New research suggests adults who trim their pubic hair have a high chance of having an STD.
While the risk of being infected is four times higher in those who choose to go all-out and have a ‘Brazilian’.
Experts believe it’s because sexually active adults are more likely to keep themselves trimmed down below.
US researchers sought to explore the ever-increasing trend of pubic grooming, a phenomena fueled by changing perceptions of body hair.
They asked 14,409 people about their pubic grooming habits, their sexual history and cases of STDs.
Almost three quarters said they had trimmed in the past, with more women (84 per cent) than men (66 per cent) engaging in the practice.
The team, from the University of California, San Francisco, classified ‘extreme groomers’ as those who removed all their pubic hair more than 11 times a year.
‘High frequency’ groomers were those who trimmed part of their pubic hair daily or weekly.
Just more than one in five were classified as high-frequency, while 17 per cent fell into the ‘extreme’ category.
They found those who groomed more often tended to be younger and had more sexual partner than those who done it less often.
A total of 943 of the respondents said they had contracted at least one of the STDs on the list – herpes, human papilloma virus (HPV), syphilis, molluscum, gonorrohoea, chlamydia, HIV or pubic lice.
But those who engaged in grooming of any kind had an 80 per cent higher risk of having one of the infections.
The intensity and frequency of grooming was also linked with a greater risk – with those in the ‘high frequency’ group being three-and-a-half times more at risk.
While those in the ‘extreme’ branch were four times more likely to be infected.
However, both sets had a reduced risk of lice infestations, suggesting that grooming makes it harder for lice to breed.
Individuals who groom may be more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviours than those who do not groom
Dr Benjamin Breyer, from the University of California, San Francisco
Study author Dr Benjamin Breyer said: ‘Pubic hair removal has become a common practice among men and women worldwide.
‘The media has driven adoption of new grooming patterns and modern society’s definition of attractiveness, cleanliness and feelings of femininity or masculinity.
‘As a result, our perception of genital normalcy has changed.’
‘Several possible mechanisms may explain our findings. First, grooming may cause epidermal microtears, which may increase the risk of STDs.’
He said that a second possible explanation may be the ‘shared use of grooming tools’, but added it was unlikely to explain their findings.
‘As a third possible explanation for our findings, individuals who groom may be more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviours than those who do not groom,’ he added.
This study was published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.
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