Pubic hair serves several purposes, including disease prevention and friction reduction.
Whether a person chooses to remove none, all, or some of their pubic hair is a personal choice. Although the media, sexual partners, and societal “norms” can sometimes influence this choice, it should be a personal one.
Removing the pubic hair has some risks and potential side effects, but most are mild.
Read on to learn more about why humans have pubic hair, the benefits of having pubic hair, and some safe ways to remove it if a person chooses to do so.
Researchers theorize that pubic hair serves three main purposes for the human body. These include:
- reducing friction during sex
- preventing bacteria and other microorganisms from transmitting to others
- maintaining the optimal temperature for the genitals
Other theories as to the purpose of pubic hair include trapping pheromones. However, most well-controlled scientific studies have not shown any compelling evidence for this.
This ties in with a theory about pubic hair and puberty. Because pubic hair appears during puberty, it is often a physical sign of sexual maturity and may once have served as a visual cue for prospective mates.
The primary benefit of pubic hair is its ability to reduce friction during sexual intercourse.
The skin in the area around the genitals is very sensitive. Pubic hair can naturally reduce friction associated with the movements during sexual intercourse and other activities wherein chafing may occur.
Pubic hair can also help stop bacteria and other microorganisms from entering the body. Specifically, it can help trap dirt and pathogens that may enter the body through the vagina or penis.
According to one 2017 study, pubic hair may help reduce the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). However, additional studies are necessary to prove the effect of pubic hair on preventing STIs.
Pubic hair is normal, and the amount of hair in the pubic region varies from person to person. There is no standard for the amount, the thickness, or the area that pubic hair will cover.
People may notice an extreme variation in hair growth due to hormonal changes. For example, a person may notice excessive pubic hair as a result of polycystic ovary syndrome, while others may notice pubic hair loss due to aging.
No, pubic hair is not unhygienic. However, it does trap dirt and sweat, so it can become more pungent than areas of the body that have less hair.
Like other areas of the body, pubic hair does require regular cleaning. A person should wash their pubic area whenever they shower or bathe, just as they would other parts of their body. Keeping it clean can help prevent odor.
In separate studies, 59% of women and 61% of men stated that they groomed their pubic region for hygienic purposes. However, there is currently no scientific evidence to suggest any health benefits associated with removing pubic hair — other than the removal of pubic lice.
Pubic hair grooming and removal are fairly common behaviors among adults. In fact, according to one 2015 study, 95% of the participants had removed their pubic hair at least once in the previous 4 weeks.
According to the same study, 60% of men and 24% of women were more likely to prefer a “hair-free” partner.
People remove their pubic hair for different reasons. Some common reasons include:
- Personal preference: Some people may prefer the look and feel of having no public hair.
- Their partner’s preference: There may have been an implied or explicit request to groom or remove the pubic hair. However, pubic hair removal should be an individual’s choice.
- Increased satisfaction: One 2019 study suggests a correlation between pubic hair removal practices and relationship satisfaction. It also found that women who reported pubic hair removal had enhanced feelings of femininity.
- Preparation for sexual activity: Hair removal may be particularly beneficial for people who engage in oral sex.
- Peer or societal pressure: Some people may conform to the way that society believes grooming should occur. Again, however, this should be a personal choice.
Removing or trimming the pubic hair is a personal choice, though social pressures can sometimes influence this decision.
Pubic hair removal is generally safe, but there are some common side effects. These include:
- small cuts from razors
- potential injury, if using a razor or scissors
- burns from chemical removers
Pubic grooming injuries are surprisingly common. One 2017 survey found that 25.6% of people who groomed this area sustained injuries during or after hair removal.
Also, limited evidence suggests that removing the pubic hair can increase the risk of STIs. However, further research is necessary to determine whether or not removing the pubic hair increases this risk.
There are a few methods a person can try to safely remove the pubic hair at home. A person needs to use caution with whichever method they choose to help prevent injury.
Some ways to remove hair at home include:
- Shaving: This removes the hair but may cause chafing, nicks, itchiness, or rashes.
- Waxing: This removes the hair but is painful and may result in bleeding and irritation.
- Using chemicals: Depilatory creams can remove the pubic hair, but sensitive skin may burn or react badly to the chemicals.
- Trimming: A person can use scissors or an electric shaver to trim and maintain pubic hair.
Whether or not a person removes their pubic hair is a personal decision. Social pressures from peers, partners, or certain media can sometimes influence the decision. However, this should be a personal choice.
Some people may prefer to remove their pubic hair because it makes them feel better about themselves. Other people might remove it to feel more attractive to their partner. It is important to discuss this with a partner, however.
Ultimately, a person needs to determine how they feel about the decision and do what makes them happiest.
Pubic hair plays a role in reducing friction during activities such as sexual intercourse. It also plays a role in preventing dirt and pathogens from entering the genitals.
A person can safely remove their pubic hair if they wish to, but they do not need to.
Removing pubic hair is generally safe, but it can result in injuries such as burns, nicks, and cuts. A person should use caution no matter how they choose to remove their pubic hair.