There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about pubic hair that have been passed down from generation to generation. A lot of people discuss preferences between totally shaved and totally natural — but what is the truth? I am going to look at the top 6 beliefs about pubic hair and then share my research as to what the actual science is. Yes, I did research pubic hair far too much! But I gotta know these things!
- Shaving Invites Bacterial Infection, Natural is Actually Cleaner.
Actually, this one turned out to be totally false. Pubic hair is a massive breading ground for bacteria and recent research clearly shows that being shaved clean is much much cleaner and more sanitary. Not only do you eliminate the home of many harmful bacteria, but the act of shaving regularly actually promotes a much cleaner pubic area. Olefactory studies on have clearly shown that shaved pubes have significantly less odor (because there is less bacteria!) and they also stay odor free for significantly longer under ‘workout conditions’ where women were exercising on the treadmill.
Side note: I have to wonder just exactly how the researchers sold that one to the participants!
2. A Full Bush Protects Against STIs.
Status: False. Sexually transmitted infections are actually encouraged and more likely when pubic hair is present. Viruses and bacteria can live longer in the warmer, moist environment. Yes, there is more skin to skin contact, but more viruses are transmitted when hair is present and they can live long enough to take root when there is hair present. A study by the Chinese Government found that HPV transmission was much more likely when either partner had pubic hair. And crabs? Genital lice? There is basically no chance of catching that if you are completely shaved.
3. Shaving Causes The Hair To Grow in Thicker
Completely false. The observation that shaving is correlated with thicker hair growing back in is a direct result of people starting to shave when they are younger and if they stop, as an older person you have thicker hair! More hormones means more hair! It is that simple. Also, older women with less hormones have a significant decrease in the amount of pubic hair they have — with a good number of them going naturally bald after menopause. This also applies to legs and many girls are told not to shave because their leg hair will grow back thicker. The actual case is: shaving strains the hair follicles a bit so the hair actually grows back slightly thinner than it would have if going full on 70s bush. This effect, according to researchers, is fairly minor so most people don’t notice it without measuring the hair thickness under a microscope.
4. Pubic Hair Is There To Decrease Friction
The actual reason for pubic hair being a thing at all is still hotly debated. One popular theory is humans kept their hair to decrease friction during sex. The problem with this is, this hypothesis was invented to try and understand WHY we kept our pubic hair.
While this myth is still a bit up in the air, studies on completely shaved women clearly show that they enjoy the increased friction and skin to skin contact when they are shaved. The added friction means added enjoyment and you actually get more direct stimulation. So it seems highly unlikely that we evolved to keep our pubic hair because bare sex caused too much discomfort!
5. Hair Removal Causes Bumps and Irritation
The reality of this is: the harmful bacteria present in your pubes causes the bumps and irritation. When you shave infrequently or for the first time, the recently exposed skin gets mashed with all that hair and bacteria and bumps result. Regular hair removers see very little bumps and irritation.
Using shaving cream, after shave creams specifically for pubic areas and switching up the hair removal methods (waxing, threading or laser hair removal to name a few options) often clears this up and with a little perseverance the irritation pretty much disappears. The main problem with this is, if you shave and get bumps and itchy, then you are less likely to shave again soon enough and the bacteria sticks around — and the next time you shave the bumps appear again.
So there you have it! I was kinda surprised that all 5 research topics landed so clearly on the side of being completely shaved! But it appears that is scientifically the best option for health and grooming.