If you are doing the responsible thing and like to know what risks your lifestyle choices have on your sexual health, then you may be a little confused about what to do with your pubic hair.

As a previous Better2Know blog post stated, the trend for hair removal ‘down there’ has led to a dramatic decrease in pubic lice infestations. However you may also have heard that a report by French dermatologists in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections has claimed our grooming habits may also increase the risk of contracting STIs.

Hair removal can cause ‘micro-trauma’ of the skin, which increases the risk of contracting pox virus Molluscum contagiosum. This virus, which results in water warts, can be spread through skin on skin contract, but over the last decade is increasingly spreading through sexual activity. The research the French experts undertook seems to prove their hypothesis: “[h]air removal (especially shaving) could favour [Molluscum contagiosum’s] acquisition, propagation and transmission by micro-traumatisms.”

So, as with most things, there are benefits and detrimental aspects to changing the natural order of our genital regions. In the end it comes down to your personal preference. If you choose to leave your pubic hair au naturel then check it regularly for lice or at least after each sexual partner. If you choose to groom your pubic hair then remember you are removing a barrier which offers a degree of defence against all types of infection including STIs. However healthy skin also offers protection, and if you conduct your method of hair removal correctly to avoid cuts and traumas, and wait for any irritation to die down before sexual contact, then your grooming should have little effect on your sexual health.

The best defence against STIs during any sexual contact with a partner is of course a condom, which should be used regardless of the pubic hair situation, and regular STI testing with every new partner is also recommended. Better2Know can arrange an appointment for you at any of our clinics across the UK, or you can order a home sample collection kit, delivered straight to your door.

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