers" and "low frequency groomers"
- Ultimately, people who trimmed their pubic hair had an 80 percent higher rate of STIs
Why this happens: Razors and electric shavers can cause microtears in your skin, researchers say, which can allow bacterial or viral STIs into your system. Grooming and manscaping is also seen as a sort of precursor to sex, so the more you manscape, the more (presumably) you're having sex—at least that's what the stats showed in regards to the increase in sexual partners.
What you should do about it: Practice. Safe. Sex. First and foremost you need to be using condoms. Letting your pubic hair rage may protect you to some degree, but how it'll hurt your game is another story...