Should we shave down there?

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Doctors and medical experts, say that pubic hair grooming does not promote cleanliness — in fact, it’s more hygienic to refrain from shaving. What is your preference? 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.

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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