Can intimate grooming affect the risk of STIs? That is the question researchers from various American Universities have been trying to answer. Curious as the notion might sound, this isn’t the first time studies into this issue have been executed. Though, prior explorations of the notion were mostly driven by curiosity, which is why they were executed on such a small scale.
Perceptions surrounding pubic grooming have undergone drastic changes. Unlike decades ago (the 1970s in particular) when free pubic growth was encouraged, intimate grooming has become the norm today, primarily as a result of the changing perceptions of attractiveness.
Hygiene is also an issue, with proper grooming of the pubic area supposedly creating a heightened sense of cleanliness.
How pubic grooming affects susceptibility to STIs
The most recent study into the issue of public grooming is unprecedented because it constituted more than 14,000 participants, both young and old, who were questioned about their pubic grooming habits and history of STIs.
The level of grooming executed (trim or complete removal) was also accounted for, this along with the regularity of an individual’s grooming habits. Classifications used to better categorize the subjects included ‘extreme groomers’ and ‘light-frequency groomers’.
To put the data collected to better use, the researchers also questioned participants in the study about their sexual history. The data revealed that the majority of participants regularly groomed their pubic area, with more women pursuing the habit than men. The manual razor was the most common among utilized grooming tools, with only a few men and women turning to scissors for their grooming purposes.
Only a few participants (13 percent) reported having at least one STI, with the STIs quantified here including syphilis, gonorrhea, and HPV.
Once the data was analyzed, it was determined that regular pubic grooming resulted in an 80 percent increase in the risk of contracting an STI. High-frequency groomers were especially susceptible to STIs, their risk of contracting one is increased by 3 or 4 times in some cases.
Why does pubic grooming affect STI susceptibility?
Only a few plausible explanations have been posited for the connection between pubic grooming and STI risks, but none of them have been scientifically validated. The most prominent of these reasons was the fact that grooming possibly created small tears in the skin, which provides easy access for bacteria and viruses to enter the body.
Additionally, the fact that people often groom their pubic areas in preparation for sexual encounters suggests that those regular pubic groomers that were polled happened to be individuals who frequently sought out sexual encounters.
There is no way to draw any solid conclusions from this study published in the Sexually Transmitted Infections journal, but medical experts could definitely begin factoring the issue of grooming into their prevention campaigns.