‘Grooming’ pubic hair linked to higher risk of sexually transmitted infections, study finds
People who groom their pubic hair are more likely to have sexually transmitted infections (STIs), according to a study published Tuesday.
“STIs are the most common infections among adults. Concurrently, pubic hair grooming is prevalent,” researchers point out in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.
The researchers conducted a probability survey of 7,580 U.S. residents between 18 and 65 years old. The survey asked questions about pubic hair grooming practices, sexual behaviors and STI history.
“We defined extreme grooming as removal of all pubic hair more than 11 times per year and high-frequency grooming as daily/weekly trimming,” researchers explained.
According to the study, 66 percent of men and 84 percent of women reported grooming their pubic hair.
Researchers found people who had groomed their pubic hair — even once — were more likely to report having an STI in their life, including herpes, HPV, syphilis, molluscum, gonorrhea, chlamydia or HIV.
Groomers tended to be younger, more sexually active and to have more sexual partners than non-groomers, but even after adjusting for age and lifetime sexual partners, researchers still found a link between grooming and STIs.
“These positive associations were stronger for extreme groomers and high-frequency groomers with cutaneous STIs,” the publication stated. “Cutaneous STIs included herpes, human papillomavirus, syphilis and molluscum.”