Grooming Your Pubic Hair May Increase Your Risk Of STIs

Grooming Your Pubic Hair May Increase Your Risk Of STIs
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If you do any “manscaping” or tending of your “lady garden,” you might want to consider cutting back. A recent study suggests a correlation between pubic grooming and contracting STIs.

The study, led by Benjamin Breyer, a urologist at the University of California, San Francisco, and published this week in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, found that participants who had groomed their pubic hair at least once in their lifetime were almost twice as likely to have had at least one STI. And participants who had groomed or gone completely bare more than 11 times per year were more than four times as likely.

Before you toss out your razors, though, keep in mind that this study found a significant correlation between the two. There’s still no evidence of causation. And the study did not collect data on whether people were having safe sex or getting vaccinated for HPV, and those are two major preventative measures.

That said, it’s important to be aware of because, well, it does make sense when you consider the biology at play. As Jennifer Gunter, OB-GYN at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, explains to NPR Science, shaving and waxing creates micro-tears and cuts in your skin. If you groom right before you have sex, those tiny wounds might not have time to heal and viruses and bacteria will make their way into your system more easily. Gunter notes that pubic hair is a mechanical barrier — like your eyebrows — that traps bacteria and debris, and that it’s there for a reason. So, there’s no need for alarm, but

Correlation between pubic hair grooming and STIs: results from a nationally representative probability sample [Sexually Transmitted Infections via NPR Science]
Photo Iain Watson.


  • Although there is a rise it is not a dramatic rise. As these are self reported incidences, there may be higher rates due to people paying more attention to these areas than other non groomers may.

  • There’s also a correlation between standing outside and a higher chance of being hit by meteorites. Maybe Benjamin can get a grant to study that too.

    Some may suggest people who partake in said grooming might be more inclined to promiscuity leading to said STI’s…

      • Therefore it must be right… do you take everything you read at face value or is there an allowance for your own determination? For me, the causations that this report debunked are credible.

        • Buyer your questions are clearly answered in the article where near even numbers of people in long term monogamous relationships as there are with single people. Negating your statement. Why not take that at face value? It’s not some conclusion they came to it is as simple as listing the diversity of the sample sizes used. There is no determination needed.

          • Buyer (WTF)… did you know…

            The Holocaust… debunked
            The round earth… debunked
            Elvis’s death… debunked

            I mean, there are people who actually wrote about this stuff and given that someone wrote about them MUST make them true based on your logic…

  • Maybe if you groom you’ve got a more active sex life and / or more partners.

    With people being less likely to groom if they are not having sex or with the same partner for extended periods of time.

  • Correlation, not causation. The more likely explanation is that people who groom their pubic hair tend to have more frequent sexual encounters & consequentially more encounters with strangers who transmit STIs.

  • You can’t get STI’s from people who don’t have it either. If both partners are safe, they can groom and not expect anything. STI’s don’t just magically appear after having unsafe sex with clean partners.

      • Late reply but while HSV 1 and 2 can be considered an STI, they don’t even do it in STI tests anymore because of how prevalent it is unless you ask to be tested for it specifically. The transfer rate of HSV whilst having sexual contact with no flare ups is still pretty rare. It’s more stigma around it that actually being dangerous. If you’ve had a cold sore at some point in your life, you have herpes and no, it’s not a big deal. There is a difference between oral and genital herpes but the actual STI itself has a lot of stigma attached to it.

        I’m no expert in the field, just something I’ve read over and over again all over the internet.

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