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I've been told that it is currently very popular to shave you pubic hair, especially if you are a woman. There appears to be evidence that it is popular. This article from The Atlantic is titled:

The New Full-Frontal: Has Pubic Hair in America Gone Extinct?

But some people are now questioning the impact on health. An article in UK paper The Independent summarises the latest thinking:

Emily Gibson, a family physician and head of a student health centre, called for an end to the “war on pubic hair” claiming it is increasing the risk of infection and of sexually transmitted diseases amongst young people...

...As director of the health centre at Western University in Washington State, US, she has seen the consequences. “Pubic hair removal naturally irritates and inflames the hair follicles, leaving microscopic open wounds. Frequent hair removal is necessary to stay smooth, causing regular irritation of the shaved or waxed area. When that is combined with the warm, moist environment of the genitals, it becomes a happy culture media for some of the nastiest bacterial pathogens,” she writes on the respected US medical website Kevin MD.com.

So shaving seems to be popular, but is it bad for your health?

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    I've heard shaving pubic hair reduces the incidence of pubic lice, but a quick search shows conflicting claims. – jwenting Jan 18 '14 at 19:09
  • it's not like not shaving would magically make the pubic area cooler and less moist – warren Jan 24 '14 at 21:23
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Emily Gibson does have a point. According to this website, the consequences are as follows:

  • Itching
  • Razor burn
  • Nicks
  • Cuts
  • Bumps
  • Blisters/Pimples
  • Genital infections
  • Ingrown hairs
  • Folliculitis: an infection in the hair follicle usually caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus (staph) or a fungus. A common cause of folliculitis is recently shaved hairs re-growing out of the follicle and curling back around to irritate the skin. It is interesting to note that the lack of hair around the anus will make it impossible to pass gas silently.

If you're planning on keeping your pubic area smooth and hairless, you will need to shave regularly, even daily. You should consider if this is worth the trouble; what is appealing now may not be after four or five weeks of daily shaving.

In addition to being time-consuming, the maintenance can be costly since you need to invest in special shaving equipment and care like a new razor, female shaving cream, baby oil, and/or aloe vera cream.

I would like to reiterate that shaving is a personal choice. Some people do risky things, like anal sex or driving while texting. If a person does not want to take big risks, then it is best for that person to consult a medical provider or work with a professional or seek an easier, low-risk alternative.

I wholesomely agree with the same author's advice. Think for yourself. What is popular is not always right, and what is right is not always popular.

Shaving the pubic area has become much more common, even desirable, among teenagers and young adults. Although shaving may be becoming the social norm, that does not mean you should do it.

The author's claims have some back-up from a peer-reviewed journal.

Source: Basow, S. A. (1991). THE HAIRLESS IDEAL. Women and Their Body Hair. Psychology Of Women Quarterly, 15(1), 83-96.

A major component of ``femininity'' in the United States today is a hairless body, a norm that developed in the United States between 1915-1945. Little has been written regarding the development of this norm, and virtually no empirical research has been done to assess how universally ascribed to is this standard or why women actually remove their leg and underarm hair. More than 200 women from two national professional organizations responded to a mailed questionnaire (response rate 56%). The majority (around 80%) remove their leg and/or underarm hair at lead occasionally. Two types of reasons for shaving emerged: feminine/attractiveness reasons and social/normative reasons. Most women start shaving for the latter reasons but continue to shave for the former reasons. Certain groups, however, were least likely to remove leg and/or underarm hair: strongly feminist women and self-identified lesbians.

Conclusion: Whether or not shaving pubic hair is "bad" for you must be judged on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, it is highly recommended that one seeks professional or medical help before shaving off pubic hair, if one is concerned about serious repercussions. Remember, it's a personal choice. Also, remember that personal choices or popular choices are sometimes not the best or safest choices in the long run.

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According to Correlation between pubic hair grooming and STIs: results from a nationally representative probability sample Sexually Transmitted Infections 5 December 2016:

We conducted a probability survey of US residents aged 18-65 years. The survey ascertained self-reported pubic hair grooming practices, sexual behaviours 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. Cutaneous STIs included herpes, human papillomavirus, syphilis and molluscum. Secretory STIs included gonorrhoea, chlamydia and HIV. We analysed lice separately.

After adjusting for age and lifetime sexual partners, ever having groomed was positively associated with a history of self-reported STIs (OR 1.8; 95% CI 1.4 to 2.2), including cutaneous STIs (OR 2.6; CI 1.8 to 3.7), secretory STIs (OR 1.7; CI 1.3 to 2.2) and lice (OR 1.9; CI 1.3 to 2.9). These positive associations were stronger for extreme groomers (OR 4.4; CI 2.9 to 6.8) and high-frequency groomers (OR 3.5; CI 2.3 to 5.4) with cutaneous STIs, and for non-extreme groomers (OR 2.0; CI 1.3 to 3.0) and low-frequency groomers (OR 2.0; CI 1.3 to 3.1) with lice.

In other words, removing pubic hair increased the risk of sexually transmitted infections, especially sexually transmitted infections of the skin. But not removing increased the risk of lice.

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    You should probably stress the point that this is correlation, not causation. The cause of increased STIs could be that people who do remove pubic hair might be more sexually active with more partners. Does it say that removing pubic hair increases risk of infection, or does it say that the group of people that do remove hair are a group of people whos behavior increases the risk of infection? – Bent Jan 25 '17 at 17:35
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    @Bent: The quotation says the analysis was adjusted for "age and lifetime sexual partners", although apparently not for frequency of sexual activity with each partner (or for types of sexual activity and gender of partners, which I would think would be relevant). – purposeful porpoise Jan 25 '17 at 17:47
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    I agree with Bent, that was my first thought when reading the answer. Shaving might just be what more adventurous people do. They probably even die sooner because they live more risky. I want to point out that Spanish women shave for "ages". I couldn't find a number quickly but at least for several decades according to my wife. I'll see if I can find studies that looked at Spain. – daraos Jan 25 '17 at 18:59
  • uh no. Removing pubic hair is in the US more common among groups that are sexually promiscuous, therefore at more risk from STDs. – jwenting Jan 26 '17 at 7:53
  • also see as an example of groups removing pubic hair for sanitary reasons. A prime example I know of are the Tapirape tribe of the Amazon basin, who do so for reasons of hygiene. Without pubic hair, there is far less chance of getting infested with lice and other nasties. – jwenting Jan 26 '17 at 7:54

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